How to equip your kitchen
In the spirit of Labor Day, I’ve done as little cooking as possible. I did cook up some salmon for the boyfriend, so that he doesn’t completely despair that I’ll ever cook him a nice dinner again. Also I like salmon.
As I’ve been unpacking boxes and outfitting my new kitchen, every day is like Christmas because I rediscover kitchen utensils I’d forgotten about. Hello, crockpot. Hello, cute and tiny mixing bowls. Welcome home.
Since our storage space is minimal and since I’ve lived in my own place since 2007, I’m finally starting to get a handle on the things I actually need in order to cook. I had a conversation with someone recently about what’s necessary in the kitchen, so in lieu of actually doing anything, I decided to write up a quick guide for the things you should have in yours (silverware and cups and plates aside, obviously).
- A large, deep, nonstick skillet. If you’re lazy like me and you like to cook things using one pan, this is necessary. Cook some chicken, throw in some veggies (or not), add sauce, done. The deep sides are helpful if you’re not just frying or sautéing, and if you get overzealous like me and splash your sauces everywhere.
- A blender. Even just a cheap $10 one. Smoothies, soups, and, you know, margaritas. All necessary. You know how I feel about soup—it’s cheap to make and the leftovers are just as good. A blender’s important for creamy, non-broth-based soups. I love my stick blender and use it weekly.
- A crockpot. After getting this as a Christmas gift, I’ve used it to make multiple soups and even ribs. It’s the ultimate lazy chef’s tool—put stuff in it, then walk away for eight hours, and come back to perfectly cooked and tender meat or ready-to-eat soup. If you cook on low, it’s almost impossible to screw up.
- A spoon rest. I never even realized that this was a thing until Charlie brought one from his mom’s house when we moved in together. But seriously, it saves you from having to clean up your stove and/or countertop every single time you cook. Plus it makes you look fancy.
- Spices/herbs. Specifically, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and garlic powder. I’ve acquired lots of other spices that I hardly ever use (hello, cumin and cream of tartar), but these are the ones that can make a difference if something is tasting really boring. I swear by Gourmet Garden’s refrigerated herb blends because they keep for months in the fridge (fresh herbs, not so much) and require zero prep time. I started buying these after about five parsley and basil purchases that rotted in my produce drawer after I used one sprig. I use the red pepper and ginger blends constantly. Who wants to spend their time grating ginger? Not me.
- Fresh garlic. Fresh garlic has to be one of the best things to cook because of how delicious it makes your kitchen smell. I add fresh garlic to pretty much any Italian or chicken-based dish I make. In other news, our apartment is vampire-free.
What are your most essential kitchen items? (I’ll go ahead and add them to my Christmas list.) Enjoy your Labor day, dear readers—eat, be merry, and do nothing at all.