We've heard from both Katharine Shilcutt and Becky Means about their kitchen must-haves. But for us, it's more about what we wouldn't want to live without in our kitchens. We would definitely be fine without these kitchen essentials, but they sure make our lives easier.
1. Hamilton Beach Hands-free Coffee Grinder -- This is a new addition to our kitchen. We had our special Target edition coffee grinder for as long as we can remember, but we received this Hamilton Beach updated version as a gift recently, and now we don't know how we lived without it. Not only does the cord retract (which is a godsend in a small kitchen), but it perfectly grinds your coffee beans at the push of a button.
2. Citrus Juicer -- Yes, you can squeeze lemons and limes by hand, but those pesky seeds always seem to get in whatever we are cooking. We've even tried holding the limes upside down per Rachel Ray's recommendation, and that still didn't work. The citrus juicer keeps those seeds from falling into our delicious creations, and it gets out more juice than just hand squeezing.
3. Microplane -- For years, we tried to convince ourselves that we could zest with just a box grater, mybe we were being naïve or just cheap. When we finally broke down and bought a microplane (which is only about $10), we saw the error of our ways. Now, we are zesting away with ease as opposed to fighting with the box grater.
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4. Apple Slicer -- There is something so nice about having a sliced and cored apple within seconds. Whether it's for pie or just a snack, apple slicers take all the hassle out of eating an apple.
5. Spring-loaded scoop -- The scoop makes it easy to transfer batter to muffin tins or scoop out similar sized cookies onto a cookie sheet. The spring-loaded feature easily pops the dough or batter out of the scoop. Although we haven't used it for ice cream, it's good for that, too. They come in a variety of sizes, but we like the medium one.
6. Pastry Blender -- We've used the pastry blender for all baked goods that require cold butter like scones and pie dough. It keeps our warm hands from melting the butter as it gets incorporated into the flour. We've also used it for chunky mashed potatoes. The only downside is it's a real pain to clean.