Because this spatula is thin, beveled, and flexible, it’s perfect for sliding under food like fish, burgers, and delicate items. The slots also allow for grease to drain. I use it to flip and turn roasted vegetables, or check underneath baked goods to make sure the bottoms aren’t getting too dark. It’s a versatile and handy tool to have.
I tend to use heatproof silicone or rubber spatulas the most, and they’re always sitting on top of my counter in my cooking utensil holder for quick access. Not only are they useful for baking, but I use nonstick pans a lot, so I’ll use them to scrape up sauce without scraping up the pan. And because they’re heatproof, they don’t melt or burn. They also get every last bit of puree out of the bowl of a food processor, or smoothie out of a blender.
Using an instant read digital thermometer can give you confidence when cooking meat, because it’s the easiest way to determine doneness. The instant read function helps you not keep the oven door open too long when roasting a chicken, and there’s no guess work when grilling pork chops or steak. In culinary school, we used a regular thermometer with a dial, but I personally find it to be frustrating to use because sometimes it takes a while to work. So I’ve been eyeing an instant read digital thermometer for some time now and recently just got one!
I use kitchen scissors almost everyday, to open packages, cut kitchen twine, snip scallions when I’m being lazy, and cut the backbone out of a chicken, to make a spatchcock chicken. You can see how I do it when I make my Maple Chili Rotisserie Chicken. Make sure to have the kind that comes apart for easy cleaning.
I bought this knife when I was working as a demonstration chef at Whole Foods. I saw it being sold in the store, and decided to give it a try. I love how lightweight and cute it is, but it’s also super sharp! Keep it away from young children because I could see how they would think it’s a toy. It’s perfect for the home cook. The best part is that when the ceramic blade gets dull, you can send it away to Kyocera for free sharpening. I’ve had mine for years, and only sent it in once so far.
This is the most expensive pot I own, but it’s definitely my favorite. It’s made out of enameled cast iron and is super sturdy. I think it’s so pretty that oftentimes, it sits on my stove as a permanent fixture. But mostly, I love how heavy and durable it is, especially with its tight fitting lid. And true to its name, it acts like its own oven, so it cooks things evenly and heats up quickly. It goes from stovetop to oven, and can hold large quantities of stew, soup, chili, or roasted meats. I love bringing it right to the table and serving straight out of it.
I used to only use my brute strength to squeeze lemons until I realized that investing in a lemon squeezer was so much easier. It catches the seeds and squeezes the lemon dry. Plus, I can squeeze it directly over my pan of pasta quickly and evenly. I’ll use it to squeeze other citrus as well, like when I’m making my Clementine Cupcakes.
I’ve been pining for a cast iron skillet for the longest time and just recently purchased one! Usually you have to “season” an iron skillet yourself to make it non-stick, but Lodge brand skillets come pre-seasoned. Cast iron skillets retain heat well and last you for years. They can go from stovetop to oven, which makes them perfect for roasts and steaks. I chose to get the 12-inch one so it’s big enough to hold more food. But if you’re cooking mostly for one or two people, a 10-inch might be fine for you. Be sure not to wash it with soap! Just rub it with coarse salt and water, dry it, and then rub it with oil again after each use.
All of my friends know that this tool is permanently attached to my hip. Some of them have even told me that they invested in a fine grater because of me. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to execute a couple of my recipes without one. I can’t speak highly enough about the importance of citrus zest!
I just find nonstick pans to be the most comfortable for me. I don’t need to use as much oil, and they’re easier to clean. Just try not to scratch them with your utensils, or when you’re washing them. For a reasonably priced pan, I would recommend the Rachael Ray brand with heatproof handles. I used this pan when I worked in her kitchen studio for a food styling job and I’ve recommended this brand to friends. I already own a couple different ones so I don’t personally own this one yet. But when it’s time to replace mine, I’ll definitely buy this one. Sadly, I recently dropped my one and only glass lid on the kitchen floor and it shattered into a million pieces. But before that, I found it so useful because it helps trap steam and keeps moisture in the pan. I have to buy a replacement lid soon.
My mother-in-law saw me use this strainer and she instantly wanted one for herself. It’s so practical because you can easily stretch the adjustable handles over your sink, so it suspends itself high and doesn’t hit the bottom, which is great for draining pastas and noodles. It also holds a lot, which I find super practical when I’m prepping a lot of vegetables at once. I wash them all at once and just let them drain while I chop. I also like to use this whenever I’m double frying something. I’ll fry chicken wings, throw them into this strainer to catch the oil, and then fry them again.
If you eat a lot of salad like me, a salad spinner is crucial. Lettuce has to be dry in order to allow the salad dressing to adhere to it. When leaves are sopping wet, the oil- based dressings slip right off and you’re left with a bland salad. I also use it to spin herbs dry before I store them away. And if you store lettuce in a salad spinner in the fridge, it keeps it crisp.
I love these stacking magnetic measuring spoons and cups so much because I’m never wrestling with a little metal ring that connects them and they don’t get lost in the drawer. They stay neatly nested and stuck together. And I love how the spoons have two different shaped ends so you can scoop them into smaller spice jars with ease.
A liquid measuring cup is necessary because liquid volume is measured differently than dry ingredients. Sometimes I make sauces right in the cup by measuring, mixing, and then popping it into the microwave. I do this for my Salmon Wrapped in Rice Paper and Soba Noodle Salad. And since it has a spout, it’s easy to pour too. I own two sizes, one 2-cup, and one 4-cup.
I’m not usually a meticulous kind of person, but I learned about the importance of using a food scale when in culinary school. It’s helpful when baking, but I mostly use it to be accurate when I’m following a recipe. Usually recipes are written with specific amounts in mind for a good reason, so if it asks for 2 lbs. of something, it’s best to follow it. The best way I can be sure to do that is to weigh it out with my food scale. Trust me, it will change the way you cook!
I bought this knife after doing some research and just falling in love with the design of it. The blade is supposed to be influenced by the idea of Samurai swords, and each knife is hand crafted. It’s super sharp, and I love the curve of the wood handle, which just molds to my hand when I’m cutting. I’ve taken this knife with me to all my food styling jobs in the past and always received tons of compliments.
I use a lot of nonstick pans, so I find this tool to be extremely important so it doesn’t scratch their surfaces. I gravitate towards ones with color, just because I love that pop of cheerfulness in the kitchen. I like that silicone tipped tongs can grip onto food, take the high heat, and look pretty all that the same time!
Again, since I use nonstick pans, I can whisk sauces and roux straight in the pan without worrying about surfaces being scratched or damaged. They’re also great for scraping up sauce or pancake batter in a bowl. And let’s be honest, I just like the pop of color too.
I think a “y” shaped peeler is the easiest to use, and besides peeling carrots, potatoes, and apples, I’ll use it to make Parmesan cheese shavings, like when I make my Kale Salad with Garlic Croutons. I’ll also use it to make thin delicate shavings of zucchini and squash, whenever I want to make a raw zucchini salad, or to shave asparagus to toss it into pasta.