Kitchen essentials

From my perspective, this list is fairly comprehensive.

  1. Sharp, high-quality knives
  2. Crockpot with removable insert
  3. Blender
  4. Food Processor
  5. Potato ricer
  6. Rice Cooker
  7. Salad Spinner
  8. LARGE cutting board
  9. Glass measuring cups in various sizes (up to and including 8-cups)
  10. Large mixing bowls
  11. Large dutch oven – I have the 13 ¼ quart model and couldn’t be happier.  Even when I don’t need the full capacity, I’m happy to have the surface area for browning meat, etc.
  12. Cast iron skillet
  13. Mandoline
  14. Mortar and pestle
  15. Microplane grater
  16. Mexican-style lemon- and lime-juicer (like this one)
  17. Thermometers, including one with a probe attached to a base unit via a long wire (essential for smoking / grilling)
  18. Small ramekins or bowls for prep work (where else are you going to store the parsley and chives that you minced a few hours in advance?)
  19. Kitchen scissors or shears (stong enough to cut the backbone out of a chicken)
  20. Butcher’s twine
  21. A wooden spoon or three, at least one with a flat edge like this one.  This allows you to scrape up the fond on the bottom of a dutch oven or nonstick pan without damaging it.

Tips

Unlike the list of tools above, this list isn’t – and isn’t intended to be – comprehensive.  Think of this list as a lesson plan that I haven’t yet delivered to my kids.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
  2. When you’re using your knife to scrape things off the cutting board, use the back, not the blade.
  3. Learn to chop an onion quickly and efficiently
  4. When using a grill or smoker, allow plenty of time to get the desired temperature before you start cooking.
  5. Find the international markets near you and visit them.  They’ll have some crazy stuff, but they’ll also have some great stuff.  (And if there’s an old woman selling tamales out of a Coleman cooler out front, buy some.)
  6. Always take meat (including fish and poultry) out of the fridge for a little while before you start cooking it.  Always rest cooked meat before you cut it.

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