Yesterday I bought my first piece of new, somewhat specialized piece of equipment for the apartment kitchen. I don't have a lot of money or space to buy new things, but I am a foodie at heart. This means any equipment I invest in has to be practical, inexpensive, and have multiple uses.
Which is precisely why my first purchase was a bamboo steamer. Priced as low as $9 - $17 dollars, these steamers are great for a number of uses in the kitchen. They're easy to use, relatively compact (can range in size from 3" - 20" in circumference), and can be utilized in a number of ways: steaming vegetables, meats, fish, dim sum, dumplings, and even for baked goods such as breads, puddings, and cakes.
These can be purchased at kitchen supply stores, Asian markets, and even specialty grocery stores. At $15, my 10 inch bamboo steamer was an excellent investment, and I can't wait to use it.