Appliances...A to Z through our kitchen

From left to right - ish: Dazey Fondue Pot, KitchenAid Food Processor, Cuisinart Hand Mixer, Breville Immersion Blender, ChefChoice Knife Sharpener, Crock Pot Slow Cooker, TWO Taylor Digital Scales and a Waring Blender

 A few months ago, Harry and I decided to add a section called "What's in our kitchen?". Our thought was sharing some of the things that make our lives simpler and lead to us spending so much time cooking - other than a love of food. So, when I was trying to think of a theme for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, "What's in Our Kitchen" was an easy one.

When most people think of appliances, their minds go to refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers - you know, the big stuff. While we have most of the usual characters (my heavy-duty dishwasher is Harry), it's the small appliances that make our kitchen lives so much simpler and have expanded our kitchen chops. Not to be confused with gadgets, these workhorses are tools, just as a carpenter couldn't get by without a power saw.

If you've been here before, you'll notice that our KitchenAid 600 professional stand mixer is conspicuously absent from the top photo. Please pause for a moment of silence...

Tragically, the KitchenAid 600 died a painful death in the midst of a major baking frenzy on Sunday, March 25, 2012. Four and a half years, thousands of loaves of bread, thousands of rolls and pounds upon pounds of ground meat and pasta. She served us well. And we will welcome a new 600 into our home within the next couple of weeks.

The food processor handles almost every chopping, grinding and shredding duty in our kitchen. But, when it comes to grinding horseradish, Harry prefers to use our ancient blender. A lot of people like to make their smoothies in a blender, but I prefer to make mine with my immersion blender in a cocktail shaker. The immersion blender (or boat-motor) is also handy for pureeing soups right in the pot - and with a quick rinse, it's ready to use again.

Not so conspicuously absent is our POS Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker. We still hate the damn thing, but are saving up for a good coffee/espresso combo machine.

While I've never made true fondue, our fondue pot is the BEST thing I've ever found for melting chocolate for Buckeyes at the holidays. I can melt the chocolate without fear of water possibly dripping in from the double-boiler method. And I don't own a double-boiler.

Harry used to make fun of me when we first started cooking together because my knives were so dull. He patiently sharpened each one by hand. That got old, so in addition to his stones we now have an electric sharpener in our kitchen. He keeps the knives tuned up between full sharpenings with a ceramic rod.

I can't forget our digital scales - they aren't just for diet-related portion control. We weigh our meat as we package it (with our vacuum sealer) and also weigh dough portions. We've learned that when our loaves of bread weigh the same, they tend to bake at the same rate.

While I'm not addicted to my slow cooker, I can't imagine not having it around. There are days when it just makes sense to throw something in it in the morning, and then dinner is ready with no rushing around. I also have a mini-slow cooker for dips and such. In the basement, we have two electric roasters that I love to use to make jam and fruit butter.

While I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, the only other thing I can think of right now is the ancient microwave that's on its final stretch. Honestly, I only use it to occasionally warm up my first cup of coffee and some leftovers for lunch. But, we use it enough that we'll probably replace this old one later this year.

What small appliances make your kitchen life easier? Leave a comment or a link to a blog post extolling the virtue of the small kitchen appliance!

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