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Equipping Your Kitchen for Culinary Efficiency

Whether you’re a professional or just an amateur chef, your Washington DC kitchen is the heart of your home. If this is you, you enjoy your time spent slicing, dicing, sautéing and baking. You love trying out new recipes and learning the secrets of making food look as good as it tastes. It is likely that you also are one of those people who salivate as you walk through a culinary specialty store and love to discover new and better versions of your favorite, kitchen ‘power tools.’

If you’ve just remodeled that Washington DC kitchen, some of your old standbys may be looking a little outdated on top of that shiny new countertop. Maybe it’s time to take a trip down the small appliance aisle at the department store and then swing by the kitchen specialty store to see what hot new items are on the shelf. Here are a few old favorites, along with some new innovations that you might want to consider when looking for the ultimate in culinary efficiency.

  1. Electric Rice Cooker. If rice is a standard ingredient for many of your meal plans, then you may already have a rice cooker. If not, you should have one on your list. For the very best rice, that remains warm, but not overcooked, a rice cooker with a warming feature is preferred. If you are a techno geek, as well as a rice lover, you may want to look for one of the new ‘ultra-intelligent’ rice cookers that is able to adjust itself while cooking to make sure the rice, white or brown, always turns out perfect. Park it in your appliance garage and it will always be ready to pull out for quick and easy access.
  2. Stand Mixer. Those who enjoy bread making and baking have long appreciated the help of the heavy-duty stand mixer, with the KitchenAid brand still holding the number one position in that arena. Attach the stand mixer to a swing-up shelf that pops up out of its own hideaway cabinet and this dynamic tool becomes even more convenient to use. Adding specialty attachments like a pasta cutter or food grinder can turn this kitchen power horse into one of the most valuable small appliances in your kitchen. Designer color choices make your mixer fit in with your color scheme as well.
  3. Slow Cooker. What was once thought to be a passing fad in kitchen appliances, the slow cooker has proved itself to be invaluable to the busy lifestyles of families in the 21st century. Entire recipe books are available with slow cooker versions of most popular dishes and plenty of new creations as well. Having a family meal hot and ready to eat at the end of day when both adults are working full time is a great time saver and the melding of flavors during the slow cooking process provide pleasure to the pallet at the same time The programmable versions that are now available make cook-ahead meal planning even easier.
  4. Food Processor. Slicing or chopping vegetables has always been a chore that was time consuming and endangered fingers that might come a little too close to the sharp kitchen knives needed to slice through carrots, potatoes and onions. The food processor has greatly reduced the time needed for preparing vegetables, shredding cheese, slicing fruit and chopping onions or celery. They come in a variety of sizes, made to fit small prep items like a single onion or large 20 cup processors for preparing food on a larger scale for freezing or canning.
  5. Blender. Although handheld immersion blenders have become quite popular for certain applications, they do not replace the standard countertop blender that has been a household staple for decades. Smoothies and malted ice cream shakes can be whipped up in no time. Some version will serve dual functions with special attachments to turn your blender base into a small food processor or to use it as a juicer, rather than buying a separate juicer appliance.

Of course, we haven’t even mentioned the toaster, the coffee pot, coffee grinder, espresso machine or toaster oven; all standard items in many kitchens. Many Washington DC kitchens can easily fill a significant amount of cabinet space with these types of small electrical appliances. If they really do get used and simplify kitchen tasks, they are worth having around. For those items you use the most, you’ll want to be sure and incorporate a convenient means of storage that is also convenient to the work area where the appliance will be used into your kitchen design. What are your favorite, and most used, kitchen gadgets?