Kitchen Essentials

There are a lot of things that I consider “kitchen essentials.” From crock pots to Asian steamer baskets, that’s what you’ll find here!

Slow Cookers/Crock Pots

_slow_cooker_crock_potIt doesn’t matter what you really call these kitchen essentials. These are indispensable in the kitchen. There are so many dishes you can make with these. Any kind of “pulled” meat, whether chicken, beef or pork is ten times better in a slow cooker.

Soups are better in a slow cooker, whether it’s chicken, black bean or lentil. Chilis are better in a slow cooker. I put a whole chicken in a slow cooker and it comes out amazing.

They are a “must” if you are a working cook. There’s almost nothing you can’t do. Set it and forget it. One of the ten greatest inventions on the damned planet.

I have two slow cookers and/or crock pots. One is very old and still works like a charm. The other is a newer digital model, like the one in the photo. If you don’t have one yet, get one!

Chinese Steamer Baskets

This is an absolute must in the kitchen, particularly if you love to cook Asian style. It allows you to steam several things at once, like gyoza, vegetables, sticky buns…you name it.

I generally sit mine right in a wok filled with boiling water, but I’ve also used it on top of a traditional pasta pan. Either way, it works!

Citrus Reamer

lemon-juicerAll you’ve got to do is watch television to see all these fancy juicers and complicated implements for generating fresh lemon or lime juice. Nonsense! What works best is a simple citrus reamer. I don’t know about you, but I like pulp in my drinks (especially the ones with alcohol). But the seeds are a pain in the ass.

This design catches the seeds and makes life easier. The law of my cooking blog: Don’t over-complicate the issue. This is easy and it allows you to get the maximum amount of juice out of the lemon or lime.

Good Seasons Cruet

Good-Seasons-Cruet-VinesI find this to be an invaluable tool in my kitchen. I got turned on to this thing years ago when Anna Maria Alberghetti used to advertise it on television. (Okay, I’m sure not everyone remembers her. I’m dating myself here.) It’s how I make salad dressings and marinades every time. There’s nothing like it. If you don’t have one (and I have four), go out and buy yourself the Good Seasons Cruet Kit. You don’t have to use the dressing mix. It’s all about the cruet.

What makes it so valuable are the measuring lines that tell you how much vinegar to add, how much water and how much oil. Personally, I rarely add the water to my dressings. I use all vinegar to the water line. It just depends on how much vinegar taste you want in your dressings. That’s a personal decision.

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