Week of Favorites continues here... today I am featuring my favorite kitchen gadgets.
As you can see, my gadget drawer overfloweth. It is practically like a jigsaw puzzle just to get that drawer shut. Some of these gadgets were purchases, but most are hand-me-downs or thrift store finds. Thrift stores are a real goldmine for kitchen gadgets!
First, the tongs. What kitchen would be complete without tongs? The long tongs are super great - I use them for grilling and canning, and anything where a little distance feels like a good idea. My favorite tongs are the short silver ones my aunt gave me. I like how they lock up and open up easily, and how convenient they are. I use them all the time. One of the few gadgets I actually need is canning tongs. Every time I go looking for them, the store is sold out. I know my canning endeavors would be much safer with the proper tongs!
My special alligator tongs are so cute. I bought them in Italy years ago. Truth be told, they aren't very useful... but they are so cute that I am always thrilled when they can be put to use.
I really love whisks. Whisks save the day! I use whisks all the time - for mixing dry ingredients, mixing wet ingredients... They are great. My amazing mom has a special thrift store talent and picked up most of these whisks for me after I told her I wanted more whisks. There is always a perfect whisk for the job, and chances are I've got it! Believe it or not, I really use all of these pretty often!
I have two citrus juicers: the classic and the modern. I think the classic glass juicer gets the most juice out of the fruit, but it also gives out pulp and seeds... If I want a lot of juice I'll use my glass juicer. Plus, sometimes I just enjoy that manual action of actually juicing the lemon. But I use my fancy little press juicer an awful lot as well. I find it doesn't get out quite as much, but after I press each half, I put them both back in for a second press, and that is usually quite productive.
Frosting spatulas. It's not like I'm making cakes all the time, but it's nice to have the right tool for the job. I used to always use a butterknife, and have little knifey grooves on my cakes. Clearly, that's not a big problem, and no one ever complained. But, still, I dreamed of smooth perfect frosting. I don't use that huge one often, it's a bit intimidating, but it is good for the sides of a layered round cake. Mostly I use that little guy on the bottom. I feel a spiritual kinship with that little frosting spatula.
Peelers: apparently I have three peelers. This blog post is helping me uncover the back corners of my gadget drawer. The peeler that I love most of all is the old fashioned swivel peeler on the right. It's just so light and easy to use and maneuver. My second choice peeler is the black "Y" peeler - I use that one for big jobs like peeling a butternut squash. Truth be told, I forgot about the little red one, and then after I took this picture, I used it to peel a cucumber and it performed quite well. Still, I prefer my trusty little funky peeler. I feel greater control with the metal peeler... and I have a thing about trying to peel the whole potato in one go (or the whole apple or whatever it is), and that is definitely easiest with my old fashioned friend.
a. The fancy wavy wheel cutter is not something I use too often, but I like looking at it. Also, when I do use it, I feel fancy and happy. I use it a few times a year for pie crusts and homemade ravioli.
b. Melon baller is a must. Life is more fun with melon balls. Also, a melon baller is good for scooping out cucumber seeds, when you actually have time to bother with scooping out cucumber seeds.
c. Cherry Pitter! Every year, around my birthday, cherries hit the farmers' market and I go nuts. Then I think "I will make a cherry pie!" Then I consider the idea of pitting all those cherries by hand, and get tired. So, I go to the kitchen store to buy a cherry pitter and they say "Oh, we just sold our last one!" And I go home and eat all the cherries without making a pie. This year, I got smart. I bought this cherry pitter after cherry season, and now I am all ready for next year.
d. Zyliss Garlic Press. LOVE IT. Although I often mince my garlic with a knife, there are times when I really am grateful for this little gadget. This bad boy has been with me for YEARS and has held up well after crushing god-knows-how-many cloves of garlic.
e. The zester. It really is nice to have a zester! I resisted for so long, just using the small side of a cheese grater. But I like the long elegant swirls of zest I get with this tool... and also I like keeping my knuckles away from the cheese grater. The zester somehow puts me a more zen state of mind for zesting, where the grater made me get all crazy aggro with my zesting.
f. Lastly, my OXO pizza cutter. I love that big wheel, undeterred by generous piles of pizza toppings! This is another one of my earliest kitchen acquisitions... and I still love it. I remember that my friend Megan and I each bought one of these when we were hanging out one day. I wonder if she still has hers?
Well, it was fun pulling everything out... now I just gotta cram it all back in the gadget drawer! What are your favorite gadgets? Give me an excuse to hunt for more goodies at the thrift store!