Kitchen Basics

Kitchen Essentials


What is really needed to start cooking at home.

With so many gadgets out there, it’s tough to decide what is really needed to cook at home. Day-to-day I reach for the simplest contraptions. A sturdy garlic press. A cheap zester from Ikea. A smattering of pots and pans. When my boyfriend and I decided to take better care of our diet, I didn’t have a clue where to start.

A few burnt casseroles and nearly a decade in the kitchen later, here are the tools I can’t live/cook without:

*  Cutting board – I traded my slew of plastic boards for a pretty bamboo one. They’re durable, eco-friendly and less prone to yucky build up.

*  Blender – I throw in bananas, almond milk, frozen berries and greens for an easy breakfast or post workout snack. Also works for pureeing soups and sauces.

*  Colander – I use mine everyday for washing produce or draining pastas and grains. Can also double as a steamer by setting in a pot.

*  Fry pan – I prefer the nonstick variety for easy cleanup. Sauté veggies (even frozen ones) on medium-high heat with a dash of seasoning, tamari or balsamic and they’ll taste better than the boiled variety.

*  Garlic press – The best way to add a hit of flavor is fresh pressed garlic. Sauté a few cloves in olive oil with a dash of red pepper flakes for cooking…everything.

*  Good knife – A necessary investment piece for any kitchen. Also great to have on hand for surprise ninja attacks.

*  Sauce pot – A must-have for cooking grains, pastas, soups and sauces. I also use it as a mixing bowl and to store leftovers. Simply grab from the fridge and reheat on the stovetop.

*  Skillet – A staple for flipping Sunday pancakes, grilling sandwiches, cooking fillets, and warming up tortillas.

*  Zester – I zest lemons, limes, oranges and carrots to brighten salads, wraps, and even baked goods. Try baking bread crumbs with lemon zest and a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle atop pasta for extra zing.

Find additional accessories at Home Goods or Ikea – spatula, whisk, wooden spoons, casserole dish, pie pan, kitchen timer, baking sheet, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons.

What are your must-have pieces of cooking equipment?

P.S. More kitchen round-ups here and here.