I'm often asked, "What are your favorite kitchen tools?". Oh I'm so glad you asked! A useful kitchen tool is worth its weight in gold- well maybe more like... truffles, to be a bit more realistic.
I'll keep it simple and list my top 5, though no doubt I'll talk more about useful tools and kitchen contraptions as I keep blogging away.
1) Electric Knife Sharpener: I'm assuming everyone knows how important it is to have sharp knives for cooking, right? RRRiiiiight.... To be honest, I know that most people's knives inevitably end up as sharp as a butter knife, and aside from taking them in to have them sharpened, people don't know what to do so they either don't use them, or use them dull, and that is dangerous and ineffective. I can't stress enough how important it is to have sharp knives, and to get used to how a sharp knife feels vs. a dull knife. My machine is a "Chef's Choice 1520 Angle Select". It sharpens either Asian or Standard (European/German) Knife edges. I have a sharpening stone but I just don't have the time or patience for it. I use my knives a lot and I'm busy, so spending 5-10 minutes a time or two per week with the Chef's Choice is about all it takes to keep my knives sharp. See Chef's Choice Knife Sharpener here
2) Microplane: I call my Microplane my "Zester" because that is what I use it for most: it is perfect for finely grating all kinds of citrus zest (lemon is what I use most). I also use it A. LOT. for grating ginger and it's super swell for finely grating parmesan cheese, nutmeg, chocolate, truffles, and the list goes on... It comes with a sheath so you can't accidentally grate yourself when you are digging for it in the drawer, and they now come in a rainbow of colors, for those of us who are concerned with looking cute in the kitchen. See Microplane here
3)Salad Spinner: All hail the salad spinner! My favorite brand is OXO, and I've tried a few. They are perfect for washing and drying lettuces, herbs, and it is my secret weapon when it comes to making kale chips: You for sure need to wash the kale to get all the dirt and sand out, but the leaves need to be bone-dry before you bake them, so they don't just steam themselves limp in the oven. See OXO Salad Spinner here
4) Garlic Press: Yes, I know chefs who are purists and for *whatever* reason insist on only hand-chopping, dicing and slicing their garlic, but when it comes to needing some minced garlic fast (and all personal chefs need minced garlic fast), there's not a day that goes by I don't use mine. Here again my favorite brand is OXO and it's called the "Good Grips Garlic Press". You're welcome. See OXO Garlic Press here
5) Y-Head Vegetable Peeler: I'm tempted here to say JUST GET SOME and leave it at that, but really, JUST GET SOME. They're like $10 for a 3-pack. As opposed to the straight peelers most of us grew up with, this light peeler has a wider blade so peeling is quicker and you can either peel toward or away from yourself with equal effectiveness. Also, the wider grip is more comfortable, and it can be used my lefties or righties. Good brands: Kuhn Rikon or Swissmar. GO GET SOME NOW! See Y-Head Vegetable Peeler here