Friday, May 23, 2008

Kitchen Must-Haves

Since my entries are so full of little items that I love, I decided to post exactly what these are and where you could procure them. Everyone has a preference, and whatever gives you the best results is what you should stick with. These are all things that help me keep my kitchen organized and accessible; I'm rarely left up a creek when I have my versatile equipment on hand! With that said, here is the hall of fame:

KitchenAid Countertop Mixer:

This is the centerpiece of my baking world. As you can see, there are three attachments, which I've waxed on about in my "Fun with Sourdough" entry. It's a lot like a good boyfriend -- steady, non-reactive, and can handle heavy work without complaint :] It's not 100% necessary to own one of these to be a great baker, but if you already have one it's time to use it! You can seek them out used, but because it comes with a lifetime guarantee, it's probably wise to get a new one if you plan on using it a lot. I've seen them sold at Williams-Sonoma in a million different colors and even different sizes, they range from $250 to $600.

Bamboo Cooking Utensils:

Bamboo is an extremely eco-friendly product; since it's technically a grass, you're sparing some lucky trees too! They also perform incredibly well. Dishwasher safe, lightweight yet strong, these also do not scratch cookware. Ideal for any kitchen, they're also a bargain at a few bucks per utensil.

Silicone Cookie Sheet:

This thing is perfect for baking cookies -- it completely eliminates your need for evil cooking spray! It keeps your baking sheets clean so you don't have to wash them nearly as much. It requires minimal maintenance in and of itself, just a rinse with some hot soapy water after use. My only caution is to not use it in temperatures over 450, or you'll wind up with a crunchy plastic sheet.
Snapware Containers:

These containers are absolutely central to the organization of my kitchen. They're airtight, so almost anything can be stored in them. You know how there's always a sprinkling of flour or sugar that falls out when you're measuring ingredients from the bag? That's not an issue with these. I label them and use them to store different kinds of flour and sugar. I'm sure my kitchen would be a much messier place without these guys to help me keep things in order.

Oxo Good Grip Knife Set:These knives are like none I've ever used. They're sharp as a razor, but because of the soft grip they have a safety aspect as well. The set contains 14 knives so you don't have to worry about buying anything else. Worth every penny, these should last forever if you take care of them.

Microplane Zester Grater:

This item completely lives up to its reputation -- lightweight, dishwasher safe, it grates through hardest cheeses like butter. You can usually come by them for under $10 at kitchen supply stores. This is absolutely essential if you grate your own cheese; it leaves piles of feather light shavings instead of chunky slices like a traditional grater. It doesn't work particularly well on soft cheeses, but that's what regular graters are for.

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