I am a kitchen product junkie. I could spend hours wandering through Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, and Crate & Barrel. Even the kitchen section of Ikea is like a wonderland. Understandably, I’ve gathered quite a few fun gadgets over the years. Read on to see my faves!
I don’t own any single-use kitchen gadgets. My favorite TV chef/personality/the guy who taught me how to cook, Alton Brown, calls these “unitaskers.” (Side note: If you haven’t seen his show, Good Eats, please watch it immediately. There are a few episodes on Netflix, and you can find clips around the web. He teaches you how to cook by exploring the science behind each ingredient and process. It’s incredible.)
Unitaskers include things like garlic presses, rice cookers, strawberry stem removers, and all sorts of ridiculous, overpriced things that you will use for literally only one thing. You know, basically 75% of the Bed, Bath & Beyond inventory.
So, with that little rant and a little bit of background, I proudly present the five things that I must have in my kitchen that I use for everything.
This is basically a super fine grater. Even more fine than the smallest one on the side of your box grater (which is also a must-have, but probably not top 5). A lot of people use this for zesting citrus, but I mainly use mine for garlic! I hate mincing garlic. Hate. It’s so boring and the chunks are always too big for my taste. Enter the microplane. Amazing. It’s also perfect for grating fresh ginger, creating chocolate shavings, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, shredding coconut. I have this one.
2. Griddle/Grill/Panini Press
I use mine every other day. I’m serious. Sandwiches, grilled veggies, pancakes, burgers. Basically anything you’d make on the stove or on the grill. I don’t know why it just turns out so much better here than in a frying pan. And I don’t have a grill, so this works as an acceptable replacement. The one I have opens flat to use as a griddle, and the plates are reversible. The other day the outlet I had it plugged into quit working, and I was terrified that it had died. It was fine, THANK GOD.
3. Mesh Strainer
If you only have a colander in your cabinet, you need this addition ASAP. I use mine to rinse beans and quinoa, strain goop out of homemade broth, and sometimes I make homemade chai tea, so this is perfect for getting the little bits of cloves and spices out. Here’s a fun set of three!
4. Cookie Scoop
This is called a cookie scoop, but you can use it for so much more! Shaping meatless meat balls (no-meat balls?), making truffles, portioning out muffin batter. I have two different sizes, similar to this.
5. Food Processor
Yeah, yeah, these are really expensive, especially when you buy one that will actually last. But I swear to you, once you have one of these in your arsenal, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. I use mine for a billion things: pie dough, salsa, pureed soup, black bean brownies, veggie burgers, vinaigrettes, nut butters, slicing veggies (mine has a slicer attachment), etc. etc. etc. And the best part: you can just throw it all in the dishwasher. This is mine; a Christmas gift from my amazing parents!
Now I want to know: What are your must-have kitchen gadgets?