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With 2011 coming to a close, I was thinking about some of my favorite foodie things such as my favorite cookbooks and gadgets. People always ask me what I couldn’t live without in the kitchen so I thought I’d make a list of some of my favorites. I included just 10 of my favorites, but could probably keep going to 100!! This year my list of 10 are quite basic and most of these you probably have. If you don’t have all 10, I would definitely consider adding the rest to your wish list. I’ll have to save the next 90+ of my favorites for the upcoming years!! I also have included some favorites from some of Snappy Gourmet’s Facebook friends so check out their favorites. Do you have some favorites? Leave a comment at the end of the post. Would love to hear what you all have to say!
1. Books. Let’s start with Books. I LOVE cookbooks and food related books, but I probably don’t use them like a normal person. I have hundreds of cookbooks. Some I’ve had since I was a kid, some I’ve won from various recipe contests, some came from my Grandma, and some I have no idea where they came from! I love looking at the pictures and love reading them for inspiration more than actually using the recipes.
If I had to pick just ONE cookbook, my favorite go-to cookbook is the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. It’s a great reference for all the basics with hundreds of trustworthy recipes. Some of my other favorite go-to cookbooks include books by Rick Bayless for great Mexican recipes and cookbooks by Ina Garten for some great party recipes. The American Century Cookbook is also a fun cookbook with recipes and information about recipes, food, and products from the 20th century. If you like to read more about food science and understand how why things work they way they do when baking and cooking, check out books by Shirley O. Corriher or Alton Brown.
2. Food Processor. I had no idea that so many people do NOT use a food processor until I started talking to some of my friends about food gadgets. I use my food processor ALL the time. You can use it to mix things, shred things, chop things, etc. It is easy to use and can be used for so many things that I can’t imagine NOT having one!
I have 3 actually; one small, one medium, and a super duper big one. People always ask which one I use the most, and I definitely use my medium-sized one the most (pictured above). The little one is good just to quickly chop a small amount of something, but you can’t fit much in it. The large one is good if you are having a party and need more of the industrial size, but it’s big and heavy and takes up a lot of room. Therefore, I use my medium one the most for everyday cooking and would definitely suggest that size if you don’t have one. The one I have is from Black & Decker and so old that I couldn’t even find something comparable.
3. Cast Iron Pan. I can’t live without my cast iron pan. It was actually my husband’s grandmother’s pan and it’s still going strong. Cast iron is great for stovetop and oven and easy to use. You can use it to cook just about anything and it makes great crispy pizza! You can find cast iron pans all over, but be sure to “season” them well to keep them in good shape.
4. Immersion Blender. I have to admit that I only got an immersion blender about a year ago. I really wasn’t sure that I would use it and figured it would just take up a lot of cabinet space. My friends kept RAVING about theirs, so I thought I’d give one a try. I was used to processing everything in my blender and quite used to the mess I made each time.
But now that I have an immersion blender I can’t believe I lived without one for soooo long. SO much easier and less messy than using a blender!! If you make a lot of soups and sauces they definitely come in handy and don’t take up much room. Williams-Sonoma has several models that are good.
5. Scale. When baking, I like to use a scale as much as I can so I know I’ll get the same results each time I make a recipe. One cup of flour can vary A LOT but a weight measurement is much more accurate. I would suggest a digital scale if you can afford it. Williams-Sonoma has several models of digital scales.
6. Slow Cooker. I didn’t grow up with a slow cooker, but now that I have one, I love it! I don’t use it nearly as much as I should, but it definitely comes in handy. One large pork shoulder and a little chicken broth and next thing you know you have some shredded pork perfect for sandwiches, tacos, etc. So many possibilities with a slow cooker! If you have the room, I would suggest getting a larger one for big cuts of meat and to make large quantities of whatever you are making so you can freeze the leftovers.
7. Ice Cream Scoops. Ice Cream Scoops are not just for ice cream! Great for making cookies, cupcakes, muffins,pancakes, or anything else that you want to be about the same size! They come in a variety of sizes so might be good to get a smaller one for cookies and larger one for muffins/cupcakes. Williams-Sonoma has a few to give you an idea.
8. Cocktail Shaker. Well, if you’ve been reading my blog the last few months you know that I’ve posted some cocktail recipes. I got some great deals on some shakers from TJ Maxx and HomeGoods. Lots of great choices this time of year and reasonably priced.
9. Thermometers. There are at least 3 thermometers every foodie should have; meat (assuming you eat meat), candy, and oven. All different thermometers with 3 different uses. Inexpensive, easy to find, and they don’t take up a lot of room! You never know when you may need one! My oven thermometer seems to be MIA at the moment!
10. Silicone liners. Silicon Silpat type liners make cleanup a breeze when making cookies or rolling out pie crust. They come in handy for a lot of different things. Williams-Sonoma has a few different sizes. The cookies in the picture are a sneak peek at a recipe I’m working on for next week.
I also asked my Snappy Gourmet friends on Facebook to see what their favorite things were…
Microplane and my tattered & torn red gingham Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
My favorite thing has to be my knife collection:) It is so versatile and the key to getting all the great flavors in my dishes:)
I just got the Pampered Chef pastry roller and I LOVE it!!!
My pizza cutter. It cuts not only pizza but pancakes, waffles, hotdogs, and so many other things making food for kids easy:)
A good knife
My kitchen aid
My Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. It’s a gift from heaven.
I love my Betty Crocker cookbook I received from my grandma when I first moved out on my own. And my favorite recent addition is Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook! So many delicious things are in there!
Mandolin and meat injector
I love my Betty Crocker cookbook and all of my church cookbooks.
Im really in love with my ‘boat motor’, or hand held blender, or mixing stick, whichever you prefer….saves a boatload of dishes :) …the food processor is indispensible…I’ve used it 3/4 times this week, myself. I also totally appreciate the KA stand mixer I have. It is not a large one, but it does the trick!
Beth @ Hungry Happenings:
I can’t live without my garlic press, I love my lemon squeezer, use my 8″ round spatula constantly, and seem to wash my food processor several times a week.
Julie @ Peanut Butter & Julie:
Microplane and immersion blender, without a doubt. Oh, and my electric knife sharpener. Nothing beats a sharp knife in the kitchen :)
Paula @ Dishing the Divine :
i love rubbermaid’s red-handled scrapers. They seriously are the best. I plan on doing a give-away with those soon! And I love my kitchen aid immersion blender set (with chopper and whisk)… between the three parts, I probably use it every single day. I am also in love with my cast iron pans and my Calphalon stainless steel pots and pans. :) And I am addicted to cooking everything on stoneware – muffins, cookies, breads, pizzas, you name it. :)
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES???