15 Items for a Smarter Kitchen
Using these items can help make cooking just a little bit easier.
1. Tfal Optigrill, $159
Depending on where you live, you might not have space for a true grill, or be allowed to use one. And even if you did, knowing when stuff is properly cooked can sometimes be a challenge. Enter the Tfal Optigrill. This apartment-friendly device takes the guesswork out of grilling: It uses sensors to perfectly grill everything from burgers and chicken breasts to sausages and fish and even paninis, making it a lot less likely that you’re going to give yourself—or those you’re cooking for—food poisoning. Take a hamburger, for example: Want it done rare, medium, or well? The Optigrill beeps at each stage so the meat is just how you like it.
2. Gunter Wilhelm 7” santoku knife, $65
You might be thinking that $65 is a lot to spend on a single knife, but trust us: It’s worth it. The Santoku is great for mincing, slicing, dicing, and chopping, and the dimples create air pockets that keep food from sticking while you cut. Plus, it’s made with an alloy of high carbon and stainless steels, so it will last forever (and if something happens to go wrong, the knife has a lifetime warranty). Also comes with bragging rights: Tell your friends you’re using the same brand of knife as professional chefs and the people who cook for the President, and they’re sure to be impressed.
3. Pop Chart Lab Cooking Measurements Tea Towel, $16
Converting measurements while you're cooking can be a pain. Keep this towel on hand to make it easier. (Plus, it's nice to look at!)
4. Quirky Mocubu Cutting Board, $24
This cutting board also functions as an organizational device, storing foods you’ve already chopped in handy drawers underneath until you’re ready to use them.
5. Adjustable Rolling Pin, $20
Sure, you can guesstimate the thickness of your dough. Or you could buy this rolling pin, which has discs you screw on to the ends so you can roll to exact thickness; measurements etched into the pin itself help you nail the width, too.
6. Slip-on Bowl Spout, $7
Stop drips and spills with this handy little device, which slips onto bowls for easy pouring.
7. Perfect Bake, $50
Baking is an art, of course, but it’s also a science. Brookstone’s Perfect Bake™ App-Controlled Smart Baking is a scale that connects to an iPad app to help you nail those recipes every time. It not only guides you through each recipe, but helps you determine what you can make based on what ingredients you have on hand.
8. Compact Folding Bookstand, $27
Whatever you choose to read your recipe off of—a cookbook, your iPad or iPhone, a single piece of paper—this will hold it all. If you’re using your iPad, outfit it in these sleeves to keep the screen flour- and grease-free.
9. Paperchef Parchment Cooking Bags, $8
Make like the French and cook “en papillote,” or “in parchment" with these bags, which can be used in the oven, on the upper shelf of BBQs, and even in the microwave. It won’t just enhance food’s natural flavors, but also make cleanup a lot easier!
10. Onion Goggles, $20
It’s one thing to put metaphorical sweat and tears into a meal. It’s another entirely to do it because you’re crying from chopping onions. (Here’s why they make you cry, by the way.) These goggles will keep you from shedding tears, and might also be useful if you’re taking a road trip in a motorcycle sidecar.
11. Grape and Tomato Cutter, $10
Slicing grapes and tomatoes the old fashioned way takes forever. If you’re not interested in doing the two plates-and-a-knife method, as demonstrated by this brilliant dad, pick up this handy device.
If space is at a premium in your kitchen, consider investing in this set of stainless steel nesting prep bowls, which also includes a colander, a mesh sieve, and measuring cups. (There’s also a plastic set for half the price.)
13. Lifefactory Glass Food Storage, $17
These glass containers serve as both food storage and bakeware—even the silicone sleeve can go in the oven! Comes in three sizes: one cup, two cup, and four cup.
14. Pancake Batter Dispenser, $10
Making pancakes has never been this clean: Load the batter in the stainless steel dispenser, hold it over your griddle, and squeeze the handle. Goodbye wasted batter, hello perfectly round pancakes!
15. Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven, $300
Another smart combination device for small spaces, this oven broils, bakes, and toasts. There’s no oil, so your dishes are healthier, and steam heat cuts cooking time by 40 percent. You can even proof bread in this bad boy!
BONUS: Hedley & Bennett Commis Apron, $83
No chef should look like a hot mess when he leaves the kitchen. Keep it clean and stylish with this apron.