It’s been one of those days. The kind where you start up semi-grumpy and end up seething mad because nothing goes correctly. It’s a long story. Too long and tedious for here, so I’ll digress and get to a much happier topic: COOKING!
This is the sister post to our Top Ten: Baking Essentials in Our Home. I had actually planned out our top ten cooking essentials, but amidst the holiday hubbub it seems that list was recycled. Nevertheless, I bring you our
1. A Really Good Set of Pans
I gushed over our Mauviel pots and pans the other day. But, at that point we hadn’t even had the chance to use them! Since them we have made several meals, and I’m even more in love! Even heating galore!
Good pots and pans (like our copper ones) can perform small miracles like even out a burner that has hot spots, so food cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. My particular favorite pan has always been a saute pan because of its versatility. If you can only afford one good pan, make it a saute. You can do so much in it!
As a note, you really don’t have to go with copper or All-Clad. Just make sure you get a good quality tri-ply stainless steel at least. I’ve heard Calphalon and Cuisinart make some good alternatives.
2. Wooden/Bamboo Spoons
Some people have a distaste of wooden spoons, but they are my go-to for stirring. We have four different ones, all different sizes and I use them for everything from stirring something up on the stove to mixing up bread dough. You really can’t go wrong with a utensil that won’t scratch pans and are heat resistant.
I do recommend various sizes. I thought one we had was absurdly large, but it comes in handy for heavy duty and large tasks!
Keep in mind that unfinished wooden spoons will “season” with food the more you use them. When they start turning a dark color, don’t worry – it’s supposed to. Also, in our experience, the bamboo spoons are actually more finicky than plain, unfinished wood. These come with a finish that has to be maintained with oil.
3. Good, Sharp, Sturdy Knives
We are not brand particular on these. We received a very nice JA Henckels set for our wedding (similar to the picture above) which are really nice. We also have a spattering of some awesome Kershaw knives. Find knives with a good heft and sharp edges. It makes dinner prep so much easier!
4. A Good Cutting Board
We have several different cutting boards, but one of my favorites (pictured above) is great because it has ends that grip the counter. I prefer any of our plastic ones with grips. My least favorite? Our bamboo cutting boards. They slip on the counter and are deeply gouged from our sharper knives.
Just make sure to USE a cutting board, and DON’T use a glass cutting board. Either situation will kill the blades on your knives.
This French Wire Whisk happens to be my favorite whisk. It’s sturdy and mixes up things in a jiffy. We use our whisk to mix up pancakes, peanut sauce (which I’ll have to post the recipe for sometime!), and – my personal favorite – to mix a roux (for yummy homemade mac and cheese!)
6. Garlic Press
I know, I know. Professional chefs squash the garlic with their knife. BUT, for common people like us, our garlic press is ESSENTIAL. We could nearly all our meals with fresh garlic, and it makes it so much faster to add minced garlic to any dish.
7. Nylon Turner
Ours gets pulled out constantly. It’s our go-to spatula – and it’s perfect for any non-stick surfaces!
8. Kitchen Timer
I’ve mentioned Joseph Joseph before. They’re one of my favorite, innovative kitchen tool-makers. (Hopefully next on our list from them is this.) C got me one of their kitchen timers for Christmas and I love it! I know we have timers on the oven and microwave, but believe it or not – sometimes we need even one more! (Plus I hear they’re good tools to use with kids’ timeouts – a nugget I’m tucking away for future use.)
9. A Good Way To Display Recipes
This is my personal favorite: a recipe box that has a plastic cover that holds up your current recipe!