Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stuff You Gotta Have in Your Kitchen

Tools are what set us apart from monkeys.  The right tools in your kitchen can set you apart from your former, fat self.

Here are a few must haves. I picked these because they promote eating more veggies, fresh foods, less salt, less oils and fats, and help you cook in healthier ways.

Colander
 With all the fruits and veggies you're eating, you need a way to wash them.  Beets fresh from farmers' markets will usually come with a little dirt (bonus!). Drop all your veggies into the colander and rinse for at least 20 seconds under warm (yep, warm) water.  Doing so will eliminate some of the microbes that are naturally living on the veggies and in the dirt.  Most of them can't hurt you, but you should still always wash.
In my opinion you need at least 2 types of colanders: One for salad greens that has some sort of spinning mechanism, and a basic stainless steel type. If you don't have a salad colander, you can always let your leaves dry on a paper towel. The stainless steel steamers can double duty as a steamer as well!

Vegetable Brush
It looks something like a nail brush. Gently scrub the outside of each piece while you're rinsing your veggies and fruits.  *You should definately do this to melons, oranges, etc.  Most of us thing that just because we're not eating the rind of these, you don't have to scrub them. To the contrary, cutting and peeling them exposes the inside fruit to the stuff that was on the outside. Just something to keep in mind.



Steamer

Truly one of the best ways you can cook your vegetables is by steaming them.  I picked up mine a target for under $10 and it's the best thing ever!  Steaming saves flavor and nutrients that other cooking methods zap.  I like the kind that collapse down for storage and expand to sit on top of a pot of boiling water.


 



Microplane Grater
If your goal is to cut down on salt, try adding a bit of lemon peel or garlic to your dish.  Gently grate these on a microplane grater for tasty results!

Olive Oil Mister
 Two rewards in one handy tool. First, by misting your olive oil, you're likely to use much less of it. Although olive oil is considered a "good fat", there is still 21% of your daily allowance of fat in a single tablespoon. The other benefit is that, unlike PAM, these require zero propellants (usually alcohol and emulsifiers). Try misting your salad greens with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse ground salt. You'll be surprised at how much flavor you're missing with heavy dressings.


 


A GOOD Chef's Knife
This one is directed at my dear mother-in-law, who refuses to keep a single sharp knife in her house :)
We regularly spend part of our Sundays chopping up snack veggies for the week. Hang on to those salad greens containers, btw, they are super for putting all your cut veggies in them!


I'm sure I've missed a few! Let me know what some of your favorite cooking gear is.

2 comments:

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