MY KITCHEN ESSENTIALS: 11 TOOLS THAT KEEP MY KITCHEN COOKING

In the past I've happily given friends advice on what they should put on their wedding registries, since I know a thing or two about cooking.  Most don't purchase good quality kitchen appliances and tools until they get married.  I'm one of the few who will likely not have much in the way of kitchen items on her registry when that time comes! I've been a serious cook for over 10 years, so other than upgrading my 15+ year old stand mixer, I'm pretty much set.  I'm a firm believer in investing in good kitchen tools.  Yes, some are definitely pricey, but basically all of them will last a lifetime. Whether you're filling up a wedding registry, moving to a new home, or just wanting to put your best foot forward when it comes to cooking, these are my absolute go to items in my kitchen.  I purchase most of my things through Williams Sonoma, primarily because I get an awesome Professional Chefs Discount. [I LOVE a deal!] Discounts aside, they really do have the best of the best and everything listed above is worth the investment, trust me!

Here's a description of the first few items on my list.  I'll give my review of everything else in a later post, because otherwise this post might run a mile long! [For links to all the products I recommend, scroll to the bottom]

1. Wusthof Ikon Knives: This is the brand and style I have [though mine are in ivory- so pretty!]. If you can't find this style, really the key is having these particular types of knives in your kitchen:  A bread knife is a must because of its serrated edge.  A [minimum 8"] chef's knife is the one thing you absolutely can't live without! A paring knife is small and perfect for more delicate cuts and working with smaller items.  I'm a big fan of Wusthof, they're a little heavier than your average knife, which just works for me. I find the weight gives them more balance and prevents the knife from easily slipping while chopping. They also put up with a lot of use.  Williams Sonoma will even sharpen your knives for free the first time, and it's really affordable to have them sharpened periodically [I feel like it's $5 per knife, but it may be less!].  I went ahead and splurged for a knife sharpener, but it's by no means an essential!

2. Le Creuset Braiser 3.5qt:  If there's only one pan I could have in the house, this is it.  It's not cheap, but it's a lifesaver.  I can literally make almost anything in this baby.  It's the perfect size when cooking for 2-4, which is really all I need 95% of the time.  Le Creuset is a lifetime purchase.  It's heavy [something I don't mind] which heats evenly, and is perfect for sautéing, frying, braising, baking, roasting, you name it.  It's got a little depth, but because it's on the shallow side, it allows for all the versatility I mentioned.  I can't say enough- BUY THIS ONE.

3. Vitamix:  Yes, there are a couple other brands out there that are more affordable and can compete, but this is the creme de la creme.  I'm a big soup maker, and this purees so well, and creates such a creamy consistency, where there are many times I never need to add cream or fat to a recipe, purely because of this machine.  For health reasons alone, this is a winner.  Smoothies are an everyday must for me as well, and this blender makes phenomenal smoothies time and again. 

4. Epicurean Cutting Board:  Don't get me wrong, I love and use multiple butcher block boards, but they're awfully cumbersome and need a lot of love to keep them looking good.  This is why my everyday board is the Epicurean. It's made of a wood fiber composite that is good on your knives, but is also super light, making it easy to cart around the kitchen.  I also need a GIGANTIC cutting space, and this doesn't disappoint. Oh, and it's dishwasher safe.  I usually don't need to throw it in the dishwasher since it's easy to clean, but it's nice to have the option and a good idea to throw it in once in a while to sanitize it. 

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