Here I list the kitchen tools that I absolutely cannot do without. Every home cook has their own preferences on what tools to use in the kitchen, but I have learned about some of my most valuable tools from other blogs and cookbooks and hope that this will help you as well!
- A food processor. You need a food processor, I promise. This is a not a juicer, where you will use it a few times and store it in the back of the cabinet never to see the light of day again. I use my food processor at least once a day but usually 2 or 3 times per day. For instance yesterday I made a batch of almond butter, mixed up some sriracha chickpea salad for lunch, and made pesto for tomorrow night’s pizza. No, you cannot use a blender in place of a food processor, they are completely different tools and you will not get the same results. I have a Kitchen Aid 13 cup food processor that is almost 10 years old and still going strong.
- A good blender. Sorry I’m starting off with the expensive things but if you invest in a good food processor and blender they will likely last you a long, long time. You need a blender if you want to make a good smoothie or perfectly smooth sauces and dressings. I make all of my nut butters and hummus dips in the food processor but some people prefer to do them in the blender. I have a Vitamix 5200 Classic Series and it is all the rage. However, when I lived in Scotland, my blender obviously did not plug in over there, and I was afraid to blow it out trying a voltage converter, so I bought the more popular in the UK Blendtec. I was surprised that I quickly fell in love with the Blendtec and had I not already owned an American Vitamix, I may have switched to Blendtec permanently. If scrubbing dishes is not your thing, I found the Blendtec much easier to clean also!
- Good knives. When we were moving to Scotland, my decent kitchen knives did not make the cut on things to pack with us, so I put them in storage. After we arrived, and having no idea where to shop, we took a bus to IKEA to stock up on household goods and I bought 2 knives, which lasted me about 2 weeks until I almost lost a finger. I finally said enough is enough and went ahead an ordered my dream knives from the Japanese company Korin, ordering a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. These knives were NOT cheap. I even paid extra to get them cut on the left-handed angle since I am left-handed. Whether or not this makes a difference is still lost on me, but I thought it sounded nice. That said, I LOVE my kitchen knives. They make chopping a breeze and I make sure to keep them sharp on my Minosharp. After I had to pay a ridiculous customs fee to actually pick these knives up at Royal Mail in Scotland, my husband proceeded to tell me that they were my birthday/Christmas/anniversary present for the next three years. The gift that keeps on giving! 🙂
- A good selection of glass jars. See my pantry post for more information on glass jars.
- Silpat silicone baking sheets. I can’t believe I actually waited as long as I did to buy these. I used rolls and rolls of parchment paper before I finally caved and bought these and they were life changing. I use them daily for everything – cookies, roasted vegetables, rising pizza crust, you name it. They are made in France and no one can argue with a French cooking item.
- An Instant Pot pressure cooker. If you are going to be cooking a lot of dried beans, you really should have a pressure cooker. This thing changed my life! No more hours of having beans on the stove and being tied to the kitchen, this pressure works quickly and the beans come out perfect every time. I know there is entire groups dedicated to the many workings of the Instant Pot, and I have barely scratched the surface of what this guy can do, but for me, cooking beans in it at least a few times a week is reason enough to have it in the kitchen. Dried beans are way, WAY cheaper than canned, have a much better flavor, no added sodium, and no BPA lining risk. Start buying your beans dried from the bulk bins and then you can use all the money you save to buy…more glass jars perhaps?
Other than these essentials, just find what works for you in your kitchen! I use my waffle iron and panini press quite often and I love my Tovolo silicone utensils and bamboo wooden spoons. Also, for fun, get a Scottish spurtle if you want to feel like a highland goddess while stirring your morning porridge. Go browse at a kitchen store, find what inspires you, and try one piece at a time! After a while you will have a collection of things that are useful and that you love to work with.