* * * Kitchen Equipment Box * * *
Showing up for cook sessions, I always bring a box of my favorite utensils.
These are my highly recommended brands.
You may notice this Breville immersion blender attached to my hand during half the cook session. I use it to puree marinara, vegetable soups, salad dressings, and pesto. It's way less cleanup than a food processor.
I admit, I am in love with the OXO brand. They seem to truly test their products and understand the consumer. This OXO peeler is excellent for peeling potatoes, cucumbers, and making lemon twists.
Of course I bring my own freshly sharpened knives to cook sessions. To transport them safely, I place them in these knife guards. If you're traveling anywhere with a kitchen knife, this is the minimalist way. I mean, who doesn't travel with knives, right?!
citrus juice press
You'll find yourself using this juice press more often than you think. There is a large (orange) press, medium (lemon), and small (lime). I find the sizes silly. Just get the lemon size and call it good for all three citrus fruits. If you drink cocktails at all, bonus.
These Tovolo mini tongs are the best! This was another one of those items I started using in someone's client, then found out how useful they were. It's the item I didn't know I needed until I had it!
I wear this Garmin Vivo watch to every cook session because of its ability to undergo lots of water splashing on it and never get phased. After a cook session, I head to the gym and can track my one-minute rest between sets. It has some other heart rate and miles tracked features as well. It's pretty amazing!
fine mesh sieve
This is my second favorite kitchen tool after the immersion blender. Behold, the OXO fine mesh sieve for rinsing rice and quinoa plus draining pasta and sauces. I've tested out numerous models and learned to never buy an off-brand sieve. Cheap sieves fail by rusting, the handle breaking, or having weird edges that catch food particles, making cleaning difficult.
meat cutting board
For cutting meat, I prefer this white plastic cutting board. The white color easily shows off any deep nicks or food stains so I know when it's time to replace. It's also dishwasher safe, bonus.
I tried out several crappy models before appreciating this OXO can opener. I added the can opener to my equipment box when I began to encounter those crazy Swiss-style can openers that I can't figure out!
This Tovolo silicone masher is the brain behind guacamole mashing, refried beans, and of course, mashed potatoes. I love all things silicone, so easy to clean. The Tovolo brand is known for its fun colors.
temperature stable cup
Not in the equipment box, but in my car awaits a Yeti temperature-controlled giant glass of ice water. I get really parched after a long cook session and this thing saves my day.
For labeling Pyrex containers, I place a strip of masking tape on the top and fill out the label with a fine-point black Sharpie. The fine point makes for a more legible of name of the dish and date.
Tovolo makes such quality products that this spoon will last years and quickly become your favorite all-purpose utensil as well. There's on in my equipment box and one in my kitchen drawer.
container labeling tape
Your container labels need to be sticky enough to adhere to the food container, but not so sticky the client is annoyed with your choice of tape. Scotch is my preferred brand as the cheaper brands do not stick to containers and instead get lost in the frig.
* * * Items in my own Kitchen * * *
I don't bring these items to cook sessions with me, but do find them really handy at home. Some of these items I may have learned about from someone else's kitchen then bought one for myself, ha!
pots and pans set
I personally find All Clad to be the absolute best brand for pots and pans. There are many different finishes, but the best are the tri-ply and five-ply. This is the tri-ply set and has all the pots you'll need for a proper dinner. Feel free to burn away then watch the residue wipe right out without soaking or scrubbing.
casserole baking dish
This is a must-have in your kitchen for winter. Le Creuset is the best quality. I have tried other brands and they often need replacement after two to five years. Once you have one of these, you'll find yourself using it daily and wonder how you lived this long without it.
Before the Vitamix, I had a pretty amazing Oster blender, but had to kick that to the curb when I discovered how this high-powered motor can puree salad dressings made with nuts as well as truly make my smoothies smooth. There is so much you can do in the Vitamix. Between my hand blender and this guy, my kitchen appliance life is complete.
There are the fancy crockpots that brown, steam, and do miraculous things apparently, but I like the old fashioned "just make me a stew" crockpot. This All Clad crockpot is a fantastic size for dinner and leftovers the next day. Ohhh, the possibilities...
kitchen compost bin
We're trying to save the plant over here and this compost bin is my go to for that purpose. I forego the bags, however, and just rinse between uses. Even if you dump the contents behind a bush in the backyard, you are helping the ecosystem and keeping the deer away from your blooming flowers.
Similarly, these 7-cup Pyrex bowls are great for prep ahead meals. I'll cook up a large risotto, then spoon it into four bowls so they're ready to heat and serve for individual lunch or dinner on the go.
I may have 52 of these 2-cup Pyrex bowls that hold mostly salad items. In summer, I'll prep each bowl with a different item like black beans, crumbled feta, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, sliced olives or cilantro then for dinner, open up each one and set it on the dinner table for a salad buffet.
salad dressing container
Obviously this salad dressing shaker is not in my equipment box, but after seeing it at a client's house, I feel like everyone should have at least two! The lid sits airtight for easy shaking and then tilts to pour from the angled nozzle. It's good quality, easy to clean, and holds about 1.5 cups of dressing. Yum.
This Tovolo slotted spatula is in daily use at my house for frittatas, quesadillas and turning everything over in the oven. It is silicone so won't scratch your precious cookie sheets and pans.
insulated grocery bag
This is the best quality insulated tote I've ever had. I bring it to parties, picnics, and haul groceries in it. Those lightweight grocery bags don't last long, but I anticipate this heavy duty one lasting at least ten years.
There's nothing worse than measuring spoons on a ring! You use one and then have to wash the whole stack. These magnetic measuring spoons are great for stacking and storing. There are other magnetic measuring spoons on the market, but I highly recommend choosing a name brand. I've tried some of the generic brands and after a few washings, the magnetic label falls off. Fail.
These silicone baking mats are the best invention. I place one atop a cookie sheet to protect it from stains and unnecessary scrubbing. Once out of the oven, just wipe clean with minimal mess.
electric citrus juicer
Making cocktails was never more fun after purchasing this Breville Motorized Citrus Press. I spotted this model behind a bar one night and the next night (thanks to Amazon overnight shipping) it was in our kitchen making margaritas.
salad dressing pitcher
Matchy matchy my white dish fetish is this Cordon Bleu salad dressing pitcher. Assemble-your-own salad buffet is a weekly theme in this home. I say, let the colors of the food shine on white dishes.
* * * Kitchen Gifts * * *
holiday gifts, hostess gifts, birthday gifts, and gifts Just Because
Just vacuum seal the filet mignon in plastic pouches, then heat slowly in a temperature-controlled water bath. Behold the Sous Vide, but I like that this one is half the size of other sous vide machines, small enough to fit in a drawer. Works with iPhone and Android.