Like Grace, I grew up in a foodie’s kitchen. While my parents weren’t restauranteurs, they did cook a lot and they passed their habits along to me. Luckily, it’s fun pastime and tends to be cheaper than eating out. It’s also undeniably healthier since you control exactly what goes into your meal.
One of my resolutions this year is to cook dinner at home 3-4x per week. While I realize that may not sound like a lot, it’s a step up for me as I have been constantly eating out with clients and friends.
Today I wanted to put together my die-hard kitchen essentials for any chef, but especially one who’s tight on budget and space (like I am) and still wants to maximize their kitchen. These tools will get you through most reasonable recipes, since there’s nothing worse than that one-hit-wonder kitchen tool taking up space in your cabinets for that one time a year you make waffles in your waffle iron (guilty) or that springform pan for the cheesecake you never make (also guilty).
First, you won’t get anywhere without a great base of measuring cups and lots of bowls (glass is microwavable, so I tend to go for glass in case). I love this tablespoon measuring cup (I have two) for allocating small amounts of liquid (necessary when cooking for one or two) like lemon juice or vinegar when you need small but powerful additions to recipes. Also, buy some great glass tupperware for easy food storage and taking your leftovers into work the next day.
Second, add a couple tools that can be workhorses. I use my blender for smoothies in the morning and as a makeshift food processor when I need one – it’s not perfect but it works! This strainer is genius for both fine grains (like washing quinoa or draining couscous) but also for shifting flour and powdered sugar. This hand mixer is an essential item if you’re not investing in a stand mixer, and if you look carefully you’ll find off-season colors on sale every once in a while at discount retailers (like this pretty fuchsia at Nordstrom Rack!). Same goes for enamel-covered cast iron. I bought a 5 quart Cuisinart dutch oven at a TJ Maxx years ago and honestly use it once a week – this one’s identical. This weekend alone I made this chili recipe and this beef stew and both were phenomenal in this snowy weather.
P.S. It’s worth noting that I purposefully excluded pans and knives. These are things I honestly believe are worth investing in, even if you just get one good chef’s knife (and a sharpener!) and one decent 5 quart saucepan. You can definitely get by with some cheaper options from discount retailers until you’re ready to invest in them though.
Top: Measuring Cups // Anthropologie Bowl Set // Sifter // Anthropologie Kitchen Mitt // Rubber-Edged Spatula // Cuisinart Enameled Cast Iron 5 Quart Dutch Oven // Copper Bowl Set // Anthropologie Apron
Bottom: KitchenAid Hand Mixer // Glass Mixing Bowls Set // Anthropologie Kitchen Towel // OXO Liquid Tablespoon Measuring Cup // Kate Spade Bowl Set // KitchenAid Blender // Glass Tupperware Set // Gold Tablespoons