Are you always on the lookout for kitchen tools and items that are great finds? If you’re like me, you can’t pass up magazine articles where people recommend things that enhance their cooking experiences.
Today I’m sharing some favorites from my kitchen!
Some of these items I’ve had for more than 20 years and they’re still going strong, while others are relatively new within the past year or so. The one thing they all have in common is they’re key “go to” reaches for all kinds of cooking and baking!
The Daily Artisan is not participating in affiliate paid advertising programs (and even if I was, I’d only recommend things I use and appreciate). I’ve indicated below where I purchased each item in case you’re interested in them, but that’s the extent of it.
And – in no particular order – on to 10 of the favorites in my kitchen!
1. Apron by G.K.P. (Good Kitchen Products)
I’m starting the list with the newest of the 10 items.
When I launched The Daily Artisan business and website in November 2021, I wanted to buy something that would always remind me of this crazy time of so much work and preparation – and the excitement of the launch!
While reading the November issue of Martha Stewart’s Living magazine, I saw a feature on Kazuyo Takeda, formerly a fashion designer for women’s clothing in New York City, Milan, and Tokyo.
According to what I read, she couldn’t find her dream apron so she designed and sewed her own. People noticed and loved it, and as a result, an online business – G.K.P. (Good Kitchen Products) – was launched.
The G.K.P. website offers a variety of beautifully handcrafted aprons, all made in the United States. I chose 100% cotton canvas in the style shown, with colors (top) “Deep Gray” (navy, in my mind), and (bottom) “Beige Brown.”
The aprons are unisex, and are worn by commercial chefs as well as home cooks and bakers like me.
It is without a doubt the finest apron I’ve ever worn, and I’m enjoying it with all my cooking.
Since baking and cooking are a big part of my life – and thus that of the life of The Daily Artisan blog – I thought it was fitting that my special commemorative purchase be an apron – and oh, what an apron it is!
2. Norpro 1728 Grip-EZ Fiskie
The Fiskie is described as the ultimate fork-and-whisk combo, and I keep surprising myself with yet another use for it.
You can whisk, stir, scoop, mix, fold, and strain with it, and I’ve used it for things as varied as mixing up a meatloaf (great substitute for your hands) to mashing cooked potatoes and blending them with cream cheese and butter.
It’s sturdy yet flexible, if that makes sense, and the dimensions are 11″ tall and 2″ wide at the whisk part.
The product information says it is a high-resistant nylon tool safe up to 464 degrees Fahrenheit, and safe for nonstick and glass.
Anything that’s versatile for something as delicate as an egg yet also as sturdy as a potato is good by me!
Mine came from Amazon, and more than 700 purchasers have given the Fiskie high marks for its ease and comfort of use; versatility; and price point.
The Fiskie keeps surprising me with new things it will do in my kitchen!
3. Everglades Seasoning
Everglades Seasoning is a staple in my kitchen, and I’ve talked about it previously on The Daily Artisan blog. Speaking of versatility, this product gives an extra deliciousness of flavor to all kinds of meats, vegetables, scrambled eggs, and pretty much everything I can think of, maybe other than a chocolate cake!
When my 16-ounce container starts to get low, I make sure it’s on the very next grocery list because I wouldn’t want to be without it in my kitchen.
Manufactured and distributed in Sebring, Florida, it was a point of pride for our state when I first noticed this on the packaging. I also use one of its companion items – Everglades Rub – for beef, ribs, and again, just about anything you want to taste delicious. Other seasonings and marinades also are available.
Mine comes from Publix but it’s likely available wherever you shop. Check out the website for an interesting history of the product and company, including LaBelle, Florida; and a secret formula.
The company’s motto “Tasting Is Believing” is so true!
4. All-Clad Measuring Cups and Spoons
Precision with your baking and cooking is critical to successful results, and you can’t go wrong with these iconic measuring cups and spoons.
All-Clad is known for its high quality, and I love how the measuring cups are a small replica of the company’s heavy saucepan with the signature riveted handles.
These can be purchased as a complete set of both utensils types; just the measuring cups; just the measuring spoons; and some nonstandard sizes as well. Mine are (measuring cups) 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup – and (measuring spoons) Tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon.
I’ve owned and used these for more than 20 years, and they’re as beautiful and useful today as they were on the day I bought them. Enough said!
5. Wilton Tilt-N-Turn Cake Decorating Turntable
Decorating cakes can require a lot of different angles as you add frosting to the layers, especially when you are hand-piping flowers and leaves on the sides of the cake.
I would be lost (in the cake-baking sense) without my Wilton Tilt-N-Turn cake stand.
Wilton has long been recognized as the preeminent authority on all things baking, and this has been my experience. This decorating turntable is an amazing assist, and I’d be scared to decorate a cake without one now that I’ve become so reliant on it.
The turntable can be placed in 18 angled plate positions by simply pressing the large purple button, or it can be used as a spinning (not too fast!) cake plate when you’re going for a smooth frosting all around.
Its dimensions are 12″ diameter, and 7″ tall, and it’s washable for an easy cleanup.
I have a large plastic tub that holds all my dessert decorating tools – mostly from Wilton – and I’m proud to own this piece of engineered cake-decorating greatness!
6. ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
The Thermapen ONE is a digital thermometer unparalleled by any other I’ve used.
Its patented, lightning-fast reading in one (hence, ONE) second or less is outshone only by its accuracy. I got mine last summer when I learned to bake bread, and it was indispensable for immediate temperature readings.
In order to decide which digital thermometer I should buy, I did a lot of research – and it all kept coming back to the Thermapen ONE as the best one available. Its introduction in 2021 was in addition to a number of other products currently offered by ThermoWorks.
It’s very versatile and can be used on everything from grilling hearty meats to baking delicate cakes. The device turns on automatically when you open out the probe, and the lighted reading is great – especially since with its unique design, you can turn it in any direction you want while it’s inserted in the food. There’s no need to turn the food to determine its temperature – just turn the Thermapen ONE.
In previous baking posts on The Daily Artisan blog, I’ve noted how ovens don’t always heat exactly to the indicated temperatures. Having the Thermapen ONE takes away any guesswork to ensure your foods are cooked exactly to the temperature you want.
This is an investment into your baking and cooking that well pays for itself! And I recommend getting the zippered pouch to keep it safe from harm because you will want to call on it time and time again.
7. Lungarotti Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is another item that’s been a mainstay in my kitchen for many years, and I don’t see myself ever replacing it with a different brand.
The Lungarotti Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes directly from olives, cold-extracted from Frantoio, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives from the hills around Torgiano, Italy.
It’s challenging for me to describe its exact flavor other than to say I’ve not tasted or cooked with a better olive oil.
Mine is bought from Williams Sonoma, and as they say, this is the good stuff, so don’t use it to grease your baking dishes! This is for use in cooking, or eating directly.
It’s amazing with soup, salad, vegetables, grilled and baked meats, and of course the classic bruschetta.
Google the Lungarotti company to read about all the products, including this olive oil, and the fascinating family story.
Whether you land on the English or Italian version of the website, it has some of the most stunning images you will find on the Internet. Bellissimo!
8. OXO Good Grips Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
If I had to point to a single kitchen tool that has improved my baking more than any other, it would be this digital food scale.
The OXO Good Grips Food Scale with Pull-Out Display was a huge addition to my kitchen when I bought it last year. I love baking cakes, but I do not enjoy leveling the cooked layers because of different sizes from the oven. No matter how hard I tried, the leveling outcome never quite pleased me, so I finally realized there had to be a better way and off to Internet researching I went!
What I learned is that using a digital scale is key in two ways – first, it ensures that your ingredients are exactly the amount you wanted, and second, it makes certain your cake layer pans are equally filled before going into the oven, and thus much less likely needing leveling after baking.
This stainless steel scale by OXO was off the charts in consumer rankings, and having owned it for nearly a year now, I understand why. Mine is from Amazon.
Weighing options are pound and ounce; ounce only; kilogram and gram; and gram only. There’s a safety indicator on the lighted digital face showing if you should come close to weighing something of 11 pounds, the maximum.
The pull-out feature is especially helpful if you have a large bowl on the scale, so you can pull out the digital face and not crane your neck trying to look under the seated bowl.
If you’re not measuring your ingredients for cakes and breads, take my advice – it makes all the difference in the world!
9. Espresso Powder by King Arthur Baking Company
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I often make chocolate espresso frosting for cakes, and the only espresso powder I use comes from King Arthur Baking Company.
The company sells in stores (various flours in your local grocery store, for example) as well as from its extensive online shop.
It’s a lot of fun to visit the website, not only for the great products but also for all the recipes and food photographs.
Made from high-quality coffee beans, the espresso powder takes your chocolate frosting and desserts up to the next level with a more complex flavor.
King Arthur Baking Company says it best with, “The espresso powder enhances the deep, decadent chocolate flavor in your favorite recipes.” Ah, sigh.
Be sure to check out the King Arthur Baking Company’s website – and also this gem of robust flavor, the espresso powder!
10. Mini-Colanders from Old World Market
For this last item on the list, we’ll end (photo-wise) where we started at the top!
These colorful colanders are mini-sized of the ones we use for straining spaghetti noodles and other such foods. I saw them one day in Old World Market and immediately thought how perfect they would be as individual serving dishes at low-country boils.
I hope anyone reading this blog post has participated in at least one low-country boil (hopefully many more than one!), but if not, here it is in a nutshell.
In a massive pot, you boil tail-on shrimp, short corn-on-the-cob, Andouille sausage, and red potatoes in delicious, savory seasonings.
In the meantime, you cover a large table – preferably outdoors – with newspapers (note, digital does not work for everything), and then when the boil is ready, you pour out the food all over the table, and the feast begins with bunches of your friends and family!
The mini-colanders are 5 1/2″ diameter and 3 1/2″ tall, which is perfect for piling in shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage – for your first helping and then your second helping and on and on..
It’s been many years since I bought these for $2.99 each, and I don’t know if Old World Market still carries them. If not, you probably could find them online somewhere else.
I chose to go with a festive mix of colors instead of all one, and these mini-colanders really will up your game for guest fun at your next low-country boil!
So, there we have it – 10 of my favorite kitchen items! What are some of yours? What don’t I have yet?? Be sure to comment below!