I was stuck in traffic today and I started thinking about the 10 things in my kitchen I couldn’t live without. I use them almost every time I cook, so I thought I would share them with you.
1. My Berard Olivewood Salt and Pepper Pots They were a gift from a friend and I adore them. I use salt and pepper in all my recipes and I love how they are pretty enough to keep on the counter top. They are also wide enough, to allow me to measure spoonful’s, but also so easy to use for pinches and dashes (my favorite unit of measurement in the kitchen). They have a magnetic closure that is so convenient
2. Victorinox Knives…. These knives are made by the same company that makes Swiss army knives. They are an investment but they are my favorite brand on the market. I have had mine for years and I sharpen them every time I use them. Every chef should have 4 basic knives (Santoku, Chef, serrated and paring) along with a sturdy knife sharpener.
3. Good Quality Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil should be uses for dressings and finishing dishes. I pour it on everything and I probably consume ¼ cup a day. Unlike normal olive oil it is not for cooking (it shouldn’t be heated to more than 350 F/180C). There are many olive oils on the market. They are made in Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy or a combination of these. I prefer the Italian version because they use unripe, green olives instead of purple or black olives. The oil has a herbier, grassy taste and is generally greener in color. I like the Trader Joe’s Sicilian oil. It is great value for money or look for oil that is exclusively made in Italy.
4. Microplane Classic Zester and Coarse Grater– this is one of those items where the brand name makes all the difference. They are well made and so easy to use. They will last a lifetime. The classic zester (retail- $10) is amazing for grating hard cheeses and onions and zesting citrus fruits and ginger. The coarse grater (retail- $15) coarsely grates hard cheese, chocolate, garlic, carrots, or coconut… Once you own them you will wonder how you ever cooked without them.
5. Alessi Kitchen Timer – This gift was given to me by 2 friends for my engagement. 14 years later I still use this timer every time I cook. I prefer it to the oven timer because I can carry it around with me when I leave the kitchen and it is so easy to set and make time changes to.
6. Citrus Squeezer– This come in 3 sizes – green for limes, yellow for lemons and orange for oranges. I have all three but if you are purchasing one for the first time, get the larger orange one. It fits all the citrus into it and it is so easy to use. Citrus is a really low calorie way to add flavor to any dish and it works great for making cocktails too.
7. Chicken Scissors– These are amazing for cutting a chicken into pieces but I also use mine to open packages and containers or to cut parchment paper or herbs from my garden.
8. Silicone Oven Gloves – I was always burning myself through my oven gloves until my husband bought me one of these. One you say???? Yes, one. Not sure why he didn’t buy a pair but after acquiring the second bright pink glove I have never again burned myself taking hot things out of the oven.
9. Teflon Oven Liners – my mom sent me my first set of these 9 years ago… and they changed my life. Since then I have purchased a lot more of these and have turned all my students onto them. Why are they so genius? These liners are non-stick and easy to clean. They allow you to roast and cook things in the oven using a fraction of the oil that you’d use and you will never need to scrub burned pans and crud off your dishes again. You simply wipe them clean. They are also brilliant for baking.
10. Rubber Gloves– Contrary to what you may think I don’t use these cause I am a germaphobe or I don’t like touching food. I always have them around for massaging marinades into meat and chicken and for tossing salads. They do a wonderful job of getting into the hard to reach places.
I hope you have enjoyed my list. Please send me questions and comments and let me know what other topics you would like me to cover.
Happy cooking xxxx Chef MM