Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kitchen Wish List



This week the Target Holiday Gift catalog came in the mail.  You know what that means...the kids started taking turns with pens and post-its to mark their "wishes" in the catalog.  I told them, "dream on"!  It reminds me of the years in my childhood when my grandmother would pull out the Sears Catalog and would ask us to create our wish lists to offer her. As adults, in our family, we tend to keep running lists of wishes, in the event that someone asks!

I am a kitchen tool junkie.  I love them.  I have drawers and cabinets full of them.  My list of wishes most always includes a new kitchen tool.  My mom, sister and I often give each other new kitchen gadgets for Christmas.  Some of my tools are used daily, like my kitchen scissors and my 4 Tbsp. measuring cup; while others I use only once in a while.  But when I need it, it is extremely useful...like my cherry pitter.

About a year ago a friend asked me for recommendations of kitchen tools that she might collect to better equip her kitchen.  What a fun task it was to make a wish list for her.  I thought I would share with you, a further expanded list of some of my favorite kitchen tools.

Just in case anyone asks!

I have divided them into categories by cost, and of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but rather one that includes some of my favorites!


Small: ($25 or less)

Cherry Pitter

Cherry Pitter - Check out my story about this gadget.
It is only used for a couple of months
each year when cherries are in season but,
if you love fresh cherries, it will
change your cherry-eating-world!
(I call it a cheap thrill.)



Kitchen Scissors



Kitchen Scissors -
These come in handy when
trimming raw chicken
and cutting parchment paper
and chopping fresh herbs.
They are dishwasher safe
and they come apart for easy
cleaning.




Pampered Chef Spatula

this is the perfect
getting-cookies-off-of-the-pan
spatula with the sharp thin edge
and nice large surface






Scoops
scoops - various sizes
Scoops - We use scoops all the time when baking cookies and muffins. There are several sizes which are all useful. It decreases the mess and creates more consistent-sized baked goods.






Solid Measure
Solid Measure- This is very helpful in
measuring Crisco, peanut butter,
Coconut oil... any solid, gooey substance.
You simply adjust to your measurement,
spoon in the ingredient, level across the
top, and push out. It all pops out and
none goes to waste.




Mini Spatulas
Just Lucy's Size

Mini Rubber Spatula-
We are super-romantic at our house. For my birthday a couple of years ago, Dave gave me a couple of these spatulas from Williams Sonoma. They are a great little size for cleaning out a measuring cup, and a perfect size to fit in your mouth when scraping batter or cookie dough
out of the bowl.



BBQ Turner


This was a gift from my
sister to Dave from Pampered Chef
and it is the best grill tool
we've ever had.
Dave swears by it - for it's size, 
and long handle, sharp edge on 
one side and its ability to easily
get under your burger to flip it.




Cake Lifter



Cake/Pizza Lifter- This is one of those
"when you need it, you need it, but you don't need it every day"
kind of a tool.  You can lift your
entire cake and move it from a
cooling rack to the serving dish.
It can also lift a Pizza right off the pan.
Amazing!





Favorite Cookbooks
Favorite cookbooks:
Everyday Food magazine (by Martha Stewart)- It is so practical, user-friendly and a great way to inspire new recipes in your kitchen.  I've had a subscription for years and some of the "staples" in our kitchen have come from it.  I have given it as a gift a few times too.  It's only $12 and it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Barefoot Contessa cookbooks- You can't go wrong with these beauties. There are several to choose from and I love all the ones I have.  There are beautiful photos of each recipe and great tips.  She is a fabulous teacher through her cookbooks.

The Joy of Cooking cookbook- If I were to recommend ONE cookbook for your kitchen, this would be the one! It's my favorite Primer.  I call it my kitchen encyclopedia.  It has so much information including: varieties of lettuce, to cuts of beef, to temperatures for doneness of meat, to "what is salad nicoise?", to how to make a good graham cracker crust, and 1,000 plus pages of other instructions!


The Chopper


The Chopper- This is loud 
and requires some aggression 
to use, but it can chop an onion, 
or pecans or chocolate like 
nobody's business! 
(And it can be washed in the 
dishwasher, which is a bonus.)






Travel knife- I found these at the check-out at Williams Sonoma (in those glass jars by the register) and thought they were cute. When I got to looking at them, I realized they are more than cute, they are really useful. The knife has a good, sharp blade, but with a sturdy plastic cover.
Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife
the same knife in orange
I bought a couple, one to keep, another to gift, and I have ended up keeping mine at my desk at school to use for lunchtime to slice my apple.  I then bring it home for the summer, to put with our picnic gear for our meals at the pool and park.  It's a great knife and safe and easy to tote.





4 Tbsp Measuring Cup
4 Tbsp measuring cup- it's adorable and so useful!  Do you ever try to measure Tablespoons of vanilla or oil and end up pouring it everywhere when it overflows the measuring spoon? No longer does this happen with this!  And the curved design makes it so easy to properly see the measurement.  My mom found it and gave one to my sister and me.  I have since gifted it to a couple of people because I think it is so useful!




Small Metal Spatula

Small metal spatula- the pampered chef "petite spatula" is the perfect size (though I have had two, and the handle broke off both of them eventually), and now this one (that my sister gave me recently) has been a great substitute. Having a small, metal spatula makes serving gooey bars, brownies, sheet cake, etc. a much easier and prettier task




Lemon Zester

Lemon Zester - You have to have a zester! There are many varieties and styles. I have a little one that creates long strips of zest, but this one, that is more of a zesting plane, makes a finer zest. Mom gave it to me last year and I have loved it.  This one fits nicely over a bowl and steadies the tool for the zesting. (Your muffins will thank you!)




Pitcher with plunger



Pampered chef pitcher with plunger- This is great for serving lemonade and fruit tea, especially because the plunger allows you to "stir it up" before each serving.  Before I had this, I served my fruit tea with a large, awkward wooden spoon in the pitcher.  Though it is plastic, the design is classy enough to serve at a party and not look tacky.







Medium: ($25-50ish)

Kitchen Scale
Kitchen scale- My friend, Gretchen, and I took a cookie-making class last year and learned about the value of this tool.  I wrote about it HERE.  For Christmas, she gave me one!!  It has been so fun to find uses for it.  My mom saw it at my house (and since it was the only tool she didn't own) she asked for one and I gave it to her for her birthday! Now she has every tool in the world.  This measures in ounces and pounds and is helpful in weighing meat, determining the size of a ball of cookie dough
(and Dave uses it to weigh his CD packages to determine postage when mailing them to people...I recently discovered!)



Baking Stone
Baking stone- I had a pampered chef baking stone in my cabinet for years, un-used, until a friend in my Bible study asked if I had a stone on which we could bake her cranberry crescent rolls.  I pulled it out and we put 1/2 of them on it and 1/2 on a cookie sheet. The difference in the baking consistency was remarkable. The rolls cooked on the stone much more evenly and without being overdone on the bottom. It made me a fan.  I now use it especially when I am baking scones shortbread and biscuits.



Cutco knives
Cutco knives- These knives are my VERY FAVORITE. They are expensive, but so worth it. They have a lifetime guarantee and they make food prep much easier.  Do you ever find cutting an apple or slicing a cucumber difficult? It's because of the knife you are using.  My mom converted us years ago and any time I am able to buy one for someone, I do so.  If you only have one, I would purchase the trimmer.  Everyone I know that has one, says that it is in constant use in their kitchen.



Large: ($50-100ish)

Waring double waffle iron

Waring double waffle iron -Read Here for the story behind this waffle maker.  Basically, if you love a deep-grooved belgium waffle and you like to make a bunch quickly, this appliance should be added to your list.  It is cool! You will feel like you are at a Hilton hotel breakfast bar. (And use the Oh Boy Waffle Recipe that won our taste test).





Ice Cream Maker


Ice Cream Maker -  This is our newest appliance. I have long loved making homemade ice cream but this is our first indoors-without-rock-salt-and-ice maker. It is a nice 2 quart size, so you can experiment with different creative flavors without investing in a giant batch.  It is easy, fast and we have been making some tasty treats in this beauty!








Extravagant: (over $100)

Bunn Coffee Maker

Bunn Coffee Maker - I will be posting soon about making a good cup of coffee, and I must say, when it comes to a cup of brewed drip coffee, nothing compares with a BUNN.  The technology is fascinating.  There is a reservoir of hot water stored in the tank behind the pot.  When you pour water into the coffee maker, DISPLACEMENT occurs as the new cool water pushes out the hot and it SPRAYS over the coffee grounds to produce immediate, hot, fresh, delicious coffee. When our friend Amy lived with us, and our coffee pot died, she encouraged us to buy a BUNN and we have been fans ever since.  We gave one to my dad a few years ago and he's become a fan too (as much as he would claim be a "fan" of any inanimate object).




Kitchen Aid Mixer - Many of you have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in your kitchen and you might be able to vouch for the fact that it is a tremendous asset in the kitchen.  It is costly, but it is a work-horse.  I love mine.  It has served me well.  There are several varieties of them and they each come with accessories.  I love the dough hook as well as the flat beater.  It is stately and beautiful and used at least once a  week in my kitchen!






Food Processor- this is worth having, if only to make THIS  homemade salsa recipe!  It is so great. I don't use it as much as I use my stand mixer, but I use it often enough to justify owning it.  For chopping, pureeing and slicing, it is fast and powerful.








Happy Shopping and Wish List Making!

5 comments:

  1. this list is AWESOME! i have already added the knives to my list thanks to this post.

    one other thing i can't live without is this juicer, which i bought from the grocery store: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=12939116

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  2. So, now Julie, what's on your wish list THIS year!!! Santa wants to know! :)

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  3. This is such a great resource, Julie! I even "pinned" it for Pinterest.

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  4. You've just helped me make my Christmas list - so many times when I'm cooking or following one of your recipes, I remember - oh, that's what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas! Now it's all in one place - and since Rich uses your blog as much as I do for cooking, I know he won't lose my wish list!! YAY!!

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  5. I love reading through your post, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.
    Cooking Equipment

    ReplyDelete