All my favourite tools I use for making cooking easier and faster – or at least so I can put all the dishes in the dish washer!
I don’t often talk about it, but I deal with some chronic illness and pain problems. They aren’t quite certain what all is going on yet, but either way, it frequently causes a lot of pain and always limits how long I can be on my feet. And sometimes I’m way too tired to even make quick cookies! These are all tools I use on a regular basis that help me get things done quickly with an minimum of energy expenditure.
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This is one of my newest toys. For years I had been transferring soups and sauces to the blender if I wanted them to be smooth, but that takes so much effort – and gets even more dishes dirty. The immersion blender makes everything so easy! And you can just twist off the blender portion and stick it in the dishwasher.
If you find chopping difficult, it might be because your knives are getting dull. Dull knives make cutting harder and more risky – the knife is likely to stick or wobble around. A basic knife sharpener (you don’t need to get fancy) will make all the difference.
Plastic Cutting Boards
Wood cutting boards are pretty, but heavy and hard to wash. And those odd glass ones make me nervous because the knife slips around so much. Polypropylene is dishwasher safe and much less difficult to work with. Also, have several large cutting boards (14″ or larger) so that you can put them in the dishwasher. Large cutting boards make cutting easier because you are not constantly worried about food falling off the board.
Oxo Jigger/Mini Measuring Cup
You’ll see these listed for cocktails, but I like them for cooking. Much better trying to measure a couple tablespoons of olive oil or lemon juice into a upright container than little spoon scoops. Also it conveniently has ml on it for when you are working with other recipes.
For me, this is the big purchase. A good food processor can do a lot: Make pastry, pesto, or hummus, blend a soup, chop nuts, and so much more!
I love my Silpat mats, but they take time to clean. When you’re going for easy, parchment works – don’t forget you can compost it!
Marble Rolling Pin
I like my marble rolling pin because I don’t have to work as hard on stiff doughs. Getting that leverage needed when you’re using a wood rolling pin is difficult for me. The heavy marble does most of the work for you.
24 Piece Mini Muffin Pan
I make a lot of recipes in a mini muffin pan. It’s very useful for bringing treats to parties. But trying to work with the little 12 piece mini muffin pans is annoying since no recipe ever makes that few.
Who else never has soda water when they need it? I hate purchasing small bottles because they get so expensive, but I don’t use enough to make the large bottles worth while. Making soda water is definitely worth it. You just need to get refills on the charger canisters occasionally.
Cast Iron Pan
Ok, this is not necessarily about making things easier, but everyone needs a good cast iron pan. It cooks great seared meat, you can transfer it to the oven for braising (no extra dishes!), or even cook some stove-top flatbread. Just make sure you take the time to season it!
Pint and Quart Containers
These containers are tough, reusable and ubiquitous in restaurants. Go in the kitchen of any restaurant and I can nearly guarantee you that a cook will be drinking or eating out of one. I love them for storing stock or sauces in the freezer (since I am very lazy about proper canning). I end up saving them from getting Indian or Thai food, but if you can’t get them that way – might as well have a good stock of them around.
What items are most useful for you in the kitchen?