Mini Kitchen Tools
You Shouldn't Live Without
Part of building a friendly and workable kitchen is having the right tools. The right tools make the process of cooking less painless for those who don't love it and more efficient for those who do. Finding a tool you love can happen via a simple recommendation or a gift from a loved one
Making Life in the Kitchen Easier
Over the years some of my best mini tools have come as gifts from friends and family. Here are a few of my favorite mini kitchen tools that no one should live without.
Automatic Can Opener
Pretty much everyone has a can opener of some sort. We could probably get by without them but having one is some easier and cleaner than using an axe or hammer. My latest can opener was an ingenious gift from my mother-in-law. It's a simple compact automatic can opener . I was totally resistant to the gift but once I actually started using it I considered it a time saver. If I have a few cans to open I line them up and align the opener. I press the button and while it's opening a can I can chop or measure something else. I continue to move down my assembly as I go. To save money we use rechargeable batteries.
If you cook with cheese, the easiest way to prepare it for use is with a grater. I personally like the ones with the measuring catchall on the bottom. Stainless steel is important if you want to clean it in the dishwasher which for me is pretty much always.
I remember the days of hand chopping and mincing garlic which of course went with the stinky fingers that seemed to last for days. The first time I tried a garlic press I was hooked. But not all garlic presses are created equal. The ideal press will go in the dishwasher and its little parts won't rust over time. Truly one of my favorite presses is the one that also has an attachment to clean out the little holes. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better but more than a few bucks is required to get a good garlic press. I find this tool tends to be a high wear and tear product that needs to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. To insure the longevity of your press only put it in the top half of the dishwasher.
As far as I'm concerned you can never have too many sets of measuring cups. I only wish that they sold them in individual sizes so we could buy more of the ones we tend to use more. I don't know about you but whenever I need to use the 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup measure they always seem to be unavailable.
Mini Food Processor
One of the best wedding gifts I ever received was a mini food processor. Easy to use, easy to clean and it doesn't take up much counter or shelf space. It's perfect for a small family starting out.
Non-stick Baking Sheet
Who doesn't want to bake the perfect cookie. One of cookie peeves is the bottom cooking faster than the top. Parchment paper helps and is totally one of my favorite products to have around but my sister-in-law bought me one of these non-stick baking sheets and I was blown away. I know, I'm pretty easy to impress. But talk about a perfect cookie, easy clean up and taking up less storage space. Reducing the cooking temperature by at least 25 degrees is a must.
I mostly use my pastry blender for blending margarine and flour for biscuits (before this I used two butter knifes which worked in a pinch but definitely not as good). It is also incredibly useful for breaking up the meat from canned tuna or chicken.
The pastry scraper was traditionally designed to scrape the sticky dough off the counter but it is such a handy tool for so much more. I love to use it to slice the large dessert bar packages like brownies or Nanaimo. I also use it to pick up chopped vegetables in one or two scoops.
I've had the same kitchen scale since high school. As far as I know it still works. My recipes don't reflect otherwise at least. Having a scale makes meat and ingredient measuring easier and accurate. I find it especially helpful when making up large batches ahead of time to make sure I make economical use of my ingredients. There are many on the market from simple to extravagant. For basic every day use I recommend simple.
If you are renewing your kitchen tools or shopping for gifts for a basket many of these items are part of Amazon's 4 for 3 promotion. Meaning you buy "any 4 eligible items and get the lowest-priced item free." You find the details in their promotion section under the product information.
Now that you've seen my favorite mini tools, share with us some of your favorite or must have mini kitchen tools.
Learning from the Masters
The television makes a great tool too. I've learned many a great tip from watching cooking shows. One of my favorite TV cooks is Nigella Lawson. Here's a short video of her teaching viewers how to cook a Turkey Meatballs dish.
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