Some people can't resist the temptation when browsing beauty goodies at Sephora, but me? My guilty pleasure is cooking emporium Sur la Table… and generally any kitchenwares shop I discover. I don't own every kitchen appliance under the sun—I try to be practical, and there's a limit on what I can realistically store in an apartment. That said, when I find a great gadget that I use often and/or for a variety of purposes, I want to tell the world. So here's my attempt. Read below for nine kitchen gadgets I can't live without.
OXO Good Grips Citrus Squeezer ($16)
Sure, you can squeeze a lemon by hand, but human force just doesn't get as much juice out of the little fruit as a citrus squeezer does. (I've tested this with strong-armed gentlemen, and even they will admit it works wonders.) I use lemons and limes practically daily, so this thing is always on my countertop.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 10-1/4-Inch Square Skillet Grill ($160)
If you don't have a grill at home, this is an awesome alternative that gives your meat and veggies those gorgeous grate marks. Plus, it's cast iron, so it lends your food lots of yummy flavor. If you do have a grill, this is also the perfect thing to have around when you're cooking for one or two or when you just don't feel like cooking outside (especially in the winter!).
Farberware Champagne Stopper ($6)
I hope you know this, but a regular old wine stopper—if you can fit it in a champagne bottle—does not maintain the carbonation of bubbly. The only thing that can do it is a champagne stopper. In an ideal world, you'd finish the bottle, but if you're drinking alone or with a friend, and just want to treat yourself to a glass without wasting a whole bottle, nothing should stop you.
Cuisinart SmartPower Deluxe Blender and Food Processor ($103)
Living in an apartment, I don't have storage space to accommodate all manner of kitchen gadgets. I wish it weren't the case, but it is. I did endless research to find a well-reviewed blender/food processor combo that would perform well but not take up tons of space, and this machine has not disappointed. With a 48-ounce jar and a 600-watt motor, this twofer supports all my chopping, blending, and processing needs!
Zyliss Susi 2 Garlic Press ($13)
Everything savory tastes better with garlic. I can't think of anything that doesn't. Anytime I'm throwing olive oil in a pan (i.e., often), there's a good chance garlic will follow, so this press is a must-have. The best thing about it is that you don't have to peel the garlic before you use it. Plus, not needing to pull out a whole cutting board and a knife just to mince a tiny clove saves time and effort.
RSVP Onion Goggles ($20)
I think I received these onion goggles as a joke, but I use them all the time. Men will not understand the benefit of these (you don't wear mascara!), and if one more person tells me that lighting a candle keeps you from crying when cutting onions, I'll have to give up cooking. These things work, and I haven't found any other trick that does.
Norpro 3-Piece Plastic Funnel Set ($4)
This isn't the sexiest tool around, but at some point, you'll wish you had a funnel. I am constantly making syrups, marinades, and dressings for drinks and dishes, and when I have leftovers, I store them in a jar or bottle. Pouring them straight from the pot into the jar always proves to be messy… unless you have a funnel, of course!
Microplane Premium Green Zester/Grater ($15)
If you want to zest a lemon, or grate practically anything, a Microplane is a must have. This zester/grater makes a beautifully fine zest and has a long handle that's so much easier to use than those clunky graters of yore.
iSi Soda Siphon ($50)
Sparkling water doesn't have to be a fancy treat you have when you're out to lunch or something you spend $2 a bottle on, either. With my iSi soda siphon, I make a fresh bottle of soda water once or twice a week. Drink it au naturel or use it to add a little fizz to your cocktails. If you really want to get creative, you can even use it to make ginger beer at home.
What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets? Tell us below.