Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Favorites: In the Kitchen

I haven't had a lot of time in the last couple weeks to cook up a ton of new recipes and I kind of miss my kitchen. Thinking of what I might do with myself today as my husband will be gone for the day instructing a training class for work, I decided finding a couple new recipes to make up while I'm home alone would be a good choice.

When it comes to the kitchen I have a few things that reach my all time favorites list. Things I use all the time. Most of these things aren't items I would have ever considered having in my kitchen 3 or 4 years ago, and it's such a shame I didn't know better way back then (especially since I had a gas stove to cook on). I'm glad to say I've broadened my horizons.

This cast-iron skillet was bought as a wedding gift by my mother-in-law. I had found the Pioneer Woman earlier in the year and was excited for my new skillet as she used hers for so many of the recipes she made. As "country" as this skillet may have been to me at the time, I've never cooked in a better pan. This thing can do it all. I love that it can go from the stove top to the oven, and how well the pan conducts heat. This will turn out the best pork chops and chicken you've ever had. I use this pan more than anything else in my kitchen.

I received this dutch oven with my skillet and I love it too. It doesn't get used as frequently as the skillet for this reason only: if had had bought it myself, I would have chosen to purchase the 7-qt. size. Almost every recipe for soup or chili I've made in this dutch oven has required me to split it between this and the skillet. It just doesn't fit the quanity of most recipes. I use this to turn out incredible homemade french onion soup, white chicken chili, cranberry beef stew, drip beef and pot roast. Like the skillet, it goes from the stove top to the oven, conducts heat better than any regular soup pot and turns out the most tender roasts.

This whisk is awesome. I love anything silicone coated, it makes the world better. A flat whisk works perfectly for getting in to the corners of a pan while you're thickening your enchilada sauce, country gravy or stew. This is one of the best purchases I've made yet for the kitchen.

I use this for everything but flipping burgers and pancakes (I'm still trying to find that perfect spatula). I've loved this particular item for a long time, I've had it for years. But I'll tell you why I started using it so much now: my husband hates the sound of metal utensils clanking on the pans while I'm cooking. I think it's an OCD thing for me and I must tap tap tap my spoon on the side of the pan way more often than I realize, and it drives him crazy. However, this thing works like a charm. It gets everything scraped off the bottom of a pan or all of the cake batter from the bowl. It's heat resistant up to 600 degrees so you can stir any soup you're cooking. And for my very most favorite part, it turns out perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs. Yum!

This KitchenAid mixer was a gift for my birthday last year from my husband. And though he didn't exactly surprise me with it (he took me to pick out the color) I was excited and surprised. I had been wanting one for a very long time. I haven't used the mixer a ton, but it's fun to use. I've made pizza dough, bread, muffins and cakes with it. It's so easy to just throw the indgredients in and let it go to work. Bread is very intimidating for me, but hopefully I get up the nerve to use it for bread again soon. I do have a few recipes saved to try. This mixer is what began defining the color of my kitchen. I didn't realize that it was Martha Stewart Blue until we had left the store (I don't really love Martha) but I eventually got over it.

Even though I don't cook with this, it's a coffee revolution in our household. This is a single cup brewing system with 5 cup sizes available. You buy the cute little K-cups that come in so many different flavors and roasts that there is surely something for everyone. They even make hot chocolate, tea and iced tea K-cups! We're both coffee drinkers (I could potentially classify as coffee adict) but have struggled with agreeing on coffee roasts. He prefers a bold roast, I prefer more of a medium. I also like to waste half my cup of coffee many days, and this is helpful as I'm only wasting half a cup versus half a cup and 3/4 of the pot left. I would consider this success.

Do you have any favorite kitchen gadgets? Do you enjoy cooking? Anthing you love that you think I should add to my own kitchen? Let me know!


Kate said...

I love this post!

What type of recipes do you use your skillet for?

Anonymous said...

I would like the cranberry stew recipe!! :)

Cassie said...

@Kate - I literally use that skillet for everything. Some of my main staples are bleu cheese burgers w/ carmelized onions, the filling for my enchiladas, baked pork chops (brown on the stove, then finish in the oven), my favorite white bean chili. I practically use it for just about anything you'd use a skillet for except eggs. I don't like the brownish/black look they get from the cast iron.

@Meg - The cranberry beef stew is awesome. I made it and served it over mashed potatoes. I also used dried cranberries because our store didn't have fresh or frozen and it worked just fine. I think it would be just as good if you left them out too. Here's the link: http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/?tag=winter-cranberry-beef-stew