Go Go Gadget

There are several kitchen gadgets I swear by that make cooking faster and easier. Our studio apartment has a small galley kitchen, about six feet long by three feet wide, so when shopping for cooking tools, I look for items that do double duty (at least) and take up as little space as possible. Here is a list of some of the items that make my kitchen world go round.

1. Magic Bullet

I use the Magic Bullet every single day. It's a blender, so I use it to make bean spreads, smoothies, creamy soups, and all of Merle's baby food. What makes this one a standout is that it requires about half as much space as a traditional blender and the base and container separate to allow for quick cleaning. When buying the starter set, it also comes with lids so you can store what you purée in the blender cup itself and rims to cover up the grooves in the cup to create a smooth lip for drinking smoothies. There are few things I love in the kitchen more than tools that keep me from having more dirty dishes to wash.

2. CutCo Knife

For a long time, I didn't think quality knives were worth the price. When we moved into our apartment, I bought a kitchen knife from the dollar store. My theory is that all cheap knives are created equal, whether they cost $1 or $15, so there's no need to spend the extra money for the same thing, promoting me to purchase the cheapest one I could find. Needless to say it was a hassle to cut with and the blade was so dull, it required my whole body weight pressing down on it to do anything. My theory about all cheap knives being the same when my partner got fed up with it and borrowed a knife from his parents that was more expensive, but still cheap from Chicago Cutlery. It cut about the same as the dollar store knife and although I knew the high end knives would be sharper and cut things easier, I didn't think my home kitchen was worth shelling out the big bucks for one. Wrong.

Santa, aka my brother in law, brought me a CutCo knife for Christmas this year and let me tell you, it is night and day. Chopping stuff up for recipes used to be such a chore, but with my new knife, I glide through meats, veggies, and fruits in no time flat. I feel so silly for not getting a quality knife before, because as often as I cook, being able to slice and dice so easily saves me a couple of hours a week. CutCo knives in particular are great because they come with a lifetime warranty and not the fake kind where they blame anything that happens on you and charge you for a replacement. It's a real lifetime guarantee and they even sharpen it for free (they recommend having it done every 10 years). These are the kind of knives you have for your entire life and then give to your kids. They are that good. Do yourself a favor and get a CutCo knife and be ready to be amazed. They also make great wedding gifts and house warming gifts!

Bonus: Contact Josh Mento at jdm62398@huskies.bloomu.edu to book a virtual CutCo demo by the end of the week and get access to special promotions for MakingMe readers.

3. Enamel Cast Iron Pot

I love nonstick cookware because of its ease of use, but after reading a few too many articles about the potential for cancer causing chemicals to come off of Teflon coated cookware, I knew I had to jump ship. Enter enamel cast iron pots. Cast iron pots and pans have been around longer than electricity, but they are difficult to cook with, clean, and are just plain ugly. Cast iron pots coated in enamel are an entirely different story, not just because of the aesthetic upgrade, but also because the enamel creates a nonstick surface that you don't have to worry about leeching chemicals into your food. Another key feature is that they can be heated up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing them to easily go between the stove top and oven (read: now you don't need other random baking pans). Enamel cast iron pots conduct heat much better than your standard cookware so they can heat things low and slow without worrying about having outrageous energy costs. They can be crazy expensive, but the key is to price shop and wait patiently for promotions to be going on before you take the purchasing plunge. I have two from Martha Stewart for Macy's and a skillet version from Le Creuset and believe it or not, I didn't pay more than $20 for any of them.

4. CrockPot

CrockPots, also known as slow cookers, are a staple in the country kitchen, but they really should be in everyone's kitchen. They cook large volumes of food at a low temperature for long periods of time (think between six and ten hours) and keep the food warm until whenever you're ready to enjoy it. I love them because you can toss all your ingredients into it in the morning, turn it on, and by the time you're home from your day, dinner is ready for you. If you're a meat eater, they are also great because they produce meat that is super moist and flavorful. Even if you're a student or live by yourself, crockpots are great, because you can have leftovers to eat later in the week, repurpose in to another meal, or freeze for some other time. What each model does varies in terms of complexity and price, but in general they are inexpensive, although the full size models do take up some counter real estate.

5.  Wooden Utensils

A lot of people don't give thought to their basic cooking utensils, but choosing the tight ones does make a difference. Different kinds of pots can't use metals utensils for fear of creating scratches and when cooking at high temperatures, plastic utensils can melt. Yup I learned that one the hard way. It's annoying to have to remember what utensils to use when, especially when you've forgotten about stirring something and need to grab a utensil quickly before it boils over (again, me, all the time). Buying only wooden utensils saves you for the last minute decision making, because they can be used at high temps and on any cookware. Sometimes I end up with a wooden spatula stirring pasta, but I'm not scratching the pot or causing a fire, with my utensil choice at least.

I hope this list helps you consider some kitchen upgrades that will save you time and space. Happy cooking!

No comments:

Post a Comment