Essential Tools in my Kitchen

In honor of my one year anniversary last year, I wrote about some essential ingredients that no good vegan kitchen can go without. This year, in honor of our second anniversary, I wanted to share some thoughts about essential tools that I use in my kitchen. So without further ado, and in no particular order of importance, here are my  favorite gadgets:

1.) Food processor: I'll start off my touting the helpfulness of a food processor, especially in vegan cooking. I don't think I'd be able to make my vegan ricotta cheese or vegan cheesecake without it, and it simply makes so many tasks quicker, cleaner and easier. I use my Nana's Cuisinart.

2.) Immersion blender: Sticking with the need to blend, I will highlight my trusty immersion blender. A gift from my in-laws, this handy wand is great for smoothing out soups and gravies. This time of year I find myself using it all the time when whipping up some soup.

3.) Garlic press: Alton Brown is known for railing against uni-taskers (things that do just one task), and I agree most of the time. Except in the case of the garlic press. It makes crushing cloves of garlic a snap, and because I use a lot of garlic in my cooking, I use this gadget pretty much every day.

4.) Juicer: Though we use this more in the warmer months, this is essential to Anne concocting delicious and healthy beverages full of vitamins and minerals. In the winter months, nothing is better than juiced beets, greens, ginger and some carrots. We use a Breville.

5.) Rice cooker: This machine is so convenient and makes cooking rice and other grains like quinoa a snap. It saves space on the stove when cooking a bunch of dishes, so I really think its an essential piece of equipment. And because we cook a good amount of gluten free food, rice is a common part of my cooking and meals.

6.) Skillet: For months, if not years, I was cooking pancakes in a largish frying pan. Its a pain. Do yourself a favor and get a nonstick skillet for pancakes. Bonus: it makes flipping those grilled Daiya cheeses also super easy.

7.) Measuring cups: This is sort of obvious, but really, I like to have a lot of measuring cups and spoons. Cooking is often a cumulative effort, which means lots of dirty pots and pans and spoons. Its really nice to have a few of each measurement to avoid having to rinse and reuse (but that is okay too).

8.) Tablet stand: I use my iPad or Nexus 7 all the time in the kitchen for consulting recipes, so this little stand (I think it was $20) is really a nice little thing to have. It comes with a stylus so you can avoid touching your screen with your dirty fingers. Its also made out of rubber and therefore really easy to clean.

9.) Ice cream scoop: I use this little scoop all the time for making cookies, doughnuts, or really anything that needs to be doled out into bite size pieces. It has a small lever that helps push the right amount out. If you like round cookies, invest in one of these little guys.

10.) Covered casserole dish: This is an essential tool for making a delicious Tofurky. Sure you can cook it with foil on top, but I find that the best way is a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid to keep all the flavor in.

What have I missed? Tell us in the comments section and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!