If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one thing what would it be? I’d choose a knife. With a knife you can cut things down, open food, maybe even use the metal with some flint to make a fire. It’s a very useful tool. I’ve heard others say a cellphone to call for help, music, a companion, or a tv. There’s so many ways to answer the question. I guess I think survival essentials when confronted with a deserted island.
In my own kitchen, I’m not as basic. From this deserted island question I thought what are the key tools that I use on almost a daily basis in the kitchen? What I came up with is a list of my top ten kitchen tools that I can’t live without. I’m a little surprised at the list as it has three electric appliances on it. I don’t think of myself as using small appliances so much in my daily cooking-but I guess I do.
The Vitamix is at the top of my must have tools. I actually bought a refurbished one to keep at my parent’s house so that we’re never without one. Smoothies, salad dressing, pancake batter, pesto, there’s a lot you can make in a Vitamix.
A Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus this is another great tool. Sometimes I’ll use this instead for salad dressings as it’s easy to add in oil, bread crumbs are so easy to make, and chopping nuts.
My little Shun knife. I have a similar model to this knife. I’m not sure if it’s my small hands or just my will to only use one knife while making dinner. I use this for everything from cutting veggies to filleting a fish. It’s the most adaptable little knife. It also has a extremely sharp edge. I love it.
Flexible cutting boards are great! I love chopping on them and easily throwing the veggies into a pot or a salad bowl. They are also easy to clean up-I wash them and then pour boiling water over them to sanitize. It’s also nice that they are color coded so you can keep your chicken mat separate from your cheese mat.
This might be my favorite kitchen tool: a microplane box grater. It’s totally under the radar. You might think you’ll never use it but I use mine almost every day. It’s perfect to finely grate some onion into a meatball. Cheese is the obvious everyday grating choice. But it’s also great for shredding veggies or mincing garlic. I’m always amazed at the number of times I use this box grater in my cooking.
You need something to cook in, right? Well I have to say, my Staub pot is essential. I love the weight of this pot. It’s a beast to carry around. However the cast iron retains the heat so it caramelizes and fries so well. I love the smaller round cocottes and also the shallow round cocottes. I use the shallow ones for baking casseroles as well as caramelizing onions or frying. The deeper pot I use to make risotto, pasta, soup, and deep frying. I guess if I could only have one it would be the deeper cocotte as it’s so versatile.
When stirring together ingredients, I always grab for a bamboo utensil. These inexpensive pieces are great for cooking. I’m also not at a loss to replace them when I mistakenly leave them by a hot burner!
I’ve used a rice cooker since college. You can cook a whole lot more than just rice in it. But really, I love it because I don’t have to worry about a pot boiling over or leaving a burner on while I go run an errand. My Zojirushi rice cooker is the best ‘set it and forget it’ kitchen tool. I also love making quinoa in it.
As silly as this sounds a citrus juicer has revolutionized my use of citrus fruit in the kitchen. It’s so easy to add lemon juice to a salad dressing or lime juice to salsa. I never thought I’d love a hand juicer but I do! No more seeds in my dressings, I know I get all the juice out of each piece of fruit, it’s also essential for making your own margaritas. Yum.
Flour sack towels are the unarguable choice for us for cleaning up messes, holding hot pots, and drying all those dishes. They are soft and durable and aren’t so precious you hate it when they rip or get stained.
My kitchen tool essentials help me make quick healthy meals for Meyer, family, and friends. When I’m cooking while traveling I definitely miss all the items on this list.