Kitchen Essentials: 10 More Cooking Utensils (Nov. 4, 2014)
Last week I shared my top 10 kitchen utensils list. Still, there are 10 more kitchen essentials I think every cook should have – even beginners.
One item missing from my first kitchen utensils list is a blender. My experience has been that a cheaper one (under $100) hardly crushes ice. Unless you serve a lot of bar drinks, a good food processor or immersion blender will certainly do most jobs better. The heavy duty blender I have in my kitchen (a Vitamix) is so pricy that I can’t really list it as an “essential ” kitchen tool, but I can say it’s my most priced possession after a Dutch oven and my cast iron skillets.
10 More Kitchen Essentials
1. Meat Thermometer – One of the more important items a good cook needs, my top choice of a durable meat thermometer is this one from ThermoWorks. If you can only purchase one meat thermometer, I would opt for one of these. In reality, I think you need both, but in the end, it’s a matter of personal preference and what kinds of foods you prepare in your kitchen on a regular basis.
2. Three Stainless Steel Bowls – It’s good to have options in a variety of sizes, and stainless steel is easier to clean and won’t stain like some other materials will.
3. Sifter – Vital for making cakes, be aware of how fine the wire mesh is (also known as the number of squares per inch). The more squares, the finer the sifted flour.
4. Citrus Press – Perfect for fresh juice or adding a citrus splash to recipes, this handy tool is a versatile addition to your kitchen.
5. Garlic Press – Find the perfect press by taking a look at the quality of the construction, making sure the handle fits in your hand comfortably and that it’s easy to clean (many come with prongs for cleaning).
6. Kitchen Shears – Because of their versatility (from trimming produce to cutting raw meat), make sure the handles fit in your hand well, the blades are made from rustproof metal like stainless steel and the bolt is removable on some shears so they’re easy to clean.
7. Immersion / Stick Blender – Despite its high price, this is a great tool to have. It’s lightweight and much easier to clean and use than a food processor.
8. Wooden Spoons – Good for all cookware, these utensils won’t scratch your pots/pans or melt under high heat.
9. Sturdy Spatulas – Stainless steel is preferred unless you have predominately non-stick cookware. In my kitchen I need both stainless steel and rubber or plastic for example.
10. Scraping / Silicone Spatula – My favorite brand is Pampered Chef although my husband prefers one that is molded in one piece rather than having a wooden or plastic handle that is hard to clean. I found this one listed at Sur La Table. Whichever one you choose, pick one that is durable, that will hold up to high heat and that won’t chip or crack easily.
Once you outfit your kitchen, the next big question is, “Where do you store all of these smaller utensils?” Many people throw them in an unorganized drawer, but this can be a disaster! My solution is to use several utensil holders like these and display my “go-to” utensils near my stovetop for easy access.
What tools would make it on your kitchen utensils list? Share your kitchen essentials in the comments below!
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.