Favorite Kitchen Item

bluelouJuly 24, 2006

I'm stocking a new kitchen, and I would love to have your comments. What kitchen gadget or small appliance is your very favorite. Something that you would never want to be without and use every week in preparing food.

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I have bought many gadgets/appliances in my lifetime, most of which have ended up either collecting dust in a drawer or donated to charity.

I do have most of the usual stuff such as food processors, mixers, a blender, etc., but of those that are less commonly considered, I would say that I love and use regularly my automatic rice cooker. I bought one of the fancy (translation: expensive) ones and have never been sorry.

It's so nice just to throw in the rice, water, and a dash of salt, turn it on, and let it do its thing. You can use it for all sorts of rice and even make some interesting recipes (I bought a rice cooker cookbook), but mostly I just like it for its convenience and for the fact that it has never, ever made produced anything but perfect rice.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:46AM
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I guess mine would be our Cuisinart stick blender. Both DH and I use it for creaming soups, smoothies, cake batter, salsa, gazpacho- so much easier than dragging out the Kitchenaid or large blender. We packed it away accidentally and have missed it [although it is too hot here in our rental for soups or baking.] Also, I have had a Dualit toaster for three years and now realize how much I miss having a toaster oven. So I plan to ditch the Dualit and buy the Krups digital toaster oven, once we move back into the house.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:21PM
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Good kitchen scissors and shears. Heavy duty, they must come apart so they are washable (dishwasher).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 7:52PM
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Santoku knives, microplane, KitchenAid stand mixer and food processor.......oh and a 3 1/2 qt. saute pan.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:43PM
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I would also say my cuisinart stick blender is one of my favorites. I don't think it necc has to be a cuisinart, but one with a metal shaft, so you can use it in hot soups, etc. is important to me. I always had the plastic ones before and I had to wait until the soup cooled enough and puree it in the blender, then heat it back up again. This is so much easier.

I also like having the dishwashable plastic cutting boards from Ikea. I have had other ones, but my knives cut through them. The Ikea ones are thicker than most. I only use my wooden cutting board for non-meat items, and the plastic ones I use for meat, and for fruits so they don't pick up the onion/garlic odors from the wood one. They are also handy because you can use them to funnel the cut foods into a container easily.

I like my rice cooker (a little cheapo one) too, but I wish it were bigger. I always had trouble consistenlty getting rice right, in spite of trying the dozen ways that people told me to do it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 9:42AM
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I have a collection of gadgets, but the one that has changed cooking the most is probably the fuzzy logic rice cooker that I got in Jan.
Rice is so simple that it becomes a part of more meals. Plain white and sticky rices are great. I had guests rave about white rice last week that I put in just in case we needed more food.
My current infatuation is pilaf experimentation as follows:
With this type of cooker (not the steamer style) you can just toss in some nuts and butter or oil to brown, add some veggies (onion, pepper, shallots, carrots, etc) to sweat, then add the rice (use a stock instead of water if you wish). Add seasonig and herds to taste. Out comes a delicious pilaf. Add some raisins if you want it sweeter.
No mess, no fuss, all in the cooker.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 10:59PM
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Food Processor
Flexible cutting sheet
Toaster Oven
Stick Blender

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 12:26PM
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My ancient, original food mill. Amidst the array of new-fangled kitchen appliances I have amassed, it's still my favorite.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Kitchenaid mixer, hands down.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 11:37PM
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Jean Popowitz

I have a favorite knife....looks like a chef's knife but is ~5" long...it's a Martha Stewart basic and I got it at Kmart years ago. I love it more than the more expensive knives I own.

BUT, the one thing I'd take if I had to leave everything else in the kitchen behind would be my Tassimo coffeemaker. I like it because it makes a great cup of coffee, of course, but you can make tea & hot chocolate too. I make mocha with it that's a wonderful treat.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 2:07PM
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I use my mixer and food processor a lot. The microplane is useful for several things and I use my garlic press often.

However, the "gadget" I probably use everyday is the Mario Batali prep/measuring bowls. I have 2 sets now since I find them so useful. I was looking for some new prep bowls and found these at a Sur La Table in my area. The fact I can use them to measure things as well as prep bowls is great.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:26PM
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In order of most use:

Krups programmable coffeemaker w/thermal carafe
All-Clad stainless 3 qt. saute pan w/lid
Forschner-Victorinox chef's knife (so cheap and fabulous!)
Plastic cutting mats w/silicone grippy back
Williams-Sonoma nesting glass bowl set w/extra prep bowls
Wusthof kitchen shears (the basic ones)
Silicone spatulas/spoonulas
Oxo measuring cups you can read from above
Mini food processor (used mostly to make vinaigrettes)
Microplane grater/zester
Old-fashioned glass citrus juicer
Set of footed mesh strainers in graduated sizes
Small marble mortar and pestle
Electronic kitchen scale
Le Creuset baking set (assorted casserole sizes)

I have other appliances/tools I love, but these are the ones I reach for most often.

On the other hand, here's what I rarely use:

Ice cream maker
Toaster oven
Salad spinner
Pasta pot
Blender (this is my husband's favorite, though, for smoothies)
Full-size food processor (though it's great when it's needed)
Standard metal cheese grater

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 2:32PM
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This will sound silly, but I have found the Swing-A-Way jar opener to be really handy to have around. Nothing will open a stuck jar as easily as this gadget--you won't have to bang the edge of the jar, or run hot water over it or anything. And for $3.99, it's a deal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swing-A-Way Jar Opener (Click on Photo to Enlarge)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 3:50PM
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Kitchen shears (A MUST - use my two pair daily and dishwasher safe)
A Pastry cutter (great for egg salad in addition to pastry)
Several Cutting boards (I use the white non porus? type)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 12:03PM
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Hot Shot hot water heater. It's ugly, but far quicker and easier to use than a kettle, and much cheaper than a built-in hot water tap.

My husband uses our 18-year-old toaster almost every day.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 7:11PM
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These are a few of my favorite things...in no particular order:

A good set of knives
Oxo peeler
A bamboo spatula for sauteing and wok-cooking
A Cast-iron skillet
Having several sets of measuring spoons (not just one)
Electric kettle (Braun)
My new! le creuset french oven
A few plastic (rather than wood) cutting boards i can throw in the d/w
All-clad 2-burner griddle--love it!
Various sizes of whisks
Baking stone (for bread)
The huge cookie sheets that came w/my wall oven
Miracle cloths--great for cleaning granite counters and ss appliances and sink

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 10:36PM
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When we bought a second (lake) home with a small kitchen, we looked around and said "what can't we live without in the kitchen?" and then stocked the smaller house with the most important items:

Digital scale - we use it for measuring flour and other dry ingredients for baking. Also, you can slip a rubber band over fettucine or spaghetti and weigh exactly how many ounces you need, and the list goes on and on.

Good knives
Lots of measuring cups, individual prep bowls (small to large)
Wooden spoons
Le Creuset Spatulas
Cast Iron skillet - mine is Le Creuset
Cast Iron Dutch Oven - ditto
Caphalon nonstick saute pan
Caphalon sauce pans - 1.5, 2, 3 quart

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 3:54PM
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