Bret here, with the first installment of Foodie Friday! To learn more about how to connect with me, click here!
Today I will be discussing with all of you beautiful people what, in my opinion, you will need in order to start this little food adventure with me. In a nutshell, my personal “kitchen staples.” Some of this is going to be a no brainer for most, it might be new to some of you, and I’m sure some will critique me wildly. Mind you, that this is about having fun in the kitchen and learning new things and everything I do may not be considered traditional. This is purely just for fun and I by no means consider myself a chef. I COOK BECAUSE I LOVE IT.
But first, I’d really just like to thank Megan (creator of Gadden Rose) for giving me the platform to inspire people in another way! Working with her on a daily basis (at KINK Hair Salon) has taught me so much already, and I’m super excited that we get to collaborate further, and expand upon her already awesome blog/vlog. In other words, THANKS, GURRL!
So, let’s get to it, shall we? There are a few basic tools that are going to make your life MUCH easier when navigating around the kitchen. I am going to try my best to exclude any heavy duty appliances such as a Kitchen Aide or a food processor, as I am aware that some people do not have access to those. However, the tools that I have found to be of the utmost importance are as follows:
TOP 10 KITCHEN TOOLS
1. Iron skillet
About 80 percent of my cooking is done in a large, heavy, well seasoned cast iron skillet. Seasoning the skillet will take time, but is so SO worth it. The first season will be the most important. You will use vegetable oil and a paper towel. When you bring your skillet home (I get mine a Target) rinse it well with warm water, dry it, pour about two caps worth of vegetable oil in it, and rub into the skillet with the paper towel. Make sure to cover all surfaces, top and bottom (and yes even the handle)! You will want to do this every time you wash your skillet. When I say wash, I hardly mean it, you are to never scour an iron skillet unless absolutely necessary. NEVER MACHINE WASH IT! EVER! Follow these rules and you will have this skillet for the rest of your life.
2. Set of wooden spoons
For obvious reasons, no particular kind. They usually come in a variety pack.
3. Heat resistant spatula and rubber spoon spatulas
I know this sounds funny, but really, I once bought a “beginners set” of cooking utensils from Chefmate and the spatulas seriously melted….What a waste! And try to get a rubber one because metal scratches metal.
4. Pots and pans
Again, obvious reasons. Make sure they are heavy bottomed and not thin aluminum!
5. Big wire whisk
I can’t tell you how often I use this.
6. A GOOD set of knives
I have had my knife set for a long time, so it is totally probably time for a new one, but I love it. I have learned so much with them! You want to invest in this, I promise you will thank me later. You want to make sure the steel blade continues all the way down the grip or handle of the knifes, that is the most important piece. And that your set comes with a sharpener. Obviously splurging isn’t a MUST, any knife set will do, just get one.
7. Two large cutting boards
You’ll want one plastic (for meats, fish, etc.) and one wood (for vegetables).
8. Cookie sheets and/or jelly roll baking pans
Obvious reasons. You will absolutely need these.
9. Set of mixing bowls
Metal, glass, plastic, or whatever kind you want, you will need a set!
10. YOUR HANDS!
You will be using these a lot, they will be getting very dirty, and you will enjoy it (hopefully).
Tools are not the only part that you will need in order to keep a well rounded and always ready kitchen. Most of the items I’m about to list here are super cheep and very easy to stock. I think the number one reason for me to I keep a well stocked kitchen is, that it takes the guessing out of everything. I know what I have, what I am going to need, I know exactly where it all is, and I know how and when I’m going to use it. I would imagine, for some, it is this kind of prepping that would make cooking much less stressful and far more enjoyable of an experience. Here is a list of what I feel I need at all times to keep stocked up:
TOP 10 STAPLE INGERDIANTS
1. Your favorite pastas
It is always great to have these guys on hand. It is just a cheap and stockable item that you don’t have to worry about throughout the week! Personally, I always have a few different types on hand.
2. Rice (three different kinds)
My personal favorite are brown rice, basmati, and arborio. These three pretty much cover all of my favorite dishes.
3. Unsalted Butter
I only go for the unsalted butter, unless a particular recipe says otherwise. This way we can control the level of sodium and flavors ourselves.
4. Salt and Pepper
I know this seems super obvious, but trust me this is big. Salt should be coarse, not iodized table salt. Pepper should be freshly cracked, which you can buy already cracked coarse pepper or a pepper grinder. I personally use already cracked pepper and have a grinder for when I need a finer grind. Buy in bulk!
5. Fresh Parsley and Cilantro
These items are so cheep and I honestly use them so so so much! I am a fresh herb freak and will literally put fresh herbs on or in anything I can, whenever possible. Come Spring, I will show you how I keep my personal garden stocked and growing with all of my favorites.
Spices might be the hardest thing to accumulate. I know most people feel like they are wasting their money because they will never use them again, but this is not true. You will learn to use them simply because you have them. I promise! I would personally bite the bullet and buy an extensive spice kit. Because buying all of the spices I will be using in my recipes would be very expensive. Just pick up the ones you don’t have as we go along. That’s how I did it!
7. Olive Oil
GOOD olive oil, that is.This is so imperative because the flavor of a good extra virgin olive oil is far superior to just plain olive oil. This does not mean break you bank, this just means take your time deciding which olive oil to buy. California olive oils tend to be my preference.
Okay, so I have a long, long, LONG time love affair with eggs. Since I was a kid, I wanted eggs everyday for breakfast. Most days I’m too lazy to actually get up and make them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want them. As I’ve grown into an adult, I have become picky about my eggs. I only like farm-fresh, cruelty-free, vegetarian-fed eggs. Basically they are the brown ones that look pretty and cost more. It’s like I can feel your eyes rolling from the other side of the screen, I know, I know! Don’t ask me why, I just like them. Honestly, you should get whatever kind of eggs you like and keep them stocked, because you never know when you will need them.
Okay, so this in my opinion is a no brainer. We need flour for a multitude of things. So go get some, and keep it on hand.
10. Onions and Garlic
Onions stay good for a long period of time, as well as garlic. I always stock up on a variety of onions (red, white, yellow, shallots etc.) because generally I will use them before they go bad. DO NOT PUT THESE GUYS IN THE FRIDGE! They should be put in a bowl, in your pantry, or on the counter. This way they will have a much longer lifespan than in the refrigerator. Garlic is easy to store, as well. I pre-peel all of my garlic and store it in mason jars in the refrigerator. I do NOT jar them in oil. It is a lot easier than it sounds, and I will teach you soon!
Alright guys, if you have made it this far, I am truly impressed! This was a pretty long article. But for those of you who stuck around and are really interested in moving forward with your cooking skills, this is going to be the best place to start. If you are new to the cooking world, you can trust me when I tell you: I will not have you trying to create ridiculously fancy meals. This will be all about fun, satisfying, easy-to-make food with a twist. And MAYBE something a little fancy every once in a while, but it won’t be anything you guys can’t handle! Thanks again for reading! And I’m super excited to share with all of you awesome Foodie’s out there.