Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kasey's Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essential Guide
Illustration by Evelyn Henson

I've been feeling a lot like an adult recently. With all the engagement parties, and showers, and weddings, and housewarmings that I've been attending it has become obvious that my friends and I are entering into adulthood and locking 'ish down! Yay, us! 

In this new-found adulthood, I decided that it was time to share my guide to Kitchen Essentials. That's right, it's time to toss the IKEA knife set you bought in college and ditch that one pan your mom gave you when you moved out. 

The fabulous Evelyn Henson did me the honor of illustrating some of my essentials for you too. Aren't they fabulous!? Check out more of her work on her site and on Instagram. I swear she illustrates everything that's in my mind.

So now, without further ado, here are Kasey's Kitchen Essentials!

This item is without a doubt a staple. Call if your membership card to the Cool Kitchen Club. Coming in a variety of colors, it’s the perfect countertop accessory. Now since we’re all about beauty AND brains, I can’t leave out the incredible functionality of this machine. Aside from the awesome attachments that you can get to make pasta, juice fruit, and stuff sausage, the machine itself can do wonders! My favorite use (that not many people even think of), shred meat! I throw in cooked chicken or pork and use the paddle attachment to break it right up. Hello easy pulled pork!

I have dozens of silicone spatulas around my kitchen because I use at least two or three while I prepare every meal. The material prevents scratching so it prolongs the life of your cookware, plus if you get a good brand, it can withstand tons of heat!

If you know me at all, you know that I’m not one for cleaning. Having a great set of non-stick pans is essential in any kitchen. Take the time to invest in a quality set that is oven-safe and ones that can go in the dishwasher. Good bye scrubbing!

Every kitchen needs a nice set of knives. There are plenty out there but do yourself the favor and invest in quality. I’m a big fan of brands like Henckel and Wusthof. Another trick, make sure that the Chef’s knife (the big one) has good weight to it. You can test this by balancing the knife on your finger where the blade meets the handle. If it tips in either direction, it’s not balanced.

This little gadget can save you an insane amount of time in the kitchen. Just peel your garlic, give it a squeeze and you’re good to go. Sometimes they are a pain to clean, so look for one that can come apart or has a flap to push out the remnants.

Get them in all shapes and sizes. Seriously. I use tongs to turn meat, toss salads, pull things off high shelves… everything! Get them made of different materials as well like silicone, metal and wood. You’ll find different purposes for each one!

Or really any sort of vinegar, but balsamic is my favorite. A friend of mine who is a fabulous chef once told me that if you taste your food and it’s missing that “something” then it’s either salt or acidity.  Adding a touch of vinegar to dishes can help bump it up to a whole new level. In my opinion, balsamic is the most versatile in the kitchen. Afraid of the color? Grab a white balsamic to get that same sweet tangy taste without the dark coloring!

Slow Cooker
We all have busy lives and sometimes we know that if we don’t plan ahead, we’ll end up with some fast food garbage for dinner. Thanks to the slow cooker you can prep all your ingredients in the morning (or even the night before) and just plug it in, turn it on, and let it do its thing while you’re doing yours. When you get home later that night you have a delicious home cooked meal waiting for you!