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Happy 12.12.12!!  I thought it would be fun to celebrate the last of the great repeating days in our lifetimes with a couple Top 12 Lists straight from the Lemony Thyme Kitchen.

Top 12 Cooking Essentials

Top 12 Cooking & Kitchen Essentials

It wasn’t easy to narrow down my beloved cooking equipment, gadgets, and essentials to 12 items.  But after some good hearted debate, if banished to a deserted kitchen these would be the Top 12 Cooking & Kitchen Essentials I would take with me.

  1. Dutch Oven
  2. Stainless Steel Oven-Proof Skillet
  3. Mixing Bowls
  4. Measuring Cups & Spoons
  5. Cutting Board
  6. Sharp Chef’s Knife
  7. Whisk
  8. Wooden Spoon
  9. Box Grater
  10. Strainer
  11. Shallow Baking Pan
  12. Food Processor or Blender (hoping Santa will bring me one of those fancy schmancy mega blenders for Christmas)

Roast Chicken in a Pot

Top 12 Cooking Tips & Tricks

Again, this list of what I could agree were my Top 12 Cooking Tips & Tricks.  Some I’ve discovered by accident and others have been handed down by cooks I admire.  These are in no particular order.

  1. Cook a whole chicken weekly. As we’ve shared in the past, most every week we cook a whole chicken.  Not only do we enjoy a wonderful roast chicken dinner, but we then turn the carcass into beautiful homemade chicken broth, and the broth into scrumptious soups, stews, and chilis.
  2. You never know how thick a sauce will become until you bring it to a boil.  When using flour to thicken a sauce it’s essential to bring the sauce to a boil before determining if it’s thick enough.
  3. Thyme goes with mushrooms and sage goes with potatoes.  These are our two most popular combinations, but click here for a quick list of fresh herb pairings.
  4. Invest in a knife sharpener.  Not only are sharp knives safer, but they will make cooking so much more enjoyable.
  5. Braise baby braise.  Using the low and slow method for roasts and other meats will insure they turn out moist and tender.  Check out our B is for Braising Series.
  6. Hide Chocolate somewhere in the house.  Just because.
  7. When purchasing fish don’t be afraid to ask to smell it.  Fish should not smell fishy.  If it does, have burgers for dinner.
  8. To get a nice brown sear on meat or seafood dry it with paper towels first.  I especially do this when searing scallops.  Hot pan + dry scallops = LOVE.
  9. Taste as you go.  Don’t wait until a dish is finished to taste it.  You’ll miss your opportunity to add layers of flavor.  Season as you go.
  10. Take the time to actually read a recipe all the way through before you begin.  I can not tell you how many times I have skimmed a recipe only to find out something needs to marinate for 4 hours before beginning or 1/2 of that minced ginger was for the glaze not the cake…oops!
  11. Store bacon in the freezer.  Storing bacon in the freezer insures you’ll always have it on hand when a recipe begs for a little bacon infusion.  AND cutting frozen bacon into lardons is a cinch.
  12. Let everything rest before you cut or slice it.  Let meat rest at least 15 minutes.  This allows the juices to redistribute instead of running out onto your cutting board.  Allow roast chicken to rest even longer.  And don’t forget your lasagna and brownies love to rest as well.

Top 12 Recipe Ingredients

One feature of our website template is an Ingredient Cloud.  Every time I tag a recipe with an ingredient it goes into the cloud.  The most popular ingredients show up on the site (half way down on the left hand side) and increase in size as they are used.  You can click on ingredients and the site will direct you to all our recipes that include that item.

From the looks of it, I’m glad to see we are eating plenty of veggies and incorporating fresh herbs into as many dishes as possible.  We were surprised that even though we eat a lot of ground turkey and salmon, apparently I don’t post about them that often.  We may need to change that in the New Year.  Also keep in mind that I don’t always tag salt & pepper or butter & olive oil, but most of our dishes include them.  See a snap shot of our Top Ingredients below.

Top 12 Recipe Ingredients

We hope 12.12.12 has been a great day for you and leave you with one last notable twelve.  Only 12 more days until Christmas (and so much more to do)!!

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