Monday, March 10, 2014

Equipping your Kitchen

Sunday afternoons used to be spent going to Fig Garden shopping plaza in Fresno, where I would scour Banana Republic for a good sale on work slacks or a cute new top. After Banana Republic, we would stroll into William Sonoma, and lust over kitchen gadgetry and appliances. I could live in that store.

The Husband would lust over meat grinders, cutting boards, knife racks, and cast iron pans. I would lust over glassware, pasta rollers, cook books, and kitchen linens. Really, I felt like it was the Anthropologie of the culinary world.

There are only a few staples you need in a kitchen, and they don't have to be pricey.  And really it's a matter of cooking preference.  Please understand that when I say need, I mean need based off of your cooking style and what you typically make and eat.  I don't always like the lists you see on Pinterest or in magazines of "Top 8 Kitchen gadgets you didn't know you needed". Because if you didn't know you needed it, you probably don't. With that said, here is a list of my kitchen staples:

9" nonstick pan
10 inch cast iron skillet
Panini press
Santoku knife
Salad spinner

I don't really like cooking with non stick cookware, because if it scratches I am too paranoid to cook with it ever again (cancer, leaching chemicals into the food, not so cool, right?). In spite of all of that we keep a high quality non stick pan in our house that serves one purpose and one purpose only; eggs.  We purchased this one from William Sonoma about 2 years ago. The trick is to clean it with a warm damp cloth. We don't let it sit in the sink and soak in sudsy water, usually we clean it immediately after use and it saves on the wear and tear of the pan itself.

Cast iron skillets are perfect for steaks, burgers, & and other animal protein you fancy. They also make the fluffiest pancakes, awesome baking vessels for sticky buns, and well... Are just an awesome source of added iron to your food. Seriously. If you don't own a skillet, get one, because it is one of the most fabulous ways to prepare and eat Rib-eye steaks. Again, I got mine from William Sonoma a year or so ago. It takes a little maintenance to make sure its stored well when its not in use but for those who adore cooking, it should be no problem to maintain.

A month before my now Husband and I moved in together, he got me a trove of birthday gifts with a common theme - all were from Giada De Laurentiis' line at target, porcelain bake ware, kitchen utensils, and my Panini Press.  I actually use it in lieu of a toaster or toaster oven. It's great for paninis, quesadillas, or ever garlic toast.  It usually sits out on out counter because I use it several times a week. Unfortunately, it looks like they no longer make her Panaini press because I cannot find a link to it online. 

When I was pursuing a degree in dietetics I had to purchase my first real knife set (and carry it around campus. It was crazy to think of all the sharp objects I was wielding inconspicuously around FCC!). I prefer a mid sized Santoko knife to regular Chef knives; I find the grooves help veggies not stick to the blade. And for little hands, large chef knives can be bulky. This has been the perfect fit for me.

Our salad spinner was a wedding gift and I use it almost everyday. We eat salads at least once a day, and I am very good at shredding, chopping, and washing my own lettuce. The husband hates soggy salads, and the salad spinner has greatly reduced his amount of complaining. I am just happy he ends up eating his greens, so then we both win.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my "Kitchen Necessities". It is fun to find new gadgets, but its even better having dependable hardware that lasts.

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