Top Ten Things I Can’t Live Without — In The Kitchen!

by valentina on October 12, 2011

Truthfully, there are more than ten things I couldn’t live without in my kitchen — however, these are the most important.  Now, could I really not live without them?  What do you think?  Yes, of course I’d continue breathing if someone took away my cast iron skillet!  Would I be sad with out it?  Oh yes!  Very sad!

You’ll notice none of these items are “fancy,” or “gadget-y.”  They’re all simple, strong, durable, highly functional tools. I call them tools or equipment — after all the kitchen is my workshop. 

I am almost as passionate about my need for these items as I am about incredibly delicious food.  In my kitchen, my retreat, if you will, the magic couldn’t happen without them!

1. Cast Iron Skillet. I use this skillet at least twice a day, and usually more.  I make quesadillas in it, stir fries, breads, pancakes, burgers, steaks, even desserts!  Really, this list is just the tip of the ice-burg.  This pan sears and caramelizes like no other! My cast iron skillet only gets a washing if it must.  Otherwise it lives on the front right burner of my stove, slightly oiled, waiting for action at all times.

2. Kitchen Tongs. Bacon anyone?  And how else would I turn roasting vegetables, steak on the grill, or searing scallops!?

3. Glass Mixing Bowls. I think I have at least two of every size in existence.  I use these all the time for prep, mixing, marinating, and even serving!

4. Sheet Pans. These are the best! I use them for prepping, roasting, baking pizza crust, baking cookies, and the list goes on — a lot longer!

5. Wooden Spatula. I’d be hard pressed to enjoy making a stir-fry without this!  It’s the perfect deglazing tool!

6. 1-1/4-Inch Ice Cream Scoop. I also have a 1-inch, and a couple larger sizes.  Ironically, the one thing I don’t actually use this tiny scoop for is ice cream! It shapes all of my cookies, meatballs, crab cakes, risotto cakes, and so on.

7. Microplane Grater-Zester. This cool tool finely grates zest, chocolate, cheese, and my favorite . . . fresh ginger!  You know how fibrous ginger is?  Well, when you use this grater, it creates a wonderful ginger pulp, completely free of those fibrous bits!

8. Measuring Spoons. These are about as cutsy as kitchen tools get in my kitchen.  They were a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband one year, and I love them.  Since I’m recipe testing all the time, and want to make sure I give you excellent instructions, I use these all the time!

9. Chef’s Knife. It’s essential.  It’s almost never dry, I use it so often!  I’m partial to Wusthof, and I love the round, smooth handle. Try a few, so see what feels best in your hand.  It’s simply a matter of taste and most importantly, comfort. I’m short and little, so 6 or 8-inches is perfect for me.  Are you tall?  Maybe go with the 10-inch.  Just ask the folks at the store what’s best for you.

10. Paring Knife. Ditto!


As I said, there are many more kitchen tools I love — a serrated knife and a whisk are right up there, too.  Top ten simply sounds better than top twelve! ;-)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison October 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I have to agree – though I would definitely add the whisk to mine!!


Sippitysup October 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Not only is your list and my list of tools the same, but I have the EXACT same striped tablecloth you used as background. I mean EXACT. That is so weird. GREG


valentina October 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Greg, I’m very happy to hear that you and I have the same list (& tablecloth). I feel somehow validated in my good taste! Really! xo


Jayme October 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Thanks Valen! I’d love to get a few good knives and never know which ones. Do you like the hollow edge? Found this…

Is this the one you are talking about??

Thanks a bunch!


valentina October 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm

yes, jayme, this the one i use & love! if you’re interested in hollow, they’re nice b/c they are quite light weight. :-)


Adria October 14, 2011 at 12:46 am

I have everything on your list, except the cast iron skillet. I’ve been told that they ruin glass top stoves. Do you know if this is the case?


valentina October 14, 2011 at 5:39 am

Hi Adria, I’ve never worked with cast iron on a glass stove top, but I’ve heard that it can be risky in terms of scratching the surface. I think you can smooth down the bottom of a cast iron skillet with a file or sand paper. Your best best is enameled cast iron, like Le Creuset, which is fantastic, too! :-)


Adria October 15, 2011 at 12:45 am

I’ll look into splurging on 1 Le Creuset skillet :-) Thanks!


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