* Appliances and gadgets that are built to last
* Save time and money in the long run
* Kick up your culinary skills with the right products
Sometimes it’s hard to spend money… two grand for a root canal, a few hundred for parking tickets, a loan to your brother-in-law that you know will never be repaid. When it comes to the kitchen, however, there are so many fun and handy gadgets, gizmos, and whirligigs that make parting with that hard-earned cash easy.
Splurging on cooking gear is also sometimes necessary. There are certain products where expensive is the only way to go, unless you’re willing to replace it every few months. Here are our picks for kitchen essentials that are worth opening your wallet for. The dental work can wait.
1. Global G-2 8-inch Chef’s Knife
If you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, start with the most basic of basics. A good chef’s knife will get more use than almost anything else in your kitchen. This blade is tops when it comes to a feature you might not even know you need—balance. It’s easy to grip, and the edge stays aligned no matter how fast you’re chopping. All Global knives are lightweight, but this 8-inch version is just heavy enough to let you know it’s working. Also, the straight up-and-down edge stays sharp longer than knives with beveled edges.
2. Sous Vide Precision Cooker
If you are serious about poaching—or just want a way to cook inattentively that’s not a crockpot—consider sous vide. If you’re not familiar, it’s a method of cooking using circulating water to heat food that’s placed in vacuum-sealed bags or glass jars. It takes longer than the traditional pot-on-the-stove method, but it cooks much more evenly, and you don’t have to watch it constantly.
It is easy to use; just attach the circulator to any pot, add water, drop in your ingredients in a sealed bag or glass jar, then press start. Talk about hands-off, you can even control this model remotely using your smartphone. So, go to the movies and come home to an evenly cooked dinner.
3. FoodSaver 2-In-1 Automatic Bag-Making Vacuum Sealing System
If you’re going to sous vide, you’ll need a vacuum sealer. This one contains everything you need to get started. It makes bags of various sizes, from quarts to gallons. There’s also a convenient drip tray that collects the excess juices from whatever you’re sealing. Using it is simple and straightforward, taking the guesswork out with custom bag creation. There’s also a handheld retractable sealer that eliminates the need for additional attachments. This one unit does everything to ready your food for the circulator.
4. Hamilton Beach 33967 – Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Slow cookers get a bad rap among the culinary know-it-alls. People complain about washed out flavor and mushy texture. Some insist that you can cook it—whatever “it” is—better and faster in a pot or in a skillet. And for some things, this is true. But slow cookers are great for certain things – think soups, stews, and braises.
This model truly is “Set ‘n Forget.” There are three choices for easy, automatic cooking. With the Probe setting, you can cook meat to the desired temperature, and it automatically shifts to “keep warm” when that temperature is reached. The Program setting lets you pick a cooking time and automatically shifts to “keep warm” when time is up. The Manual setting is the simplest: it works like a traditional slow cooker. And, as icing on the cake… it’s not even that expensive.
5. Teakhaus Teak Cutting Board
Stop chopping on your counter or that plastic board – you’re killing your knives. It’s time to upgrade to a cutting board, and not one that slides around or warps. This teak board offers the two things all cutting boards should: durability and longevity. It’s resistant to moisture, and teak’s abundant natural oils make it ideal for years of culinary applications. It’s not only spacious enough for large party-sized meals, but the added hand grips make this sturdy board easy to both move and clean.
6. Vitamix Professional Series 750
Okay, so $600 is a lot of money for a blender, but if you’re going to splurge, get the best. The Vitamix Professional Series 750 can mix it all: hot soups, smoothies, nut butters, frozen desserts, etc. It’s also easy to clean and BPA-free. The blade is stainless steel, and there’s a removable plug in the lid so you can add ingredients while it whirls.
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