Tuesday, February 26, 2013

3 Absolute MUST HAVE Kitchen Splurges

Three recent purchases have completely revolutionized the way I cook.  I could not be happier.  If you are not in possession of these items, go out and get them pronto.
Silicone Baking Mat:  I go through a ton of parchment paper.  I use every single time something goes in the oven, unless I'm broiling something.  And now that I have a silpat, I still use parchment for odd sized things (lining a loaf pan for instance) but this silpat is a game-changer.  Bake cookies, cakes, scones, chicken, fish, cauli pizza, vegetables, roasted whatever you got, it's amazeballsUSA.  When you're done, rinse it off and stow it away.  No more going through aluminum foil like it's going out of style, or spending oodles on pricey parchment.  It's a god send.  Stop wasting time scouring baking sheets and losing half your cookie because the bottom is stuck to the pan.  Get a silpat.

Big Bad Cutting Board:  I have a nice little collection of cutting boards.  A flexible plastic one that's nice for chopping veggies and then siphoning into your pot or pan, but that's seen much better days, a thick plastic board, a small wooden cutting board, and a medium cutting board.  But my new giant cutting board is on a totally different playing field.  It stays where it is, I don't move it.  I cut veggies on it, put eggs I'm about to bake with in the grooves so they don't go rolling around, roll out cookie dough, assemble seasoning mixes so I don't get my countertops dirty, cut fruit, make snacks for S, and pile things on so I can clean the rest of the kitchen.  It's big, so I don't move it around, which means cutting up healthy stuff is easier, more convenient, and requires less steps.  It is large enough to accomodate my biggest mixing bowl, so that when I'm stirring I don't get raw batter all over if it spills over the edge.  It makes prep work and clean-up so much faster and easier.  It also means that the rare instances when MKG is going to cut something up, he doesn't make an enormous mess and leave it for me to deal with.  Of course, if you are putting raw meat/fish/poultry on it you need to sanitize it, but other than that a quick wipe will do.  It's amazing.  And it was only $13 at HomeGoods.  Similarly sized boards at Williams Sonoma I recently saw for $98.  No thanks.

Extra Virgin White Truffle Olive Oil:  If you distill heaven into a liquid, you'd have truffle olive oil.  This stuff is gold.  It has made plain, steamed vegetables a delight and something I look forward to.  Boring steamed cauli, broccoli, green beans, in just a few minutes you turn a bland veggie into something rich and extraordinary.  You don't need a lot, just drizzle a bit and you're good to go.  It's incredible over plain, raw arugula and baby spinach.  With some sea salt sprinkled on top, you are seriously going to have a culinary meltdown.  So simple and so good.  It's not as expensive as you'd think.  Whole foods sells little bottles like this for $5.  I'm not quite sure how they bottle "truffle aroma" but they do and it's f*cking delicious.  Get some.  

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