Q: I recently got an immersion blender as I need to be on a mostly liquid diet due to a medical condition. I'm loving making pureed soups, but have run into a slight problem. Many of the recipes call for carrots, sweet potatoes and other harder vegetables to be shredded. What is the best method or product for the job?
Q: I recently purchased pink peppercorns and the flavor is delicious! I tried grinding them in a pepper mill, but since they're much softer than black peppercorns, they aren't dense enough to push through the grinding mechanism. Does anyone know of a pepper mill that will grind pink peppercorns only?
If you find prepping vegetables for cooking to be a bit of a drag, then a vegetable chopper is the gadget for you. No more slicing, dicing, or chopping by hand. Just pull or push (depending on the model) and it's all done for you. Here are 3 popular models to try:
Too much beer is hardly a bad problem to have, but there are times when, yes, you open a bottle and realize you can't finish it. This often happens to me when I open large 750 mL bottles of specialty (and quite often very alcoholic) beers. Unless I open it with friends, it's just too much for one sitting. I used to worry that the leftover would go to waste, but now I just save it for later.
Useless kitchen gadgets are nothing new. It seems every few months a new product pops up promising to radically improve our cooking habits and techniques. But egg gadgets are in league all their own. Some of the most overwrought and strange gadgets out there are for eggs, from the most complicated egg separator ever to egg pillows. Here are a few we're scratching our heads over:
Trying to recreate a stellar Ramos Gin Fizz she had at a bar, Megan of Not Martha found that she wasn't able to get the deep layer of egg-white foam she was looking for by just shaking up the drink in her cocktail shaker. Instead, she experimented with repurposing a kitchen unitasker into an effective egg-white cocktail maker that turned out to be "so easy," she says, "it felt like cheating."
To earn a title like "Gadget Guru," you'd expect America's Test Kitchen's Lisa McManus to be a lover of unitaskers, but the opposite is true: she's anti-gadget. That's good news for followers of her reviews; to get a recommendation from her, a product has to be well-made and truly necessary. In an interview with the L.A. Weekly, she recently shared her thoughts on a few of the best and worst gadgets on the market — and why a strawberry huller is worth it.
Q: At a rummage sale, I found two double-ended gizmos I think are measuring spoons, but their markings are not the usual teaspoon/tablespoon measurements, but rather 2.5, 5, 10, and 15. Amazon.com has a number of sets of metric spoons on offer, but all have Imperial equivalents, not just the numbers I see on my new acquisition.
Item:The Belkin Chef Stand and Stylus for Tablets Price: $39.99 at full price (Many sources, including Amazon, sell it for $21) Overall Impression: An indispensable tool for using tablets like the iPad in the kitchen and for keeping them safely out of the way when cooking.
I had my iPad in the kitchen with me within hours of opening the box, and now I consider it a cooking tool just as essential as my KitchenAid mixer or my subscription to Fine Cooking. I usually prop my iPad on unused part of the counter, out of splashing distance but still within visual range, and use a mostly-clean knuckle to scroll through recipes when my fingers are sticky. This stand from Belkin has changed all that in one fell swoop.
Calling all small-kitchen cooks! Inquiring minds want to know: what's your favorite pry-it-from-your-cold-dead-fingers multi-tasking specialty tool or gadget? We don't mean basic workhorses like the wooden spoon or cast iron skillet. We mean those not-totally-essential-but-still-really-useful-things that make cooking easier, faster, or more enjoyable.