smitten in-the-kitchen favorites

utilitarian stuff

perfect baking dishesmy favorite cutting boarddirt cheap super-sharp paring knivesreplacement canisters after a clumsy year

Utilitarian favorites:
Flexible fish spatula
Ladle
Big mandoline
Nesting bowls
Olive oil cruet
Cheaper cutting boards

Cookware:
12-inch Lodge cast iron
5-quart dutch oven (but would reocmmend a 6 or 7 if you’re getting the 4qt)
Great Jones stock pot

Which appliances to add? in order of usage
Food processor
Kitchen Aid
Instant Pot
Citrus press, high and low
Ice cream maker

Random stuff I use a ton (not going to photograph, right?)

Three microplanes: rasp, shaver, larger grater
Cookie scoops
Garlic press
Offset spatula
Ball wide-mouth storage jars
Spice jars
Glass measuring cups
Dry measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Onion goggles
Bench scraper — stiff and bendy

A perfect white casserole dish for every occasion: I actually bought an extra one this year, which brought me to two of these. Two! In a tiny kitchen! This should tell you how perfect I find them. They’re the ideal balance of lightweight but sturdy; the sides are deep enough for your most ambitious lasagna and years in, mine look like the day I bought them. They’re total minimalists, so your cooking can shine like the star that it is. Plus, it’s so rare that the best in category stuff is also the best priced: let’s delight in it. // Amazon

A not-quite-budget but endlessly adored cutting board: I looked for years for the perfect cutting board, one that I hoped to keep forever or at least the next decade. When I saw this, I knew it was the one. Dead flat in a gorgeous black walnut, I love the rounded edges and that it’s sturdy but not so big and heavy that I can’t move it around (because in a small kitchen, the cutting board can’t take up permanent residence on the single counter). If you’ve been following the site, you probably see it in at least one photo a week. // Magnus Lundstrom

Dirt cheap, insanely sharp paring knives: Yes, I realize I’m the last person on earth to buy these, but I finally did and whoa, why don’t I listen to people sooner? They’re insanely sharp, light and cheap. The blade takes forever to dull, something I can’t say for any other knives in my kitchen, and I ran mine all of three times over a knife sharpener and it was as sharp as new. It’s so nice not to dirty my big chef’s knives over tiny tasks. // Amazon 3.25″ & 4″ / Bed Bath and Beyond / Williams-Sonoma

Canning jar canisters: I have had these for ages but due to an extra clumsy year, I got to buy more! Still, though, they’re minimalist workhorses. I keep sugar, all-purpose flour and other canister-sized dry goods in them; I always know how much I have left (sadly does not always translate to remembering to buy refills when at stores, but they’re jars, not miracles). I love that they’re airtight with gasket lids and dishwasher safe. They’re a little tight for a 5-pound bag of flour — it just makes it with a little shimmying — but are otherwise perfect and the squared shape means they fit more tightly together in the cabinet. I had no trouble using 6 but if that’s too many for you, I suggest finding a friend to split the order with. Everyone has to put their stuff in something, right? // Borgonovo 145-ounce Jars on Amazon / Walmart / and more

tabletop

our hopefully forever glasseswater carafesnew instantly adored silverware

Simple glasses that I hope to be able to replace forever: Over the years, we’ve bought a lot of glasses and, because we are human, broken most of them. Replacing them is never fun because few brands make the same glass patterns for years and years. One day I was at a coffee shop with a friend and by the water jug, they had these small pretty glasses and she exclaimed “just like we had at school growing up!” Setting aside the fact that French schoolchildren drink from actual glasses at lunch (sob), I had my “a-ha!” moment: if they’d been around for 30+ years, they’d hopefully be around for another 30. We bought several sets and replaced all of our glasses. Bonus: they are really hard to break! I mean, sure, we succeed, usually on the tiled kitchen floor, but I’m surprise how rarely they break when dropped on hardwood. Obviously, we must try harder! // Buying notes: Duralex Picardie glasses are sold almost everywhere kitchenware is. But, we found it helpful to get two 18-piece “starter” sets with 6 each of the 8 3/4-ounce 12-ounce and 16 7/8-ounce tumblers. Several years ago, we also bought 6 5 3/4-ounce and 6 7 3/4-ounce Gigone tumblers; the small ones were perfect for little toddler hands, the large became our favorite pudding and small dessert dishes. // Amazon / Duralex / Sur La Table / Chef’s Catalog

Minimalist water carafes: Evidence that I’m a terrible host: I inwardly groan when water glasses need to be refilled. A giant pitcher of water seems like the obvious answer, but can be unpleasantly heavy to pass down the table. I found my solution when I wasn’t even looking, on the table of Russ and Daughters Cafe a few weeks ago: slim, minimalist carafes, and hunted until I tracked them down. It turns out they’re made by a company named Libbey, which also makes my spice jars — no wonder I liked the look so much! // Amazon

Instantly Adored Silverware: We looked for new silverware for years before finding what we were looking for at a good price and ended up feeling like we won the lottery. The knives actually cut! The teaspoon is quite tiny and thus perfect for a cup of tea or coffee, or for feeding babies. The tablespoon is perfect for soup, so scoopy! Yes, I just described a spoon as “so scoopy” in case you’re wondering why nobody hires me to write ad copy. The handles are slim, the flatware has weight but isn’t heavy. It feels classic to us, which was important as we’d prefer not to have to replace for a very long time if ever. We bought three sets but it’s already led us to inviting more than 16 people over here twice, so maybe it’s safer to just buy two. // Villeroy & Boch Piemont

cookware

a braiser

Braiser, aka a Squat Dutch Oven: Do you have someone who wants to buy you a fancy kitchen gift? Do you have a giant gift certificate for a kitchen supply? You should totally buy a Dutch oven. (I vote for a 5 quart for regular use and a 7/8 quart for big parties, but mostly the 5.) However, should you already have a Dutch oven or if you find it to be more voluminous or heavy than you need for it needs to be for weeknight, I am not sure I use a pot more right now than I do this 4-quart braiser, which is kind of like a shorter, squat Dutch oven. I often use it on the stovetop to saute ingredients and then transfer it to the oven for pasta bakes like this and this. It’s also great for roast chicken in parts as well as smaller quantities of soup (I made mushroom barley in it this week when my bigger pot was being held hostage by stock.) Oh, and it’s dishwasher safe (cast-iron but enameled) which totally counts around here. Mine is from Staub, but what’s key here to me is the size and use, not brand. // Staub 4-Quart Braiser on Amazon / Williams-Sonoma

small appliances/machinery

waffle makerstovetop coffee maker

Coffee Maker: I don’t make coffee. My list of excuses is miles long — doesn’t ever taste right, don’t have space for anything that plugs in, my french press always left me a puddle of sludge, please don’t make me buy a pour-over kettle too, etc. — but mostly it came down to the fact that because I work from home my morning coffee stop after school drop-off is often the social highlight of my workday as well as a great time to get meetings in, plus running errands with a hot cup off coffee in your hands on a cold day makes errands many times more enjoyable. But, this became increasingly a drag and I’m so glad I came around. This coffee maker is perfect for me — it’s tiny, requires only a stovetop and is rugged — and it took me very little time to become a person who preferred my own homemade coffee to that I can buy — you get it exactly the way you like it, every time. Plus, I make a little every time I make coffee and it’s nice to know I’m wasting much less money these days.

[When I posted a Snap of this a couple months ago, I got many requests for a tutorial. Let me know if there’s interest and I can write it up. I followed many online and was still baffled about how to make half a pot, which is what I need most days, when I am solo. Update: Here’s your tutorial!]

Bialetti Espresso Maker, 6-Cup / Illy Medium Roast

A waffle maker that respects your time: I mentioned this earlier this year but it bears revisiting: I have lamented for years why I didn’t understand why waffle makers didn’t just come with removable plates. “Just wipe it out with a sponge!” you’ll say, but my last waffle maker had 360 channels and 240 keyboard-like bumps (you’d better believe I counted) and after last December’s sticky gingerbread waffles, I swore off waffles until I either stopped caring about whether I was cooking on truly clean appliances or found a model that valued time not spent cleaning as much as I do. I ultimately found two: the first is Cuisinart’s Griddler, for which you can buy additional waffle plates. Everyone seems quite happy with the product, and the system would have been perfect… had I desire or need for a Griddler. I bought the second one instead, a simple model from Hamilton Beach that has proven so easy to use and clean, our waffle intake has increased tenfold since. So, consider this a recommendation and a warning. // Amazon

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