The home kitchen accessories market has exploded in the last few years, but any cook has always known that a kitchen must have the right kind of accessories not for decorative intent (although some kitchen accessories are very pleasing to the eye) but for practicality purposes. Here then I list 10 kitchen accessories that are a must in the kitchen.
The first and most important accessory is a good stand mixer. Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart and Viking are some of the better known brands in the US. With a good stand mixer there is no clutter on your counter because this one small appliance can handle many jobs.
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It is a juicer, a meat grinder, a pasta maker and more and it does it all in a short time. They are offered in several sizes and power to satisfy the needs of small or large families, and the choices of attachments may vary from brand to brand but regardless of the stand mixer you choose it is worth considering it as an investment as it will be the corner stone of your kitchen. Most of the people who are looking for good design will probably opt for the Kitchen Aid which always modern in spite of its 90 years, it is also available in 19 different colors, enough to please the most demanding.
Then you need a good kitchen bible. I recommend The Illustrated Kitchen Bible by Brigitte Hafner and author/caterer Blashford-Snell, Available At Amazon, a most complete kitchen and recipe book. Over a thousand recipes are offered with illustrations and step by step instructions presented in a clear and easy to understand way. Whether you want to learn bread making or what to do with your left overs, every food handling and every culinary aspect, every world cuisine is represented. Clearly the kitchen book that can please the seasoned (pardon the pun) cook as well as get the novice cook well on the way of becoming a great chef in the kitchen.
The next item on your list should be a set of good knives, and I insist on good. Good knives are going to cost a little more but the money you spend at the onset will pay off many folds later. The trend is probably pushing you towards very sharp Japanese knives. On sites like Kitchen U you can find some very nice knives and you should get an assortment of sizes to fit every need in your kitchen. If possible you might consider a block set, even if starting with a smaller assortment of knives you can add to the collection later, at the least you will need a filet knife, a paring knife and a chef knife.
This item is very high on my list of things to have in the kitchen but not everything can be in first place, so it get fourth billing unfairly. I am talking about a pepper mill . There is nothing like pepper ground at the last minute, ask any chef! Peugeot, Vic and other brands pepper mills are available with excellent designs and mechanisms to give you satisfaction for years to come.
Your grandmother cooked in one and so should you, the Le Creuset 5 qt. Oval French Oven – Cherry Red. It is unavoidable if you plan to slow cook anything, to try to do any fine cooking without a good simmering pot is nonsense. As for the brand Le Creuset is my favorite but other quality brands are available. The important here is to have the pleasure of slow cooking. When you choose this type of cooking you are embarking in a philosophy of cooking. You can prepare anything you want in a Dutch oven, meats, vegetables, even some desserts.
A saute pan is a multifunction tool as long as you get one with a lid, it can do everything : frying pan, sauce pan, and wok for people with a good wrist. Choose a copper or stainless steel model for good heat distribution.
A folding cutting board is also indispensable, you certainly would not want to damage your beautiful Corian counter. For sanitary reasons it is probably best to choose one in polypropylene. If you choose a model that can be folded in two it will be easier to store and to move around.
A juice extractor is the symbol of health. You can offset the sauces and dessert indulgences by giving your body fresh vegetable or fruit juices once in a while, even make smoothies. The famous Vitamix is my favorite in the line of juice extractors, it even makes wonderful soup, you can put in large pieces of vegetables and fruit without worry and the whole food concept of Vitamix is a very healthy way of eating. It grinds grains and coffee and cleaning is a breeze, the only inconvenience is the price, but it is worth every penny.
A steam cooker fit nicely in the healthy kitchen concept. Whether you choose an electric one, or a steel one, or a bamboo one, one with several levels or a simple one chamber steam cooker, there is nothing else to cook rice perfectly, to keep sauces warm while you prepare the rest of a meal or to steam vegetables.
Finally a small most useful tool is the steel soap. Inexpensive and fun it makes a wonderful gift, and is incomparable to remove fish or garlic odors from your hands. Ecologic and magical, I cannot tell you how it works but it does, and who wants to serve an elegant dinner with hands that smell of fish.