Over the years, I’ve owned just about every kitchen tool out there. Whether a company has sent them for me to test, picked it up myself while out shopping or it was a Christmas or birthday gift, I’ve had a lot of them come through my kitchen. I have a fairly large kitchen (I have to with all the cooking I do!) so I’m fortunate that I have room to store my favorites. Most of what I’ve owned has either been given away or donated but there are some that I just can’t live without. Some I use every day while others are something I pull out on the rare occasion I need it, but all of what I’ve listed here are things that I use and love. I think you’ll love them, too!
This page is updated as I discover new favorites to share with you. I hope you enjoy it and discover a few things for your own kitchen!
Although I make never-ending attempts to make the food I serve as gorgeous as possible, it’s the desserts that are truly the most fun. Mini-cheesecakes are one of the easiest ways to make stunning desserts that look as if you picked them up at a fancy pastry shop. I always make some for Valentine’s Day as well as a peppermint version for the holidays. Both are gorgeous and so easy!
Speaking of cheesecakes and making gorgeous individual desserts, these springform pans are another must-have. Although I find the mini-cheesecake pan produces such a tiny cheesecake that it’s easier to create with, this size is fun in its own way. It’s better suited toward a small dinner party where a larger portion works well. And you’re not stuck with just cheesecakes with this pan, either; I’ve made small cakes, too, which are just as easy but can be just as creative! These Baby Apple Rum Cakes are a perfect example!
I love my Vitamix so much I don’t even know where to begin. I bought it for myself as a Christmas present in 2013 and I’ve used it constantly since then. I rarely make smoothies which is what I’d assumed I’d use it for; I mostly make hot soups using fresh, healthy ingredients. It takes just minutes and is an easy way to keep to a healthier eating regimen. My favorite feature is that the soup heats right in the blender itself, no extra pot needed! There’s no heating mechanism, the friction from the blades is what causes whatever is inside to gradually heat. I even make my Roasted Carrot Souffle in my Vitamix now and it gives it a texture that I’d never been able to achieve before my beloved Vitamix. I’ve talked about all the different reasons I love it many times before so feel free to head over to my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe if you’d like to hear me rave some more!
When OXO sent me this pineapple slicer, I wasn’t that enthused about it. I assumed it would do an okay job but certainly not any better or faster than I could with my own sharp knife. I was so wrong. This little tool makes a quick job of not only removing the pineapple from its skin but it slices it at the same time! And there’s a bonus: it leaves an empty shell that’s perfect for serving cocktails.
Oh, Le Creuset, my chef’s heart belongs to you. This Dutch Oven gets used all winter long in my kitchen! I love that it’s not only well made and durable but that it looks gorgeous on the table, too. I make soups and stews at least every week and my Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon wouldn’t be the same without it (and the picture proves it)! I have both an oval-shaped and a round as well as the braiser.
Although I use the Pampered Chef version of the Citrus Squeezer, I’m not sure that matters here. What does matter is that if you don’t currently own one, you should. I use mine several times a week at a minimum, more if I’m making cocktails. Adding a squeeze of lemon at the end of a dish can brighten it up when you know it needs a little something but can’t figure out what. You can certainly just squeeze the lemon in your palm to catch the seeds and let the juice drip through your fingers (as many chefs do), but I prefer to keep my hands clean and not risk a seed dropping in. Tip: Place your halved lime or lemon cut-side down into the squeezer so it inverts when squeezing for the most juice.
Food rings are my number one presentation tool. I’ve used them for several years – especially when I ran my business as a personal chef – and I wouldn’t be without them. Simple salads become incredible presentations with next to no effort (see the salad I made here along with links to instructions). I gave a presentation using food rings at Metro Cooking DC a couple of years ago and it was a huge it, mostly because people couldn’t believe how easy it is to transform food into something so pretty! Even if you only use these once in a blue moon for a special dinner, you’ll be so glad you have them!
The Lasagna Trio Pan. This thing is pure genius! The first time I saw it, my jaw dropped and I knew that I had to have it. The “Add to Cart” button was pressed before I could remind myself that this might just be one of those kitchen items that could possibly sit in the cupboard gathering dust (you know what I’m talking about)! Thankfully, this baby gets used all the time. Kids don’t like mushrooms? Fine, leave one without. Someone else won’t eat meat? No problem! And I use it for casseroles in the same way. Pure brilliance, I tell ya’!
Yep, this is just a can opener. It doesn’t do anything fancy but it does work. There’s nothing more frustrating than a simple can opener that I have to fight with for ten minutes just to open a can. So…nothing special here. Except that it works! So…is that can opener in your drawer from 1989 and makes you sigh every time you look at it? Welcome to your solution :)
This past holiday season, Nespresso sent me their new VirtuoLine System to try. I’ll admit that I was excited to try it but really didn’t expect I’d enjoy it nearly as much as I have. I’ve all but ditched my old system; this is the coffee I now enjoy each morning. It’s just so much better with a much richer flavor. The pods are slightly more expensive than my last system (I hesitate to name it although it’s very popular; I’m sure you can figure it out) but it’s absolutely worth it. And the cost savings compared to picking up a latte every morning is ginormous! And, if you do enjoy a latte or cappucino now and then, their milk frother (below) is OUTSTANDING!
This milk frother ROCKS MY WORLD!! It is so incredibly easy to use and it really works!! Whether you use a Nespresso system or not, I still highly suggest you try this frother. You just choose whether you want hot milk or hot frothy milk, pour some in, put on the lid and push a button. Works every time! It’s been a real treat to enjoy a latte every morning. Winning!
Potato, Potahto, Strainer, Chinois. What you might call a strainer is actually a chinois, as pictured on your left. It does all the things a strainer does but it’s made of a fine mesh and the shape helps strain soups and sauces so you’ll get a wonderfully velvety texture that you just can’t get with a regular strainer. The first time I used a chinois was at the Culinary Institute of America and I was instantly hooked. This one is pricey but it’s very high-quality and will last a very long time!
I’m not sure that these airtight containers can be considered “tools” necessarily, but I do know that they’ve served me very well in my kitchen. They not only work great for storage but they actually do keep foods much fresher (and less cluttered). I use mine mostly for sugar, flour, powdered sugar and brown sugar since it stacks so well in my cabinets. I use a smaller one for brown sugar because it fits exactly one small box and, because it’s airtight, it keeps my brown sugar soft for a very long time! I use a small one because any extra space above the sugar will eventually cause it to harden (although it takes quite some time) and a small container prevents this almost entirely. In any case, I love this set and it’s well worth the price!
I would find it very difficult in my kitchen life without my microplane grater. I’m constantly using the zest from citrus fruits and a block of parmesan is always waiting for me to add a little here or a little there (especially to soups)! Even a little finely-grated chocolate or nutmeg on top of a dessert adds that extra little something that’s only possible with a microplane grater. If you don’t have one, you should really get one for yourself!
You know how much I love making cocktails at home, right? That’s what led me to trying these Sphere Ice Cubes from Tovolo and I love them! I only have a set of two so far (I wanted to make sure I liked them before purchasing more) but I’m planning on purchasing three more sets for a total of eight. Each cube lasts 2-3 cocktails before it needs more ice (just 2 for me; I’m an ice fiend) so if I have a few friends over I have all the ice I’ll need! They’re fun and they work, so if you’re into making cocktails at home, why not give them a try?