I recently posted my top 5 dude foods for the modern-day, health conscious man. By all accounts there was a lot of positive feedback so I decided to keep the theme rolling in this post.
I remember when I moved out of the Louie household at the age of 19 and spread my wings by moving into a house near the beach, a mere two streets away from the family home. I’ll be honest, at this time in my life cooking was not my highest priority but as I learned to fend for myself, it became clear that there were a few stock items I needed in the kitchen.
Below are my top 5 kitchen essentials that I could not live without, both back then and now. It was a hard task, having to pick my top 5. These items were chosen because they suit the way I like to cook. I use them for cooking the food that makes me happy. To be successful at cooking, you have to enjoy what you are doing and what you are creating.
1. Cast-iron casserole pot: I use my casserole pot to cook almost everything. I use it to roast, for cooking warming casseroles in winter and for making pulled pork for my pulled pork tacos. This item gained the number one spot because of the versatility and the fact that I can throw in my meat and herbs, put it in the oven and enjoy a few beers while I wait for it to cook!
Old red gets me through any tough situation in the kitchen!
2. Griddle pan (cast-iron of course): Cast-iron cooking has become a theme for me. My mum bought me my griddle pan some years ago and I haven’t looked back since! It is the perfect item for cooking a steak. I can sear the steak to seal in the juices and then transfer it from the stove-top straight into the oven to finish cooking. I don’t know many men who don’t enjoy a perfectly cooked steak with a glass of Shiraz or a cold beer. My cast-iron griddle pan almost made the top spot but I think a close second still does it justice.
There is something manly about cast-iron cooking.
3. Open coal grill: This new addition is quickly becoming my favourite kitchen essential. For obvious reasons, I only use it outdoors, but with the hot Australian summers, outdoor dining and cooking is something I really look forward to. The coal grill dominates a gas hot plate in every way, except for the time it takes to heat up. As the meat cooks, the fat drips onto the coals creating a delicious smoke that adds a punchy smoky flavour. I enjoy grilling marinated pork skewers (Vietnamese style), or spicy chorizo. It is also quick, easy and minimal fuss when it comes to cleaning up.
My new toy. Open grill cooking at its very best!
4. Chef’s knife: Years ago, I was given a Global chef’s knife and it has remained by my side as my faithful slicing companion ever since. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to thinly slice meat or vegetables with a blunt knife. I have used knives in the past where I have sworn that chopping with a spoon would have been more effective. The common expression of there being a great woman behind every great man can be adapted to the kitchen – behind every great cook is a great knife!
A good knife = a good life.
5. Food processor: My food processor is never far from reach when I’m in the kitchen. I use it to create stir-fry marinades (chili, garlic, lemongrass, ginger), a biscuit base for a cheesecake or a basil pesto when cooking pasta. A food processor will have you cooking like a pro with minimal effort, resulting in impressive meals for loved ones, for the kids or when entertaining the ladies.
Create a masterpiece in seconds with a food processor.
So there you have it, my top 5 kitchen essentials. Whether you are a young 18-year-old with the aim of impressing the ladies, a 20-something man with a new girlfriend or a stay-at-home dad who is tasked with cooking for the kids, these essentials will see you on the way to creating impressive and delicious meals.