There’s this common belief that you can’t become a good cook without a gourmet kitchen setup.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think all those gidgets and gadgets get in the way of making delicious food.
We all have a weakness, and for me, it always centers around food. I don’t shy away from buying my produce at farmer’s markets, hunting out the best markets in town during the winter months.
I have a kitchen stocked with all kinds of dishes, pots and pans, and accessories that supposedly make the job easier. Guess what? Very often, they don’t.
As a writer, I look for tools I can use to enhance my creativity. It’s no different in the kitchen.
Food preparation is a highly creative endeavor. When you’re creative in the cooking and baking process, you have a much better time preparing food. (And presenting it. And enjoying it!)
Herbs and Spices
If you don’t keep herbs and spices near you at all times, you’re missing out on a great way to enhance flavor. Do I buy some from my local grocery store? Yes … in a pinch. But there are so many better ways to flavor your food.
Want to grow your herbs? I highly recommend going this route. I have a fabulous nursery near my home that offers a wide variety of organic plant starters. They have an entire kitchen greenhouse where I’ve purchased Gorgeous varieties of everything from basil and thyme to tomatoes and squash.
If you don’t have a great nursery near you, you can start many of your herbs from seeds. Be wary of buying them at your local hardware store. I always look for organic seeds, preferably heirloom, organic, and non-GMO, whenever possible. Try Seed Savers or Eden Brothers.
Chocolate makes the world go around, right? I use chocolate in so much of my baking, that I knew I had to find a resource perfect for keeping around my kitchen.
Enter TCHO. I love their story. And I love their product.
It’s more than chocolate bars you tuck away in your desk drawer for nibbling throughout the day. Try the baking chocolate – you choose the sweetness level. Try the cacao nibs – I put a quarter cup into my homemade granola for a hint of chocolatey goodness.
You can read even deeper into chocolate with my article Healthy Chocolate – Yes, There Is Such A Thing.
I’m not a believer in loading up on small appliances. I believe you really don’t need more than a few pots and pans to do an efficient job in the kitchen.
However, the appliances I do have sitting on my counter are workhorses I use every day.
A plant-based kitchen can not do without a Vitamix or other high-powered blender that gets the job done every time. I make smoothies every morning. I make sauces at almost every meal. You truly will revolutionize your eating habits with this one amazing tool. And if you’re a Costco member, they put one on sale every year – it’s a great deal.
I also can’t live without my KitchenAid stand mixer. While I may not use it daily, it works wonders on breads and pizza dough.
I’ve also fallen in love with my electric kettle. Americans love their teapots – throw them on the stove, heat the water, and you’re ready for hot tea in just a few minutes. When I was touring New Zealand with my daughter, we spent several days in the northern part of the north island, and stayed at an Airbnb that is still one of my favorites to date.
Every morning she’d greet us with a tray of homemade goodies. She made her own jams, sweet breads, and granola. She also had an electric kettle waiting for us so we could refill our tea mugs as many times as we desired. I purchased a similar one when I returned home. It’s my memento of a Gorgeous trip! If you haven’t tried an electric kettle, you’ll never go back!
This is quite honestly one of the biggest items I invest in. Maybe it’s because there are so many things to store in a plant-based kitchen!
Let’s start with your refrigerator. Dumping a bunch of bags of veggies into the bins and on the shelves doesn’t make a lot of sense. Produce gets lost when you can’t see what you have. It wilts and molds quickly, often before you can use it.
I love produce savers – like Rubbermaid’s FreshWorks system. They are built with a filter in the top to help produce last longer. They have an elevated base that lifts produce and prevents moisture from accumulating. The result is produce that lasts longer – and you can see it quickly just by opening up the refrigerator door.
I also use glass storage for just about everything – flour, sugar, pasta, beans, rice, lentils, grains, tea. I’ve had great luck with these glass containers with bamboo tops. They seal well and look great on my counters and my pantry shelves.
I love perusing kitchen stores looking at all their fabulous gadgets they have for everything you do inside your kitchen. You could easily fill an entire kitchen if you bought everything on the shelves.
They might all look fantastic and sound like amazing time-savers, but in reality, you don’t need them. You’re better off spending money on quality tools you’ll use regularly. For me, that includes:
Cutting board – I have several sizes, but err on the larger side. It’s easier to finely dice veggies if you have more working space.
Knives – skip the butcher block with a dozen knives. Instead, invest in two or three workhorses and make sure they’re the very best quality.
Grater – I love my handheld finely grated tool that makes it easy to grate lemons and limes.
Strainers – I have a handheld strainer I can rinse off small portions, and a basket strainer I can use for pastas and veggies straight off the stove.
Music makes you feel more creative, doesn’t it? That’s why I’ll almost always have a playlist going to help me cook or bake better.
Back in the day, I was a soundtrack junkie. (Maybe that’s just a Gen X thing …) Every top movie had a soundtrack, and some of them did exceptionally well. Grease. Top Gun.
Maybe that’s why I like soundtrack playlists now.
Do what you need to make your plant-based kitchen – and cooking time – more fun!
So there you have it. Are you surprised I don’t have more gourmet items to use daily?
Gourmet isn’t realistic. And in fact, I prefer to keep things very simple so I can maintain my practices even when I travel. I love Airbnb because almost any kitchen comes with everything necessary to create great meals.
You have all you need right now to create nutritious, delicious plant-based meals at home.
Take a look at your kitchen. What do you love? What can you do without? What can you upgrade to create a Gorgeous kitchen you love to work in?
That’s all it takes to get started.