Monday, May 4, 2015

10 things you should have in your kitchen to make cooking enjoyable

Cooking is like meditation. When in the kitchen I sometimes imagine I'm on my own cooking show. When you have the right tools for the job it makes it that much more enjoyable. I believe that about many things. With the right running shoes, walking and running is awesome! With the right tunes, a long car ride just turned into a sweet playlist marathon. The same is true about cooking.

1) A good cutting board. I love my bamboo board. It was free from a pharmacy convention a few years ago and it has stood up to the task of handling my veggie cutting needs. It's easy to clean, is durable and is a good large size so it stays put on my counter

2) One really great chef's knife. A chef's knife is the broad one used for many chopping needs (well, obviously). Mine is from the Pampered Chef and is my ultimate chopping tool. A dull knife is like a cooking mood killer. You'll work harder than you need to, it'll take longer to make dinner and can be very frustrating. Invest in one really great sharp chopping knife.

3) Speaking of knives, I also really love a good pairing knife. But mostly because of how much I hate eating apple skins, so having a knife that's the perfect size for peeling off apple skins just makes me so happy. Really that's it. I just can't stand the peel of an apple. If there's something you really dislike, get a kitchen tool for that exact purpose and it'll make life much better.

4) Magic Bullet. This thing is so versatile that it should be in every home. The extra blade (the flat one) is so worth it, you'll ground flax seeds and coffee beans as if they are being crushed by the Hulk. Not only can you "bullet" practically anything, but this truly "magical" appliance will give you latte/cappuccino foam WITHOUT A CAPPUCCINO MAKER.
Brewed coffee + 1 tsp coconut oil + magic bullet (and sprinkle with cinnamon) = a foam-topped coffee treat

5) A slow cooker. Not only will this miracle-maker cause even the toughest cuts meats to slide apart like butter, but it only requires you to throw a bunch of stuff in it when you're groggy in the morning and then you come home to a delicious-smelling house and DINNER. It's ready! You don't have to do anything other than put it on a plate, and even that's debatable. A word of caution though - you cannot be so groggy that you forget to turn it on. One of the most disappointing things in the world is to come home anticipating the smell of cooked roast and finding it raw and cold. 

6) A silicone flipper. There's nothing more heartbreaking then trying to flip over an egg in a pan, it getting stuck on some half-melted jagged edge of your plastic flipper and it breaking the egg like a hyena ripping apart its prey. I think that's all I need to say. Get a non-stick silicone flipper... it's like a whole new world of egg-flipping.

7) Parchment paper. You can use it for anything and everything that goes in your oven. I line baking sheets and baking pans with it. Basically anything that I don't want to scrub clean for an hour afterwards. There's no need to worry about ingesting or absorbing aluminum. There's no wax-paper-melting-in-your-oven-because-you-didn't-know-wax-paper-would-melt-in-your-oven. But it works the same way that wax paper would - making everything not stick. Cookies bake nicer, chicken doesn't char to your pan, brownie bits aren't clinging to the walls of your pan. It's a win-win-win: it's compostable, makes cleaning up easier and leaves you with more brownie bits to eat.

8) An immersion blender. You will make soups if you have an immersion blender. And they're really fun to use. And easy to clean. Basically soften your veggies in vegetable or chicken broth (this is great for squash soups) then immersion blend it and you have perfect soup. No need to "transfer half the contents of your pot to a blender and work in batches". This old-school method will lead to the lid blowing off your blender, soup on your ceiling and burn marks on your face. An immersion blender is the easy way out. Blend in the pot, push a button and the blade end comes off for easy cleaning.

9) A radio or music dock in your kitchen (less practical for cooking, but makes it more fun).

10) A sous-chef. My boyfriend and I take turns being each others' sous chef. One of us will take charge while the other one assists. We start yelling things out like they do on TV like "Yes Chef!", "Five minutes for the mushrooms!" and "BEHIND!" when we're walking behind each other with hot or sharp things. A sous-chef makes cooking more enjoyable because you have help and it's something fun to do together. Then you get to sit and enjoy this amazing dish you both created.