Friday, April 10, 2009

Useful kitchen gadgets

“I would have a basic gadget drawer with about 10 things in it,” says Jan Hazard, owner of A Cook's Companion in Brooklyn Heights, New York. “A silicon spatula, a pancake turner, a can opener, and a whisk. And, knives – you only need three knives really – a chef, a pairing and a bread knife. I would also get tongs, and a pair of scissors to cut open all of these sealed packages that we have to deal with." And for food safety, an instant-read thermometer is a must, she says.

I took photos of a few of my favorite gadgets.
Here's why I love them and would hate
to be without them.

The IKEA milk frother. Sometimes, liquids just need a little extra mixing. This is a simple battery -operated device that cost about $3. (Brookstone sells one for $10, but it doesn't seem to be much better.) If you are making a single cup of espresso for a latte, it works better than the steam attachment for frothing the milk. Put the cup with the milk in the microwave for about a minute, remove and froth. Add espresso and voila - latte.

The funny looking glass jar thing is a mayonnaise maker. It has the recipe raised on the glass. The egg, lemon juice, spices, etc. go in, attach the lid with the beater, then move it up and down as you add the oil. I don't use a lot of mayo, but when I do, I like it homemade.

The Chef'n potato peeler. The loop on the back fits over your middle finger, so basically you wave your hand over the vegetable to be peeled. Wave it lightly and it takes off just the bare minimum of peel; press down for more. If you've ever gotten a cramp after doing a lot of potatoes, or arthritis makes gripping a peeler painful, this is the gadget for you.

The nutmeg grater gets the most use around Christmas; it's amazing how much
more flavorful the spice is when it's freshly ground. A lot of people who say they don't care for the taste of nutmeg change their mind when they have it fresh.

I'm almost embarrassed to show this last item. It lost its red plastic horizontal measuring piece some time ago, but we eat fish at least twice a week and it's invaluable for calculating how long the fish needs to cook.

What's your favorite item? Do you have a photo of it? Please share!

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