A Few of My Favorite (Kitchen) Things

One of the best things about getting married, aside from my adorable son of course, was the realization of my cooking tool artillery. The marriage may not have worked out, oh well, but my kitchen essentials are still getting it done, every day. As we are getting into the full swing of the holiday season and Black Friday deals are aplenty from now until Christmas, this is a fantastic time to stock up for yourself or get them for your cooking gurus as gifts/stocking stuffers. I already shared a few of my faves in last week’s gift giving post, but here are a whole bunch more!

Ten of My Fave Kitchen Essentials:


OXO Nonstick Tongs 9″ ($9.95) – I literally don’t know what I would do without these guys. I roast a lot of veggies, these are the best tossers around. I used these for pan frying the meatballs on Sunday. Made of stainless steel with no-scratch nylon tips that are heat resistant to 400°F. Dishwasher safe. Why you wouldn’t have some of these around, like 2 pairs, makes no sense, so just get some.

Garlic Peeler ($9) – I use a lot of garlic in my cooking. I usually double what a recipe calls for because who doesn’t like garlic? Sometimes I get lazy and don’t pull the peeler out, I cut the ends off and try to peel it off by hand, but my hands are wet, it’s really sticky, a total mess. The peeler makes a big difference. It’s amazing how easily this floppy tube peels a clove of garlic. Simply insert whole unpeeled cloves, press down firmly, and briskly roll back and forth for a few seconds, until you hear the peel snap. Love.

All-Clad Stainless-Steel Splatter Screen ($59) – Fits 10-12″ pans, dishwasher safe, handle stays cool. I have been using this much more in the past year, as I’ve been moving towards pan-frying steaks exclusively, rather than broiling. It makes a big difference with the mess factor of splattering grease all over the stove when you use this. Please do yourself a favor and pan-fry your steak, there is no better preparation.

Epicurean Utensils Chef Series Turner ($14.95) – This is what I choose to sautee any veggies or brown meat. I really like the shape, the wood, the hard edge. The lightweight yet durable wood-fiber composite won’t harbor bacteria or absorb unwanted flavors and odors. Dishwasher safe.

Le Creuset Stainless Steel Nonstick 12.5″ dia. Frypan ($159.95, on sale from $210) – I need a non-stick pan. No question. I make eggs, a lot, and using my Le Creuset braiser on All-Clad stainless is just a nightmare with the stickage/clean-up factor. Dishwasher-, broiler- and oven-safe to 500 degrees. This is my second Le Creuset Stainless Nonstick pan in 7 years, my old one just got really scratched up. I love this thing. There is no Teflon, so you’re not at risk of poisoning your family, it cleans beautifully. You gotta have a good non-stick frypan and this is a winner.

Vegetable Steamer with Feet ($11.95) – Not sexy, just super practical. I steam green beans and broccoli pretty regularly (if I’m too lazy to roast) because it’s healthy and I actually think vegetables taste good! This steamer just works. I think I got mine from my mom about 15 years ago, but it’s held up great.

Glass Nesting Bowl Set 10-Piece ($29.95) – This is essential for “mise en place.” This French term means literally, “to put in place” or “everything in its place.” The concept is: A cook should have at hand everything he or she needs to prepare and serve food in an organized and efficient manner. I like having everything prepped before I really tackle the cooking, and this set is perfect for holding everything from herbs to chopped onions and garlic!

Ramekin ($2.95) – in the spirit of the nesting bowls, I love ramekins. I also use them for “mise en place” or snacks, or small desserts! The uses are endless.

Stainless-Steel Beverage Bucket ($199) – A must have if you’re hosting a party! You can monogram this guy as well, which is always a fab option. Holds 4–6 lb. of ice and 8 bottles of wine.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Towels, set of 4 ($19.95) – Always nice to get some colorful new kitchen towels. Just freshens the kitchen up! Love getting rid of old ones and replacing with new ones every few years!

Would love to know which kitchen essentials you can’t do without and why!

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