No-Oven Summer Cooking Essentials

I get moony-eyed over nice kitchen tools. Here are some of the things I really love having around. These are especially indispensable when it gets hot, since I steer away from the oven and opt for steaming, pickling, fermenting, and grilling. If all of those things fail, I make popsicles.


1. Weck canning jars are my favorites because they are stackable and come in lots of good shapes and sizes. They have glass lids so they never rust. Mine double as canisters to store dry ingredients, and they're easy to scoop from because they have wide mouths. Currently, I'm using a large one to hold a batch of toasted coconut breakfast muesli* and there's a smaller jar filled with my quick pickle of the week (pickled pearl onions with lemon peel and clove).

2. I love this salt cellar made from Bee House. I always sprinkle salt with my fingers, because if I pour from the shaker, I'm bound to overdo it. Keeping a salt cellar on the counter is handy, and this particular one accommodates measuring spoons for when I'm trying to be all meticulous. I have the sea foam green one, because that's my favorite color.

3. These wooden tongs are made in right here in Kentucky. They are as beautiful as they are useful. This was my favorite wedding gift. Three years later, still tonging.

4. This zester don't play. It's sharp and sturdy, and the handle fits perfectly in my palm. I like adding lemon zest to brighten up grilled meat and vegetables, salads, pasta dishes. This model also has a notch for making thick spiral curls, which are perfect in cocktails.

5. Before I got this bamboo steamer, I relied on a super janky DIY hack, which basically entailed stuffing a coil of aluminum foil into the base of my largest pot. I'd pour water halfway up the coil, and bring it to a simmer. Then I'd set an aluminum pie pan with holes poked in it on top of the coil. That's where the tamales or dumplings would go. I was a wizard at ghetto rigging my kitchen.  Those days are behind me, though. I'm classin' up the joint.

6. We have only a couple of knives, and I use this Global chef's knife the most. It feels good in my hand, has a good balance, and holds a sharp edge. We also have a small paring knife, a serrated knife, and some other piece of crap knife I only keep around to hack open stubborn packaging or pry out objects that get stuck in the garbage disposal. Those are all the knives I need.

7. When my husband moved in, most of his belongings could fit in a large plastic tub. There was some camping gear, a few reference books, a kettle bell, and his beloved stoneware pickling crock. Even when he was a twenty-something dirt punk kid, he was fermenting food in this crock under his bed. He is a sour kraut master. And I must say, pickling and fermenting foods is the ultimate summer cooking strategy. It's super low maintenance, easy (*cough* lazy), and makes use of all the great produce in season. When we aren't storing rotting cabbage in our Ohio Stoneware crock, it can be found on our counter, holding my favorite wooden spoons and cooking utensils.

8. Classic popsicle mold. Can't go wrong here. Making summer treats is as easy as making a smoothie. Blend and freeze.

9. The mandolin has revolutionized my salad game. Texture has a massive impact on the deliciousness. Also: crinkle cut french fries.


Whoa, did you just read all of that? That was a rather wordy testament to my favorite things. That's how strong my love is.

*Kurt has started referring to my toasted coconut/seed/grain muesli as "poop dust."

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this post...now you've got me wanting Weck Jars and zesters and tongs and - and -

    I've been wanting to get into Sauerkraut for awhile. Your crockery is inspiring me to try!


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