Top 10 Kitchen Must-Haves
We love when you come to visit Garry’s for our signature dishes and yet, completely understand that you can’t eat out all the time. So when you aren’t at your home away from home, what are some key tools you need to be a great chef at home? Here is our list of kitchen must-haves and some of these are crucial to cooking quality food at Garry’s. It’s important to stock your kitchen with the right tools and ingredients so you set yourself up for success in the kitchen.
1. Set of Knives
Most people have bread knives and basic steak knives in their kitchen. But, those won’t get you very far as a chef. You’ll want to invest in a great set of knives. Make sure the set comes with at least a chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife, and a paring knife. Without good knives, it will take you much longer to chop and cut to prepare ingredients. Pro tip: Invest in a quality knife sharpener. Don’t fall for the built-in sharpening sets. Quality knives need to be hand sharpened.
2. High-quality Pots and Pans
At some point in every chef’s life, the time comes to toss out those old, worn-down pots and pans. After doing so, get a set of high-quality ones that will last and hold up throughout the years. Specifically, pick out a good selection of non-stick, stainless-steel and cast-iron pots and pans to have at the ready. Pro tip: You don’t necessarily need to buy a big bundle. Try a frying pan first and see how you like it before you buy the entire set.
On the list of things every good chef has, utensils are always at the top. Most cooks have a decent collection of mixing/scooping spoons, spatulas, tongs, ladles, and whisks among other things. Overall, utensils are essential for both cooking and baking, so it’s important to have a variety. Pro tip: Have a wooden spoon on hand, or two. Plastic and metal spoons can hurt your pots and pants or warp over time.
In order to cook a steak to perfection or make sure cupcakes are cooked through, chefs use a thermometer. It’s the only way to stop playing the guessing game and ensure your food is cooked properly. Pro tip: Get a digital thermometer! They are easy to use and many don’t need to be calibrated.
5. Prep/Mixing Bowls
If you’re a pro in the kitchen, you probably use prep bowls regularly. They help organize your ingredients in front of you and keep your counters neat and tidy. From tossing salad to combining ingredients, they’re one of the most-used items in a kitchen. Similarly, mixing bowls are essential, especially for baking cookies and cakes. Pro tip: Get glass. Seriously, the borosilicate glass used in glass mixing bowls is great for hot, cold, microwaves, dishwashers, and they are sturdy.
6. Cutting Board
Not only does it save your countertops, but it saves your knives. A lot of people have plastic, however, studies have shown that plastic can hold bacteria more than wood surfaces. Wood is nicer to your knives and will keep them sharper longer. Consider a good maple or beech cutting board. Pro tip: Regularly oil your board with food-grade mineral oil. This helps to protect it and last longer.
Every chef has a collection of spices on stand-by. Some of the most common spices are salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and chili powder. Although, every good chef should have additional spices like thyme, rosemary, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, curry powder, and basil. And, you might have more in your collection if you’re someone that likes to experiment with flavor. Pro tip: Although it is convenient for spices to be right next to the stove, it is not the best place to store them. Keep them away from heat and moisture as much as you can.
Condiments can be the finishing touch that pulls your meal together. Therefore, always have a supply of the basics, like ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, mayo, and hot sauce. You can also use these to create your own homemade dressings and dips. Pro tip: Have quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand. These two are friends and can really add a lot to many dishes.
Need to sprinkle some shredded parmesan on your pasta? Want to use lemon zest to enhance your dish? Knives can’t always achieve the effect you’re looking for. So, make sure to have a grater, peeler, and zester in your cabinet. Pro tip: Not all graters were made to be equal. Some can be graters, slicers, and zesters. Consider getting one that can do it all.
Blenders are used for more than just smoothies. They can also create homemade condiments, soups, milkshakes, sauces, pesto, dressings and more. And this is one tool that you might need to have more than one to do all the things you need. Hand blenders are great for baking and regular blenders are great for puree and juice. Pro tip: Invest in an immersion blender. It is easy to use and easy to clean. You don’t need to drag out a heavy blender to get the same results.
Ready to cook? These kitchen must-haves will help you create something to be proud of. And, if you don’t feel like cooking or want inspiration for healthy recipes, come to Garry’s in Severna Park, MD. Check out our breakfast, lunch and dinner menus online now.