To be Ina Garten is every foodie’s dream. An adorable loving husband, a house in the Hamptons, and your own Food Network program! How bad can that be?
While you probably have some of the basic gadgets like domestic goddess Ina in your kitchen – pots and pans, whisks, maybe even a Bundt pan – you’re going to need more than that if you really want to rule your kitchen.
With so many random kitchen gadgets out there, how do you decide which ones you really need? Here are ten of them that will truly help you become a domestic goddess.
Having a microplane on hand instantly takes your dishes to the next level. It eliminates the need to buy pre-grated cheeses, as well as doing a whole lot of other things. Want to garnish something with a few wisps of chocolate or citrus? The microplane is perfect for that. It also helps mince garlic and other spices. It grates root vegetables like carrots for just a hint of their flavor and can grate nuts for a salad.
If you need anything grated or minced, this tool is your go-to. The flavor that you’ll get from using fresh ingredients instead of pre-grated is going to blow everyone’s mind.
2. Stand Mixer
If you’re a baker, this is a no-brainer. The stand mixer is the gadget of choice among bridal registries everywhere, and for good reason. There are a ton of different ones on the market, so find one tailored to what you plan on doing most in the kitchen.
If you’re planning on baking large amounts at one time, look into a mixer with higher capacity and overload protection. Most come with the whisk, dough hook and beater attachments, but there are options for ones with attachment hubs you can use for more accessories. You could even get crazy and buy an ice cream maker attachment to serve homemade ice cream with that homemade chocolate soufflé.
Buy it: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, $279.99
3. Immersion Blender
One of these bad boys can do tons of tasks in the kitchen. They can puree soup, pulse sauces until they’re just right and make single servings of smoothies or your own versions of Dairy Queen Blizzards.
These blenders are convenient because you don’t need to put the food in a separate container like you do with regular blenders or food processors. Some models even allow you to use them in a pan while it’s on the stove. They can also come with different options, like whisk attachments to turn your blender into a hand mixer.
One of the current fads is eating pasta that isn’t really pasta. This gadget helps you turn veggies into the base for a delicious dinner. Eating zucchini spaghetti is a way to enjoy a classic meal — without all the carbs that come from traditional pasta. It’s a great way to trick yourself into eating healthier.
This contraption also proves useful for fancying up the veggies that you put on salads and other meals, making your presentation look like that of a professional.
Buy it: Paderno Spiral Slicer, $29.89
This is essential if you’re a French fry lover or want to try your hand at julienne, crinkle and waffle cuts for your veggies. It’s pretty indispensable as far as slicing vegetables goes and the various cuts you can make with it will spice up the look of your cooking. Waffle and crinkle cuts are also helpful for getting kids to eat their veggies, since they’ll look cool! If you can find one with a hand protector, that’s grate (pun intended), because the blades on these babies are sharp! Be extra cautious when you get down to the nubs of a vegetable and slice slowly to avoid adding any of your personal brand of special sauce to your dish.
6. Salad Spinner
Soggy greens are the quickest way to ruin a salad. Salad spinners help get all that excess water out of your greens, keeping them from getting limp and making it easier for salad dressing to stick to the leaves.
However, if you think that’s all it can do, check out these other great uses for it too. Spinners are great for getting excess water out of pasta and washing and drying herbs and berries. They can even wash your delicates!
7. Slow Cooker
A good slow cooker is wonderful for great meals in a busy household. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to cook a good meal in between work, Pilates, and night classes. A ton of easy recipes let you just throw the ingredients in and cook all day — leading to a delicious, prepared meal when you get home.
8. Dutch Oven
The term “Dutch Oven” has gotten a bad reputation and a quick Google search will result in definitions that include “a large, heavy cooking pot with a lid” or “the act of trapping a person under bed covers after releasing vile ass fumes.” Appetizing… But in all seriousness, having a solid Dutch Oven will make your kitchen endeavors way worth the looks you may get from a few of your friends who frequent Urban Dictionary. Cast iron, enameled cast iron and ceramic Dutch Ovens are a few of your options, and all do an excellent job searing, braising and even just look hella fancy on your stove top. It’s nice to have options based on your budget, too!
9. Silicone Baking Mats
Something as simple as a mat can change the way you bake. These are great to roll dough on, as they don’t stick. They help protect cookies from burning. Best of all, you won’t need parchment paper to line your cookie sheets, which makes cleanup a breeze.
10. Digital Measuring Cup And Scale
This nifty device can be used for both weight and volume — and for both dry and liquid ingredients. It can also convert the values for whatever unit the recipe you’re using calls for. It certainly puts the manual measuring utensils to shame.
Even just one of these gadgets can put you on the map as a potential cooking queen. They’re truly essential for taking your kitchen to the next level.
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