I decided to share with you some of the things I can't live without in my kitchen. All of the photos are from the talented folks at Flickr, as I do have all of these things but my photography still-life skills are not really up to scratch, in my opinion.
#1: Retro or Handmade Coffee Mug
It's always good to have a retro coffee mug from which to sip your morning brew. Either you found it at a flea market, it was passed down from a family member or a friend gave it to you -- either way it just warms the soul a bit to use it each day.The mug in the photo is not mine, but I did have one just like it that my parents used to have; sadly it broke during my last move, but I can remember it via this picture.
#2: Bartender's Corkscrew
Everyone has their favourite type of corkscrew, but mine is a classic bartender's corkscrew. None of this butterfly nonsense for me; in my days of bartending I got used to this classic style and I find it works every time.
#3: Wine Stoppers
Nothing is better than a good wine stopper when you want to preserve the vino for tomorrow night. I love the stoppers from LCBO because they are spill-proof if you are storing your wine on its side, but I wish they weren't made of plastic.
If I learned anything from the Chefs I've worked with, it's that you have to have a really good, sharp knife. In recent years I haven't splurged on a whole set, but my one good knife has really done the job, no matter what I'm dicing or chopping. Plus, you can always quote Crocodile Dundee while pulling out your knife for a bit of entertainment.
#5: Champagne Flutes
It's always handy to have champagne flutes at the ready -- you never know when you'll be toasting a new job, a friend's engagement or celebrating with that cute guy or girl you met the other night. Of course, it's also good to have a bottle of champagne in the fridge for such occasions.
#6: Pasta Bowl
Who hasn't come home from work starving and whipped up a quick pasta dish to devour after a super long day? Having a really good pasta bowl is always a bonus in this situation. Make sure it's wide and a bit deep, and it does double duty as a great salad bowl or snack bowl for parties.
Ask anyone who cooks with lemon zest, garlic, ginger root, nutmeg, chocolate...the list goes on -- a microplane is the best tool to have when grating. Pick one up and try it yourself, you won't be disappointed.
#8: Olive Oil
If you cook a lot of Mediterranean dishes such as myself, you will want some really good olive oil. Don't be shy -- throw it in there! A fruity, lush, olive oil can really add flavour to veggies, pasta, and many other savoury dishes. Plus it's essential for homemade salad dressings.
My blender has saved me so many times when I've been pressed for time in the morning, or when I've really needed a food processor but had limited resources. My favourite things to make in my blender? Smoothies, gremolata, cocktails and sauces.
#10: Food Network TV
Although I am not really into every show, some programs on Food Network are really fantastic for providing ideas, inspiration and education. I've learned culinary terms, flavour combinations and the stories behind food through Food Network.
What are your foodie must-haves? Click on "Comments" below this post and let me know!
Photo Credits (Flickr, in order of appearance): jollypollypickins, Kenn Wilson, Mr. T. in DC, Rock Salt Design, nuzz, Ash-Mac, Clever Subtleties, bats..., Christaface, roadsidepictures)