Sunday, January 12

Five Chef Essentials (and Wooden Spoon Butter Recipe)

Since getting married in June, our kitchen cabinets have been filled with some of the best tools in cooking. Our friends and family love us no doubt! I wanted to share a list of my five favorites – things I don’t think I could live without!  

 If you are like me, you are already starting to receive save the dates for spring and summer weddings (exciting!!).  So plan ahead and pick up a few chef essentials for the newlyweds in your life!

1. Wooden spoons // Pampered Chef or Herriott Grace

I've had my Pampered Chef spoons for nearly ten years, and they are my go-to for everyday cooking. However, Herriott Grace creates beautiful wood spoons that would make awesome gifts. Wooden spoons do require some TLC. To keep them in pristine condition, lather your wooden utensils up with a homemade butter to restore their moisture and extend their use (recipe below).

2. Towels // WS Organic Cotton or Anthro Plaid

Anthropologie is one of my favorite places to pick up cutesy kitchen linens, but William-Sonoma's are incredibly practical. They are all quite absorbent, and hold up against repeated washer/dryer cycles. Can you ever have too many good dishtowels? Probably not.

3. A Dutch-oven // Le Creuset or Staub

I know both these brands are a splurge, but they'll last a lifetime (maybe two). Don't do the whole, "I'll just get this cheaper one to see if I really use it" thing. You'll regret it - In the back of your head you'll really want one of these :) Now, if you do have a wedding coming up, and your bride has registered for a dutch oven, start calling up friends and go in on one together! I promise she will love you forever!

4. Bowls // Mason Cash Pudding Bowls or Vintage Pyrex

You simply cannot go wrong with Pyrex mixing bowls. They are very easy to find on Etsy and across the web. Mine were handed down from my grandma, and are still in great shape after 50+ years of use! Maybe vintage isn't for you though. The Mason Cash bowls are a classic, well-made, European option for those who want a simple, traditional mixing bowl. The Mason Cash Pudding Bowls have been found in the kitchen on the set of Downton Abbey, and used by icons such as Julia Child and Martha Stewart. The Queen also relies on them as gifts at Christmas time. So really, I don't think you can go wrong with Mason Cash, either.

5. Knives // Bloodroot Blades and Chroma

So I've always wanted a handcrafted-artisan chef knife, and I think I found the perfect place to get one. Bloodroot Blades crafts and customizes knives for all types of uses. Their work is amazing and I've read nothing, but fabulous reviews. For our everyday knives, I went with the recommendation of a trusted source - the owner of Milynn's in Dardanelle, AR - who had been a wiz at guiding me through wedding registry. She told me about, Chroma, a knife company in Georgia. The day she showed me their knives, I picked up three, and I can't wait to get back for more. We've been solely using their Japanchef knives ever since, and highly recommend them!

Have fun creating the perfect kitchen or planning your wedding gift purchases, and in the meantime, make sure you are caring for the wood in your kitchen (think spoons, boards, trays, and bowls).  I use this wooden spoon butter recipe for keeping my utensils from getting too dry:

Homemade Wooden Spoon Butter

In a large sauce pan of boiling water, I placed a quart mason jar with my beeswax (a quarter of a pound) cut into small chunks. Once the wax was melted, I placed another jar with the 16 ounces of mineral oil in the water to gently heat. Then I poured the mineral oil in with the beeswax and allowed them to continue to heat and emulsify, gently stirring until smooth and even. Take your jar out of the water bath, allow to cool and it's ready to use.