As much as I might want to walk into Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table and literally purchase the whole store, I’m actually not a huge fan of specialty kitchen equipment. Unless I’m going to use it all the time, these things usually take up too much space for me to justify them. Exceptions include my potato ricer (for making light and fluffy gnocchi), my French crepe pan (it’s just so perfect), and my paella pan (which I have yet to use, but plan to very soon). Other than these items, almost all of my tools are multi-use and come out to play often. Below are three items that I just could not live without in my kitchen. I’m actually not sure what I did before they came into my life.
Set of 10 Glass Bowls
This set happens to be among the few items in my kitchen from uber-pricey Williams-Sonoma, but at $39.95 they also happen to be pretty affordable and have already paid for themselves in their utility. Ranging from giant to itty bitty, they are fantastic for prepping, marinating, microwaving, sauce making, pan-juice separating, and even serving. They’re sturdy, stackable, and barely make it into the dishwasher before I want to use them again. I think I might cry if one of them broke.
Microplane Rasp Grater
This is my absolute FAVORITE kitchen tool. It’s slim, sturdy, and works for a variety of ingredients. Microplane would like you to think that you need one kind of grater to zest citrus, another to grate cheese, and yet another to grate spices like nutmeg. Not so. This particular model does it all and, unlike other, wider Microplane models that have a rubber grip and plastic surrounding the outside of the tool, it doesn’t break easily. This one ranges from $12-$15, depending on where you buy it.
Fine Mesh Strainer
The model shown above is a little bit nicer than the one I have (cheap, cheap, cheap from a discount store that shall not be named), but it’s basically the same idea. You want a strainer or sieve that has a large enough mesh to let liquid through but is still fine enough to catch the smallest particles that cloud up a liquid. Straining a sauce may seem like a superfluous step, but since I started doing it my dishes have been just a little bit more refined. It’s awesome for soups, stews, and stocks, getting the seeds out of fruit purees, straining the liquid out of ricotta or yogurt, and getting as much liquid as possible out of frozen veggies that need to be browned.
So, that’s it for this edition of my kitchen favorites. Comment and tell me about your favorite kitchen tool, appliance, or accessory!