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When Kitchen Tools Become Friends

When Kitchen Tools Become Friends

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Run by chef Brian Arnoff, who has worked under Barbara Lynch in Boston and for one of Michael Mina's establishments in D.C. describes his wandering food truck CapMac as "The Capital of Macaroni." Mac and cheese is thus, not surprisingly, the main draw here, either in classic form or with meatballs or "sloppy" with meat sauce. There's also long-cooked brisket over rigatoni, Buffalo chicken mac, and a "happy ending" bar — a layered concoction involving a chocolate chip cookie, a coconut brownie, and a sheet of honey walnut toffee.

Arnoff launched CapMac in November, 2010, and with him, the truck's other key figure Victoria Harris has been a permanent fixture of Frankie ever since (Frankie's the truck's name, apparently). "For the most part, we did all the prep work, dishes, social media, catering, and regular truck services," Harris noted. They've gotten some more help of late, but not before she spent so much time in the truck that she named all the kitchen tools (more on that below).

In this interview with CapMac's Victoria Harris, discover how the truck got its name, how it almost blew up on its first day, and who Winston, Spatty, Clopsy, and Cache are.

What was the inspiration for going into this business?
Brian has been working in the restaurant industry since he was 14. After working for prominent chefs like Barbara Lynch and Michael Mina, he realized there was a need for quick casual pasta that was tasty. D.C. was chosen as the city to launch CapMac in because his wife is pursuing a Ph.D. at Gallaudet University.

What's the story behind the origin of your truck's name?
Capital of Macaroni!

How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
Danny Tellers.

Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?
No vanity plate. However, the truck's name is "Frankie."

What model truck do you have?
A 1993 Ford E350.

What's your signature dish? Is it also your most popular dish?
Classic CapMac & Cheese is our signature dish, however by customer demand "Balls out" and "Sloppy" are the most popular versions ("balls" means adding chicken parm meatballs, and "Sloppy" means adding Bolognese sauce).

What's the inspiration for your cuisine and recipes?
We like having Italian classics like chicken parm and Bolognese on our menu to complement our pimento cheese mac. Great classics inspire us. We also make spin-offs from classic sandwiches like the Reuben and Philly roast pork with broccoli rabe. Our customers are extremely vocal about their eating preferences. They are by far are our biggest inspiration.

What's the most challenging thing about running your food truck?
The most challenging thing thus far has been finding qualified employees. For the past year or so, Brian and I were the permanent fixtures of the truck. For the most part, we did all the prep work, dishes, social media, catering, and regular truck services. Now, because of the relationships we've built in the city we've gotten some excellent referrals!

Would you ever go brick-and-mortar?
We're open to all kinds of opportunites!

What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the food truck business?
Spend a week or two actually working with a food truck operator. Brian and I have degrees in food and beverage/restaurant operations so we kind of knew what we were getting into. Most other owner/operators opened their truck as a second career. The common misconception about opening a truck is that it's easier than opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It's NOT! Be prepared for 70-hour work weeks and lots of creative problem solving!

Any new upcoming dishes planned that you can tell us about?
We make a new dish (salads, soups, macs) as often as once a month; as soon as Brian tells me what he's scheming up I'll let you know.

Any new plans on the horizon you can share?
We are heavily involved in social media on several different platforms. That being said, we just joined as experts on mac and cheese, we started filming a few weeks ago! We'll have a YouTube channel and will be on the site, so stay tuned!

Lots of things happen when running a restaurant and that probably goes double on the road. As such, be it weird, funny, good, or bad, what's one superlative or particularly outstanding moment or story that's ever occurred with your truck be it with customers, in the kitchen, or just in general?
Weird: We were alone in the kitchen for like 12 hours a day in the beginning, so I started naming the kitchen tools. Brian jokes that they were my only friends. We still use the names to this day. Winston the whisk, Spatty the spatula, Cache the cash box, and Clopsy (short for cyclopes) is our wooden spoon that has a burn mark on it that looks like an eye).

Funny: Brian and I met through a mutual friend, and I moved to D.C. to start the truck with him before I ever met him in person. We say that deciding to run a food truck at 23 was our "quarter-life-crisis."

Good: We have two recipe publications, a Zagat rating (one of four trucks mentioned), and have done at least four of our customers' weddings!

Bad: I almost set the truck on fire the first day. I did not realize there was a pilot light in the same area where I had decided to put the paper bags!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Our customers are beyond outstanding, they make every day awesome.

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.

9 Essential Kitchen Tools and Appliances Worth Splurging On

If you're a serious home cook, these items will stand the test of time.

Building a well-stocked and efficient kitchen is something that takes time. For many of us, there are specific pieces of kitchen equipment that we replace and upgrade as we evolve as a cook. If you’re ready to swap out that hand-me-down casserole dish or stained plastic cutting board for something chic and high quality, then we’re here to help.

From a centerpiece-worthy roasting pan to the blender that all chefs have in their kitchens, this high-end equipment is worth every penny. Here, nine tried and true big-ticket kitchen tools that every serious cook should own.

Best Overall: Sur la Table Digital Glass Scale

Dimensions (LxWxH): 9 x 6.5 x 0.75 inches | Maximum Weight: 15 pounds

This kitchen scale, made exclusively for Sur la Table by Escali, has a sleek design and hits all the marks in terms of workability.

Only 0.75 inches, it can handle up to a total of 15 pounds in 1-gram or 0.1-ounce increments. It also has a tare function, and a “hold" feature that continues to display the weight on the easy-to-read screen even after the item has been removed.

With touch-sensitive controls and automatic shut off, it’s quick and easy to operate, and clean-up of its glass surface is a breeze. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

What's Cooking? - Mama Recipes

Tie your apron and sharpen your knives – it’s time for a crazy cooking adventure in WHAT'S COOKING? - Tasty Chef! Starting as an amateur cook with a small kitchen, you’ll combine ingredients to create over 700+ recipes and serve delicious dishes to hungry customers. Customize your restaurant, upgrade your kitchen and improve your skills to become the world’s greatest master chef!

⦁ Combine ingredients to discover and cook 700+ recipes
⦁ Customize your restaurant and kitchen with unique themes
⦁ Level up your chef to unlock new ingredients and recipes
⦁ Upgrade your kitchen with new equipment
⦁ Visit the market and play mini-games to get common, rare or epic ingredients
⦁ Cook your diners’ favorite dishes for extra rewards!
⦁ Become a master of the kitchen and cook 5-star dishes!

Part of any chef’s job is to find the highest quality ingredients available! To cook the best dishes you’ll have to visit the market. But there’s a catch - you’ll have to win your ingredients in a card game. You are given 10 attempts to flip over cards and discover the ingredients you want, try not to lose… you need ingredients to cook with!

As you level up your chef you’ll unlock delicious new recipes and ingredients to find at the market. With so many combinations available, there are over 100+ amazing dishes to discover! Have fun to combine ingredients and discovering brand new dishes to serve to your hungry restaurant diners.

When you serve delicious food to your restaurant diners, you’ll earn coins – you run a business, after all! Why not spend these coins on upgrading your restaurant and kitchen? Unlock a variety of new kitchen tools to cook faster and better dishes, or customize your restaurant with new themes which give EXP bonuses to certain dishes!

Level up your chef by earning EXP and cooking some amazing food in your bistro, or invest some coins in training. To become the world’s greatest master chef you need to master each ingredient and learn to cook 5-star food – are you ready for the challenge?


IKEA’s New Cookbook Puts Kitchen Scraps to Good Use With 50 Recipes From Top Chefs

IKEA’s recent collaboration with 10 super chefs led to the creation of a new kind of scrapbook—one that contains recipes made from food scraps.

Utilizing the less-loved parts of produce or cheese, the SCRAPSBOOK curates 50 recipes for kitchen scraps that would otherwise be thrown away.

As much as Americans try to pull kale and broccoli into their diets, what happens to the greenish white stems? What about the leaves growing from our favorite carrots, turnips, and radishes? What about those banana peels and apple cores—that no one thinks to use for nutrition? Can one really make great recipes with them?

To answer, let’s listen to what Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther from Winnipeg’s Feast Cafe Bistro had to say on behalf of her “Banana peel bacon” recipe served with wild rice flapjacks.

“Who knew you could eat a banana peel? Although it is thinner than bacon, it has a balance of sweet, smoky, salty, and heat, plus with the hint of banana it is oh so delicious!”


Banana flesh can also be used in pancakes, or frozen to use for smoothies or baking. Try the Banana Peel Chutney, on page 30, that Jason Sheardown serves with shrimp.

Adrian Forte from Ontario and David Gunawan from British Columbia turn radish leaves and kale stems into risotto and pesto, while Bruneau-Guenther contributes again to a pan-baked dish of squash and potato skins with maple syrup and cheese to help people get the most amount of fiber and nutrients out of their starches of choice.


“Scrapcooking is about finding the beautiful possibilities in that banana peel, radish top, or even the chicken bones you’re about to toss, and make the most of everything available to you,” explain the authors of the book in the foreword. “It’s little things like these that can add up to make a big difference.”

The epitome of this concept may be Adrian Forte, a celebrity chef heading up the Toronto-based Chef du Jour catering service, and his recipe “Clear-out-the-Crisper-Soup”—the ultimate in tasty recycling.

“I often save food scraps throughout the week — everything from chicken parts to vegetable trimmings. Usually, these discarded scraps end up in my weekly soup stock,” he writes as an intro.

The 111-page SCRAPSBOOK, downloadable in PDF here, also contains instructions for all kinds of different ways to reuse food scraps, beyond simply composting them—although it has instructions for starting a compost pile, too!

  • How to regrow produce from chopped ends
  • Using ground eggshells as a limescale cleaner
  • How to prepare cucumber leftovers as an insect repellent
  • Tips for how to store different produce that you wouldn’t expect
  • How to clean your finest skillets with leftover food instead of steel wool

It can be a great feeling to know that every taste inherent in a piece of food was turned into talent to make your life more nutritious and closer to Mother Earth.

11 Kitchen Tools You Don't Really Need

Save money (and cabinet space!) by discovering new uses for your old standbys.

These days, it seems like every recipe requires its own special pot, pan or gadget. But do you really need a panini press, mandoline or other expensive gadget just to try out a new dish? Not only does it make you hesitant to experiment in the kitchen, it can also get pretty costly. Tired of shelling out on kitchen equipment&mdashhowever handy it may be&mdashwe turned to Kate Merker, food & nutrition director for Woman's Day, and Cynthia B. Keller, a chef instructor at Culinary Institute of America, for advice on how to use what you already have in your cabinets to achieve what one of these specialty cooking tools can do. The results: A win-win for your pocket book and dinner table.

Electric Griddle

Griddles are great for pancakes and fried eggs because they have a big, flat surface to cook on. However, their size (which ranges from 20"x10" to 23"x17") make them a beast when it comes to counter space and storage. But a cast iron skillet with a flat bottom will do the trick since it doesn't warp when you put it on the stove, and you'll get a relatively even heat conduction, according to Keller. Plus, she adds, "If well-conditioned, they become naturally non-stick." In a pinch, a sauté pan would also work, she says, but they are prone to getting a hump in the middle, which will cause uneven shapes and heating.

Electric Steamer

A steamer is a terrific way to cook vegetables without adding fat, but there's no need to add one to your already-crammed cupboard. Instead, simply place a wire mesh strainer or metal colander directly inside your cooking pot filled with water. If your lid won't fit after placing either inside, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top and seal it around the pot. Note: Be sure the strainer or colander is heat-safe or made with stainless steel (it should be clearly labeled). If you're not sure what the material is, you should avoid using a strainer or colander for this type of preparation because it may contain lead solder, which can leech into your food.


It only takes one mess to learn that, if a recipe calls for a funnel, you should use it. The trouble is, you never know exactly what size you'll need and storing larger diameter funnels is a pain. Fortunately, it's a breeze to construct a makeshift one. For wet ingredients, trim off the bottom section of an empty plastic soda bottle (about 3 inches down from where the neck slopes) and turn it upside down. This will work for practically anything except when you're home canning jellies or jams, as the high temperature can cause the plastic to warm and become misshapen. For dry ingredients, create a simple cone shape from parchment or wax paper, holding it in place or taping the sides.

Juice Reamer

When a recipe calls for fresh-squeezed juice, forget a reamer or handheld juicer&mdashsimply use a large pair of tongs (about 6- to 8-in long). Place a halved citrus fruit into the V-shape near the hinge along the top of the tongs and squeeze the handles together.


A mandoline will give you precision when slicing fruits and vegetables&mdashbut it's expensive and can be dangerous if you don't know how to handle it properly. Instead, use a vegetable peeler. It may not be as quick or uniform in slicing, but you can still achieve paper-thin slices and long curls of vegetables or fruit peels. For maximum efficacy and control, find one with a handle that comfortably fits your hand, and (carefully) slice towards the body.

Meat Mallet

If you like chicken rollups and veal scaloppini, a mallet is a must&mdashbut instead of keeping this Medieval-looking device around just to occasionally pound out some meat, go for a small sauté pan instead. Sandwich the meat between two layers of plastic cling wrap and have at it with your makeshift mallet. Keller likes to use an 8- or 9-in pan, because it has "a nice, broad flat surface and hits the meat evenly." You could also use the sides of a heavy can wrapped in plastic, but a sauté pan will be easier to handle.

Panini Press

A sauté pan won't give you those signature grill lines, but it will provide all the toasty, gooey sandwiches you can handle&mdashwithout spending $40+ on a bulky, one-use gadget. Start with a sauté pan that's clean and not made of copper (which oxidizes). Put your panini in it and place a heavy cast iron skillet on top in order to press the sandwich down flip your sandwich over once the bread is toasted. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, place a sauté pan on top, weighing it down with three or four large cans (around 28 oz) of soup or vegetables. Another option is to place an aluminum foil-covered brick on top of the panini in lieu of another pan.

Pastry Bag

Unless you're piping an intricate design or delicate embellishments, skip the pastry bag (which is a bear to clean) and opt for a zip-top plastic bag that you can toss when done. Small sandwich bags break easily, so it's best to use a gallon-size, heavy-duty freezer-safe bag. Like you would a pastry bag, add the frosting or filling (about halfway up or less), press it down gently into one bottom corner and twist the leftover bag at top to close it off. Snip the corner off as desired (the higher up you cut, the bigger the line will be) and pipe away.

Roasting Rack

Great as it may be for cooking fowl, the roasting rack doesn't get much play beyond Thanksgiving. Skip the hassle (and cost) by creating a small ring or S-shape "snake" out of rolled foil that's about 1/2-in thick. Place it in an aluminum roaster pan and then set your bird on top of it. For an even easier option, layer chopped onions, carrots and celery on the bottom of a pan, about 1/2- to 1-in deep, and set your bird on top. It's just enough room to let the air circulate&mdashwith the added benefit of roasted vegetables for later.

Rolling Pin

Unlike some other items on the list, a rolling pin isn't usually pricey. But it does take up space and, unless you love to bake, it's seldom used. In its place, wrap a wine bottle (full or empty) with plastic cling wrap and work away as you would with a pin. The wrap will keep it from sticking and prevents a full-bottle from getting messy. If you're working with dough for pie or shortbread cookies, ensure it stays cool by using a full bottle that's been chilling in the fridge for a bit.

A wok retains heat well and provides a lot of surface area for quick-cooking meats and veggies. However, its 14" diameter makes storage a challenge while the bowl shape limits its usage. A large sauté pan works just as well for stir-fries and can be used for many other types of dishes. Keller advises picking up one that has a clad bottom and good weight to it, which will "hold the heat nice and high, and disperse it evenly." Avoid lightweight, non-stick pans, which won't conduct heat well enough.

The Ultimate List of Kitchen Tools for Healthy Cooking

It might happen slowly at first: A new, delicious chicken recipe requires a proper roasting pan and carefully measured ingredients. It also calls for minced, diced, and julienned add-ins. (“Hey Siri, what’s julienne?”)

Or it could happen all at once: Mom drops by for a surprise visit and the only things on hand are plastic cups and a jar of peanut butter… oops.

Maybe it’s time to stop using cookbooks as coasters and turn to their intended purpose instead — which means new cooking supplies (and kitchen skills) are in order.

Whether you’re living and cooking solo for the first time or in need of a kitchen overhaul, we’ve picked the best (and most necessary) tools to wine, dine, and entertain like a pro.

Editor’s note: We determined price ranges based on what we found in nationwide and online retailers. The price key for our picks are as follows:

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1. Paring knife

When going for a delicate cut, turn to the paring knife. It’s perfect for dicing smaller fruits and vegetables, mincing garlic cloves, and deveining shrimp.

2. Chef’s knife

One of the more versatile knives available, a chef’s knife allows you to chop, slice, mince, and more without switching tools. You’ll be like a kitchen Karate Kid!

A great knife may cost you a pretty penny, but it’s a worthy investment. It’ll quickly climb it’s way to the top of your most-used items list.

Tip: Look for a stainless steel variety to keep away rust.

3. Cutting board

The workhorse of every kitchen, the cutting board is your faithful culinary friend. After all, how many dinners don’t involve cutting and chopping?

While plastic boards are inexpensive and easy to come by, wooden versions tend to be more sanitary since they lack grooves for germs to hang out in. They also help keep your knives in tip-top shape.

4. Measuring cups and spoons

Did Mary Poppins mean a teaspoon of sugar or a tablespoon? Either way, having measuring tools is essential for following almost any recipe — or just portioning out serving sizes. Who knew a cup of cereal was so small?!

5. Kitchen shears

Used for everything from chopping fresh herbs and vegetables to slicing dried fruit and even meat, shears make every kitchen task so much easier. Take that, regular scissors!

6. Colander

Though it’s possible to drain pasta using a pot lid, the result isn’t always pretty. (Jump-cut to rogue noodles escaping and burning yourself on hot steam.) Avoid this drama by using a colander, which drains water like a pro.

Bonus: Colanders make it super simple to wash fruits and veggies. Buh-bye soggy pasta hello clean produce!

7. Can opener

There are few things worse than reaching for a can of pumpkin and realizing there’s no way to open it. Or soup, coconut milk, beans, or anything else deliciously canned.

Though many goods have pop-tops these days, it’s always better to be prepared — ’cause you don’t want to have to hack into a can slasher-film-style just to make dinner.

8. Mixing bowls

Think mixing bowls are just for baking? Think again. Use them to marinate meat, dress veggies with sauce or seasoning, and make salad dressings and dips (give one of these a whirl).

Tip: Skip glass bowls that chip easily and opt for lightweight stainless steel versions.

9. Blender

These master mixers are used to whip up smoothies, mixed drinks, soups, nut butters, sauces, and oh-so-much more. And they can do it all in a matter of seconds. How’s that for an all-in-one appliance?

10. Grater

Graters are most commonly used to shred cheese — quesadilla, anyone?

But they’re also wonderful for zesting citrus fruit, grating chocolate, and shredding vegetables like potatoes and zucchini. How else did you think hash browns came to be?

11. Whisk

This funny-looking tool has many more uses than beating eggs and making whipped cream.

It’s also great for mixing vinaigrettes, combining dry ingredients for baking, removing lumps from sauces and gravies, and standing in for a microphone during impromptu dance parties. (Trust us on this one.)

12. Vegetable peeler

Peeling veggies with a knife: Top Chef status. Peeling veggies with a peeler: just as good, minus the likelihood of an ER visit.

Spare your fingers and stick to this tool, which serves as a master potato peeler and a fancy veggie ribbons creator. Peelers are also great for shaving off pieces of hard cheeses, like Parmesan.

13. Rolling pin

A rolling pin is a must-have if you love making dough (the kind you bake with, anyway). This kitchen staple will help create perfectly flattened crust for pies and pizzas. It’ll also come in handy for making holiday cookies.

Tip: When rolling, use a pin that’s longer than the width of the dough. This will help ensure it’s even.

14. Food processor

It may be a bit bulky to haul off the pantry shelf, but a food processor takes the elbow grease out of innumerable kitchen tasks.

This workhorse can chop vegetables, purée soups, make fresh pesto or salsas, grind nuts, and whip up homemade breadcrumbs in seconds. Nobody puts the food processor in the corner!

15. Food scale

Whether measuring meal portions or baking your next masterpiece, food scales provide a more precise measurement than cups and spoons alone. Once you start using one, you may wonder how you ever got by without!

16. Spatula

Whether you call it a flipper, a turner, or a spatula, this tool is surprisingly flexible. It can scramble eggs, flip pancakes, stir sauces, and more.

17. Saucepans

Don’t let the name fool you saucepans aren’t just for sauces. From simmering soups to making quinoa, a saucepan will quickly become one of your most-used items (if it isn’t already).

18. Sauté pan

Not to be confused with a skillet (a sauté pan has straight sides), these pans are perfect for braising meat and cooking lots of leafy greens. And thanks to those higher sides, sauce is less likely to spill all over the place.

19. Skillet

One of the most versatile stovetop tools — you can cook nearly anything in a skillet. Nonstick varieties are inexpensive and make it easy to cook foods without needing to add much butter or oil to coat the pan.

Cast iron versions can go from the stove to the oven to make one-pan meals a snap. And while they’re more of an initial investment, with proper care they can last a lifetime.

20. Baking sheet

Even if baking cookies isn’t your thing, these sheets are super handy. Use them to roast veggies, make homemade fries, cook chicken, or bake bacon.

For easy cleanup, cover the surface in aluminum foil and spritz with cooking spray. When the food is done, remove the aluminum foil — no washing necessary!

21. Oven mitts

We’ve seen enough burned fingers to know not everyone has mitts lying around. Use these to protect both you and your kitchen from the wrath of a hot oven. (Yes, they’re actually more effective than a kitchen towel.)

22. Roasting pan

Intended as a tool for roasting meat, this pan produces juicy, flavorful results and requires little kitchen prep.

Its size also means it’s great for making large quantities of food: Think meatloaves, lasagna, casseroles, and more.

Tip: Choose one with a rack to make cooking that Thanksgiving turkey a snap.

23. Dutch oven

No, we’re not talking about the stinky prank your brother used to pull on you. Dutch ovens are actually a great tool for making one-pot, slow-cooked meals like stews, pot roasts, and soups.

A six-quart version should be large enough to make most meals.

24. Cooling rack

Cooling racks help ensure cookies and other baked goods cool quickly and evenly. A quality rack is also great for getting the perfect crisp on Colonel Sanders’-style breaded meats by eliminating sogginess.

25. Grill pan

If you don’t have outdoor space or it’s too cold to fire up the grill, a pan can create similar results indoors. It may not impart the same smoky flavor, but it does leave those eye-catching grill marks on meats and veggies.

It’s also an easy alternative for grilling foods that are often lost between traditional grates — think shrimp, fish, or asparagus.

26. Potato masher

Though it may not see as much action as other kitchen tools, a potato masher is vital for making lump-free potatoes… as anyone who’s attempted to make mashed taters with a fork will agree.

For even more plant-based goodness, use this tool to mash beans for bean burgers, or avocados for guacamole.

27. Wok

Wok this way to get your stir-fry on! The high sides of this Asian-style pan mean you can stir and flip food without fear of anything escaping onto the stovetop.

Tip: For best results, preheat a wok before adding the oil.

28. Meat thermometer

Never eat underdone or overcooked meat again! A meat thermometer ensures meat remains moist and safe to eat.

For the most accurate reading, stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, away from fat and bone. A digital instant-read thermometer gives a temperature in just seconds.

29. Flatware

No more hoarding forks and knives from local takeout joints — you’re movin’ on up!

If you’re opting for a stainless steel set, go gentle on the dishwasher detergent too much can cause silverware to rust. Now go brush up on your table-setting skills.

Hint: The fork always goes on the left.

30. Plates

It sounds pretty basic, but yeah, we’re gonna go there: If you’re a grown-up, ya need plates!

Not only do real plates make delivery pizza feel gourmet, they can also be an extension of your personal style. If you’re feeling extra fancy, get yourself a set of both dinner and salad-sized options.

31. Bowls

BFF to late-night cereal and scoops of ice cream, bowls are a necessary ingredient for any kind of slurping.

They also work as makeshift mixing bowls if sticking to small portions like salad dressings or scrambled eggs for one.

32. Glasses

We won’t tell if you prefer guzzling milk and juice from the carton, but there is a more civilized way of drinking beverages.

Sticking to glass prevents the leaks that sometimes accompany Solo cups — and makes you feel that much more adult.

33. Mugs

While mugs may conjure up visions of sipping morning joe, they’re more than a coffee-delivery vessel.

When the dishwasher or sink is full, they make great stand-in glasses, and they’re perfect for concocting quick and easy mug cakes.

34. Salad bowl

These larger bowls are perfect for serving salads loaded with lots of veggies and other add-ins. Simply throw ingredients into the bowl, give them a good toss, grab some tongs, and get after it.

35. Serving bowls

Serving bowls are must-haves for big dinners, barbecues, or any occasion where food is being served family-style.

Set out everything needed for a delicious meal, and let guests serve themselves. Then bat your eyes and accept the compliments on your cooking.

36. Serving plates

Use serving plates to showcase food and make it easy to dig in. A large oval serving plate is essential for large meats and heaps of roasted vegetables, while specialized ones like cake serving platters are more specific.

Tip: Stick to a lower price point if you don’t host large-scale gatherings often.

37. Serving spoons

Look Ma, no more losing spoons in a pot! Use a slotted spoon for lifting big pieces out of liquid (like potatoes from a stew), a non-slotted one for spooning sauce over food, and a ladle to serve soups.

38. Tongs

These claw-like tools are crazy-versatile. They can flip meat (sans bacon grease burns), serve salads, toss stir-fry ingredients, or squeeze juice out of a lemon like a champ. Heck, you can even use them as a bottle opener!

39. Wine opener

There’s no point in stocking up on “Two-Buck Chuck” without an opener, right?

While you can find plenty of spendy wine openers, the corkscrew variety is compact and easy to store or carry along. (You never know when you might be the hero in a wine emergency!)

40. Pitcher

Nothing says homey quite like a big pitcher of a refreshing drink. It also eliminates the need to constantly refill guests’ glasses. Who wants some sangria? (*Raises hand.*)

41. Food storage containers

Storage containers are great for saving leftovers and keeping ingredients like chopped veggies fresh and ready to toss into a dish at a moment’s notice.

Sets with different sizes are useful for storing foods of all sorts, while containers with un-detachable lids means tops won’t magically disappear.

42. French press

The best part of waking up is coffee in your cup — and a French press makes it even better. Brewing is simple, the aroma is delicious, and it takes up much less room in the kitchen than a coffee maker.

43. Teakettle

If you live for hot beverages, the high-pitched whistle of the tea kettle isn’t annoying — it’s a siren song of warm, tasty goodness.

While your teapot of choice doesn’t have to be short and stout, it sure does help that it has a handle and a spout. This makes boiling water easier to pour (and easier for hands to avoid).

Tip: Heat water in the kettle to quickly cure ramen noodle cravings.

44. Immersion blender

Immersion blenders are sneakily useful tools. Simply stick one into a pot of soup ingredients, purée away, and viola: smooth soup sans blender fuss.

They’re also great for getting lumps out of mashed potatoes and making creamy hummus.

45. Juicer

Fresh-squeezed juice outdoes the bottled kind any day, elevating marinades, sauces, and homemade baked goods to something special and sweet.

When it comes to juicers, you can get as fancy as you want (helloooo, $100 extra-quiet, nutrient-extracting cold-press). But for day-to-day turning lemons into lemonade, all you need is a basic model.

46. Apron

Last but not least on this list of essentials: the humble cooking apron. It’s there to protect you (and your clothes) in everything from a brownie batter spill to faucet spray come dish time.

While you can’t go wrong in classic black, we prefer to add a little more sass into our style. Our favorite one of the bunch says it all: this shit is going to be delicious.

Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your kitchen stash won’t be either. To avoid total overwhelm, focus on getting one item on your wishlist at a time, master it, then move on to the next one.

As you gradually work your way to a solid collection of appliances and utensils, you’ll be ready for whatever cooking occasion comes your way — not to mention you’ll feel all kinds of fancy at your next dinner party.

80 Best Grilling Recipes to Try This Summer

There's a reason so many people love firing up the grill in the summer: It brings back wonderful memories from past cookouts with friends, relatives, and neighbors, and it beckons those same people back for more good times. Oh yeah, and it's just plain delicious.

Here, you'll find a compilation of fabulous grilling recipes, each of which will inspire you to get creative at the grill. There are dozens of summer recipes for meat lovers, of course, like Ladd Drummond's legendary grilled tenderloin, plus an impossibly easy tutorial for a ribeye steak dinner with a decadent onion-blue cheese sauce and&mdashwait for it&mdashthe dreamiest grilled enchiladas. Yum! You'll also find plenty of grilled chicken recipes (the perfect addition to your Fourth of July menu!). And because nobody likes feeling left out, this best-of list is loaded with less typical favorites: vegetarian-friendly grilling options, salads made with grilled ingredients, picnic sides galore, and even Fourth of July desserts you can cook right alongside your mains.

Here's to great memories, great friends, and even better food. Fire it up!

What It Takes to Be A Kitchen Witch?

A Kitchen wizard is the lady of the house, who loves being at home, playing with magical herbs and spices, and always ready to cast different “taste” spells with ordinary ingredients.

“Being a Kitchenwizardis not just mastering inherbs and spices, cooking excellent food, and knowing to usecooking utensils, but it is about feeling fulfilled, and satisfied at each move of cooking.”

If you are concerned that you can or not be the Kitchen Wizard with magical powers in hands, the answer is… You can!

Every woman is Eva, the lady of home, and born with magical powers lavished by God:

She carries babies in her womb and never lets them remain hungry even in her belly. It shows, every lady is already a Goddess of magic.

So, the potential to be a Kitchen Enchantress is right there all you have to do is recognize it within you.

27 Best Dairy-Free Cheesecake Recipes

Coconut, Blue Spirulina + Raspberry Cheesecake

Blue spirulina powder is used to create the vibrant top layer for this stunner, but if you can’t get your hands on it dried or fresh blueberries would work just as well.

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Everyone needs a chocolate dairy-free cheesecake recipe in their back pocket. This version is also Paleo, vegan and keto-friendly to satisfy all of your allergen-friendly diet friends.

Strawberry Dairy-Free Cheesecake

Take advantage of fresh strawberries while they are in season by blending them into this no-bake, easy, dairy-free cheesecake. This one would be lovely drizzled with dairy-free chocolate, too!

Raw Vegan Golden Milk Cheesecake

Brighten up your day with this golden-hued dairy-free cheesecake that is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger, chia seeds, shredded coconut and coconut oil.

No Bake Vegan Berry Cheesecake

Bask in the sound of your guests oohing and aahing after you bring this beauty to the table.

Raspberry Raw Cheesecake Bites

Use mini cupcake pans to make these adorable dairy-free cheesecakes. Bite-sized snacks for the win!

Vegan Matcha Cheesecake

With matcha and coconut filling, chocolate crust, chocolate ganache and coconut whipped cream, this dairy-free cheesecake is pure decadence.

Meyer Lemon Vegan Cheesecake

Luxuriate in this creamy vegan cheesecake that highlights the mellow flavour of meyer lemons. Simple and lovely.

Paleo Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Replicate carrot cake flavours in this dairy-free cheesecake, which uses some awesome Paleo baking essentials.

Strawberry Cheesecake Sundaes

These charming sundaes, served in small mason jars or glasses, are perfect as a make-head snack or taking with you for a tasty dessert when you’re on the go.

Vegan Mini Cheesecakes

The pastel colours in this dairy-free cheesecake recipe comes from natural sources like turmeric, raspberry, matcha and spirulina. Very elegant for a tea party, Easter, a baby shower or bridal shower.

White Chocolate, Fig + Cardamom Cheesecake

Go ahead and pile fresh figs with abandon atop this dairy-free cheesecake. You will love the look and the taste!

Wild Blueberry Peach Dairy-Free Cheesecake

A gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free cheesecake creation that is easily customizable with your favourite seasonal fruit.

Cherry Almond Cheesecake

Cherries and almonds are an awesome flavour combination and this vegan and Paleo cheesecake allows you to appreciate both!

Dairy-Free Strawberry Cheesecake

Dairy-Free Strawberry Cheesecake by Melissa Torio (*Culinary Nutrition Expert + ACN Program Coach)

This stunner contains only a few ingredients and we love the use of pistachios in the crust for a unique flavour and flair.

Mini Mango Turmeric Cheesecakes

These simple dairy-free cheesecakes have minimal ingredients and are a kid-friendly way to introduce turmeric to little ones.

Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cheesecake

Fudgy, decadent, chocolatey – what more could you ask for? Oh, hidden zucchini. This dessert is a great way to up your intake of vegetables, right?

Lemongrass Cheesecake Bites with Candied Ginger Crust

This unique recipe is packed with a bold citrusy filling and a slightly spicy crust. It’s a flavour explosion!

Raw Blackberry Lavender Cheesecake

Tangy berries combine with floral lavender to produce a satisfying and soothing cake. A fantastic way to eat your medicine.

Vegan Cookie Dough Cheesecake

There’s a chocolate chip crust, cookie dough filling and ganache topping. Stop reading about this Paleo cheesecake and just go make it.

Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

It may be hard to believe, but this dairy-free cheesecake has fennel incorporated into the filling. You won’t even notice it.

No Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

A startlingly simple dairy-free cheesecake with just six ingredients and a nutella-eque flavour. This one might become your go-to dessert.

Mini Vegan Pomegranate Cheesecakes

Enjoy an antioxidant boost during dessert with these delicious and easy mini, raw cheesecakes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

When pumpkin is in season, it’s a fantastic addition to dairy-free cheesecake recipes – especially when chocolate is included, too.

Ginger Peach Cheesecake

Stone fruit season is fleeing, so ensure you make the most of it by using stone fruits as much as possible. May we suggest this cheesecake?

Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

The brilliant colours of these dairy-free mini-cheesecakes come only from blueberries. And the chia jam topping takes them to the next level for sure.

Chocolate Cashew Cheesecake

Chocolate Cashew Cheesecake by Lori Moore (*Culinary Nutrition Expert + ACN Program Coach)

You can never have too many chocolate recipes! This decadent and luscious dairy-free chocolate cashew cheesecake and you can put your decorating skills to good use by artfully arranging berries on top.

More Wisdom from our Experts

20 Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in sweet, frozen treats, but for those who are allergic or intolerant to dairy (and many of us…

The DIY Guide to Making Dairy-Free Elixirs

When we think of ‘power drinks’, smoothies or green juices usually are the ones that spring to mind. Here at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition,…

20 Best Dairy-Free Soup Recipes

A hot bowl of soup is the ultimate comfort food and at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition we always turn to the plant-based, dairy-free soup recipes….

20 Best Dairy-Free Smoothie Recipes

There are a ton of smoothie recipes that rely on yogurt or whey protein powders for their high-protein magic, but those options simply don’t work…

Top 20 Dairy-Free Chocolate Recipes

Chocolate boasts a multitude of health benefits, thanks to its plethora of antioxidants, minerals and fibre. It has compounds that can help improve cardiovascular health,…

Our 9 Favourite Dairy-Free Baking Substitutions

When it comes to healthy cooking, it’s relatively easy to swap out common allergens or conventional ingredients such as butter, milk, cream, and cheese with…


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