What kitchen gadget has found a place on your counter top? Which ones are stored away and rarely used?
Sam is a trusted home cook.
NOthing! I like clear counter tops!
KitchenAid Commercial blender is used almost daily. I had to set it on a rolling cart because it is too tall to leave on the counter top.
On the counter used daily or weekly: A mini-prep, a foodsaver, Mortar and Pestle, rice cooker.
Stored and used occasionally: A larger food processor, blender, Vita-mix, panni press, a Emile Henry Tagine.
Recently Given away: A crock-pot very rarely used. An ancient ACME juicer I inherited.
Most surprising: A Soda Club Penguin soda maker I got a couple of years ago. It's used daily, although rarely for making sweet soda just club soda.
My VitaMix and convection toaster oven live outside of my cabinets. I have every kitchen appliance and gadget known to cooks but those 2 get used the most. After that, probably my KitchenAid stand mixer. Oh, and the coffeemaker. Nothing gets more use than that.
Not sure what qualifies as a gadget, but: 1) my toaster oven is used every morning so stays out; 2) The KitchenAid is out, but used more like weekly -- It's the big 6qt so is heavy to move, and too tall for my storage; 3) the teakettle, also daily.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
Espresso maker, coffee roaster & soda stream are on the counter. Everything else is in the cupboards, though I use the food processor and mixer pretty often.
Always out, used daily: KitchenAid mixer, 2-slice toaster (for husband), Bose for NPR & Pandora, big maple cutting board.
Stored in oven: pizza stone
Handy in cabinet: Food processor, mandolin, electric griddle, mixing bowls, cake & sheet pans, microplane box grater, salad spinner (fridge top).
Too high to reach: Ice cream bowl (for KitchAid mixer), angel food/monkey bread/bundt pans, French press, coffee grinder.
Am I crazy to contemplate getting a slow cooker? C'mon, I'm having a baby in 2 months! :)
Probably not, it could be a time saver. But, IMHO a foodsaver is great for bulk cooking and packaging vac pack meals..ready to boil in bag and go. When we do steaks I'll cook several extras on the grill...rare, freeze and then vacpack them. They'll finish cooking to med-rare in the hot water--defrost them first in the 'fridge or cold water--Then boil just a minute to heat. They still have the char-grilled taste.
One think about slow cookers, as a nursing mother, is that the long heat can remove some vitamins from the food.
No gadgets on the counters, but I love 2 things the best: my spoonula and commercial grade induction burner-great for cooking sugar.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I like clean counters in theory. In practice I have on my counter right now: a coffeemaker (use every day), a juicer (haven't used in over a year; need to put away); a food processor (use 3-4 times per week) and a toaster oven (nearly every day). My slow cooker is small and I never use it (but might this week if I decide to try my hand at fondue). I keep my beloved much-used Kitchen Aid mixer on a shelf in my basement (only 6 steps down from the kitchen) because it takes up too much room.
On counter is a Jura Capresso coffee/espresso machine, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and a toaster over. Because they are smaller and fit in cabinets or drawers in the kitchen are a stick blender, hand mixer, commercial blender,mandolin and a small and large food processor. In basement are an ice cream freezer, cookie press, waffle iron/sandwich press, an old George Foreman, slow cooker.
On the (poor crowded) counter is my mixer, toaster, blender and coffee maker. Below deck is the food processor, submersion blender, waffle iron, crock pot, ice cream maker, lefse griddle, perkalator and a zillion other non electric pots and pans and kitchen tools to numerous to list!
What a great question and what interesting responses! Clearly, most people want clutter-free counters and most have a struggle getting there. Our kitchens are poorly designed for people who really like to cook.
One item on my counter that I haven't seen in this list is a cast iron grill that is meant for roasting peppers - it holds them up above the flame on a regular gas stove. I also use it to warm tortillas - and since I have a breakfast taco almost every morning, the grill stays out.
My counters are, sadly, quite cluttered. My desk is the same way; I like my stuff I use out where I can lay my hand on it. Living on my countertops -- and I'm not counting back under the cabinets, where the canisters, toaster oven, basket of dishcloths, etc., live) are, working clockwise from the stove: a knife block, a pull-through knife sharpener, a jar opener that doesn't fit well in a drawer, a crock filled with utensils, a cutting board, a coffee grinder, a paper towel rack (jump across the sink, here), a small drain board that holds my French press and thermos that holds my coffee every morning. My island top holds a wooden bowl and two platters that hold potatos, garlic, onions, winter squash, and the like, as well as whatever junk has landed there that I haven't put away. A rack on the end holds my coarse grater, a couple of knives, my barbecue utensils set, and my rolling pin.
Toaster oven, radio, coffee maker, microwave, two cutting boards, knife block, and coffee grinder are on the counter and get used daily; also on the counter are two crocks of frequent-use utensils like spatulas, wooden spoons and whisks. Saucepans, sieves, steamers are in an upper cabinet next to the stove for everyday, and stockpots and skillets are in a lower cabinet next to the stove. Below counters I keep the food processor and stand mixer, used twice a week maybe. Also below is a blender that the kids use for milkshakes, once a month? Less used utensils like measuring cups, ricer, thermometers, peelers, turkey basters, etc. are in a drawer. High above the cabinets are the larger, lighter items - salad spinner 3x per week and weird items that rarely get used like an asparagus cooker and a fish poacher; those are mixed in among more decorative but useful items like a large wood salad bowl, baskets, pitchers. In the pantry we keep a pasta maker and a meat grinder that get used twice a year as well as baking gadgets like cookie cutters in cardboard boxes. In the basement there's a craigslist ice cream maker (electric, salt, messy, but worked great the two times I took it out of the box) and the waffle iron I just had to have as a teenager? I guess the gadgets that I use with the most appreciation are a hand juicer, corkscrew and a cast iron skillet. That was fun!
whoa, i think i have kitchen envy.
In my teeny tiny kitchen, on my 3.5 feet of counter space I've got a kitchenaid classic mixer, cuisinart 14 cup, knife block, crock (large tomato can) with spoons, spatulas, etc., an 8 qt. tub of flour, a quarter-sheet pan holding daily mise en place (small containers of flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, s+p grinders.) Thankfully, flat top range acts as a counter top.
Stored away and rarely used: Magic Bullet, Slap Chop, mandoline, hand blender, cookie cutters. I'm sure there's more.
Great question -- I love reading everyone's replies.
I have a small kitchen too, so I try to limit what ends up on the counter. But at the same time, I like having things within arm's reach. If something is buried in a cabinet, I am apt to think twice about using it, unless it's absolutely the right tool for the job:
On counter top and used pretty much every day: toaster oven, coffeemaker; coffee grinder, electric tea kettle, knife block. My Kitchen Aid mixer has a place of honor on the counter, too, While I don't use it every day, I do mix something in it usually a couple times a week, and it's just too heavy to move around.
Stored in a cabinet under the counter and used semi-regularly: salad spinner (3 times a week), popcorn popper (once a week because my five year old daughter loves popcorn), blender (couple times a month), vegetable steamer (3-4 times a week), waffle iron (twice a month), slow cooker (once a month), large stockpot (it's too big to fit into my kitchen drawers where the other pots and pans reside). Also in this cabinet are things that I don't use very often, but am reluctant to move out of the kitchen. However, I probably should because they don't get a lot of use: immersion blender, mandoline, ricer, food processor. I keep my cast iron grill/griddle and a pizza peel in a hall closet because they are kind of a bulky size and there is no room for them in the kitchen.
Stored in the basement and used on a very occasional basis: pasta maker, pizzelle maker, ice cream maker. We also store our microwave oven in the basement. It's just too big to fit onto our small kitchen counter. We plan to replace it with a smaller model once we do some reno work in the kitchen (hopefully later this year)!
I have only 2 feet of counter space, so not a lot fits! I keep a coffee maker and a crock with whisks/spatulas etc on the counter and that's it.
Blender, food processor etc are stored in the cabinet right below. Gadgets are in a drawer right under the cabinet, beside the spice drawer. I use my glass lemon juicer a lot.
My most used items are my knives, which are on a magnetic rack on the wall, with my rasp, and my mortars and pestles, which I keep on the kitchen windowsill.
My least used items are a grill and some large roasting/frying pans--they are in the very back of the cupboard.
Oh, and my kitchen is so small that all my dishes live in the living/dining room!
my electric water kettle is my countertop workhorse; though not appliances, i keep some oils, pickling vinegar, sea salt and some homemade seasoning blends next to my stove. the veggie peeler is usually there, next to the mortar and pestle. my stand mixer and immersion blender get used weekly, but live in the cabinets. my juicer and waffle iron live in a closet but they are worth having. i don't own a microwave, which forces creative re-use of leftovers and keeps the clutter factor down.
i'd add that my kitchen scale gets used several times a week, stored in a convenient utensil drawer below my workspace.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Most of my gadgets have to do with blades. Not on the counter but above it, that Ruhlman magnetic knife bar that recently appeared in the shop; I also have a thin profile Henkles knife block, barely 4" wide, and then another flat block in a drawer. The mandoline is in the utility closet. Multiple Microplaners are stashed in a drawer. Seldom used is the Cuisinart "Griddler". But I have been giving the Cuisinart ice cream maker a pretty good work out.
Robot coupe and kitchen scale. Everything else goes here...
My rice cooker.
I have a side counter where the ice cream maker and rice cooker live. Can't move the ice cream maker too much, the fluids need to settle after moving before you use it. And, it's damn heavy... The rice make lives there because that's where I use it and I'm out of cupboard space.
I also have another spot where the electric kettle lives (how do most Americans live without this?!), a sandwich/panini press (I don't have a normal toaster) and, perhaps most importantly, the meat slicer. How I ever properly enjoyed my collection of cured meats without one, I'll never understand....
I have too much stuff to keep on my counters, but they are in easy reach, and I use many of them frequently. I do keep the following out: my coffee maker, electric kettle, two crocks of utensils (I have knife drawer), toaster oven, cutting boards, jawbone (connects my iphone to listen to music/radio), microwave, scale.
Meg is a trusted home cook.
So interesting to read word pictures about other people's kitchens, great question.
Wish I was spare and organized but tend towards clutter, try to use hand tools rather than machines but can't live without: drip coffeemaker, two slice toaster, and blender, all on the counter.
Also on the counter: two crocks of utensils, including potato masher, sieves, tongs, wooden spoons, microplane zester, knives, potato peeler. Box microplane grater from my mom. Three mortar and pestles: one for tiny amounts of spices, one for medium amounts of spices, one from Puerto Rico to make mofongo and sofrito.
In the living room on display shelves because they're pretty but also frequently used: Depression glass hand juicers and a Japanese pottery ginger grater.
Also on the counter: dish drainer full of dishes (no dishwasher). Away from the stove next to the sink: bottles of olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, wine, brandy, liqueur. Food that doesn't fit in the cupboards. Three cutting boards.
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