Walk into any Williams Sonoma or other cooking specialty shop and youíll be assaulted with a deluge of small appliances, all purporting to make some portion of your kitchen life easier, faster, and more enjoyable. Most of them perform functions so obscure that their only true reason for being would be to look pretty sitting on your countertops. However if you, like me, have to make do with a cramped kitchen, youíll want to own just the bare minimum of space-hogging equipment. Below, a brief guide to the basics:
1a decent blender
The blender is far and away my favorite small kitchen appliance. Useful for making everything from smoothies to soups to sauces [notably pesto, one of the tastiest quickie pasta sauces], a blender instantly liquefies foods in a way that could never be achieved by hand. A basic blender with just 2 settings, high and low, will be sufficient.
2an electric mixer, hand-held or free-standing
If youíre going to be doing any baking at all, youíll want an electric mixer. Beating ingredients by hand is tiring, and requires a lot of effort and vigilance to ensure that contents are well-mixed. If you can afford a free-standing mixer, by all means purchase one. The new retro-styled Kitchen-Aid mixers work terrific and look funky to boot. Of course, if you donít feel like dropping a couple hundred dollars on an appliance, the hand-held electric mixer will work as well.