Such a tool.

Everyone needs a tool in life.

Preferably not of the jerk male variety, but I suppose those guys can teach a lady a lesson about what not to want or accept.

What I'm really talking about here is kitchen tools. My life in the kitchen didn't really come to fruition until my dad bought me some nice knives.


Not my first nice knife, but my go-to now. (It's a Henckel)

Oh, how I struggled with bell peppers until I had a nice knife...

My collection of tools keeps growing. It makes storage in my pantry-less kitchen quite the challenge. But I love my tools, and they make my meals all the better. And easier.

I present to you: the microplane grater.


It is so much easier to zest citrus with this handy-dandy grater. A regular grater works, but this works faster.

You can also never go wrong with varying sizes of fine mesh strainers:


These make juicing a cinch (as well as a slew of other tasks...)

One of the newest additions to my kitchen is this kitchen scale.


Of course, you don't truly need to measure weight as called for - guessing based on the total quantity has always worked fine for me in the past. But for those odd recipes you come across that have weird (or European) quantities, this helps you rest easy. I also used the scale to measure out the pasta required for the recipe (1/2 pound, which was pretty much half the box. Oh well.)

Also a relatively new addition to my kitchen is this box grater with measuring cup attached.


I LOVE it. Granted, I usually use more cheese than called for (bad, bad, bad), but it's also nice to have a place to catch all the cheese. Since some still falls off of the front, I grate over the cutting board for easy clean-up.

Also, I got these storage bags for my cheese wedges. So far as I can tell, they work pretty well...


Lastly - and obviously a given - high quality heavy bottomed cookware is essential. My hand-me-down cookware in my early 20s can't hold a candle to the Wolfgang Puck set my mom got me years ago.


It was something like this set, though it didn't come with non-stick pans...

This tool-utilizing recipe was minimally adapted from Damn Delicious, to whom most of the credit goes...it also includes a new pantry essential: heavy cream. I use it for scrambling eggs or anything else to satisfy that dairy craving.

This sauce is very lemony; use 1 lemon if you want less strong flavor. The thick sauce clings perfectly to the pasta, and is moderately healthy...minus the cream and chesse...

Lemon Cream Pasta with Lima Beans

[ingredients]
1/2 lb whole wheat fusilli pasta
1 tb olive oil
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2 tb cream cheese
1/2 cup dried lima beans, cooked (or 1 can)
3 oz fresh spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 small tomato, chopped, or one pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

[method]

  1. Warm olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to brown.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  3. Pour in heavy cream, lemons, and lemon zest and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain. I used the same strainer to drain my pressure cooked lima beans.
  5. Add cream cheese to cream mixture and stir until melted.
  6. Return pasta to pot and add cream sauce. Warm over medium heat until combined. 
  7. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until spinach wilts to your desired wiltedness. I had to turn up the heat to medium.



I got the idea for the cream cheese from The Pioneer Woman. She's just never afraid of the extra creaminess...yum.

Enjoy!

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