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Kitchen Essentials

How well stocked is your kitchen? There's nothing more frustrating than getting half way through a cheesecake recipe and realizing you don't have a 9" springform pan. To prevent future voids, we've assembled a list of must-have kitchen equipment. We've also thrown in a few splurges that we can't imagine life without.

Pots and Pans

Your food spends a lot of time here, so quality cookware is essential. Look for heavy stainless steel, anodized aluminum or enamel-coated cast iron models that allow even heat distribution and prevent burning. Popular brands include Calphalon®,All-Clad®, Cuisinart®, Farberware® and Le Creuset®. Here are the essentials:

  • Saucepans (1-qt., 2-qt. and 3-qt.)
  • Stockpot (8-qt.)
  • Skillets (8" and 10")
  • Large Saute Pan (deeper than a skillet, with a lid)
  • Dutch Oven
  • Roasting Pan (one shallow, one deep)
  • Broiler Pan (usually comes with oven)
  • Double Boiler
Splurges:
Copper is an excellent heat conductor, but it is a little more expensive and requires maintenance. Most copper cookware is lined with tin, and over time the lining will need to be "retinned." If you're concerned about aesthetics, copper also requires regular polishing.




Utensils

Keep essential utensils close at hand. A cylindrical utensil holder or small porcelain pitcher can house frequently used spatulas, spoons and more on the countertop. The drawer and cabinet nearest the stove are other prime locations for these items:

  • 2 sets of Measuring Spoons (splurge on the heavy gauge stainless steel ones)
  • 2 sets of Dry Measuring Cups (see note above)
  • 2 Glass Liquid Measuring Cups
  • Cutting Board
  • Spatulas (hard rubber if you have nonstick cookware)
  • Soup Ladle
  • Kitchen Tongs
  • Standing Grater (4-sided)
  • Colander
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Vegetable Brush
  • Potato Ricer or Masher
  • Long-Handled Fork
  • Wire Whisk (Hard Rubber Whisks are Available)
  • Baster
  • Can Opener
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Oven Thermometer
  • Timer
  • Corkscrew
  • Zester
  • Slotted Spoons
  • Wooden Spoons
  • High-Heat Flexible Rubber Spatulas
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Strainers
  • Funnel
  • Nutcracker
  • Pepper Grinder
  • Salad Spinner
  • Coffee Pot
  • Tea Kettle
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Ice Cream Scoop
  • Collapsible Vegetable Steamer
  • Meat Pounder
Splurges:
  • Mushroom Brush (minimizes water absorbtion)
  • Garlic Peeler
  • Le Creuset® Screwpull Corkscrew
  • Zyliss® Chopper
  • Hand-Held Grater (great for parmesan cheese)
  • Garlic Press
Dishware

We're going to assume that you have a plate to eat on. Here are a few other items that come in extra handy during food preparation:
  • Nesting Mixing Bowls (4 or more bowls)
  • Microwave-Safe Casserole with Lid
  • Rectangular Glass Baking Dishes, multiple sizes
  • Airtight containers for dry goods storage
Splurges:
  • Clear glass custard dishes, ramekins or small stainless steel bowls come in handy for organizing ingredients (and many other things!)
Cutlery

It's a shame that knives have been labeled "unlucky" wedding gifts. Good knives are gold in the kitchen. Look for high-carbon steel and a handle that fits nicely in your hand. Popular brands include Henckels®, Wusthof® and Chicago Cutlery®. A variety of knife storage options are available, from in-drawer trays to counter blocks and magnetic wall-holders. Here are the basics:

  • Paring Knife
  • Chef's Knife
  • Carving Knife
  • Serrated Bread Knife
  • Serrated Tomato Knife
  • Sharpening Steel (from manufacturer of your brand)
Splurges:
  • Boning Knife
  • Kitchen Shears (great for trimming fat from meat)
Electronics

These toys and tools require a plug, so make room by the receptacles.

  • Heavy-Duty Blender
  • Toaster Oven
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Hand Mixer
  • Microwave Oven
  • Coffee Maker
Splurges:
  • Food Processor (makes life easier!)
  • Standing Mixer
  • Electric Juicer
  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Waffle Iron
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Chafing Dish
  • Pasta Maker
  • Bread Machine
Baking Equipment

You probably have the brownie pan ready to go. To be prepared for every birthday and holiday, make sure you have the following on hand:

  • Round Cake Pans (at least two)
  • Springform Pan (9")
  • Rectangular Baking Pan (13" x 9")
  • Square Baking Pan (9" x 9")
  • Loaf Pans (at least two)
  • Flat Baking Sheet
  • Baking Sheet with Rim
  • Glass Pie Plate
  • Muffin Tins (at least two)
  • Flour Sifter
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cooling Racks
  • Pastry Brush
  • Pastry Bag with Decorating Tips
Splurges:
  • Tart Pans
  • Jelly-Roll Pan
  • Angel Food Cake Pan
  • Bundt Pan
  • Palette Knife for Cake Decorating
  • Pastry Blender
  • Pie Weights
A variety of retailers offer the equipment listed above. For the best prices, try local discount or department stores. For the best selection, turn to local kitchen stores or mail order retailers like Chef's Catalog at http://www.chefscatalog.com or (800) 884-2433 and Williams-Sonoma at http://www.williams-sonoma.com or (800) 541-0015. Additional suppliers can be found in the GourmetSpot Equipment category. Happy cooking!




 
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