The kitchen is a room that is easy to fill with expensive goodies. Appliances (big and small), fancy knives, pots and pans – thousands of dollars spent faster than you can say Crate and Barrel. The good news is that there are tons of useful, fun tools and gadgets that aren’t pricey but still making cooking easier. Here are some of my favorites:
Microplane Zester ($15.95) – a must-have for zesting citrus fruits, you can also use this for fine shavings of chocolate and cheese.
Citrus Reamer ($3.95) – while it certainly doesn’t have the power of a large electric juicer, this little sucker makes it surprisingly easy to get tons of juice out of citrus fruits. This is a favorite of mine when making cocktails!
Steaming Basket – an easy way to gently cook vegetables and it’s invaluable for making baby food!
Liquid Measuring Cups ($11.95) – did you know that liquid and solid measuring cups aren’t the same? It’s true. One cup in a dry measuring cup is different than one cup in a liquid container. It makes a big difference when baking because you need precise measurements. This measuring cup from Crate and Barrel is pretty with its green markings, don’t you think? Pyrex and Anchor make sets of these in different sizes for very reasonable prices.
Cookie Dough Scoop ($12.95) – If you bake cookies with any regularity, using a scoop helps keep the cookies a consistent size so everything cooks evenly. It also keeps your hands clean (that is until you start eating cookie dough).
What about you, fellow home cooks? What low-cost gadgets and tools are invaluable to you?