Every time I say that, I think about the Sound of Music…. and cringe a little. I was never a fan of musicals, but I love to sing. I have mixed reviews of my singing abilities…. so I’m going to go with the notion of WHATEVER! I’ll sing WHENEVER! WHEREVER! As I sit here waiting for my brown sugar BBQ chicken to cook, and my sundried tomato orzo to absorb, I was thinking of a few of my favorite kitchen staples. Food, utensils, gotta have the goods. I may or may not have opened a bottle of wine my co-worker “sent me home with”, and I may be drinking it because I love a good Pinot Noir. Didn’t have to twist my arm on that one.
Garlic Press – I love this thing. I have a hangup where I don’t like touching garlic, so I avoid mincing it whenever I can. This Little puppy, by OXO, is a godsend. I don’t even really have to get my hands smelly when I wash it, because you can press a lever and the thing comes apart! Wildly in love with it, highly recommend. You can find it here at Williams-Sonoma for about $20.
Garlic Peeler – Did I mention I love garlic? This thing takes the agony out of getting the peels off of garlic. Just throw a clove inside, roll, and you’ve got all bare little clove of garlic. It’s a timesaver….and a lifesaver. Find one here on Amazon.
A good silicone baking spatula – I found this in a bucket at Williams-Sonoma on Black Friday weekend last year, and I think it was mis-marked. I paid about $5 for it and I’ve been using it obsessively ever since. Le Creuset is a favorite of mine; their products really do stand up to the test of time. Mama 2 has a Le Creuset baking dish from when she got married…. I made some roasted veggies in it a few months ago when I was at their house. You do the math. Find it here for about $14.
A (really, really, REALLY) sharp knife – Down the street at my actual house growing up, Mama 1 had some weird fear of sharp knives, so I never really grew up appreciating how convenient a super sharp knife is. This knife, by Shun, was a Christmas gift one year — runs you about $182. Trust me when I say you notice a difference — WELL worth the money. It’s my baby, and it slices a ripe tomato like a bodybuilder tearing a piece of tissue paper. That was terrible, please forget I said that. But i’m keeping it because I feel like you got the point.
A good tea kettle – In my life, we don’t believe in microwaves. Anything that can voodoo-zap the moisture out of something until it heats up is freaking weird — don’t be jaded. This tea kettle (obviously very well loved, until I tried to get the tarnish off of it….) is by Il Mulino, which I found on sale and unfortunately haven’t seen once since. It’s used for everything — tea, tea, more tea, hot water for anything. I love it. A copper tea kettle is such a cool addition to your kitchen, we never put it away. It looks like it’s on it’s last leg, but it’s still kickin’.
Sundried tomatoes – I get these from a local natural foods store called Harvest Market, and they are so delicious. They’re organic, and not super crispy — I like to put them in boiling water to soak, but then i’ll mix them with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to liven them up a bit before I add them to things. Delicious addition to anything starchy, or chicken.
Arrowroot powder – this is a paleo staple. Since regular wheat flour can’t be used as a thickener, this is a lifesaver. It’s 1:1 to cornstarch, but you use them for different things. Arrowroot is used for sauces with acid like fruits, vinegar, etc, slow cooking over low heat, and things you want to freeze. Cornstarch is best for recipes with dairy, or things cooked in the oven, like pies. I use Bob’s Redmill Arrowroot powder, which is available on Amazon for about $8. A little goes a loooong way.
a good “normal” starchy side – I love couscous… there’s so much you can do with it. I realize that not everyone who comes over eats like a vegan, paleo or gluten-free person, so this is a great staple that i love to have on hand. It cooks quickly, can take on any flavor, and makes a ton once cooked. Pick yours up at Acme, or you can pick up at Amazon.
Good cutting/serving boards – I use these for everything. They’re sturdy enough for normal use as a cutting board but pretty enough to display on (you may see some of them make a cameo in my photos…). Always a go-to for entertaining. Pictured – top is by Anthropologie circa 2010; the skinny one is by Cynthia Rowley.
Good cooking fats – I use olive oil on a lot of things, but I do love my grapeseed oil. Grapeseed and olive oil are the same in unsaturated fats and calories, but grapeseed oil has 2x as much Vitamin E… plus it’s a bit milder in taste. Available at Wegman’s, and Whole Foods!
Quality vinegar(s) – I love making dressings for salads, and some just need a bit of something different. Apple cider vinegar is my staple, but I love balsamic for something different. The other one, Aronia Berry vinegar, by KeepWell, was picked up at a local farmers market.
Leave some comments on your favorite kitchen essentials — tools, ingredients, you name it!