MY FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGETS
There are a ton of kitchen gadgets that promise to make your cooking experience better. Some are amazing and some are duds. This is my list of life-changing kitchen gadgets that have made life in my kitchen a million times better.
My love for cooking was gradual. In my early 20’s, when I lived in a tiny 450 sq. ft. apartment, my oven was used for storage more often than food. When your life revolves around going out drinking and picking up White Castle at 3 AM, who needs an oven?
In my late 20’s, however, something changed. I began hosting small gatherings and learned the art of the appetizer. I started using my first cookbook, a hand-me-down Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. You know, the one with the ubiquitous red and white check cover!?! I experimented with wonton roll ups and sweet and spicy chicken bites. I perfected my Jalapeno-popper and buffalo chicken dip. I even mastered the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the Nestle bag.
The cookie game changer
Around the same time, I found my first life-changing kitchen gadget – the cookie-scoop. How in the world did I not know about this for so many years?! Suddenly the time it took to make a batch of those classic chocolate chip cookies was cut in half! And they were all turning out beautifully round and exactly the same size. No more trying to push the batter off of a soup spoon with my messy pointer finger. Just scoop, plop. Scoop, plop. Scoop, plop. Mind BLOWN!!!
I was so impressed that I bought them for everyone that Christmas – my parents, Steve’s parents, my sister-in-law, all my close friends. I even bought one for the company rob-your-neighbor gift exchange. To this day, my friends and family talk about the cookie scoop year.
Kitchen Gadgets You Actually Need
Now that my love for cooking and baking has matured, I own multiple sizes of cookie scoops. I have even found a few more indispensable kitchen gadgets that changed my life in the kitchen. But let’s be honest, kitchen space is limited, and every kitchen gadget must reach a specific use-to-space ratio. We only have so many drawers and cabinets. There is no way something I use once every couple of years deserves to occupy that precious real estate.
So, here you go, my list of must have gadgets. This list isn’t trendy. These things are all indispensable tried and true necessities in my kitchen. I’ve even made Jen a gadget guru, and that’s saying something. She prides herself on making everything as messy and difficult as possible. So if that stubborn kitchen wench thinks these are great, you will too!
I feel as if I have already explained how the cookie scoop changed my life. Just buy one already.
This hand-held gadget makes juicing a lemon a breeze. Now to be fair, I may use different options if I need to squeeze a bag of lemons. But, when you just need a tablespoon or two, which is honestly most recipes, this lemon squeezer makes retrieving that quintessential ingredient as quick and painless as possible.
The true snooty chefs in the house may disagree with me here, but behind my cutting board and chef’s knife, this garlic press is probably THE MOST used utensil in my kitchen. Now, there is a time to roast whole cloves or heads. There is also a time to just smash it with the side of your knife and the heel of your hand. However, there is also a time for mincing and this makes it really easy if you aren’t a pro chef. I’ve tried everything from garlic rockers to microplanes and this is the best method I have found. Plus this particular brand makes it really easy to clean and extract every last bit of garlic. Mmmmm garlic. My favorite seasoning, but I digress.
Mini Food Processor
Rarely does a meal go by without the use of one of my trusty food processors and this mini variety is indispensable for sauces, spreads and dips. Let’s be honest, no one loves hauling out their ten-cup goliath for salad dressing, but this compact, easy-to-clean version is perfect for most of your processing needs!
Acid is one of the main elements present in most great meals. You may have heard of the best-selling, James Beard Award-winning book Salt Fat Acid Heat, and I promise you Samin Nosrat knows her stuff. My microplane travels with me everywhere I go. It doubles and even triples the flavor of your citrus without waste. Maybe the sauce is the perfect consistency and if you add two tablespoons of lemon juice it will fall apart. Never fear, lemon zest is here!
The Glove of Shame
No, that’s not its real name, but it is what we call the no-cut glove over here at PT. True story, Jen has sliced, clipped, grated and zested every one of her fingers at some point. She really needs to stop drinking wine in the kitchen, lol. Seriously though, she can be a real danger to herself, which is why she is now forced to wear the glove of shame when handling any sharp objects including floral shears. Noone wants a fingertip in their wedding bouquet, but that’s another story. I have purposefully placed this glove immediately after the zester. Your fingers will thank me.
You know the use-to-space ratio we talked about earlier? This gadget might not fall in your list of must haves unless you make as many dumplings and hand pies as we do. Seriously, if you aren’t a 55 year-old Korean woman, you will never make Mandu faster or prettier than with this press.
So this seems lihe an odd “gadget,” but trust. If you eat bread, toast, and more bread, you need to be storing your butter in one of these. Instantly, soft butter for all your carb needs!
The list might seem short, and honestly I have many more gadgets that have become staples for me, but they are super specialized and we’ll get to those some other time. Until then, let’s get to cooking!