Monday, August 10, 2009

Kitchen Essentials

I saw a post about what you need in your kitchen. This is a really good thing to know, especially if you are engaged and planning on registering soon. I didn't know everything that I needed, but I had a pretty good idea of the basics... there are a few things I would have changed though.

#1 If I registered all over again I wouldn't register at Target. Their return policies are a can only exchange something for another item in the same was a nightmare.

#2 I would not get a pot & pan set. Ours is from Crate and Barrel, and I love it, but I have a lot of small pans that I don't really use. I would recommend registering for individual pieces, as in a large stock pot, a large non-stick skillet, another non-stick skillet with higher sides, and a sauce pot. Those are the ones I mostly use, and I cook 6/7 nights. Later, if you realize you might use it, I would recommend getting something in cast iron. I have a smaller dutch oven style cast iron pot and a cast iron skillet that are Le Creuset and I'm obsessed with them :)

What I recommend:
2 pairs of tongs
2 spatulas (for flipping things such as pancakes) I have one that is rubber material and one that is metal.
2 bowl scrapers (I actually own 4 and use them all often)
2 ladles
1 pasta grabber
1 hand held strainer
1 potato masher
1 cookie scoop
2-3 cookie sheets (I use these for cookies but also things like roasting potatoes)
1-2 loaf pans
2 9 x 13 baking pans for cakes
1 rolling pin (I like wooden ones)
1 vegetable peeler
1 pair of kitchen scissors
1 pie pan
1 cooling rack (perfect for cookies)
4-8 mixing bowls (I own a lot. I have melamine, glass and plastic ones.)
2-3 whisks (I have 3 in different sizes)
1 large colander
1 microplane (for grating zest, nutmeg)]
1 stand grater (I recommend investing in a good sturdy, sharp one. I hate grating)
2 cutting boards (I use mine every single day. It's a really nice one from Crate & Barrel. Make sure you pick one that has a non-slippery surface...I hate when a knife can slide around on the board. Also pick one that has some kind of grippage at the bottom so it doesn't slide on you. Very dangerous!)
3 wooden spoons(Again, I love mine from C & B. I also recommend some kind of flat edged wooden utensil for breaking up ground meat when you're browning it)

I have a set of Kitchen Aid knives that we got for our wedding, and they are really good. There are better brands that I like more, and will get someday. Wusthoff seems to be my favorite ones right now- I only own their bread knife at this point. If you don't want to splurge on a set, the most important knife I use is a chef's knife. I like the ones with indentation so that the food you chop doesn't stick to your knife. I prefer a blade that is rounded at the end on top and straight along the bottom. It's my go-to knife.

My favorite appliances:
kitchen aid mixer- I use this for making all of my cookies, cakes, and even breads. I also have the pasta making attachments. You can use a hand mixer just as well, but the stand mixer lets me walk away and come back without having to turn it off.

food processor- mine broke recently. It wasn't the best quality and I used it at least once a week. My favorite brand of processor is Cuisinart. They make large ones and small ones- I would like to own both. If you don't have a large family, the small one would be perfect. I use it to make pesto, pastry dough, sauces...

rice cooker- not a necessity, but I use it often. We have rice every week and I love being able to turn it on and leave it alone. It stops cooking when it's done and keeps the rice warm.

bread maker- I use this once a week too- to make homemade pizza dough! I used to make bread in it a lot, until I mastered my mom's homemade recipe. If you like homemade bread but are afraid to do it by hand, I would definitely recommend one. Mine cost about $50 so it's not a huge splurge.

What can you not live without in the kitchen?
Here's my fave:


Mark & Katie

Hey! You are probably going to laugh when I ask you this but I am seriously so dumb when it comes to cooking, but can you teach me how to make baked potatoes or the baby red potatoes. I love them, but I don't know how to make them so they are good. Thanks!

cori and greg

very good post, natalie. greg would not appreciate me reading this because it just makes me want to buy more kitchen essentials, and he already thinks we have way too much. what does he know, he's a boy! i can't live without my apron! it's so nice to be able to just wipe your hands on yourself without worrying about getting dirty or stained even. oh, and also my stool. it makes getting to those hard-to-reach places MUCH easier. and i can't remember if you said this, but i another thing i love is my cookie dough scoop! it makes perfect size cookies. okay, i'm done.