Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Eats: Kitchen Essentials

Earlier this week I rounded up some of my spring wardrobe essentials, so today I thought I'd share a few kitchen essentials as well. I'm not a big kitchen-gadget person; there are a few I have and love (garlic press, citrus juicer) but otherwise I typically stick to the basics. Here are 5 things that I can't live without in the kitchen.


5 Essential Kitchen Items | www.shealennon.com



1. Good quality chef's knife. Aaron and I got a Wusthof knife similar to this one as a wedding gift, and it's still my absolute favorite. While I'm sure there are more affordable options out there, I'm a believer in having one really good knife vs. several cheap options. I pretty much use this knife every time I cook; it's without a doubt my most-used kitchen item.

2. Large wood cutting board. When I'm putting dinner together, I like to get all the chopping done before I start cooking anything, so it comes together more quickly. I like having a big cutting board so I can chop one thing and put it to the side, then move on to the next thing. Yes, I could put ingredients in pretty little dishes (like they do in cooking shows) but then you have to wash your dishwasher has to wash a bunch of pretty little dishes. I'd rather keep everything on a big cutting board.

3. Liquid measuring cups. Yes, it's a measuring cup...but it's so much more!! Other than the obvious use of, well, measuring liquids, I like to use these Pyrex bad boys for mixing dressings and sauces. When I make a stir-fry, for example, I make the sauce in the measuring cup and then add it to the pan. It's less messy because of the pour-spout, plus I don't have to use lots of other measuring cups since the measures are right on the side of the cup.

4. Microplane. I got my microplane as a stocking-stuffer many, many years ago and it's been a favorite ever since. I use it to zest lemons and limes, grate hard cheese (like Parmesan), grate ginger, and even grate peeled cloves of garlic. With it's nearly daily use, I'm so impressed with how sharp it stays, even when I throw it in the dishwasher time after time.

5. Oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven. For the longest time if I was starting a dish on the stove and finishing it in the oven, I had to transfer everything from a skillet to a baking dish. This Christmas though I got an enamel-coated Dutch oven that lets me go from stove to oven in one dish. (Do I sound like an infomercial or what?) But seriously, I love having the option of searing something (like chicken) on a higher heat on the stove, but then finishing it up in the oven so it can cook more evenly. A Dutch oven is also great for soups, stews, and braising large pieces of meat.

Tell me, what are your kitchen essentials? 

10 comments:

  1. Might be time for me to get a microplane! Was just having to mince ginger yesterday and recalling how much I hate doing that :) And I barely used my dutch oven when we were first married (it was a wedding gift), but as I've become a better cook it's become more and more essential. I'd love an oven-safe skillet too - been seeing lots of recipes to use those for lately.

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  2. Yes to all of these! We have most of these items and use them all! We also are big fans of cast iron skillets and we also have two juicers because we use them so much!

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  3. These are all great essentials. I don't have a microplane. I need one of those. Mine are becoming the spiralizer and my little indoor grill/panini press. I agree about the oven safe skillet and a good set of knives.

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  4. I don't think you'll regret a microplane--I really do use it all the time. I agree about the dutch oven, it's not really something I thought I really needed, but since I've had it I've found it to be really useful!

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  5. Microplane is a good one. I have a set of 4 metal mixing dishes that I use all the time. And we have 4 hard plastic cutting boards that I love because they are bendable and I can fold them, lift the, and dump everything straight from the board to the bowl.

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  6. Oh I agree about the cast iron skillet, that's a good one too! And yes, I almost included my lemon juicer on here too, it's a great item!

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  7. Hey weren't those both things you said you didn't use much at first but made a goal to try to use them more? (In a blog post if I recall...) And now you're using them, that's awesome! I love seeing your spiralized recipes--that does sound like a fun tool to have to make healthier dishes.

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  8. Ooh yes to the mixing bowls--I use those all the time too, good one. I like the idea of the bendable cutting board too, and I'm sure they make good ones. The only one I've ever had I set something really hot on it the first time I used it and it got all shrively...ruined the dang thing! Whoops!

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  9. These are all definitely my most used pieces as well! I also need a good wooden spoon for my pastas and sauces, am in love with the scooper/chopper (for moving all those cut veggies off the board and over to the stove with ease, a paring knife for peeling, and while I never gave tongs a second though before, Sean is obsessed with tongs and I'm coming to realize how very useful and versatile they can be. Especially for mixing salads and anything involving spaghetti.

    Chic on the Cheap

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  10. Oh yes, I'm totally with you on all of those too--I use my wooden spoon all the time, and I also love my little metal scooper thing for transferring chopped veggies to the pan. And yes to tongs too! I think I should have made my list longer!

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