Some of the best kitchen gifts are workhorses you will use all the time. Good tools make cooking faster, simpler, and more pleasurable.
Here are five must-have tools for every cook:
- One great knife (6 to 8 inches). Yes, just one. A good sharp knife will cut your prep time down.
- Hand-squeeze juicer. This is the quickest and easiest way to get great flavor on salads, fish, meat, and veggies. Place half a lemon or lime in the cup, clamp down, and you get fresh juice with no seeds, no electrical cords, and no big mess.
- Large wood or bamboo cutting board. A postcard-sized cutting board won't motivate you to chop up a bunch of fresh kale. A large board costs only about $15. Place it over your kitchen sink, and your counter space expands by almost 2 feet.
- Rimmed baking sheet. The rim keeps food from rolling off but doesn't create steam, so food caramelizes and develops a rich flavor quickly. Use it to roast asparagus, Swiss chard, or chicken breasts.
- Microplane grater. Use the super-sharp grater to zest lemons and limes or grate Parmesan cheese.
You can put many of those tools to use with this delicious veggie dish.
Sesame and Soy-Roasted Vegetables
Makes 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated or chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 sweet potato or garnet yam, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 parsnip or turnip, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium red onion, peeled, cut into eighths
- Twist of fresh cracked pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and olive oil in a small bowl.
3. Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and coat with sesame and soy mix.
4. Spread vegetables on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper. Roast 20 minutes.
5. Stir vegetables on the tray with a spatula or wooden spoon and roast another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Per serving: 202 calories, 3 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 4 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 202 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 50%.