Essential Kitchen Must-Haves, Part 2 - Ann Gentry

Essential Kitchen Must-Haves, Part 2

My Favorite Thing-A-Ma-Jigs That Cost $10 or Less And Will Make You Shine Like the Barefoot Contessa.

God is in the details, and in the kitchen, she’s in the tiny tools. 

You’ll be amazed at how much easier cooking is when you have all the right thing-a-ma-jigs. Trust me.

Pick these up online, at your local kitchen store, or for cheap at a second-hand store. Either way, you’ll be glad you did!

A Decent Spatula Ditch the rubber! Grab yourself a large-and-in-charge stainless steel spatula and get flippin’!

Cooking Spoons You’ll need a rice paddle and some chopsticks, too. A cooking spoon will become an extension of your hand when you cook. Wood, stainless steel, and hard rubber spoons each have their place.

A Garlic Press I’ve tried every damn garlic press on the market. OXO Steel Garlic Press is the superstar.

A Vegetable Peeler Once again, OXO is king. If you get the cheapo one at the grocery store, you’ll get exhausted using it.

A Citrus Zester Your days of zesting a lemon with the cheese grater are blessedly over. Create highly aromatic strips of citrus with a zester. It’ll be way quicker and more comfortable.

A Citrus Juicer Grab a cheap, plastic one for 99 cents, and you’ll be happy as a clam. You COULD try to juice a lemon with a fork, but I’m not sure if stabbing yourself in the hand is necessarily worth it.

Measuring Cups and Spoons These are essential for exact measurements of liquids and dry ingredients. Measuring spoons should include sizes from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.

A Whisk Made of rust-free stainless steel, a good whisk will let you quickly combine ingredients with grace and aplomb.

A Steamer Basket Evenly steam large batches of fresh vegetables with an 11-inch collapsible stainless-steel steamer. The 11-inch basket works in pans with 8- to 11-inch diameters.

Tongs You loved playing with them as a kid, and you’ll like ‘em now. Spring-loaded tongs are great for gripping and turning hot ingredients while roasting and grilling. There really isn’t a good substitute for these, unless you have heat-resistant, super-bionic fingers.

A Microplane Fine Grater With a high-quality stainless-steel edge, this handheld tool is excellent for grating hard cheeses, citrus fruits, ginger, onions, and many other ingredients. The blade should be about 8.5 inches long. Make sure the handle feels good in your hand.

A Colander This wide bowl with holes in the bottom is not to be used as a crazy-person Pastafarian hat, but rather as a way to rinse pasta, greens, fruits, and vegetables.

A Fine Mesh Strainer Use this to rinse small grains and seeds, and also to sift flour.

And that’s it! I’ll go as far to say that Part 1 and 2 of the “Essential Kitchen Must-Haves” series on this blog includes everything you need in your kitchen. These are the basics. Anything else is just sprinkling on the vanilla sundae.

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