Cooking and preparing delicious, healthy food for family and friends is one of my greatest passions in life. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and consider myself to be part of the slow-food movement, but that isn’t to say that all food preparation needs to be slow. While nothing that I eat comes from a drive-thru, there are many meals that I make on-the-go, or that I can whip up in a matter of minutes, but I couldn’t do it without healthy, delicious ingredients, and without the proper tools.
I often say that you can pay for sick care (in the form of medications, surgeries, office visits, etc.), or you can invest in your health (in the form of good food, yoga classes, Juice Plus®, etc.). Well, here are my top-5 favorite kitchen gadgets that help me get food on the table quickly, and that are definitely worth the investment:
1. Vitamix. For delicious, raw food, there’s no better way to go. You can also make soups, desserts, nut butters, and other treats for your family with a Vitamix. I use mine several times a day, especially each morning when I make our Green Drink for breakfast. This in an investment that you won’t regret making. If you order from my website (click on the Vitamix on the right hand side of this page), you’ll receive free shipping.
2. Pressure Cooker. Cooking your legumes and grains quickly with a pressure cooker is incredibly easy. I also love the book Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, by Lorna Sass.
3. A good old-fashioned food processor. For recipes like salsa, where I want some chunkiness, for chopping (as opposed to puréeing) vegetables, or for thicker-consistency recipes like hummus, I prefer a food processor to the Vitamix. There are many good ones on the market.
4. A dedicated coffee grinder for grinding spices. You don’t want to use the same grinder for both coffee beans and spices… your morning cup of Joe will taste like cumin! An inexpensive coffee grinder that’s in an easy-to-reach spot in your kitchen makes it simple to grind your spices fresh as you need them, which makes food so much more flavorful than cooking with pre-ground spices in a jar.
5. A tagine (pronounced tuh-ZHEEN): This is an expensive-but-well-worth-it item that I suggest to everyone. From the product description: For centuries, North Africa has had access to a myriad of wonderful spices to complement the region’s diverse (foods). The traditional method of cooking in North Africa–the Tagine–has been used for centuries to slow cook with these spices. Precious little water is needed to keep foods moist, and the unique design of the Tagine lid locks in the combination of flavors. The base in this model, made of cast iron, works with any heat source: gas, electric radiant or solid plates, ceramic, halogen, induction, and Aga-Rayburn-type stoves. This le Creuset model comes with many recipes, but check out a North African cookbook, or a Tagine cookbook, for more ideas.
Note: Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget that helps you prepare healthy, delicious food? Let us know about it. We love to try new things, too!