Really cool kitchen gadgets for the home kitchen.
Cooking and baking are all about time, temperature, and precision with ingredients. If you don't measure you are not going to be precise. If you are not precise it is going to make it near impossible to replicate your results. With that in mind the best possible results are going to come from weighing your ingredients.
The coolest kitchen gadget ever is my digital scale. Once you are used to using them they make everything so easy. Whenever I bake I simply put a bowl on the scale, tare it, and start adding ingredients. After each addition I tare the sccale and continue.
For about 20.00 dollars you can pick up a digital scale that has a button to tare, or zero out the scale when you put a bowl on it or add ingredients. It should allow you to weigh in grams, kilograms, ounces, and pounds.
Typically these come in a graduated set of four spoons with 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, and 1 tbsp. The stainless steel set includes markings in milliliters.
Typically these come in a graduated set of four cups with 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup. The better sets include five or six cups. The two extra cups are set at 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup.
These can be from one to eight cups and larger. Typically I recommend three, a one cup, a two cup, and a four cup. Glass measuring cups seem to hold up longer and the markings don't fade as easily as they do on the plastic versions.
Truthfully, I use these because they have that really handy pour spout, again, digital scales are the coolest kitchen gadgets, ever.
Another on my list of cool kitchen gadgets that I love is my digital probe/instant read thermometer. These come with an instant read probe that will determine the temperature of something in about 3 seconds. It also has a heat proof probe for roasting/baking.
thermometers: These sit on a shelf or attach to the wall of your
refrigerator with suction cups. These are nice to have because refrigerators have a dial that goes from "cold" to "coldest",
which tells you nothing.
Oven thermometers: These really are a must have as ovens are rarely calibrated accurately. In other words, just because you turned the dial to 350 degrees does not mean the oven is at 350 degrees.
A candy/deep-fry thermometer: These clip to the side of your pot.
There are several types of cutting boards made of different kinds of material, wooden, plastic, and glass. Then, there are those thin flexible plastic cutting boards. Which to choose? I have been a professional chef my whole life and I can say from experience that wooden cutting boards stand the test of time. Regarding wooden cutting boards and food safety take a look at my food safety page.
Glass boards will dull your knife faster than you can say chop. Plastic boards grow bacteria faster than a petri dish and flexible plastic boards provide no surface whatsoever.
You may also want to invest in a good pastry board. These typically have a backboard about 2 inches high to prevent flour from getting all over your counter and a lip on the bottom that holds on to the edge of your countertop so that when you are kneading bread or working pastry the board doesn't slide all over the place.
These are awesome to own. However, unless you're going to be tempering a lot of chocolate they really aren't necessary. An aside, while they are often marketed as "marble cutting boards" they're not. They make terrible cutting boards because they dull your knife blade, so fast, you may as well be cutting on stone, which you would be.
I can not stress how important rubber spatulas are, particularly heat proof rubber spatulas. They are easily identified by their white scraper and dark red handle, and are indispensable for use with non-stick pans.
A pastry knife is an indispensable tool, particularly if you are going to be working with dough. They have a blunt edge and aren't as likely to cut into your pastry board.
Bowl scrapers are more of a "nice to have" item than a necessity. Truthfully, you can use a rubber spatula in place of bowl scrapers.
You are going to need a variety of spoons for cooking. Wooden, metal, slotted, and ladles.
Wooden spoons if for no other reason than to make risotto. Metal spoons damage the grains. Slotted spoons for removing things from liquid environments. Ladles for dipping sauces and soups etc.
Metal spoons for plating sauces and making quenelles. I use the two small spoons for quenelles.
That other spoon is a grapefruit spoon, it has a serrated edge. They are particularly useful when you are removing the flesh from the skin of various fruits and vegetables, especially squash.
Whisks are another of my kitchen gadgets that I absolutely love. So much so I actually name them. The small one is Whiskers.
You are going to need at a minimum a balloon whisk, a small whisk and a pan whisk. Ideally you will also want to acquire a Teflon coated whisk for use with Teflon, or non-stick, pans.
A fish spatula is absolutely necessary for cooking fish. It is designed to get under the fish without damaging the crust.
Turners are commonly referred to as spatulas. Typically they are flat and long and come in a slotted version and a solid version.
A microplane is a long narrow hand held ultra fine grater. Typically they are used to shave cheese on top of salads and pasta, or any place you may want finely shaved cheese.
A box grater is a cheese grater designed in a square box pattern. Each of the four sides of the grater has a different grating surface.
A rolling pin is essential if you ever plan on rolling out dough or pastry. There are three principal types: straight rolling pins, rod style rolling pins, and textured rolling pins. The style and type you choose depends a great deal on what you intend to use it for.
I use my straight rolling pin for breads and heavier doughs, as well as cutting ravioli when I use my ravioli mould. I use my rod style rolling pin for making pastry and rolling thin crusts.
Straight rolling pins also called roller type rolling pins, have small handles on each end. Many roller type designs use an axle that the roller turns on. Some of those use ball bearings for a smooth roll. Honestly I have always preferred solid wood pins.
Rod style rolling pins come in two styles, straight and tapered. This is a straight style or dowel style rolling pin. I like these a lot for pastry and thin crusts like flat bread and crackers.
Tapered or French rolling pin with tapered handles. I really like these for working pastry dough. The tapered ends allow you to easily apply more pressure on one side at a time which can help even out dough.
Textured rolling pins usually have a specific purpose, like this one which is for rolling ravioli.
Fine mesh strainers are essential tools in a kitchen for making everything from stocks and soups to sauces and cheese. They come in varying sizes from a couple inches across to a foot across. The mesh also comes in different sizes from ultra fine to coarse. I recommend owning both coarse and fine strainers in several sizes.
Tongs are another item that are absolutely essential. This is an item you want to pay the extra money for to get good ones.
A meat mallet is essential if you want to make things pork cutlets and they are very useful for breaking up things like chocolate.
Paint brushes in varying sizes from 1" to 2 1/2". Those paint brushes they sell at home improvement stores for ninety-nine cents work very well.
Mixing bowls are something you will find yourself using everyday.
Cooling racks and sheet pans are required if you ever bake anything at all. Many things go into the oven on sheet pans and almost everything comes out of the oven and onto a cooling rack.
The coolest kitchen gadgets that I own are my digital scale, instant read thermometer, microplane, pastry board, pasta machine, molcajete, and my ravioli rolling pin.
One of my favorite stores, Sur La Table, has some of the coolest kitchen gadgets ever.
Tags: cool kitchen gadgets, useful kitchen gadgets