Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Five Favs: Kitchen Necessities

If I were stranded on a deserted island, these are the five favorite kitchen items I could not live without (assuming this hypothetical island had working electricity, sanitary water, and an abundance of food to cook!):

1) Black & Decker Toast-R-Oven
I cannot say enough great things about this toaster oven. Not growing up with one, I didn't realize how useful they were until much later in life...which led me to putting it on our wedding registry, of course! This thing works like a charm. You can bake/toast/broil, all without needing to use more energy that a conventional oven would produce -- keeping your kitchen cool and cooking a breeze (see what I did there?)!

2) Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Saute Pan with Cover
This is the pan most often used out of the awesome set my mom gifted us with for our wedding (the set originally from Bed, Bath & Beyond, though the link is to Amazon). I read the reviews on Amazon, which stated that this pan warps -- I don't know if it's the incorrect pan, but we have been using this almost every single day for 2.5 years and have not experienced anything but pleasure when cooking with this saute pan.

3) Hamilton Beach Food Processor
This is a very basic food processor that I think was gifted to me when I moved into an apartment with my best friend, A., six years ago. Though it didn't get much use the first couple of years, ever since my plight into domesticity, it gets, on average, about 2-3 uses per week (depending on the recipe). Of course, J. and I have been coveting a Vitamix for years now, but we haven't yet made that intense financial plunge. In the meantime, this food processor works wonders.

4) Henckels Classic Stainless Steel 6-inch Utility Knife
What did we do with our Amazon wedding giftcards, you ask? Why, buy our first set of decent knives! Out of the three (utility,chef's, and paring -- a similar set to this, actually), the utility knife sees the most use. I don't know how I ever chopped fruits/veggies before this bad boy entered our home (actually I do, and those memories are outright nightmares!).

5) Silicone Flexible Cutting Boards
I had never heard of these until seeing J.'s aunt cook with them during a visit. It's fun because if you were worried about cross-contamination (something we don't have to worry about most of the time) you can keep poultry on one color, veggies on a different, and fish on a third (why you would be eating a chicken-asparagus-salmon meal is beyond me, but you know, all hypothetical chopping cases) and cook worry-free. I like them because they are flexible so I can simply bend the cutting board after I've chopped by bell peppers and let them slide right into the saute pan (or right into the composter bin for veg/fruit leftovers). They are thin so take up little space and are super easy to clean. I even use them as a "clean surface" (doesn't it ever weird you out to prepare food directly on a counter, even if you scrubbed it yourself?) to prepare sandwiches, burritos, etc. without having to waste a papertowel. The first six months of us living in our new home was stressful because I couldn't find these cutting boards that were packed away in a non-descript box. Imagine my pure joy when they found their place back in my kitchen!

There are many more gadgets/appliances that we use almost daily, but if I had to pick my top five, these would be it. What items do you use every day and couldn't live without?

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