A list of the kitchen equipment that I use every day to make my work easier. I've heard women call their appliances their servants... my dishwasher that washes my dishes, crockpot who does the roast, and dryer that dries the clothes. I've got a combination of nice-quality, medium, and low quality works-for-now. A lot of the nicer things I got as Christmas and wedding gifts. I didn't realize until I started putting it all here how much money I have invested in my kitchen! Most of the clothes in my dresser are from thrift stores, so I suppose it all balances out...
- Clicking on the pictures takes you to Amazon, which usually has pretty good prices for appliance/kitchen tool type things.
Small bread knife for cutting bagels and rolls and stuff
Long thin knife (?) I'd love a cleaver too, I have a Chicago Cutlery utility knife and chef's knife.
Good knives are the difference between enjoying cooking and drudging through it. I use them daily, hubby sharpens them monthly or so, and I'm glad to have them. My brother made us a really nice knife block for our wedding.
Cuisinart brand. My parents had one and used it a few times a year for pesto and garlic if I remember correctly. I drag mine out about once a week. I use for squash pancakes, to grate cheese, slice vegetables, make mayonnaise, and make guacamole. I've done bread dough in it as well (as described in Nourishing Traditions), though my mixer can do more dough at one time. Mine came with a small bowl too, which I don't use very often. I've also recently used this to grind soaked/dehydrated almonds into flour/meal and I think it works nearly as well as a Vitamix.
I have a standard Kitchenaid mixer. It's lasted 6 years with just about daily use so I can't complain. My dad fixed it once after I killed it by making overly dry whole wheat bread... often... when I was learning to use whole wheat. My aunt bought this for our wedding from QVC. Once this one dies for good, I'll be looking for the next grade up both for the capacity and motor strength. I use this to make cookies, whip cream, mix bread dough, beat eggs, and other basic mixing needs.
I have the Breville fairly-low-end juicer that I bought when we got to the juicing part of GAPS. I'm happy with it so far, though it doesn't extract as much of the juice out of the fruits and veggies as it could. I learned to use the pulp in pancakes, breads, and muffins so I no longer feel like I'm wasting too much food. If we decide to juice long term (it is kind of expensive) I'll consider getting a higher quality one like the Champion that I hear so much about.
I love this for soups! It's just a $20 one from Target. My kids drink soup with straws and love it. Even hubby, former soup skeptic, loves cream of broccoli soup blended (chicken stock, broccoli, sea salt).
Pyrex Baking Dishes
I have two 9x13, two loaf pans, two 8x8s. One lid for each the 9x13 and 8x8 for easy reusable cover-up of leftovers. I use them daily, love that glass isn't reactive. Even stainless steel is said to leach heavy metals into food so glass seems to be the best. I'd like to try stonewear too, but haven't yet.
Glass Mixing Bowls
Easy-to-clean nesting bowls. My mom bought me these at Target. I had a really neat set of three from Crate and Barrel that I broke when I dropped the entire set trying to put it back on top of the fridge (likely attempting to multitask). They don't have any like the ones I had or I'd link to show you. So sad :( The glass are quite functional, though, and it's a good variety of sizes.
I should buy more of these. Also from Target. I have to stay out of Target unless I have gift cards ~grin~. My favorite spatula ever. Only bummer is that you have to hand wash the handle (mine has a wood handle). I take the silicone part off and put that in the dishwasher, though. Yes, I'm that lazy!
Kitchenaid Can Opener
The most comfortable can opener I've ever used! It doesn't get much of a work out as we move more into real foods, we're trying to stay away from cans because of the BPA in the lining.
I did way too long of a discussion already about my new vegetable peeler. I still like it.
I have a grain mill that is having issues, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about replacing it. I wonder how long grain mills are supposed to last? For now I'm buying my wheat ground from Wheat Montana, which is local enough that hopefully it's not rancid. I do have a couple 5 gallon buckets of wheat berries, so I should get going on my grain mill research! From researching last time (I bought used, so not too much $ commitment) I remember that it's not recommended to get the grain mill attachment that goes on the KitchenAid, that it's too hard on the inner workings of the mixer and would wear out quickly. I remember hearing that Bosch makes great quality mills, I'll have to make sure that's true.
One big block one that I rarely use, a smaller 10x10" one that we use occasionally, and then the one my dad made me (you can see it a little back there) that I use every day, many times a day. I only like wood cutting boards, I find the plastic ones are too slippery. I do wash with hot water and allow to air dry after cutting meat on them.
Pots and Pans
I have an 8-quart stock pot that I'm in love with. A small one quart pot that I use daily too, it's perfect for soup for just the kids and I. A couple bigger Farberware pots that I don't use as often because they're not quite as nice as the Calphalons. I have a double boiler that my kids have commandeered for their soup. I don't use my double boiler hardly ever anyway ;) Also a large omlette pan that's stainless steel from Walmart that's functional for the time being. You can see that I'm not too paranoid about stainless. If I suddenly became wealthy, I'd love enamelware.
Just an inexpensive strainer that I use all.the.time. I use it for straining chicken stock, when I soak almonds, for rinsing fruits and veggies, and I can't remember what else.
For when there's more than the strainer can hold
Cast Iron Griddle
My parents bought this for me for my birthday a couple years ago. It's made in the USA, which I think is important for avoiding lead and other toxins, especially in cast iron, which does transfer some into the food. Something to watch for- American-based company does NOT mean it's made in the USA. There are lots of American based companies who outsource their production to China and other countries. I know my griddle is made in the USA, but I can't tell from the Amazon page if it still is, so you'd want to check by contacting the company first... or at least I would.
I do love my griddle for heat distribution, cooking lots of pancakes at once, cooking sausage and then eggs next so the sausage seasonings go into the eggs... yum!
If I had to pick only a few things that are priority to buy when starting out, I think I'd pick high quality knives, a nice cutting board, and my food processor.
What kitchen tools do you use the most?
Also, I need a blender for smoothies this summer. I'm not wanting to invest in a Vitamix, but I want something that can get through frozen fruit for a decent price- any recommendations?
Part of WFMW