Yesterday, I brought you my list of Absolute Essentials for your kitchen.  Today, we delve into the depths of Perfect Accessories - those items that you can do without, but add an air of je ne sais quoi to your culinary masterpieces.  xx tt

Kitchenaid Mixer: I use this constantly - for me it is an essential, but you certainly don’t need it, hand-held beaters still get the job done!  Look for deals on Amazon and Costco to save around $100

Food Processor: it took me longer to get used to this contraption, but now I am a complete convert.  If you don’t want to take the plunge yet, a mini-food processor + a food mill will suffice for making soups, salad dressings, crumbled toppings, etc.

Pastry Brush: not just for pastries, this brush is useful for applying butter/olive oil to roast chickens, croutons, biscuits, waffle irons, etc.  I prefer a silicone brush to the traditional boar bristle brush because it is easier to clean and dry

Candy Thermometer: this may seem superfluous if you have a good meat thermometer, but trust me, you need one.  When I made fleur de sel caramels, I presumed that I could eyeball the “softball” stage of caramelization…  Big mistake.  For around $10, you will be able to make delicious confections, and deep fried delights.  Totally worth it!

Butcher String: food-safe string is necessary for trussing poultry (tying the legs together), and useful for bouquet garni (herbs tied together for soups/stews) and steaming vegetables.  If you are feeling particularly charming, ask your butcher for a free sample, but otherwise just fork over the $4 for your own bundle

Muffin Tins (2): I can smell morning muffins and cupcakes baking by just looking at my muffin tins, mmmm….

Loaf Pan: homemade banana bread, anyone?

Pie Pan and/or Tart Pan

Flour Sifter: if you want to skip this one, the sieve in the essentials section will suffice

Rolling Pin: nice to have, but why waste $25 when you can use a bottle of vino?

Salad Tongs

Cookbooks: with epicurious and, cookbooks have become obsolete, but the aesthetic value is priceless

Citrus Juicer: I HATE fishing lemon seeds out of my dishes…

Blender or Immersion Blender: perfect for smoothies, milkshakes, and cocktails - some blenders can also be used in lieu of a food processor

Steamer: ideal for meeting your daily veggie quotient

Splatter Guard: for the messier chefs out there (comme moi)

Coffee Maker: even if you don’t take coffee, your guests do - and who wants to be a bad hostess?

Tea Kettle

Microwave: despite what your boyfriend may tell you, these are not essential…

Mortar & Pestle: fantastic for homemade salad dressings

Food Mill: before food processors, this was the only option.  I love using this for soups and pommes puree!

Garlic Press: saves you the hassle of mincing

Ice Cream Scoop: much more fun than using a regular spoon, and a sweet nod to childhood

Meat Tenderizer: necessary for Parmesan Chicken, and my homemade version of Balboa Cafe’s infamous Chicken Paillard

Pizza Slicer: so much easier than using a knife to cut through the cornmeal crusts of your Vicolo Pizzas