Getting organized

Five Faves in the Kitchen

You know how when you find something you love, you just have to pass it on? I feel this way about certain tools in my kitchen.

Over the years I've come to realize that there are a few essential tools I just can't live without. They make the time I spend in the kitchen that much more enjoyable.

Here are my top five must-have kitchen essentials:

• Parchment paper sheets. I buy them at the restaurant-supply store and use them for everything from lining baking pans to wrapping a gift.

• Microplane grater. It's so easy to grate chunks of hard cheese or zest a lemon, and it saves your knuckles too!

There are a few essential tools I just can't live without

• Oxo can opener. Once you have one of these, you'll NEVER need another one. It easily and smoothly opens a can, and best of all it crimps the edges so you're not throwing away anything sharp.

• White ramekins. I have about a dozen of them and use them for all kinds of things including for their intended use: baking lovely individual souffl-s or puddings. I also press them into service nightly for food prep, and as wine coasters to keep a bottle ring off the dining table. They're great for corralling little objects in drawers or cupboards, and are the perfect size for a butter dish.

• A good pepper grinder. If you buy a quality one, you'll have it for life.

Day in and day out, I use these over and over again. I am thankful for their simplicity and functionality.

This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on February 3, 2010

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