[TIPS]: How to cook like a profesh when your kitchen isn't

I have a confession to make: I DON'T HAVE A PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN.

Gasp. I know. It's shocking. I live in a tiny NYC apartment, with a tiny NYC kitchen, and I don't even have a dishwasher. Of course I dream of the day I'll have a 6-burner range and a wine fridge, but until then, I make the most of what I've got.

I hear so many people complain about their tiny kitchens, whining that it's too small, too old, or too gross to cook a good meal. Well, the block isn't your kitchen, IT'S IN YOUR HEAD! All you need are a few tools to help you whiz through your cooking, so what was taking you 2 hours will take you a quarter of the time. Start small. Add more as you go. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars or create a gift registry to begin. Just start with what you can afford, add a little at a time, and as you get more comfortable in the kitchen you'll be amazed at what your intuition tells you to buy.

You're in luck, because I'm sharing my list of favorite tools so you can get cooking now. I don't care how long you've been cooking, how much time you have on your hands, or what your kitchen looks like. A positive mindset and a semi-equipped kitchen will have you whipping up delicious healthy masterpieces in no time. Take a look...

 

TOP 5 KITCHEN TOOLS FOR ALL COOKS (yes, even you)

1. Chef's Knife

f you don't have anything else, you must invest in this one piece. You can spend over $1,000, or you can spend $50. It doesn't matter how much you spend, it's worth every penny. This is THE most important tool because it transforms whole vegetables and proteins into your beautiful, nourishing meals! What matters are 2 things:

  1. Is it comfortable in your hand? -- Spend some time with the store associate to sample knives in your price range. Request veggies to slice, make sure you feel comfortable rocking the knife back and forth, and ask lots of questions. The more you know before you buy, the more awesome you'll feel to use it, and you'll actually get cooking more!
  2. Is it sharp?  -- There's nothing more dangerous than a dull knife. In fact, a dull blade is more likely to slip and cut your precious fingers, while a sharp blade will slice through just about any food item you approach, and much quicker at that. To keep your knife razor sharp, you can use the honing tool (that rod-like apparatus that comes with most knife kits) to hone your blade before and after use each time you use it, or you can take your knives to a well-known kitchen store and sharpen each knife for a couple bucks. Bonus points if you learn how to sharpen on your own with a stone. 

2. Tongs

You may think my secret to healthy cooking has to do with my culinary background, love for vegetables, or all around good looks. But the secret is out...TONGS! These are my #1 used tool after my knife. You can use 'em for so many things:

  • Sauteing/braising greens
  • Tossing dressing into salads
  • Flipping meats
  • Sliding the hot oven rack out a few inches to check on your food

Okay, that's only 4 things, but you'll be shocked to realize how often you do those 4 things while cooking! Seriously, they're so cheap, just go for it.

3. Microplane

I hardly ever use this grating tool for cheese -- say WHAT?! It may seem obscure, but trust me, you'll thank me later. You can also use this bad boy for grating citrus, garlic, and ginger. In fact, anytime a recipe calls for minced/crushed garlic or ginger, I always opt to grate instead. The result is a magical paste that concentrates the flavor, retains all the juices, and tastes Y-U-M. It's a great way to add flavor and health benefits to things like sauces and dressings without having that crunchy texture you may get when minced. And citrus? It will take your marinades from basic to bangin' in 5 seconds flat, and makes you looks super-duper fancy when garnishing with a little citrus zest.

4. Prep Bowls

People laugh when they see these, and ask me where my dog is. Okay, they sort of look like dog-food bowls, but they are so much more! This is what enables me to spend some time at my cutting board to prep a bunch of veggies at once, and then wam, bam, in a flash cook all at once. When I can get everything ready for GO time, it helps make things go more smoothly. Some may call it OCD, but trust me, it's a mega time saver.  

5. Citrus Juicer

Citrus is a great addition to anything your making. It helps brighten the flavor, and can transform any recipe to new heights. I am a big believer in my hot lemon apple cider vinegar morning tea, and I also love adding citrus to marinades, dressings (in lieu of vinegar), and the end of dishes like soups, sauces, and mains. The citrus juicer makes things go by so much faster, and it's waaay less messy than squeezing with my hands. You'll get more juice out of your fruit, and end up spending less on fewer of them. So your food tastes better, AND your wallet benefits. Sounds good to me!

 

OKAY, now I've given you my top 5 kitchen tools, I wanna hear from you. What are YOU using the most in the kitchen? The more we share, the more we help each other grow, so share, share, share away. I can't wait to hear what your go-to gadgets are!!