This month's tools are three of my kitchen prep essentials. Prior to getting married, and having hardly any disposable income straight out of Grad School, I relied heavily on the two kitchen knives I owned at the time to take care of all of my food prep work. While the knives were perfectly fine and helped me to get the work done, it was always an extremely laborious process and would often take me significantly longer than the prescribed amount of time to accomplish each prep task. With that said, there was still a silver lining to this situation. Having such a limited number of resources showed me what tools would make my cooking process much easier and what tasks were totally fine to accomplish with just a regular kitchen knife, so when I was finally at a point where I could afford to invest in nicer kitchen tools, I knew exactly what I needed. As you might expect, these three prep essentials were part of my list. So without further adieu here are my picks for this month's kitchen tools feature.
Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast Mini Prep, 4 Cup
I knew I would like this kitchen tool, but I had no idea that I would absolutely LOVE it and use it as often as I do. The Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast Mini Prep is perfect for any small volume prep tasks like chopping herbs, making a salad dressing (like my latest favorite from Martha Stewart) or even whipping up a delicious dip (like this one from Ina Garten). Of course I absolutely adore my 16 Cup Food Processor, but it is quite cumbersome to lug out of storage when I am only going to pulse something a few times. Not to mention the cleaning involved with all of those different pieces on my big food processor takes forever. This Cuisinart Mini Prep, take up very little space in my kitchen cabinet and all of the pieces are dishwasher safe (top rack only). Definitely a favorite of mine and something that I would recommend for any cook regardless of skill level.
Williams-Sonoma's Vegetable Chop & Measure, Mini
One of the cooking prep tasks that I used to despise the most was mincing garlic. Garlic is sticky, messy and just a down right pain in the rear to chop. There came a point where I had finally reached my limit and was about to take the plunge with purchasing a garlic press when I came across the William's Sonoma Vegetable Chop & Measure Mini. This tool in my opinion is better than a traditional garlic press because it slices, dices, measures and is dishwasher safe! This sounds funny to say, but garlic mincing has become a total pleasure ever since I bought this tool. Simply place the garlic, shallots or other small vegetable on the grates in the chopper, press down and voila! Instantly minced produce that has been uniformly cut and can easily be measured in the clear compartment fitted below. A definite essential in my kitchen.
I have shared a few of my favorite knives in previous posts and I am sure that one would probably assume that if you've seen one knife then you've seen them all. Well that couldn't be further from the truth. Recently I had the opportunity to try out the Kyocera Ceramic 4.5" Blade Utility Knife on some of my delicious heirloom tomatoes (obsessed with summer produce!) and the knife's ability was definitely impressive to say the least. The Kyocera knife glided through my tomatoes seamlessly and with incredible precision. I was able to achieve paper thin slices with minimal effort on my part. In addition to the knife's clean cutting, it is also dishwasher safe and comes with lifetime free sharpening courtesy of Kyocera. That's right, Kyocera will sharpen your knives throughout the entire lifespan of the knife for FREE. Love love love!! The Kyocera knife is definitely a must have for any kitchen knife set.