My 14 Kitchen Essentials
Not so long ago a reader asked what kind of dutch oven I used. As an answer to her question and because I had wanted to share what my kitchen essentials are for some time, here you go. I do think that a pot isn't just a pot and a saucepan isn't just a saucepan. Sure you can cook in just about anything, but here are the things I love and items I would truly miss if they weren't a part of my kitchen. Many of them are new thanks to our wedding almost two years ago. Before that time I clearly still cooked a lot, but now I have some things I'd find it hard to cook without!
1. All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker. $400 though often on sale for under $300 and a gift to us. This has saved my life as a Mom and is something I use year round. In the winter it means hearty stews and in the summer it means our apartment stays cool without the oven on! This model goes to a "warm" setting when things are done with their cooking time which is awesome.
2. Dutch Oven from Le Creuset. This was purchased at the Outlets in Palm Springs while there with my friend Leslie for the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. I remember the day fondly as a milestone in my culinary career. The color was off just a tad so it was sent to the outlets. I don't remember what I paid but these usually go for a couple hundred bucks. I use it all the time as it cooks the food so evenly, holds the heat extremely well, and is awesome to transfer straight to the oven. Clean up is super easy with these as well.
3. Le Creuset Oval French Oven. Valued at $400 and thankfully a wedding present. I love it for the same reasons as I like my other one. This also works well to cook a big batch of rice in if I need to feed many people thanks to what I'm cooking in the larger dutch oven.
4. Kitchen Shears. We have two pairs and definitely use them to cut into meat packages, cut the meat itself, snip herbs, etc.
5. Good Knives. I'm not fancy enough to tell you to get a certain brand but I will say if you spend some money for a good knife you won't regret it. Mine have all been gifts apart from the one in the middle which was a gift to Benjamin. I really like chef knives for their weight and versatility.
6. Silicone Basting Brush. I know this gets clean as opposed to other kinds. If you don't have one you'll get one and use it more often than you think.
7. Pampered Chef Small Scoop. This is awesome for when you're making cookies and even muffins when the batter is thick enough. I'd like the scoop in the larger size as well someday.
8. Pampered Chef Brownie Spatula. That's right. This perfectly gets any baked good out of the pan- especially that first piece.
9. Wooden Spoons (of course). The top spoon was purchased when I was about to do my first cooking class for friends. The one below was given to me on the day I met Benjamin in a boquet of sunflowers! I use these spoons all the time but maybe someday I should frame them?!
10. Silicone Spatula. This is my favorite as it can handle the heat, doesn't bend, and is a great teething toy. Really though it's my favorite and was a wedding present from Mamma T.
11. All-Clad Stainless d5 Saute Pan with Lid. This cooks things so evenly and holds the heat really well. It's the perfect place to caramelize onions or make a sauce that you'll later dump pasta into. I got it (again) at the Outlets thanks to gift cards from our wedding.
12. Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet This is a beauty and was also a wedding present. I often justify making bacon just to keep it in good use. Everyone needs something cast iron and it's hard to believe I went so long without this.
13. Kitchen Aid Mixer. Mine is a Classic Plus that my Mom got for me at Kohl's one year. I'm not sure they make this model but all I can hope is that when I want attachments for it they will work. You can't go wrong with one of these mixers.
14. Le Creuset Mini Cocotte Set. Although perfect for little dishes like individual peach and blueberry cobbler, they also make great salt and pepper pigs!
There are mine..now what are yours?