You’re late getting home from work, you’re ravenous, and the kids are clamoring for food. Sound familiar? Streamline dinner prep and make cooking easier by keeping the following kitchen tools close at hand.
scissors. From trimming away excess fat from
poultry to snipping off tough stems from kale, these scissors, designed
specifically for kitchen use, are endlessly handy. Use your shears to snip
fresh herbs that will impart flavor and color to a myriad of dishes. A pair of
good shears also comes in handy for cutting up a healthy pizza or a quesadilla,
snipping whole-wheat tortillas into wedges for homemade tortilla chips,
trimming the ends off green beans or the tough stem ends from asparagus, and
cutting boneless chicken into small pieces for a stir-fry. One way to ensure
that the scissors are well-cleaned in between kitchen jobs is to buy a pair
that comes apart at the joints to allow for thorough and easy
zester. Once you have one of these in your kitchen, you’ll be amazed at how many
tasks it makes easier. Use the zester to grate onion and garlic, hard cheeses, apples,
and fresh ginger (it’s so much easier to grate ginger than to chop it!). And if
you like flavoring your dishes with a little citrus zest, this tool makes it
easy to remove the zest from lemons, limes, and oranges without getting any of
the bitter pith.
vegetable peeler. This old-fashioned-looking little gem
has withstood the test of time. It streamlines everything from peeling summer
squash, apples, and sweet potatoes to making attractive zucchini and carrot
“ribbons” for salads. It’s also a great tool for shaving hard cheeses like
press. Keep this gadget close at hand in your kitchen and you’ll probably find
yourself using more health-enhancing fresh garlic in your cooking. It’s a real
timesaver if you just need a few cloves mashed. Some people also use a garlic
press for mashing olives and anchovies.
blender. Whether you are puréeing a soup or making a vegetable purée, this handy
little gadget will soon be indispensable in your kitchen. For many dishes that
involve puréeing and blending, there’s no need for a full-size blender, since you
can stick your immersion blender right into the cooking pot and purée its
contents. If you make hummus from scratch, using an immersion blender keeps it
light and creamy.
- Salad spinner. Chances are you’re eating plenty of greens on the South Beach Diet and a salad spinner can save a lot of prep time when it comes to washing and drying them. You’ll use a salad spinner not just for cleaning and drying everything from arugula to romaine, but also for heartier greens like kale, spinach, and chard. Got limited storage in your kitchen? Use your spinner in the fridge as a storage utensil for fresh produce. Salad spinners come in pull, plunge, and crank models. Choose whichever type you prefer.