LET’S CHANNEL YOUR INNER CHEF
As we cover the BBQ for the season and turn to the oven, it’s a great time to take an inventory of your gadgets and utensils. Whether you’ve recently moved into your first home, are looking to take your culinary skills to the next level or are a seasoned vet, you’ll need the proper tools in order to create magic in the kitchen.
We’ve compiled a list of all the must-haves plus a few handy extras to take your kitchen skills from beginner to pro (or at least make you look and feel like one).
PREPWARE & UTENSILS
Mixing bowls, measuring cups and measuring spoons are all musts. Make sure to buy both dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups; using a dry measuring cup for a wet ingredient will result in an inaccurate measurement and vice versa.
Utensils are also crucial to a well-run kitchen. Stick them in a pitcher on the counter or organize them in a drawer, either way make sure they’re ready for when you need them. Wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks, a set of tongs, a soup ladle, potato masher, rubber scrapers, and a slotted spoon are all smart tools to have. A colander will also prove useful for rinsing rice and beans and for draining pasta.
Measuring your ingredients is the key to perfectly executed recipes and the most accurate way to measure in the kitchen is by weight. Feel free to use a kitchen scale to weigh your portions if you’re counting calories or preparing complex dishes.
This is truly a necessity. If you’re still struggling to saw your way through a tomato with a hand-me-down blade, you need to level up to a set of real kitchen knives. Look for a block that includes a serrated bread knife, a paring knife and a chef’s knife – and keep those knives sharp! A dull knife can fillet your confidence faster than a falling souffle.
HEAVY CHOPPING BOARD
We’re not talking about one of those light, plastic ones that slip and slide all over the counter. Invest in a real one made of wood. Having one of these in your kitchen will make chopping and dicing so much easier and more enjoyable.
Unless you plan to cook solely in the microwave, pots and pans are required in the kitchen. It is best to have a range of sizes, including a 10- and/or 8-quart stock pot, a 5-quart pot or dutch oven and a 2 or 1-quart saucepan. There are a few choices when it comes to material, from anodized and copper to stainless steel and non-stick, choose what best fits your lifestyle and budget.
An instant-read thermometer is essential for making sure meat and poultry are safely cooked and done to your preference. You can either go old school with a manual read version or get a fancy electronic one with all the bells and whistles.
Invest in a set of dishes and cutlery, as well as a set of drinking glasses and mugs. Make sure you have enough table settings for company! Eight is a great starting point and you can always expand your collection later. Choose sets that you love and say something about your personality and style. There are choices for every budget.
A FRENCH PRESS
Want to up your coffee game a bit? Pick up a French press. This simple, tabletop method of brewing coffee preserves the oils that are lost when brewing with a filter and allows the whole grounds to steep, giving the brew a deeper flavour. Tea more your style? You can also use it for brewing batches of loose-leaf tea.
Slow cookers, also referred to as crock pots, are great for busy people on the run. Crockpots are not just for stews and soups anymore. A lot of great recipes can be thrown together in minutes before work and are ready to eat whenever you get home. You’ll love the simplicity (and smell) of a delicious home-cooked meal, ready to be enjoyed as soon as you walk through the door.
There you have it, the tools needed to kick off your culinary journey. Having a well-stocked kitchen will ensure more confidence and inspiration enabling you to have fun, eat healthy and experiment (with new recipes) often.