A Well-Stocked Kitchen

In every home, a cook walks a fine line between keeping a well-stocked and an over-stocked kitchen.   When you flip through the Williams Sonoma catalogue, the recipe for filled pancakes may make you drool, but think about how often you’ll be whipping them up before committing to the Ebelskiver Filled-Pancake Pan.  Do you really have room on your shelves?  Or might you consider going out to brunch to meet your filled-pancake needs?

Delicious?  Undoubtedly.  Necessary?  You decide.

Delicious? Undoubtedly. Necessary? You decide.

I’m in an apartment now, so space comes at a premium.  Here is some of what I cannot live without.

The Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer:

Kitchen-Aid Mixer

When I’m at trainings for work and they make you share a “fun” fact while you introduce yourself, I tell people that my Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer changed my life.  You may think that’s sad.  I know it’s the truth.  I agonized about buying one of these for years; it does come with a hefty price tag.  But when the May Company went out of business, I knew my time had come.  The last one in the store was this red beauty.

That paddle attachment makes all the difference in the world while you whip up baked goods for the neighbors (or yourself, I don’t judge).

Wüsthof Santoku Knife:

Santoku

If you have only one knife, let it be this one.  My mom was shocked (and slightly appalled, I think) when this topped my Christmas list this year, but so far, it’s been a great investment.  Onions crumble before this knife.  It is perfect for chopping vegetables and herbs.

We could stop there.  Besides pots and pans, these are the two tools that I use the most.  But there are a couple of other staple items you should know about…

Crate and Barrel’s Parker Bowls:

This season's fall colors

This season’s fall colors

These bowls are fantastic for prep-work or for serving.  And they’re nested, so they only take up as much space as the largest bowl.  I keep my produce in one on the counter, use another for serving chips or popcorn, and have found no shortage of uses for the smallest sized bowl.  It’s just so darn cute!

The only tricky part about these is that those clever folks at Crate and Barrel keep changing the colors they offer each season.  Between last fall, this summer and the new fall line, you have 15 color options, and it’s hard to walk by a brand new set without reaching for your wallet.   They also sell the mini-bowls individually, in your choice of color.  I may or may not have several sets.  But I bet you have more will-power than me.

Perfect for snacks, soups and more!

Perfect for snacks, soups and more!

Microplane:

Microplane

I’m sure there will come a day when I devote an entire post to the difference between parmesan cheese from a green can, pre-grated Parmagiano Reggiano, and the brick of this buttery, salty goodness that you bring home to grate yourself (perhaps now that post is not necessary).  Until then, let me just tell you that you need this tool.  Plus, if you’re like I used to be, you just skip the part of the recipe where it tells you to add lemon zest, because you don’t have one of these babies.  Well go get one.  And don’t look back.  Those teaspoons of zest that you lovingly grate over your risotto, your chicken, or into your key lime pie make the difference between good food and great food.

What are you waiting for?   Get out there and help the economy out.

*photos from Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and my kitchen.

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