Essential Kitchen Tools and Appliances

I wanted to share all of the machines and gadgets that make my life easier in the kitchen.

I use these products very regularly, multiple times a day in some cases, weekly in others. In my experience (15 years of serious cooking), I can say they are priceless.

You can see me using these products in my posts. I’ve linked some directly below.

All are products that I enjoy using and glad that I bought. They save time and play an important role, one way or another as I make my food each day.

I would highly recommend these for anyone who loves to cook, bake, and create in the kitchen like I do.

I believe that they are worthwhile investments for the serious cook/baker/food enthusiast.

They have already begun to slowly pay me back. Not only in time and money but also health.

But wait! Don’t  take it from me and me only. I did my research before buying these products and so should you.

If you have any questions on them, send me a note and I will try to answer any questions as best I can.  Here is where you can contact me.

 

The Vitamix 5200 Series blender is the newest addition to my kitchen. I got it this in the summer of 2016, for the primary purpose of making nut milk and flours (e.g. rice flour, chickpea flour, oatmeal flour etc.). I’ve used it for smoothies as well and it does a terrific job at crushing everything I put in it.

I used to have a KitchenAid which worked well, but it definitely did not pack the power of the Vitamix.  I am very happy with it so far and look forward to continue using it for a long time. Watch this video of me using it to make an ice blended espresso!

The KitchenAid Artisan Standup Mixer is like my little sous chef. It can be used for all kinds of dishes. Baking, pasta, and bread are some of it’s basic applications. But, if you add on attachments you can do even more like make ice cream, grind meat etc.

Watch me use this to make Brown Butter Granola with Pomegranate Molasses, Sumac, and Coconut

Pasta roller and Cutter Attachment 

Good for making fettuccine and spaghetti. It will take you good 3-4 tries before you feel comfortable using these. But once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy!

Watch me use these attachments in this video: Making Fresh Fettuccine 

KitchenAid KPEXTA Pasta Extruder Attachment 

A great add to my kitchen tools. I bought this for myself for Christmas since I wanted to be able to make short pasta. With this, I can easily make rigatoni, macaroni, bucatini, and fusilli!

No rolling is required. The pasta dough is forced (by the mixer) through little holes that shape your pasta.

All you have to do is cut it with the swing of a wire. It’s very easy to use!

I’ve used several types of dough so far including flour only and a combination of semolina and flour. Both were a success!  

KitchenAid KPDR Pasta Drying Rack Attachment

One of my newest additions to my kitchen.

If you make fresh pasta regularly, this little device helps you dry it out and also just hold it while you roll/cut!

KitchenAid KFE5T Flex Edge Beater for Tilt-Head Stand Mixers 

This beater with the scraper makes a difference when whipping cream, making frosting or dealing with any sort of liquidy mixture.

For everything else, I just use the regular beater or whisk.

If there is one tool that I would never work in a kitchen without, it would be my Chef knife.

I got this Bob Kramer 8″ Chef’s knife in 2015. It is super sharp and super comfortable to hold. It has a big rounded handle and felt more natural to me than the other knives.

It’s on the heavier side and that’s part of the reason I like it.

I would highly suggest investing in a good quality knife if you haven’t already. Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table generally have helpful staff that can guide your purchase and will let you chop stuff at their stores.

Wusthof Gourmet 3-Inch Paring Knife
Very lightweight and very sharp. Mostly I use this for fruit or cutting a piece of cheese off of a large block.

Microplane Artisan Fine Grater, Green 

I use this mostly for zesting and grating. Could not live without it! It has a rubber edge so you can push it against your counter as you grate without slippage.

Microplane 42101 Artisan Coarse Grater, Red 

I use this primarily for grating hard cheese like Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano. This also has a rubber edge so you can push it against your counter as you grate without slippage.

This Rosle garlic press is the best.

Why would you waste your time mincing garlic or chopping it, when you can just peel and crush it? The flavor is equal if not better, for less than half the work!! The best thing about this thing is how well made it is. It’s solid stainless steel and extremely easy to clean. I love this thing!!!

 

Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board, 14.5 by 11.25-Inch, Natural

This is the super large version of the small set of boards below. I use this primarily for pizza and cleaning fish/meat!

 

Prep Series Cutting Boards by Epicurean, 3 Piece, Natural

I like these boards because they are lightweight and sturdy. They wash easily and the only thing that I don’t like is that if they stay wet they bend slightly and can slip on your wet counter top. To mitigate, I place a paper towel or kitchen towel underneath. Have yet to find a better board. If you know of any alternatives, let me know!

Liliane Collection Kitchen Dish Towels -13 Towels -27-Inch x 14-Inch – Classic White Tea Towels with Blue Stripes 

I love these towels. I never bought a kitchen towel set before and was using individual kitchen towels up until I found these. Commercial kitchens use these for everything. They can be used for cooking as a potholder, cleaning your counter, bread baking etc. They have different colors and I started with the blue. But I decided I liked them so much, I bought another set of the light green. I’ve had my first set for over 2 years now and they are very good quality.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Marseille

My main pot for soups and stews. Heats evenly and is oven safe.

I also have the 3.5 Quart version of this which is better if you want to bake bread or smaller volumes of liquid!

Le Creuset enameled pots are classic. 🙂



Lodge Cast Iron Skillets are another classic.I primarily use these for searing meat and fish. I’ve had them for several years and they are well seasoned. The only downside is they are heavy.I have two that I use: a 13 inch skillet and a smaller 6 inch skillet.

I recently got rid of all of my non-stick cookware and switched to All-Clad stainless steel.

Food cooks much quicker and much more evenly. The pans also sear meat unlike any other pan I’ve used.

Use enough oil and you won’t have problems with food sticking. You can even throw them in the oven!

Right now I have:


Presto 6 Qt. Stainless Steel Pressure CookerIf you love to eat beans like me, sometimes it’s nice to not have to soak beans in water overnight. I use this mostly for beans. Maybe I will start canning in the near future too, depending on how my gardening goes!Stainless is safer than aluminum and also sturdier.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker 

You guys know how much I love ice cream. I finally upgraded to an ice cream machine with a compressor. The main reason is convenience and saved space. I really didn’t like to put the huge tub in my freezer for a day to make ice cream. Now I can just make it without having to pre-freeze anything. You can be eating your ice cream within an hour (after cooling the hot mixture). Watch me use it in the video here: How to Make Green Tea Ice Cream

Shaved Ice need I say anything else? Why pay $5 or $7 for ice and sugar, when you can make it at home cheaper and healthier!! All you need for this is purified water to make your own ice blocks. Follow a few recipes for syrup and you are golden. I got this Doshisha Shaved Ice Machine DCSP-1551 in 2015 and have used it more than 50 times. Yes, I eat that much shaved ice!!!!  It makes the fluffiest shaved ice ever and all you have to do is hold down a lever for it to do all the work for you! Doesn’t get easier than that!! When I was growing up, I had a little plastic machine which you had to turn manually. That was a lot of work!! Watch my video of it’s fluffy ice here: Shaved Ice Machine in Slow Motion

KitchenAid KHB2351CU 3-Speed Hand Blender – Contour Silver 

If you make soups that require pureeing them I would highly recommend getting one of these. Avoid spills and making a mess transferring between your pot and a regular blender. The things I like about this blender, in particular, are the pot protector it comes with. You snap it on the bottom metal piece to prevent scratching your non-stick pots. Also, it feels very sturdy and it is powerful. Other benefits are it includes a food processor and smoothie cup. It makes smoothies very easily too. Here are some videos of me using it for soup: Tomato Soup with Red Onion, Butter, and Basil and Kabocha Soup

Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker 

This machine makes homemade bread easy and straightforward. Watch me use it in this video: White Whole Wheat Bread 

Watch me make pizza using these tools in this video: How to Make Pizza – Start to finish with homemade dough

Baking Steel

Making pizza was never rewarding for me until I started using this steel. When you preheat it properly your dough is done within minutes and has a super crunchy crust just like you’d get at your favorite pizza parlor. You can use it for other things like bread too! ‘

Don’t get a stone, get steel!!

J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin

This is my one and only rolling pin. I use it mostly for pizza. Easy to clean and light weight. I love it!


Kitchen Supply 14-Inch x 16-Inch Aluminum Pizza Peel with Wood Handle Can not imagine making pizza without this thing.Especially with my pizza steel, I prebake my dough before adding toppings so it helps to have this thing when taking the dough in and out of the hot oven!There is a reason pizza places use these!

Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat (Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8″ x 16-1/2″

I’m a very firm advocate of using parchment paper and was a little hesitant to buy a silicone replacement. But, I’ve been pretty happy with this so far. I’ve made cookies, biscotti, and spiced nuts with this mat and it has served me well. Part of the reason I was hesitant to buy this was I had bought silicone cupcake cups. While they served their purpose of making clean up easy, they never formed a crust on the bottom of my muffins and cupcakes. So I stopped using them. I haven’t had that problem with the goods I’ve baked so far, should that change I will certainly update or remove this. But, so far so good!


Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-Stage Professional Knife Sharpener As mentioned above, I sharpen my knives once a week. I cook everyday and can tell when my knife starts to get dull. A dull knife won’t cut well, and you increase your risk of cutting yourself as a result. Sure, you could take your knives to the store to get them sharpened, but it’s much more convenient to do it at home. So, I decided to invest in one of these machines and am so glad I did! If you do it regularly, it really only takes 15-20 seconds per knife! Watch my video here: Sharpening my knives with the Chef’s Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-Stage Professional Knife Sharpener 


If you have any comments or questions on these products or any other products, let me know and I’ll be happy to help you out.

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