Here are some of my most trusted and used kitchen tools.
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A high powered blender is a total game changer. My Vitamix and I are tied at the hip. Not only can you make pro-level smoothies with this bad boy, but also sauces, pastes, spice blends, flours, and tons of other stuff. It can even turn raw veggies into hot soup! While a high powered blender is not cheap, it’s one of those kitchen tools that’s really worth the investment; I haven’t yet found a cheaper alternative that’s truly as capable, versatile, and durable as one of these. Also, it’s possible to find quality refurbished models for a discount if you search around, sometimes from Vitamix themselves.
This thing does everything except perhaps wash the dishes and pay your bills. In addition to being an excellent pressure cooker, it’s also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker (!), and so on and so forth. It’s literally designed for one-pot meals; you can sauté aromatics in it, add your veggies/protein/stock/herbs/etc, press a couple of buttons, and it will do the rest. It’s perfect for dishes like dal (e.g.: my Kale Dal), because you don’t have to separately soak and cook the lentils; it cooks everything together and the resulting texture and flavor is tremendous. In many cases this cooker literally doubles my efficiency in the kitchen.
If I could have only one of these kitchen tools with me, it would be a high-quality chef knife. A well-constructed, nicely balanced, and SHARP knife makes prepping ingredients much faster, safer, and more fun. A nicely honed, sharp knife helps ensure less slippage and requires less force, letting you glide through ingredients instead of struggling and fumbling with them. I’m currently using a Tojiro DP Gyutou 8.2″ knife and it is GLORIOUS. Extraordinarily sharp, well-balanced and comparable to much pricier knives. But if you want to start at a lower price point, I highly recommend the Victorinox 8 inch Fibrox Pro, which is an incredible bang for the buck and a great place to start building your kitchen knife collection.
An accurate food scale is a great kitchen tool for a couple of reasons. First, it takes the guesswork out of recipe measurement, especially for when you may not be sure how many grams/oz/etc some ingredient is (I’m looking at you, recipe with “200g onions”). And of course strict measurement becomes critical when baking. Secondly, a scale can help you stay on top of your diet and better track your caloric consumption. Being able to actually measure what you are eating will enable you to stick much closer to your fitness goals. When I started using a scale to weigh foods I was shocked at how much different the actual measurement was compared to estimations based off the back of the box. While there are lots of great scales out there I use the Ozeri Pronto, which is affordable, simple, and gets the job done.