I am currently in MY city, Chicago (that’s right, I decided that it is now mine), so I haven’t been cooking too much but since it was my birthday yesterday I have had fantastic meals since we arrived: dinner from my favorite Chinese restaurant (plus birthday canoli) on Saturday and grilled burgers and dogs (plus birthday ice cream cake and an enjoyable time watching Juno) last night.
Today I wanted to share with you my most beloved tools of the kitchen, things that my kitchen runs on that I absolutely couldn’t live without.
First on the list: olive oil. Our house practically runs on olive oil (hopefully, someday we will have a car that runs on veggie oil but that is another story for a different time). I don’t have a favorite brand or anything, as long as it is extra-virgin and organic. Once we move up to Chicago, I know there are folks from Canaan Fair Trade who sell Palestinian olive oil here, so I would love to try out that stuff. For now I use olive oil to cook almost everything (just not for frying): Brad’s famous hash brown potatoes, sauteed portobello mushrooms, sauteed onions and garlic for soup. You name it; it’s better with olive oil.
Secondly, I might get a lot of flack for this, but I love pre-diced garlic in the jar, organic of course. I know I’m Ms. Make-Everything-From-Scratch, but dicing garlic just seems like such a tedious and annoying job to me. It’s not so much the dicing part but the peeling-off-the-skin part. It takes me like 10-15 minutes just for the garlic. Now, when searching for a photo I came across a blogger who pre-diced all her garlic from the garden/farmer’s market and canned them in small jars at the end of the summer. I could probably go for that. We’ll see if it happens at the end of this summer. For now, I love being able to scoop out a tablespoon of garlic whenever I want, and that happens to be almost every meal, and at least every dinner.
And third would have to be my beloved spice “rack.” I have tried three or four different ways of storing spices over the years: one of those little spinny things with slots for the jars, a bar with a hanging basket, little jars stacked in the cupboard, and finally these magnetic metal tins. You can buy these jars from Bed Bath and Beyond for $2 a piece. Then fill with a spice or herb, label that back with a silver Sharpie, and stick to your fridge. It’s absolutely amazing! I have lots more space in my cabinets and I can see all my spices without them taking up precious counter space. The best thing about the tins is that there is a hole in the side of the tin and then two sets of holes on the side of the lid. So if you twist the lid, you can line up on the holes and shake out some curry or cumin or onion powder without having to open up the tin. That might not make sense to you, but, trust me, it’s pure genius.