On any given day I am designing or thinking of designing a kitchen, but what about actually using them?! Well, my schedule is hectic, and I am on the go pretty much 7 days a week, so I relish the chance to pop open a bottle of wine and dive into cooking a meal in my kitchen.
When it comes to cooking, I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, but I am especially inspired by the seasons. Sacramento is the Farm to Fork Capitol and so much of what we see here in restaurants is seasonally inspired and locally sourced. When it comes to grocery shopping, I often find myself at Whole Foods or my local Raley’s. If you are local to Sacramento and haven’t checked out the new one on Howe Ave and Fair Oaks Blvd make sure you go! Speaking of Farm to Fork, I also make an effort to stop by the Farmer’s Market as much as possible. Being as that I am so busy, it isn’t always an option for me, but I do try!
One thing that is important is to always have a well stocked pantry and fridge. When you have a core group of items that you can depend on, it makes coming up with a recipe idea all that much more easy. Funny enough, I am not huge on cookbooks or recipes from blogs (or Pinterest, for that matter). I compiled my own book of my very favorite recipes that I tend to rely onnmost. As for staple ingredients, I love using good quality salt, tomatoes, and I always seem to have kale in the house!
Williams Sonoma is hands down my favorite place to shop for kitchen items – I could spend hours in there. These are my top three kitchen gadgets that I am always reaching for:
If you haven’t used one of these contraptions, prepare to be amazed. The amount of juice that is extracted when you use a citrus juicer compared to just squeezing it by hand is amazing! I love using lemons in a variety of ways and I would be lost without this thing. Think – lemon water, home made vinaigrettes, and cocktails with fresh lemon juice!
A good set of knives is essential to every single kitchen, and let me tell you, they are worth the investment. It has been said that a dull knife is far more dangerous than a sharp knife, and while that may be true, I am not exactly looking to test that theory. A good quality set of sharp knives makes everything easier and will help you get your slicing and dicing game up to Food Network level.
Last but certainly not least, my trusty zester. There is really no other efficient way to zest something without one of these! I love this microplane zester because it can be used for lots of different things besides just zesting citrus. You can grate cheese, fresh ginger, garlic, and a number of other things making this tool an absolute essential for me.
Now while I do love to cook, I have to say, my heart really belongs to baking! I am most known for my cookies (keep reading and you just might get the recipe!) and really desserts in general for that matter. For that reason, I absolutely couldn’t live without my KitchenAid mixer. You can do SO many things with this one piece of equipment it’s mind blowing. If you are a fan of baking, this beauty is so worth the investment. Currently I have the smaller version but I am thinking of upgrading to the large one because I love it so much. Beyond baking ’til your hearts content, this mixer has attachments to do everything from making fresh home made pasta to spiralizing zucchini to making sausages. I sure do love my mixer. Not to mention, they really do look beautiful on a kitchen counter!
So, let’s talk a little more about those cookies I mentioned. A whole lot of people are going to be pleased to see this post because I am sharing with you my beloved recipe for these crazy delicious confections! Here it goes:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla (sometimes I even add an extra dash of vanilla – SO GOOD).
- Add eggs and caramel sauce. Be sure to buy a good quality caramel sauce if you aren’t going to make your own. If you are feeling it, you can opt for salted caramel instead!
- Add your dry ingredients and combine.
- Add chocolate chips. I use large morsels and be sure to find the darkest chocolate I can.
- Sprinkle on your (high quality) salt or flaked salt prior to baking.
- Stick them in the oven for about 9-11 minutes. Keep an eye on them! This temperature is a little lower than normal but imperative to keeping the cookies moist and chewy.
Image via Foodie Crush
So there you have it! Some of my kitchen essentials. It’s these types of things that really do make a house a home. I hope you enjoyed today’s topic and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you end up making my cookie recipe. You’ll thank me later! Until next time.