Hello dear readers!
I must apologize for the uncharacteristic delay in regularly-scheduled posting. I don't have a particularly good excuse except that homegirl has a LOT on her plate. Work is even busier than usual as I am supervising a major systems upgrade/data migration and beginning a new leadership training program. I am co-chairing a fundraising committee at Daisy's school that is trying to raise a whopping chunk by spring and there are a hundred little initiatives that go along with this effort, many of which I am leading. I'm desperately trying to get to the gym four days/week to shed this stubborn spare tire that seems to want to stick around my midsection and foil all my plans to look cute in fall clothes. Daisy is back in school and preparing for a head ultrasound, pre-ops and her right hip surgery with six-ten weeks of recuperation. AND, we've been invited to six weddings in the next two months (none of which are anywhere near where we live). Whew!
So, with all of that said, I will likely be posting a bit less frequently than I'd like, but I'm going to do my best. I get a lot of questions from readers about cooking and one that seems to pop up over and over is about the tools I use in the kitchen to make cooking easier/faster/more enjoyable. It seemed appropriate to share my list with all of you at the start of fall, my absolute favorite cooking season (I feel like I say that about every season but I REALLY love to cook in the fall):
Colorware Nut Bowls from Fish's Eddy
These are wonderful for meal prep. I find that lots of the things I like to cook call for grated garlic and ginger and herbs and measured spices. I have eight of these in different colors and I fill then line them up along my cutting board as I prepare meals so I'm ready to dump them in the pan or sprinkle them into a bowl when a recipe says the time has come. They take up almost no room in the dishwasher and the colors are so darn cute. Also, if you've never been to Fish's Eddy, please go the next time you find yourself in the Flatiron. It's across from the iconic ABC Home & Carpet and is a little treasure trove of colorful, clever little trinkets for the homebody.
Kitchenaid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
I use a food processor almost every day. I have a big, elaborate one for cooking in bulk and this one, which sits inside a cabinet on my countertop so I can easily grab it. I love this for making sauces, vinaigrette, salsa, pesto, hummus, bean spreads, whipped feta, soup bases - the list goes on and on. Whenever I use the word "whir" on my blog in reference to food, I'm using this appliance. It's just the bomb. And I have the turquoise one which just makes me happy every time I pull it out.
Microplane Rasp Grater
I am a grated cheese snob. I absolutely cannot stand those thick, short sticks of "grated" cheese you find in the supermarket or the ground cheese people make bad caesar salad dressing with. Grated cheese is meant to be wispy, fluttery and light. When you grate your cheese on a microplane rasp grater, it's easier to distribute across a dish without clumps and it looks much more beautiful. The microplane has a great rubber handle that makes it easy to grip and is very sharp so you don't need to feel like you're suddenly at the gym whenever you want to put some cheese over pasta. I swear everything tastes better grated this way too. The microplane also makes zesting lemons and limes a breeze - you won't get big chunks of zest that include pith, just the top most flavorful layer of the fruit.
Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons & Cups
When I first started to fall in love with cooking, I was a poor college student. Most of my first kitchen implements were purchased at - gasp! - The Dollar Tree or Family Dollar or some other store with "dollar" in the title. As years passed, the early kitchen inventory vanished little by little: knives bent, spatulas melted in the dishwasher, cutting boards wore down, bowls were given to friends with the "no please, keep it!" instruction. My plastic measuring spoons and cups, however, stuck around for far too long. When my mother-in-law gifted me a set of proper measuring spoons and cups in stainless steel a few Christmases ago, I realized that the size indications had actually rubbed off long before and I'd been estimating portions for some time. They clean easily, their weight helps them stand up on their own and they're designed to last a lifetime.
I don't bake often so I really never use this tool for its intended purpose but I use it every single night for my own: scraping cuttings up and into saucepans or bowls and scraps off of my cutting board and into the trash. It makes cleanup so much easier - I absolutely hate cleaning and this makes the cutting board part a breeze.
I could also never live without a good set of very sharp kitchen knives (I have mine professionally sharpened a few times a year) and my beloved John Boos maple butcher block. There is absolutely nothing more terrible than trying to prepare food with dull knives and chopping on a plastic cutting board that slides all over the counter with dents and divots in it that catch bacteria. A good set of glass mixing bowls, some Mason jars for storing things and a few beautiful serving pieces are good for rounding out a basic kitchen. Having all of these items won't necessarily make you fall in love with cooking if you hate it, but, these will certainly make cooking easier if you are on the fence ❤