You are starting to cook and its exciting!!! Top Chef, MasterChef, and the myriad of shows on the Food Network have moved you to the kitchen. You realize you can’t be sure what is in the food you eat at restaurants. You want to be more creative, domestic, grounded, nesting, artful, healthy… There are a million reasons to get yourself comfy in your kitchen. Quickly, you’ll learn there are things you need in order to make life a lot easier as a newly-minted chef, working on the slow food/ food-shui way of life. Here is a list of 5 essential tools (some you may have, some you may want!) that will make your first foray into the kitchen much more rewarding!
A cast-iron stovetop grill. Grilling veggies, making eggs and bacon, a quick saute, a fabulous steak… all possible, simple and excellent on this one little Emeril by All-Clad cast iron reverable grill. It sits over two burners of your stove, wipes clean, and can be stored in a drawer or cabinet., taking up very little space in your storage. One side makes the fabulous char lines in your food, the other is smooth and simple to fry upon if the mood strikes you. Ideas on the grill: handfuls of veggies tossed in oil, sea salt & pepper….& toss a few lemons chopped in half, face-side-down to accompany them, grilled till they are warm, juicy and a bit smokey.
A blender- the better, the better. Personally, I advocate the entire world having a Vitamix high-powered blender, but I know that a $449+ blender is not feasible for the world. However, if you pro-rate the money spent on cheaper blenders which get crummy quite quickly and don’t have that much power for good stuff like green smoothies, a basic Vitamix with its 7+ year warranty and insane ability to literally liquefy whole fruit and veggies into juice, amongst other things, its a great deal. Try: any of the recipes at the Raw Family blog wll blow your mind, green-smoothie-wise!
A do-it-all pan. A great big steel skillet can do everything from sautee to steam to sauce. You can’t go wrong with a great big pan. the bigger the better if you are going to have just one cooking pan for the time being. Check out the chicken at the top of this post. Even if you are a vegetarian, lets put something vegan in its place…and its still equally gorgeous and all make in one skillet!
Great knives (and bonus points for an antibacterial cutting board). This 3-piece Global knife starter set is a lifetime investment. You can pretty much do-it-all with these knives, and add fancy ones as you get fancier in your technique. Go for a better set of knives because, as with all things, you get what you pay for. Investing in knives (and great tablewear as well) is a lifelong investment. If you cheap-out on your knives, you will be buying new ones more often than not. Tip: get yourself a solid wood or antibacterial cutting board and clean it with a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract after a rinse with soap and water.
A slow-cooker. I personally love the slow-cookers from Hamilton Beach. They are digital, they have meat thermometers if you are a meat-eater, and they are relatively fool proof when it comes to cooking well. Toss basic ingredients in the slow cooker before work & come home to a perfect soup, stew, roast, chicken or just about anything else. Bonus: You can even make homemade yogurt in your slow cooker, and that is a great thing (and sounds ultra-fancy!)… THIS recipe from Harmonic Mama can show you how!
A few little tools and your kitchen will be a playground rather than a battleground….so invest! And get ready to have the best time ever learning to feed yourself well! Food-Shui 101! xoxo Dana