Tuesday, October 14

Your First Apartment: Kitchen Essentials

Have you or do you know of anyone who has just moved into his or her first real apartment? Right now they’re probably busy outfitting their kitchen, and they most likely need a little help. Although the basics will do, you don’t want to waste hard-earned money on tools that are either flimsy or overpriced. Equipment testing has proven the following to be highly recommend as the best in kitchen gear that won’t break the bank.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Classic shape provided "plenty of room" in steak and chicken tests, but small handle made pan feel heavy when lifted. Eggs stuck "considerably" and took "tons of scrubbing" to clean the first time around but barely stuck and cleaned up easily the second time. Corn bread was crusty, with perfect release. Amazon, $33.00. Photo Source

T-fal Professional Non-Stick Fry Pan
This pan had the slickest, most durable nonstick coating, releasing perfectly. It's well proportioned, with a comfy handle and generous cooking surface. I wouldn't take good money for mine, I use it to cook EVERYTHING! Aluminum with steel disk base, five-layer nonstick coating, silicone handle - oven safe to 410° F. Cooking, $34.95. Photo Source

Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Chef’s Knife
Still the best—and a bargain—after 20 years, this knife’s “super-sharp” blade was “silent” and “smooth,” even as it cut through tough squash, and it retained its edge after weeks of testing. Its textured grip felt secure for a wide range of hand sizes, and thanks to its gently rounded edges and the soft, hand-polished top spine, we could comfortably choke up on the knife for “precise,” “effortless” cuts. Amazon $34.50. Photo Source

OXO Good Grips Carving & Cutting Board, 15" by 21"
Our favorite bargain board sports rubber strips on both sides that keep its lightweight frame anchored to the counter—and make it reversible. It did suffer deep scratches and gouges but never split or warped, and it cleaned up stain-free in the dishwasher. Amazon, $24.50. Photo Source

Lodge Color Enamel 6-Quart Dutch Oven
Crafted from enameled cast iron, this cheaper alternative to the Le Creuset produced crispy French fries in all of our tests. It's a great choice for cooks who don't want to break the bank but still want a reliable, trustworthy pot. Walmart, $49.95. Photo Source

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 12-Quart Stock Pot
Very similar to our winner, the pricier All-Clad pot, our best buy from Cuisinart comes with handles that are "easily grippable" and "sit well in your hand." It's the perfect vessel for boiling pasta water or for making chilis, soups, and stews. And at a fraction of the cost of our winner, it's perfect for the burgeoning home cook. Amazon, $49.95. Photo Source

RSVP International Endurance Precision Pierced 5 Qt. Colander
With all-over tiny perforations that don’t allow small foods to escape, our longtime favorite colander has a draining performance that remains unmatched. Its 1 1/8 inches of ground clearance was enough to keep nearly all the drained contents from getting hit with backwash. The model cleans up nicely in the dishwasher, and its handles are slim but still substantial enough to grip easily. Amazon, $24.95. Photo Source

Wear-Ever Half Size Heavy Duty Sheet Pan
We use a baking sheet with a wire rack set in it to keep some recipes warm in the oven after we fry them, such as our Thick-Cut Sweet Potato Fries. This baking sheet didn't warp or bend, and when you use it to bake cookies or roast meat, it produces perfect browning and releases food easily. Amazon, $19.00. Photo Source

CIA Bakeware 12-Inch x 17-Inch Cooling Rack
This rack perfectly inside a standard 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, and offered extra support with a central brace and six feet rather than four. It doesn't warp in the oven or dishwasher. Amazon, $15.95. Photo Source

Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen
Given that oil temperature is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting the crisp outside and moist interior that make fried food so satisfying, we can't stress the importance of a good instant-read thermometer enough. This model aced all of our tests, and, as an added bonus, won't turn off when wet. Amazon, $96.00. Photo Source

ThermoWorks Super-Fast Pocket Thermometer
An instant-read thermometer is an essential piece of kitchen equipment, and if you don't want to shell out the big bucks for our winner, this model makes for an excellent alternative. Its extra-thin probe allowed for easy temperature checks and even inserted horizontally into chicken breasts. Its relatively fast readout times put this model at the top of the rankings. Amazon, $19.00. Photo Source

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