Handy Kitchen Tools - 10 moderately priced tools - Great gifts for people who love to cook
Sharing food on Instagram has triggered some interest in my kitchen tools. I'm happy to line up and share some key players from our kitchen prep collection - it was easy to do since they're typically in use or drying on the dishrack. Truth, they rarely find their way to their designated storage spot.
These handy kitchen tools streamline my process and are very important players in my daily cooking. Most are modestly priced as far as kitchen gear goes and would make the best gifts for people who love to cook, home cooks and chefs alike (solid gift-givers is how I came to own most of these things, lucky me).
I'm going to refer to our original places of purchase as best I can but feel free to roam to other sources, bonus points if you choose your local kitchen supply store. If it has an asterisk* that means I couldn't find it where I got it so I provided what seems like a similar option.
Misen Chef Knife and Paring Knife
Sure, we have some higher-end knife ware in our collection but these are my workhorses and they're rather reasonably priced for the quality IMHO. I'd argue they perform just as well and I wouldn't be shocked if they all just so happen to be made by the same manufacturer.
I like a fairly heavy knife and in my perfect world the chef knife would be a tad heavier but I've adjusted. Full tang (for even balance and longevity), holds a slick edge and most obviously, it's a looker. Eye-catching yes, beauty aside the handle also has a nice softness feel to it and is quite comfortable. I'm absolutely a fan of our mini Misen collection.
Multiple Sized Sieves
We have these things everywhere. The 3-inch mesh sieves* are super useful for removing pulp or for filtering when trying to create a smooth and silky sauce. The larger sieves are handy for washing and blanching veggies, useful for straining and rinsing canned beans and other tasks.
Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan
One of the most popular questions I get is about grill marks and how to get em. Truth - I don't often grill outside. We have a gas grill but one small explosion and I'm all set to never fire that thing up again.
I'd love to buy a charcoal grill. For now, my Lodge cast iron grill pan suits me just fine. It holds a beautiful, even heat and helps me to achieve those drool-worthy grill marks. Cleans up like a dream and lives on my stovetop.
Lodge Cast Iron Press
This is another important component when I'm trying to get a nice sear. I love this Lodge grill press because it's heavy enough to add pressure but not too heavy that it smooshes bread, fish, and other delicate things. I use it with veggies, meat, seafood - most anything that I'm searing in the grill pan.
Multiple Sized Silicone Brushes
Silicone brushes like this one* maybe our most used kitchen tool. We use a great deal of cast iron which means keeping them oiled is def a priority, one made easier with these handy brushes. I also use them to brush egg wash on buns, dust flour, encourage concoctions out of the nooks of my Vitamix.
Dough & Bench Scraper
I love these things. For years I've kept a metal scraper close - it helps me capture every last bit of ingredients and gets nice and close to my surface, leaving nothing behind. Particularly useful for clean-up. Added bonus - I'm pretty sure it's the only thing you can purchase at William Sonoma for under $10 - now that's a skill.
I use the plastic one to mix bread dough, which I did pretty much never, that is til Covid dropped in for its extended stay. I have a regular bread routine now and that little flour bowl scraper is the key to keeping my hands (mostly) dough-free throughout the process.
Stainless Steel Frother
I'll be honest, I don't think it 'froths' for shit but I do LOVE to use this little mixing device to make salad dressings and blend together sauces. It isn't uber-powerful and can't handle a lot of weight but I use it to emulsify ingredients and it does a beautiful job of helping the process. With vinaigrettes, I find that just as the weight of the oil becomes too much, the dressing consistency is silky, full, and usually just right.
All others are dead to me. I've tried a lot of different ones, mostly crap, just like my father warned me. This is the one and only. There's a smaller version but it will just make you want this one - so, as my boyfriend says, "buy once, cry once". Mine was gifted to me by a close friend back when I first started developing my cooking, I've had it for quite some time now and it's still sharp as fuck.
Maybe it seems particular but these things are sharp - like really sharp. They work pretty effortlessly but do be careful I've sustained a few injuries moving too quickly and not paying attention with these - mostly when bartending and pulling a garnish. I love to have a few around as we always seem to be peeling things and let's be real - pulling garnishes.
I'm talking standard, restaurant issue tongs*, I have at least 4 tongs floating around at all times. They serve as an extension of my hands and are pivotal in keeping contamination a non-issue. There's nothing fancy about em and that the best thing really. These are a must.
Hand Crafted Pottery
Certainly not a required element but wtf not? Connect with local potters and get beautiful, unique, one of a kind pieces while supporting their craft. In an effort to resist mass consumerism I strive to acquire pieces from local crafters as well as repurpose pieces that already exist in the world and are just waiting to be found by me.
I'd love to hear about your favorite kitchen tools. Also if you try these out please let me know what you think. Leave a comment if you already use some of the tools I mentioned. I'm always happy to answer questions and cover topics that are important to you so shoot me an email if you've got questions.