I was perusing the Web when I came across this list of 13 must-have gadgets that every cook needs in the kitchen. I try to be a minimalist in the kitchen, but I agree with most everything on the list — except for the mise en place bowls (I get the idea, but that just means more dishes to wash). I would, however, like to add a few of my own. While these aren’t necessarily must-haves — you can get on just fine without them — they are certainly tools that I turn to time and again in my kitchen.
Food processer: My tiny little Cuisinart gets such a workout. I curse at it every time I use it because I really need a bigger one (liquids always spill out of the sides), but it does the job.
Wok: I just upgraded my cheap IKEA wok to a much nicer (while still cheaply priced — thank you, TJ Maxx!), non-stick, ceramic wok. Sure, you can use a regular pan to make stir-fry, but if you make it as much as I do, you’ll appreciate the deep, sloping sides for keeping everything inside the pan. Woks also heat up a lot faster.
Cast iron skillet: A properly seasoned cast iron skillet is so versatile. It’s perfect for making pancakes, skillet cornbread, frying tofu — you name it. Plus, you can use it as a makeshift tofu press.
Silicone spatulas: One of my best friends gave me two silicon spatulas, along with a bunch of other helpful kitchen gadgets, as my wedding present nearly six years ago (yikes!). I reach for them over any other cooking utensil. I use them for sautéing and baking — they’re perfect for gently folding ingredients and for scraping all the batter out of a bowl.
Whirley Pop: OK, I know this sounds like a strange one, but we love popcorn as a snack and microwave popcorn is a waste of money, especially if you’re vegan (no butter!). Bulk popcorn is so much cheaper and you can season it however you like. This handy gadget makes popcorn on the stove in a matter of minutes and leaves hardly any unpopped kernels. A little melted Earth Balance, a little chili seasoning and nutritional yeast — so good!
Vitamix: I really, really want a Vitamix. Yes, they seem to be all the rage these days but even my skeptical husband was turned into a believer when we watched a demonstration of one at our Whole Foods. It’s going to be a while before I can get one because they’re so darn expensive, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
What are your favorite go-to kitchen gadgets?