Cooking, for me, is therapeutic. After a long, stressful day at work I love to come home to a fridge full of good ingredients and whip up something magical.
There is something about the smell of fresh herbs, the sizzle of onions sauteing in a pan, a glass of wine in your hand, and the gentle melody of music that make all the problems of life drift away. Life gets simpler in the kitchen… no more deadlines, decisions, or phone calls, just you, the stove, and the perfect playlist.
I love listening to jazz while I cook because there is something about the calming effect of jazz and the creativity that make it so much fun! Some of my favorite playlists for jazz on spotify you can find here, here, and here. They rotate a lot of my favorite jazz songs, so I decided to make my own playlist awhile back to keep all my favorites in one place. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps fuel your creative juices while you cook too! Check it out on spotify below!
Favorite Ways to Listen
I’ve grown up in a family of good cooks, and cooking comes somewhat naturally to me, but I’ve learned over the years that not everyone comes form a house where their mom cooks every night much less at all. The kitchen can be intimidating for some, but practice makes perfect and everyone starts somewhere.
Every cook has their favorite tools when it comes to the kitchen, and these are the items I use EVERY time I cook. They make the job easier, faster, and more fun!
The Perfect Apron
When I come home from work, I rarely change into casual clothes before jumping in front of the stove so I needed the perfect apron to avoid getting my clothes a mess. I like the dark blue option most because it hides stains.
This is a kitchen item that you will literally use all the time. If you are like me and use lots of lemon zest, garlic, or ginger root in your recipes, then this the perfect tool.
Wooden Cutting Board
If there is one piece of kitchen advice I can give, it is to get a large cutting board. Small ones are great for quick chops, but when you’re prepping ton of veggies for a soup, or cutting up a watermelon, you will be glad you had it.
To clean it – wash it with soap and hot water, and set upright to dry properly. Every few weeks take some coarse sea salt, and rub it into the board with a half a lemon and rinse. I use this board oil to keep my boards well oiled and looking like new!
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
I’m not kidding, I use this almost every single time I cook. Cast Iron has come in and out of style in the cooking world. People are often intimidated by cast iron because it needs a little more love than a traditional non stick skillet. But treat it well and it will become your best friend. Everyone needs one. This is how I learned to clean and season my cast iron:
Step 1: Clean off any burnt crusty spots with hot water and the tiniest bit of soap if necessary. Rinse very well & dry.
Step 2: Rub the whole pan (top bottom, and sides) in a neutral, high temp burning oil, like vegetable oil (I typically keep a tub of Crisco just for this purpose). Turn the oven up to 500 and stick the skillet in as it heats up, when the pan starts to smoke turn the oven off and leave the pan in there. – It should come out shiny and black.
I store my cast iron skillet in the oven and even if i’m cooking something else, I just leave it on the bottom rack. Don’t worry about lugging it our every time you cook.
Before you say – Bethany, I never make fish, listen to these words. DO NOT LET THE NAME FOOL YOU.
I use this for any delicate kitchen job or dish that needs flexibility in handling. Crispy blackened veggies in a pan, or chicken with skin on it. Its an inexpensive game changer.