I have a low tech kitchen. A fairly low tech life really. No WIFI at home or my natural health center. No cell phone except emergency phone in the car. I only use my food processor for Pureed Cauliflower (Faux-Tatoes) and I do love my 2 old slow-cookers. No fancy pots or electric gadgets…
I cook all my own food from scratch on one cooking day a week. With four meals a day it’s a lot of food. And no recipes! Want to know how I do this? Subscribe to my newsletter and get my eBook on “Recipe-Free Batch Cooking” (plus 10% Store Coupon). It details how I cook 20 pounds of food in 4 hours. Plain, simple and good. My DVD/Video “The Diet For Human Beings” tells more about eating without heavy carbs, sugars or processed food.
The Low-Tech Kitchen Essentials
Here are my top 5 essentials for an affordable, no clutter, low tech kitchen.
Essential 1). An 8 quart Stainless Steel Steamer and Pasta Cooker like this one. I also have this 12 quart. It’s huge and I can cook a ton of food in it at one time. They both have a large steamer basket that fits deep inside plus a small basket that fits across the top for carrots, fish, asparagus, whatever. Get the best big steamer you can afford and it will last a decade. Mandatory for multiple bunches of leafy greens. Or for…
TIP #1: Steam chicken or seafood in the bottom and veggies or potatoes up top. Fast and clean.
TIP #2: Make foil packs lined with parchment paper to steam fish or poultry fillets with some herbs, lemon or veggie. The packs can be frozen or refrigerated to eat later, reheating in a smaller steamer. Or steam parchment paper wraps like the recipes en papillote here.
TIP #3: If you have an InstaPot get a one piece steamer basket for it.
The Right Kind of Saute Pan
Essential 2). A large saute pan with straight sides and a tight lid. You can cook anything in this! (No non-stick lining please!) I have an affordable 12″ Cuisinart steel saute like this one. Cuisinart has two lines and this is the less expensive one. It’s oven proof, easy to clean and holds a colander full of vegetables or poultry.
If you don’t mind the weight, an enameled iron saute pan cooks evenly, retains heat to keep food warm, and is oven-proof. It serves as a Dutch Oven as well. This Lodge 3.6 quart enamel cast iron casserole w lid. is multi-purpose. The red costs more than this blue one as a rule. The 3 quart is too small – stick with the 3.6.
Essential 3). Slow cookers are the best invention ever. I prefer oval ones to hold a chicken or shoulder roast. Most meats and veggies contain quite a bit of water so don’t add much fluid unless you want it soupy. I pat together a mixed meat loaf (such as chicken and lamb with minced mushrooms and zucchini) and lay it in the slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup of water and it will cook fine in there. Or a whole chicken with 1/2 cup water.
Here’s an excellent Whole 30 Slow Cooker cookbook.
Essential Knives and a Good Sharpener
Essential 4). Two good knives and some kitchen shears. I used to own and manage the largest dinnerware and cookware store in the Southeast. I learned a lot about quality kitchen goods and Henckels has been my choice for cutlery ever since.
Henckels has multiple lines – stay away from those with the “Lone Man” on the knife. All real Henckels have the “Twin Man” pair on the knife. There are multiple price ranges within Twin Man.
You can get by with a 5″ blade for paring and detail work plus an 8″ or 10″ chefs knife. (learn to use it properly – rock it on its triangular edge). Good shears are excellent for snipping herbs, cutting up chicken and twine and many other uses. This starter set with knife block has knives, shears, and a steel.
I also use a cheap Chinese style cleaver. It’s light weight carbon steel and will rust if left wet. It’s great for chopping veggies, not for meat like a butcher’s cleaver. Available at Asian food markets.
Dull knives are not safe! If you use your steel daily you’re good. Otherwise, the only equipment I have that’s NOT low tech is my Chef’s Choice Electric Knife Sharpener. It’s easy and works like a charm. They make several electric models so find one like this when on sale. Sharpens shears and serrated knives too.
Parchment Paper is a Low Tech Kitchen Tool
Essential #5): Parchment Paper. Line your oven pans with parchment paper to reduce clean-up. Butternut squash, Brussels Sprouts, Chicken in my old Vertical Roaster (a tie for Essential #5 – see below for more). As mentioned in #1, use parchment paper to line foil squares and make steamer packs. Parchment makes everything non-stick and easy clean but cannot be used stove top.
I buy “If You Care” Unbleached Roll parchment paper to cut to the size I need. Here it is on Amazon. Whole Foods sells it too. I prefer unbleached in my paper goods to reduce chlorine and other environmental chemicals.
Spanek Vertical Chicken Roaster
I have used a Spanek for 40 years. Seriously! I don’t like ANY of the versions sold on Amazon. Stick with the original plain one at Spanek. They do have a turkey roaster you can try another time. This makes juicy whole chicken that carves into quarters in 60 seconds. It’s here.
Gotta Getta Grill!
I just can’t cook without an outdoor gas grill. Weber makes the best 3 row burner design that gives lots of cooking options. I grill vegetables, meats and fish every week, even in the winter. My favorite is thick grilled slices of squash. Brush with a tiny bit of Avocado Oil and grill briefly to soften. I’ve also cooked a turkey in my Weber, turning off the middle burner to use it like an oven rather than a grill.
Cooking eggs without non-stick pans
I soft-boil mine as a rule. You can bake scrambled eggs with veggies, make a crustless quiche or Frittata. Baked Paleo Egg casseroles, etc. For frying use a well-seasoned cast iron or enameled iron pan or a trusty stainless one. You can bake whole eggs too! Avoid non-stick as it is toxic and comes off in your food.
Oven bake “poached” eggs in a silicone muffin pan with some water in each cup. Or bake them in ramekins in these Eggs in Purgatory. Yum!