Day 19: My Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

There are so many kitchen gadgets on the market and to be quite honest, many I scoff at. Does the egg separator of the 80s really need to repeat itself with similar ludicrous patents? I imagine the sharks of shark tank scoffing with me. Can I offer one bit of advice? Don't buy into kitchen gimmicks.

Here is what I find essential:

1. Good Chef Knife: no need to get overly fancy, because you can find a great one without spending exorbitant amounts. I use this for all my chopping, slicing & dicing. It's my main workhorse. ***NEVER PUT YOUR KNIVES IN THE DISHWASHER

2. Paring knife: Again, no need to spend loads of money. In fact, I believe I bought mine for about $4-5. This little guy is used for so many things. I peel apples and slice them. It's my little operations knife.

3. Cutting Boards: I have one large & one small. There are many on the market and I know many better than mine.

4. Cast Iron pan: I love Lodge Logic. I own a 12 inch one. Cast iron needs to be seasoned prior to using it, in order to create a pantina on it. There are many great resources via google, just type it in. If you cook some bacon, then the grease from the fat will aid in creating a non-stick.

5. Food Processor: I use mine every week. This is one of those items you have to ask yourself if you are in need of chopping & pureeing goods on a regular basis. I bake enough to make it worth while. With the advent of raw cooking, it's a must.

6. Glass bowls (Pyrex kind) or large metal mixing bowls: everyone needs mixing bowls. I prefer my metal ones over the typical glass ones you see in that Pyrex box set, because the metal ones have deep sides. This is especially helpful when having kids help in the kitchen.

7. Set of pans with lids: I have bought a set from Costco, because it was rated rather high in Cooks Illustrated. When looking for pots & pans, you want ones that can go from stovetop to oven (pan & lid). No plastic parts. When heating on stovetop, heat the pan over medium-low to heat up the pan before adding oil/fat. This helps produce a non-stick.

8. Non-stick: we have one for eggs in the morning. There has been a lot of research on non-stick and it's chemical leaching. Simply look on google. My thoughts, if your non-stick has a scratch on it--throw it away, because it is susceptible to leach. Also, never heat it above medium, keep the heat low. Lastly, NEVER heat pan without fat/oil in it.

9. Quarter Sheet baking pans with edges: Go to a restaurant supply store or Cash & Carry and buy some. I use my baking sheets a couple times a week or more. From everything to cookies roasting veggies to toasting nuts.

10. Micro plane Zester: my prized beauty. If you haven't realized how essential citrus zest is to your dishes, then you really need to. I love my zester so much and use it on a regular basis I would be lost without it.

There are others I would add, but these are ones I use the most. I love my Le Creuset Dutch oven, but find this to be a specialty item if your not as into cooking--much like buying a kitchen aid for a non-baker.

Other items I need:

1. Measuring cups & spoons (stainless steel).
2. Blender
3. Muffin tins (large & regular)
4. 9x13 pans
5. Roasting pan
6. Fine mesh sieve
7. Liquid measuring cups
8. Fat & liquid strainer
9. Wooden spoons
10. Small scoopers
11. Peeler
12. Meat thermometer
13. Utility knife
14. Boning knife
15. Bench scraper
16. Pie plates
17. Cake pans
18. Crockpot
19. A means to make coffee
20. Whisks
21. Mixing spoons
22. Spatulas (flipping & rubber)

What kitchen item do you swear by and which one do you wish you never purchased?