MY FAVORITE KITCHEN TOOLS: PART 1

One of the most popular emails I get is “I’m working on a wedding registry, can you tell me what essentials I should put on it?” So here you go!  The SHUTTERBEAN kitchen could not operate without these items:

1. Omega 1000 Juicer You know how much I love to JUICE! A few years ago I bought this juicer and was worried I would never use it. I proved myself wrong. Worth every penny. Here’s how I use it.

2. Le Creuset Enameled Round French Oven I use this baby to my make soups & roasts. I don’t have a slow cooker (yet!) so this is how I do it. It always cleans up nicely (at least on the inside!). It’s on the heavy side, but I love it. If it was a car, it would totally be a Volvo cuz it’s sturdy, solid & tough. You can see it in action here.

3. Zojirushi Rice Cooker & Warmer I got this as a wedding gift over 6 years ago and I’ve been making rice in it ever since. This rice cooker is no fuss AND I’ve made steel cut oats in it a bunch of times. It’s got a steamer too and I love that. Cleans up like a dream. When I’m making something complicated to go with rice, it makes me feel better that there isn’t extra stress in the kitchen. Couldn’t be easier.

4. Rectangular Measuring Spoons I’ve had these spoons since I was in college. When I bought them I had absolutely NO foresight as to how awesome they would be. I bought them cuz I like rectangles.  Because of their shape, you can easily slip them into a spice jar to measure out your spices. When I’m at other people’s houses using their round measuring spoons, I wonder how the heck they do it!

5. Digital Kitchen Scale We use it on a daily basis to measure out our ground espresso beans before we pull a shot. This one is pretty low-profile so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much room. I tuck ours next to the microwave for safe keeping. It’s a nice thing to have because every now and then you’ll run into a recipe that requires a scale.

6. Kitchen Aid Mixer I have this baby in black. I call it Sir Mixalot. I love it. It’s a show-stopper isn’t it? I make cookies, dough & frosting in it.

7. Peelers My preference is to use a peeler shaped like this one. It just feels RIGHT in my hand. It ALWAYS has. When I use a regular potato peeler, I don’t peel as fast.  Regular potato peelers make me feel like my hands are on backwards. These peelers don’t. They’re perfect for butternut squash, mango & apple peeling.

8. Vinturi Wine Aerator Casey swears by this. I hear him use it ALL THE TIME. It makes a funny sound but does the job of aerating wine!

9.  Immersion Blender I don’t know how I would EVER make soup without this. I’m such a klutz in the kitchen that putting soup into a blender or a food processor is totally not in the cards for me. Trust me!  It’s also a breeze to make smoothies, salad dressing, applesauce, and even mayo (if you’re into that kinda thing). Oh! I’ve also used it to make fast whipped cream before.

10. Wusthof Grand Prix II 7 Inch Hollow Ground Santoku Knife My go-to knife. It feels so nice in my hand and it’s pretty dang versatile. Sharp as heck too! I’ve always had a thing for the look of the Grand Prix line. It’s looks like jewelry I would wear…but it’s a knife. Weird, right? In most of my recipes you’ll see that knife or my 9 inch Chef’s knife. I love them.

11. Microplane Zester I’m a fan of citrus zest. It’s in a ton of my recipes so I use this zester A LOT. I also use it to grate Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, & garlic. This zester is one of the most important tools you can have. I swear!

12. Double Sided/Reversible Grill Pan Where I make pancakes and grill things indoors like bruschetta & garlic naan. I love that one side is flat and the other side is a grill pan. It pretty much lives on top of my stove. Since it’s cast iron, it’s been seasoned so I never really have to lube it up before use.

13. Cast Iron Skillet I make eggs & bacon in this bad boy. It’s totally inexpensive and you’re look much more legit when you have a cast iron skillet. Never use soap to wash it! And remember it takes a little time to season it, but it’s worth the effort. Here’s how to clean it.

14. Cuisinart Food Processor I make pie dough, cookies, energy bars and nut butters with my food processor. I also find it sooo incredibly satisfying to stick cheese or zucchini in the food processor and have it grate it for me.  Call me lazy, but it’s absolutely thrilling.

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43 Comments

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  • February 20, 2012

    I’ve been dying to find a two sided griddle pan, but am finding it difficult here in Belgium… Oh well!

    What a great list!

  • Lori H
    February 20, 2012

    A great list. I need to add a couple of these. I keep thinking about a rice cooker, but I have used a plastic (I know, bad) Joyce Chen microwave rice steamer for a long time and it does a good job. I have been waiting to afford the Le Crueset grill pan but I think I will get the lodge grill/griddle and save my money for something else! :) Thanks for sharing. I loooove favorite things posts.

  • February 20, 2012

    You just saved me a lot of internet searching. Thank you!!

  • February 20, 2012

    I wonder how people live without microplanes and immersion blenders… I sure couldn’t.

  • February 20, 2012

    Great list! I have most/ALL of these items! Couldn’t be in my kitchen without them!

  • February 20, 2012

    Yes! I love your list. Last night I was just grating some parmesan on our pizza and said to my husband, “Isn’t this microplane your favorite thing in the kitchen?” He didn’t reply as passionately, but I know deep down he loves it, too!

    • February 20, 2012

      I share your passion!!

  • February 20, 2012

    i have lots of items from your list thanks to my wedding registry! i don’t know how i survived without my food processor before…i use it all the time. and i just got a microplane zester and love it!

    i am intrigued by the rectangular measuring spoons & now i really want some!

  • February 20, 2012

    Thanks for the list. I have many of the same items.

    I have the same griddle/grill pan and cast iron skillet and have been struggling with using them–food does seem to stick, but I thought you didn’t really need to use much oil. I’m not really sure how to clean them either (googling has turned up lots of different results) other than not to use soap. Any tips on your experience cooking with cast iron?

  • February 20, 2012

    Great post, since I am registering for my wedding!

  • February 20, 2012

    Great list.
    Sadly, I only have a little over half of these items :(
    and I’ve been cooking for 40 years!
    HOW???
    I may go on strike until I get the remainder :p

  • February 20, 2012

    Awesome list! I am getting my first juicer this week, and I am so excited!

  • February 20, 2012

    So many great kitchen tools! In addition to the ones you’ve mentioned, I also LOVE our Vitamix. In fact, I’ve practically stopped using our Cuisinart Food Processor since we bought the Vitamix.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your part 2!

    • February 20, 2012

      If ONLY I HAD A VITAMIX!!! It’s my dream appliance. One day….

  • Laura
    February 20, 2012

    Great list! Any recommendations for oven mitts?

    • February 20, 2012

      The ones I have are from IKEA and super old! They’ve been with me for 7 years now :)

  • February 20, 2012

    That IS a great list. And awesome ideas for a bridal registry!

  • kathryn
    February 20, 2012

    Oh, my love…my microplane. I brought that and a Silpat baking mat with me all the way from California to Switzerland where I’m an au pair. I use mine for grating garlic and fresh ginger, too. Being in a foreign kitchen, 6,000 miles from home, it always makes me feel more at home using it. I also love your podcast. This weeks ep was the best yet…please continue to be a bit scandalous, it’s just what I need to keep sane while I launder the host dad’s underwear.

    • February 20, 2012

      Aww. I understand how it makes you feel at home. When I went on a trip where I was cooking I brought all my knives with me and I felt like I could actually function in a kitchen since they were with me.

      Thank you for listening to the podcast. Your host dad’s underwear…OY. :)

  • February 20, 2012

    I want everything! And I need those peelers! Cutting a butternut squash last night with a dull knife was NOT fun. :)

    • February 20, 2012

      That’s the worst. My friend ended up in the hospital Thanksgiving night due to a butternut squash cutting accident. Be careful!

  • Elise
    February 21, 2012

    a. this is my favoritest blog to read first thing every day (i justify the time by sipping on my coffee)!!!
    b. i just moved into my first new house and this is officially my housewarming registry :)
    c. i bought a rice cooker yesterday at costco (along with some leg candy) as a direct result of this post and….his name is stormtrooper :)

  • February 21, 2012

    I’m so intrigued by juicing, Tracy. Do you find you do it every week? And this might sound silly, but do feel better physically from doing it?

  • Gillian
    February 21, 2012

    With the right temperature and such will the ridged side of the griddle pan leave grill marks on things?

  • February 21, 2012

    The cast iron skillet makes the BEST cornbread ever!!

  • February 21, 2012

    I totally need those rectangular measuring spoons. My heart-shaped/vintage tupperware ones are just not fitting in teeny jars these days.

  • lety
    February 21, 2012

    Thank you for this wonderful list! I love your site and much like Elise, I read and sip every morning, :) . I have found myself (in some cases) straining my eyes and twisting my head all sorts of directions trying to figure out which brands you have. Can you imagine? LOL. I’ve been looking at buying the Le Creuset and the food processor but I could just not figure out which sizes to buy, this helps immensely!

  • February 21, 2012

    I love this! Totally my kitchen someday. Do you have a post on seasoning one’s cast iron ware?

  • February 21, 2012

    when i interviewed willie garson he couldn’t stop raving about his “zojirushi rice maker” –
    http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/video-interview-willie-garson/

    i guess he was right!

  • Jenny
    February 21, 2012

    Love your list of tools! I have some of them already but I hope to acquire more with time.

  • February 22, 2012

    With or without?

    ” The SHUTTERBEAN kitchen could not operate with these items:”

    Suppose you mean without?

    Big hug
    -anneli-

    • February 22, 2012

      wooooooooooops! what a stupid mistake. Thank you!

  • February 22, 2012

    You tell me to never clean my cast iron skillet with soap, and then you don’t tell me how I SHOULD clean it. Would you please share?

    • February 22, 2012

      I answered the question for someone else above, but I will put it in the post.
      Sorry about that.

      I use Real Simple’s technique.

      http://www.realsimple.com/…t-10000001178519/index.html

  • Lisa
    February 24, 2012

    Zojirushi rice cookers are AMAZING. I recommend them to everyone, especially people who have bought a $40 rice cooker and hated it. I’ve had mine for 8 years (whoa) and it’s still perfect and SO easy to clean. I bought my parents one as a gift a few years ago, and they tell me at least every other week how much they love it.

    • February 25, 2012

      Wow! 8 Years! Wait. I’ve had mine for 6! They ARE great.

  • Lani
    October 10, 2012

    Hi Tracy, I love love love your blog and your keen artistic eye. :) This is helpful!
    What are your recs for saucepans and frypans? I am a bit overwhelmed by the options, but always assumed I would need a few different sizes (2 qt, 3 qt, 5 qt etc., including a pasta pot.) Thanks for your input!

  • April 21, 2013

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like
    to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  • Hello; Je suis une femme de 39 berges !
    Je m’appelle Arnaude.
    Je travaille comme journaliste . Mon caractère est plutôt enjoué.

  • Salut la compagnie, Je viens de fêter mon 33ième anniversaire.
    Et tant pis si on ne le dit pas !
    Je m’appelle Arlette.
    Mon boulot, hôtesse d’accueil … On dit souvent que je semble taciturne.

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