Vegan Kitchen Essentials

October 22, 2010

Here’s a pop quiz for you, as inspired by The Happy Herbivore: what one kitchen gadget, tool, accessory or appliance would you hate to do without? And more importantly, why? Here’s mine:

Let me know yours in the comments – I want to read this in a few days and have at least one “oooh, I wish I thought of that” and maybe a “wow, that’s what that’s for? I have to try that!” and I hope the same thing happens to you.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin October 23, 2010 at 12:04 am

That’s so funny that yours was hard to find too! I wanted a reamer a couple years ago. It’s like the citrus juicer but on a handle, so you just swish it around inside your halved lemon (in case you don’t know what one is). I asked for it for my birthday thinking that would be a simple request, not expensive, but it was what I wanted. My husband went to about four specialty cooking stores and at least five thrift stores before finding the one I have now. I had no idea how hard these are to find. I wonder if people are just so into the electric ones that citrus juice extractors without a motor are just not made anymore?

I’m going to have to think about my chosen gadget… That’s a good one.

Amanda October 23, 2010 at 12:39 am

My essential would have to be my blender. I use it for everything, my favorites being making tofu sour cream, and puree pumpkin. It would take forever if I had to it by hand!!

Sami October 23, 2010 at 6:52 am

It might be a bit of a cliché but the only thing I ensure I take is a nice knife, it makes so much of a difference whether you’re in the woods making mushroom soup or trying to prepare chips in a backwards hostel’s bathroom.

It’s not always entirely legal, but when I do happen to have been stopped + searched (mainly at train stations in Israel) the tent, sleeping bag and gas stove generally helped!

Mirkat October 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

I use my blender constantly, for smoothies, sports drinks, and gels to support my running–but I confess I am not the primary cook in my family. That would be my husband, who’d probably cite the food processor as HIS #1 kitchen gadget. 🙂

Colleen October 23, 2010 at 9:55 am

It’s definitely my food processors, yes plural. I had a full-sized KitchenAid one with different blades and it made chopping veggies, as well as making things like hummus, other dips and sauces , easy and fast. The other was a small one which I used primarily for things like nuts, seeds, and making oats into course oat flour. Both – BOTH!!! – died the death in the past 3 days and I’ve been floundering trying to think of things to make that don’t require either. Guess who’s going out to spend a lot of money of small kitchen appliances today?

Jason October 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

I love our food processor, but I never like cleaning it – the vitamix definitely wins there, though it doesn’t do quite as many things. Someone needs to invent a locking lid for food processors that has no grooves or channels for grime to catch in. Thankfully, my juicers (yes, plural) put the cleaning issue in perspective.

Mirkat October 23, 2010 at 10:57 am

I hate cleaning the food processors, too! (Little one gets used for small jobs such as guacamole.) My least favorite part to clean is up inside the cylinder, where no normal cleaning implement can reach. I always end up using a dowel rigged up with paper towel and dish soap.

Jason October 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

Oh, runner up on my essentials list and a handy solution to cleaning the food processor cylinder: a kitchen faucet with a spray nozzle of sufficient pressure to cut rock.

Mirkat October 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Oh, yes–I wish I had one of those spray-nozzle faucets. Maybe someday. Say, I had an idea for a question that’s almost, but not quite, the opposite of the one posted in this entry. What piece of equipment or technique in a recipe sends us running in the opposite direction. For example, whenever I see that a recipe requires straining anything through a cheesecloth, I move on to the next recipe. It’s like a mental block for me. I also don’t own a food dehydrator, so lots of recipes for raw flatbreads and veggie chips are out for me. Maybe someday I’ll buy a dehydrator. Not that the kitchen isn’t already overfull with gadgets. 😉

Jason October 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

For me I get turned off by stuff that ends up being a pain to clean up afterwards. I like to clean as I go when I cook so the mess afterwards isn’t too tricky, but there are some baking dishes that need serious scrubbing, for example, and I’m not a fan of that (and I generally don’t mind doing dishes – it’s the oversized stuff that takes work that I dislike.)

Erin October 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Okay, assuming this desert island has a good thrift store where I can get a used blender and pots and pans, I’d say my silicone cookie sheet mat. I use it for making kale chips in the oven, roasted veggies, baked tofu, cookies, roasted chickpeas, etc. I love that I don’t have to line my pans with foil or parchment every time and it makes everything so easy. It’s the one thing that I would buy new again first thing.

Lindsay November 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I love my immersion blender!! I have a tiny city apartment kitchen with no storage room for a blender, let alone a food processor. I bought my immersion blender for $25 a few years ago thinking it would be an ok plan b, but now it’s the best thing I own! It does all the work of the other things, but with way fewer dishes to clean!

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