Some persons just love to cook and don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of fancy meals. Some persons don’t enjoy cooking at all. I can assure you though that whichever camp you fall in, these 4 essential countertop appliances will make the kitchen experience much more enjoyable.
In the old days, just about everything done in the kitchen was manual. You can therefore imagine how time-consuming it was to prepare meals. Those of you who are not happy to be in the kitchen will probably say it is still time-consuming to prepare meals but believe me when I say the process is much shorter nowadays.
If I asked you to make me some banana punch, most of you, if not all, would be able to whip up that drink for me in seconds. In years past, my mother would not be able to do what you can do in the time you can do it. She would take a fork and painstakingly mash and mash and mash the banana. She would add her liquid (usually milk) and other spices and mash and mix, mash and mix until you were finally rewarded with delicious though somewhat lumpy banana punch.
Now who wouldn’t want a tool or two that would make cooking easier. Good news! Those tools exist. As a matter of fact, there are tools and appliances that are available to make your cooking hobby (or chore) more enjoyable.
Some of you are gadget junkies and will buy every gadget you set eyes on. Some you will never use. Some you’ll use only once. One thing is certain where you are concerned. You have succeeded in creating one grand clutter in the kitchen.
But you know what? You really don’t need so many appliances. You actually need very few to make your cooking experience more efficient and enjoyable.
As a matter of fact, here are the 4 essential countertop appliances for the kitchen that will improve your overall efficiency and have your family and friends hail you for the wonderful cook that you are.
Really, who can do without a blender in this day and age. After all, this is the era of smoothies and while my mother was able to mash the bananas with a fork, I don’t think she was ever able to mash an apple. Yes, smoothies are the rage; fruit smoothies, green smoothies….delicious and nutritious….and very easy to make with a blender.
A blender allows you to quickly mix, puree or emulsify foods. You use it when you are making soups and sauces and drinks of all kinds. You can use your blender to make almond milk, cashew milk and other nut milks. You can even use it to make peanut butter. Remember those nice shaved ice treats you had as children. Some blenders are able to crush ice and give you that nice powdery shaved ice for you childhood dessert.
There are also blenders such as the Nutribullet which is able to grind your grains such as oats and rice, and turn them into flour.
I am sure you can see what a work horse this one little appliance is and how it simplifies so many of the tasks involved in preparing your meal.
You will of course get the best use out of the more powerful blenders such as those which are 500W of above.
There are some tasks in the kitchen that are just so labour-intensive that you really have to love cooking to keep doing these things over and over. One of my least pleasant tasks in the kitchen is grating. As a matter of fact, I simply refuse to prepare any recipe that calls for grating any of the ingredients….except shredded cheese. I can just about manage that. But carrots, potatoes and such the likes……forget it.
One day I wanted to make a ginger poultice. It called for grated, fresh ginger. I watched people on YouTube with their nice, strong strokes producing lots of grated ginger so I gave it a try. I am still waiting to see the product of my effort. All I saw was a watery mush, stuck to the grater and just a few drops of actual minced up ginger on my cutting board. I get similar results just about every time I try to grate something.
Many of my family and friends make their own coconut milk by grating the mature, dried coconut and squeezing the milk out. Now I love coconut and I love the flavour of coconut milk in a lot of my recipes but if I am going to have to grate the coconut to be able to enjoy its delicious flavour, sadly I am going to have to let it pass.
But that will never happen if there is a lovely food processor gracing the kitchen counter.
This little kitchen wonder will grate, shred, slice, dice, chop, puree, grind, mix dough…..I mean, talk about multi-tasker.
Do you need some minced garlic and onions for your recipe. Well, just toss them in the food processor and whrrr, whrr, you are done.
Do you want a mixed vegetable salad of cucumbers, carrots, beetroot? Well you can painstakingly slice them all up by hand or your can put them through the processor and in seconds your salad of colourful, evenly sliced veggies will be ready.
You will never want to buy hummus again when you realize how simple it is to make in your food processor. You don’t like hummus? It is just as simple to make peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter….and the list goes on.
Food processors come in many sizes. There are mini 2 to 3 cup processors and there are large 7 to 12 cup processors. I would advise you to go ahead and splurge on the larger processor as they are usually more powerful and can handle anything you throw at it.
What can you do with a toaster oven? Well there is the obvious. You are going to toast your bread.
So what about your regular pop up toaster, you ask. Well that works too. It does toast bread after all. But you can’t use it to make your cheese and toast. You can’t bake a potato in it. You can’t use it to warm up your food (especially when you are trying to cut down on the microwave use). Larger bread like your bagels for instance, or your pita bread, are toasted easily in a toaster oven.
If you are baking something small like a few muffins or a small cake, or maybe you are just toasting some nuts, there is no need to turn on your big conventional oven. Your toaster oven will do the job and is much more energy efficient because of its smaller size.
If your diet is mainly plant based, chances are you eat a lot of peas and beans. Coming home from work to cook peas and beans is not fun if you are just using a regular pot. These legumes can take hours to cook.
Enter, the pressure cooker.
Here is why you need a pressure cooker right up there along with the other essential appliances.
- Your food will take a much shorter time to cook so you don’t have to deny yourself of your lovely bean stews and soups. You can actually start cooking from scratch when you get home from work and get done in time for dinner.
- More nutrients are retained in the food you are cooking as you use less water and cook for a shorter time.
- You conserve on energy, again because the cooking time is so much shorter. Foods can cook up to 70% quicker when using a pressure cooker.
- You can cook just about anything in the pressure cooker; peas, beans, meat, rice, other grains, soups, stews…anything that you would normally cook in water.
- It reduces the heat in the kitchen. Unlike regular cooking pots which emits steam as it is cooking and cause the kitchen to become hotter, the pressure cooker is closed and retains all the steam resulting in a cooler kitchen.
Well there you have it…
Four essential countertop appliances for your kitchen to make cooking easier and more fun.
If you don’t have these appliances as yet go ahead and get them and have a party. When you realize how much more enjoyable your kitchen experience is you will want to celebrate.
Do you think there are other essential appliances which should be added to this list?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.