KITCHEN ESSENTIALS, PART 2

Here's the continuation of my Kitchen Essentials Round Up! [Read numbers 1-4 here!]. You can of course, find completely functional alternatives, but I've tested and have sworn by these specific items for years, and I'm confident they'll live up to my recommendation!

5. Cuisinart Electronic Tea Kettle:  I'm a French Press person, and a tea drinker, so having water at really specific temperatures is an everyday necessity.  This kettle has specific temperature buttons with descriptions of different teas, as well as a french press button, making this absolutely fool proof.  

6. Tongs:  Baby let me see that TONG!  More than a spatula, more than anything else, I use my tongs like crazy.  I have multiple tongs.  SO MANY.  [this somehow sounds super gross, maybe has to do with my super cool Sisqo reference?]  They're so versatile, whether you're flipping chicken or tossing pasta.  You don't need high end ones, but just make sure you get the kind that you can throw in the dishwasher, and won't pinch your skin too badly [there are some that are a pain to close and I always end up hurting myself with them!] 

7. 8qt + Stockpot: I make a lot of pasta, so my stockpot gets a lot of use.  The one I currently have is on the outs, so I'm looking to invest in this All-Clad one. I'd really prefer a 12qt, but they're definitely on the pricier side. This particular one even comes with a pasta fork, which is a nice bonus.

8. Cast Iron Frying Pan [Le Creuset]:  A good, solid cast iron frying pan is a must have because like my recommended braiser, you can do almost anything in it.  I love searing things and then tossing the hot pan into the oven to allow things to cook further.  It keeps meat tender, while still giving you that great golden brown sear. I love my Le Creuset one, because it's actually dishwasher safe, unlike many other cast irons that require seasoning. No matter what brand you get, it'll be the workhorse in your kitchen.

9. Breville Smart Convection Oven: For those of you who live in small spaces or rent and don't have a decent oven, this is a lifesaver.  Small, but mighty, this thing cooks better than any oven I've ever used.  It's exceptionally fast to preheat, comes with tons of useful settings [frozen pizza, roast, broil, reheat, toaster, you name it], and it can cook a surprising amount of food.  I can easily feed four using this oven, and it's perfect for simple, everyday meals.  It also cooks incredibly fast.  I can have a roasted salmon and vegetable meal ready in under 15 minutes.  That includes preheat, prep and cooking!  I feel like I'm in some kind of informercial, but it is THAT good.

10. Slotted Metal Spatula:  My tongs [not thongs] get most tasks done, but it's nice to have a tool for more delicate things like fish.  This particular style just works really well for flipping things, and is dishwasher safe, and has ZERO plastic parts [if you're one of those people who has the cheap plastic spatula from Target- THROW IT OUT!  It's probably melted slightly by now, and is seeping all kinds of nasty chemicals into your food, yuck.]

11. Set of Mixing Bowls:  I had to post these particular ones because I want them badly.  They're from Williams Sonoma and are $39 [my birthday is in two weeks :wink wink:] but they're beautiful and functional and made in Portugal]  But if you can't afford these beauties, any stainless steel mixing bowl is great.  The only major perk of ceramics is that they're  microwavable, so they're perfect for melting chocolate or butter. Check out Home Goods for some affordable options.  

And there you have it, the complete list of my must have kitchen tools.  These are all the things I use almost everyday, and if you make the investment in even just a few of these, I know you'll thank me!

1. Wusthof Ikon Knives 2. Le Creuset Braiser 3. Vitamix 4. Epicurean Cutting Board 5. Cuisinart Electronic Tea Kettle 6. Stainless Steel Tongs 7. Stainless Steel Stockpot 8. Cast Iron Frying Pan 9. Breville Convection Oven 10. Slotted Spatula 11. Set of Mixing Bowls