Vegetarian Kitchen Essentials

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

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I went shopping at Macy's over the weekend. And no trip to Macy's is complete without a stroll through the kitchen supply section. As I made my way through the aisles and aisles of gadgets . . . I took a moment to think. (Me thinking:) LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF! Now, if you've ever been to a Bed, Bath, and Beyond . . . you know that Oxo wall is teeming with more than you'd ever conceivably need. It can be completely overwhelming.

What are my vegetarian kitchen essentials? Here are a few things I simply can't live without.

  1. KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It's got a hefty price tag, but this baby's worth every cent. From cookies to cakes to pastas and beyond, my mixer is my best friend in the kitchen.
  2. Food processor/chopper. This one's something new I've been using more and more, but it's come in handy for all the raw-ish foods I've been slapping together. Just throw everything in the bowl and pulse. Great for chopping anything from garlic to chocolate. This one's mine --Cook for the Cure Chef's Chopper -- but I'd like to get a bigger one in the near future.
  3. Mixing bowls. I was given this beautiful antique set for my bridal shower. But I don't want to ruin 'em, so I packed them away and bought this nice melamine set made by Martha Stewart. I seriously use at least three of these bowls every single day.
  4. Santoku Knife. We have an entire knife set that we love. But we find ourselves mostly reaching for our Henckels Fe Pro Santoku Knife. Santoku isn't the brand, it's the type of knife (general purpose that originated in Japan). Good for most any cutting you need to do (that doesn't require a serrated edge).
  5. Scale. I never thought I'd actually need one, but now that I do . . . I find myself using it often. Comes in handy when you need to make only half a recipe. Or if you find something that looks amazing, but measures in weight, not cups, etc. I have one similar to the Leifheit Page Kitchen Scale -- but it's pink and, therefore, better.
  6. Spatulas. I have many. I use them for everything. It's that simple. My favorite, again, is made by KitchenAid -- but I can't find it on their website. Basically, it's got a bamboo handle and the top part comes off for easy cleaning. I believe you can find them at Home Goods or TJ Max.
  7. Rolling pin. Great for pie baking. Pizza making. Cracker making. Any kind of flat food making, really. Even crushing ingredients (like graham crackers or Oreos). Mine was my mother's. Really, any kind will work.
  8. Pizza stone. They aren't just for pizza. Anytime you want to achieve marvelous crust -- use it! How does it work? The surface is porous -- so it pulls moisture from the outer surface of the dough. Check out this one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  9. Good set of measuring cups and spoons. I tend to lose mine, so I like ones that are tied together. I have the Oxo stainless steel measuring spoons and measuring cups.
  10. Storage. I also just love Oxo's storage containers. We have a lot of them, and they never let us down. Plus, they come in so many shapes and sizes, it helps keep everyone organized and full of un-stale food.
  11. Stock pot. We have two -- one medium and one large. The medium is good for making rice and other grains. The large is fantastic for our soups -- like chili -- that we make bi-weekly.
  12. Mortar and pestle. I use mine to grind up flax seeds or other spices. Got mine on the cheap at an Asian food store. Similar to this one the 6 inch variety.
  13. Crock pot. You can make a million different kinds of soups . . . all by throwing the ingredients into the pot and hitting the COOK switch. We got ours for free from my mother-in-law. I bet there are other ones out there -- unused -- that you could find. Check the basement or attic!!!

I know there are at least a couple other essentials (I see I didn't mention baking or frying pans...), but I can't think of them all right now -- so stay tuned for part II. Now here's a question. What are you surprised didn't make my list? Do you have any foodie-tools you'd like to share with us? Just leave a comment or email us!

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