Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Champagne & Mason Jars - Favorite Things in the Kitchen

Hey y'all! My name is Mariel and I blog over at Champagne & Mason Jars. I started about a year and a half ago as a way to keep in touch with my family in Virginia, and I ended up meeting and making more friends in Charlotte than I thought possible. I love to cook, craft, and eat, and my blog is really a great way to share it all.
I was so honored when Classic Annie asked me to write a guest post, so I jumped at the chance! She wanted us to share our favorite thing of the moment, so I thought I'd share my favorite things in the kitchen. I spend most of my time there, so it seemed appropriate! I wrote a post, Registry Tips, on some of my suggestions for the kitchen. I used to work in a culinary retail store here in Charlotte, so I was able to really try out many products. Here are my top picks!
:: ONE :: 
 A good skillet
9 times out of 10, I grab my cast iron 12-Inch Skillet whenever I'm cooking. I know I have fancy schmancy All-Clad Copper Core cookware, but this is a kitchen essential. You really only need one or two skillets in your life, and I HIGHLY recommend this one. The cast iron gets hot evenly and quickly, and stays hot. My favorite recipe to make in it is Alton Brown's Pan-Seared Rib-Eyes. Go get you one!
:: TWO ::
  Wooden utensils
I somehow inherited this Bamboo Stir Fry Spatula in college and I am obsessed. I prefer wooden utensils while I'm cooking because they don't scratch any pans. I have a few spoons, and two of the spatulas, and always reach for these first.
:: THREE ::
Dutch Oven
 Connor's sister gave us a Staub 6-Quart Cocotte for his graduation a few years ago, and we are obsessed. We have an oval yellow one, and a round red one. We love them! I make my famous chili in it, and have even roasted chickens in them. They are made from enameled cast-iron, and are better than Le Creuset {in my opinion} because it is not enameled inside so it doesn't show stains.
 :: FOUR ::
Sharp knives
If you have a good sharp knife, cooking is not a chore. I learned all about knives while working at the store, and had to show people how to properly handle, clean, and store them. You should look for knives that are forged from one steel "brick", and are all one piece. It will cost about $100 for a Chef's knife and about $50 for a paring knife. A knife is quite an investment, but should last longer than a lifetime. We always sold two or three-piece sets, including a Chef's knife + Paring knife, plus a honing steel. If you were to add any more than 2, make sure you get a good serrated knife to cut bread and tomatoes. May I recommend these lines: Messermeister Meridian Elite, Wusthof Classic, and Shun Classic? I prefer the Messermeister 8" Chef's knife and the Wusthof Paring. Yes, you can mix & match! Just make sure to pick up each one, and fake-chop something on a cutting board to see how it will feel.

Well, there you have it! If you are just starting out or need an upgrade, look no further than these pieces. If you treat your cookware and knives well (i.e. NO DISHWASHER, please handwash these!!!), they will last forever. My cast-iron skillet was my great-grandmother's. Can you imagine?

Thanks for reading, y'all!
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April of Smidge Of This said...

Great kitchen essentials! I love wooden spoons. Something about using them just seems so rustic and perfect. Mine aren't fancy but they sure do the trick!

Lexilooo said...

I adore wooden spoons and I keep a big mason jar filled with them on my counter! Also, I don't own a cast iron skillet, and just last night, was looking for some. Must buy one immediately!

Leslie said...

I think I'm lacking some kitchen essentials! What a great post. :)