Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Essential Kitchenware for the Vegetarian Chef

The following is a guest post from Jennifer Kardish, a communications coordinator at RTA Kitchen Cabinets. She is a vegan and asked to share her knowledge on kitchenware. I felt that she had some useful basic tips.

If you’re thinking of becoming a vegetarian, or you’re one of the many already ascribing to a non-animal diet, then you have probably realized that it’s not exactly easy to convert. Besides the fact that many people don’t understand your decision, it can be extremely difficult to find the foods you need to maintain a healthy diet (especially if you live in a rural area). There’s also a good chance that you live (or eat) with others who do not share your veggie-centric views on consumption. If you are one of the many that share a kitchen with an omnivore, or even if you’re just starting on the path to a vegetarian lifestyle, there are few kitchen items you may want to consider.

1. Designated cutting boards. This can be especially convenient if you share your cookware with a meat-eater. You don’t necessarily have to get separate cookware, but a set of cutting boards marked with handy pictures of fish, meats, and veggies can ensure that you don’t chop your carrots on a board that was recently used for raw chicken. (It’s just a good sanitary practice anyway).

2. A chef’s knife. This is an extremely useful utensil for chopping vegetables and should be a staple of any vegetarian cook’s kitchen. There are two types of chef’s knife, the German style, which is curved towards the tip to promote a rocking motion when cutting, and the French style, which is straight all the way to the tip and is better for slicing (as in pulling the blade toward yourself to cut). Your preference will determine which is right for you, but you should definitely have at least one.

3. A food processor. A diet rife with vegetables can be, well, bland at times. You may find yourself eating the same pasta and bean dishes over and over. A food processor is a handy tool when it comes to mixing it up (pun intended!). You’ll undoubtedly want to experiment with different textures, mixtures, sauces, and so on, and that is where a food processor can be very helpful. (It’s also great for making your own pesto, peanut butter, vegenaise, etc.)

4. A collapsible colander. If you’re going to be washing, steaming, and eating a lot of vegetables, a good colander is invaluable. They can, however, be a bit bulky. So check out one of the many collapsible options on the market. They come in different shapes and sizes (some even rest over the sink so you don’t have to worry about them tipping or touching a sink surface that may have had raw meat on it) and flatten down to the height of a dinner plate for easy storage.

5. A crock pot. You thought this was just for long-cooking items like pot roast, but you can use it for soups and stews of all types, even vegetarian. The great thing is, you set it to simmer early and when you come home from work, your meal is ready and the whole house smells amazing!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great ideas..especially the collapsible colander. I have a problem finding kitchenware that is NOT made in China (especially mesh /stainless colanders). Also, what about a high powered blender. Seems that Vitamix is always touted as the best in veg magazines. Anyone tried a Healthmaster (Montel Williams infomercial) or a BlendTec? Thanks!!

johnny said...

Great article by RTA Kitchen Cabinets.