There are so many products out there, especially for the kitchen. While some gadgets are cool, the truth is that some are unnecessary. Is it really practical to have a different gadget for every fruit and vegetable you might prepare at some point in your life? The answer is no.
You need basics. Here are my top 8 essentials to have in your kitchen. I recommend these from my years cooking in professional kitchens, my client’s home kitchens and my own.
*I should mention that a chef knife is an obvious choice and is not included here because I am working on a separate article on that.
Disclosure: I provided links to these recommendations via my amazon affiliate page. If you decide to purchase them, I will receive a small percentage to keep this blog going at no extra cost to you!
1.Kuhn Rikon Peeler: This is the only peeler you should ever own. Why? It’s sharp when you buy it. It STAYS SHARP, lightweight, and most importantly, it has the “Y” shape which allows you to hold it between your thumb and the rest of your fingers for fast peeling; or with your index finger placed on that little loop for controlled peeling from top to bottoms – such as with an apple. You can peel much faster with this bad boy…and let’s face it, faster in the kitchen is better. You might as well buy a bunch at a time, for gifts or if you keep kosher: for dairy, meat and pareve. You can find it HERE
2. FINE MESH SIEVE: There really is no point to own a larger colander or strainer, because a fine mesh sieve can drain your large pasta AND rinse your small rice. BAM! Two for the price of one. “Sieve” means to sift – hence being able to sift your dry ingredients when baking and will even catch seeds of your lemons in a pinch. Most importantly, it strains all fine pieces out of your sauces, making them extra rich and creamy. Get the 3 pack HERE
3. IMMERSION BLENDER: Speaking about soups and sauces, this tool is also imperative. It helps puree up soups and sauce right in the pot! It is sometimes called a hand blender or a stick blender, every kitchen should have one. You can also emulsify great vinaigrettes with it, and even baby food! It doesn’t have to be an expensive one. HERE is one example.
4. HALF SIZE SHEET PANS: full size sheet pans are great – if you have the place to store them. Most home kitchens do not, which is while I like to keep a bunch of half size sheet pans. You can always fit a couple in the oven at once, and by using an actual metal pans, instead of the disposable pans, you will get a beautiful caramelization on your vegetables, etc. You can also use them for cookies, and other baked goods, even roasting fish. Tip: make sure you cover the pans with parchment (not aluminum foil) when using tomatoes because the acidity in them reacts with the aluminum in the pan and it won’t taste good! Find them HERE
5. MANDOLIN: I truly only recommend the benriner mandolin. It is widely used in professional kitchens for its simplicity, sharp blade and it is lightweight. OK. So, maybe you won’t actually travel with it like I did in my knife rollup bag, but once you get the hang of using it (it does take a little confidence) it is a very versatile tool. You won’t need a spiralizer, because this can come pretty darn close, and it’s easy to wash too. I like that you can lay it across a bowl and slice directly in it. Find the old version (which is what you want) HERE
6. TONGS: You may already have tongs in your kitchen, but are they the right ones for the job? I prefer two sizes. The shorter one I use in the house that has the grip on the handles, but not where you pinch, and the longer one I use for the outside grill – because, let’s face it. How akward are the ones that are made for the grill? Find them HERE
7. SALAD SPINNER: This is the kind of thing I went without for a while thinking I could just manage – but the truth is, it is really helpful for not just salad, but any leafy green or herbs. Water on these things can make or break them and having a salad spinner helps to make them last longer, look beautiful as garnish and also help the dressing adhere to the salad. Find one HERE
8. ZESTER: I consider this tool a fundamental item in the kitchen. It’s not only great for citrus zest, but you can also use it for whole spices such as allspice and nutmeg. Not to mention cheese! I recommend getting the one like this without the handle, because it will break over time and this sits better in your drawer. Find it HERE