Gadgets and Utensils
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This Is How You Dice an Avocado in 10 Seconds
I inherited my love of avocados from my mom. When I was in high school, she showed me how to prepare one for guacamole: carefully whacking the pit with a hefty blade, twisting to remove, and then cutting a grid pattern into the flesh before scooping with a large spoon. From there: mash, mash, mash. The task never bothered me — avocados are so delicious that the semi-annoying way that they exist is just kind of … well, fine, I guess.
Jan 21, 2016
The Best $5 You’ll Ever Spend in the Kitchen
Usually when we gush about our kitchen tools, it’s about something grand and powerful. We sing the praises of our Vitamix, stand mixer, and pressure cooker — the tools we probably spent more on than we really wanted to; the ones we invested in; the ones that really lived up to their price tag. And while those are certainly great, sometimes really special tools also come with a really low price tag.
Jan 7, 2016
10 Classic Gifts for a New Cook’s Kitchen
Have a newbie cook you’re eager to support in the kitchen? If they’re already set with the basics — a few pans, a good chef’s knife, measuring cups and spoons — you’re left with the fun part: picking out a classic cooking tool to give them that’ll go far and live long in their kitchen. Here are 10 ways you can show them you believe their best cooking days are yet to come. Le Creuset Heritage Baker, $49.
Dec 8, 2015
Why the Mighty Fish Spatula Earned a Spot in My Kitchen
I don’t cook a lot of fish, but when I do, I most often bake it in foil packets. So how did a fish spatula even enter the vocabulary of my kitchen? For all the other small, but mighty, things it’s good for. My fish spatula makes itself useful and earns its keep in my kitchen every single day. A fish spatula has a surprising number of things going for it.
Nov 5, 2015
Help Me Find a Strainer or Colander That Actually Does Its Job
Q: Why do so many big colanders/strainers function so poorly? Most of them can’t drain out all the water — instead of getting dry pasta or veggies, everything is left in some water that won’t ever drain out of the holes! My mom has an old, beat-up metal one that does work, but we’re not sure why this one drains water properly.
Sep 28, 2015
3 Things You Should Always Take to a Picnic
I’ve spent many years of my life living in and loving the city of Chicago, where interior spaces are small and people can’t wait for the warmer months (40 below, no thank you). As soon as summer hits, folks flood the parks, beaches, and rooftops to host picnic after picnic. Before you follow suit and head out, make sure you have these three things with you. You’re almost guaranteed to need them!
Jun 30, 2015
6 Ways to Put Ice Cream Scoops to Use
I’m not a fan of unitaskers, so if a gadget finds a permanent home in my kitchen, it’s got to pull its weight and hopefully do more than just its original task. In fact, I get a fun rush when I figure out new uses for gadgets, and ice cream scoops are no exception. I rarely eat ice cream at home, but I proudly own three (yes, three!) different sizes of ice cream scoops and would never give up a single one. I use them constantly for everyday cooking.
Jun 25, 2015
The Vegetable Butcher’s Favorite Tool for Ribbons and Noodles
There aren’t many single-function kitchen tools that I can get behind. Do we really need a jalapeño corer and an avocado cuber? I’ll admit I do love a strawberry huller and a citrus squeezer, but generally these types of products are fun at first use, then end up collecting dust and making clutter in my kitchen. My knives or my hands alone end up doing all the work.
Jun 21, 2015
This iPad Stand Has the Gripping Power of a Gecko
Item: Slope iPad Stand from Dekke Price: $44.99 to $49.99 Overall Impression: The gripping power is a bit startling at first (it is extremely grippy!), but the Slope quickly became an everyday fixture in the kitchen. An iPad stand with the gripping power of the mighty gecko, known for its gravity-defying wall-clinging abilities?
May 11, 2015
How Do I Downsize My Kitchen Utensils and Cookware?
Q: I recently remodeled my kitchen, and need to downsize the amount of utensils and cookware due to lack of space. How do I decide what to keep? Sent by Kathy Editor: Well, it really depends on what you cook the most! And while you’re not setting up a kitchen from scratch, here’s some helpful posts that talk about essential cookware and utensils that all cooks should have.
Mar 4, 2015
Eva Katz’s Favorite Measuring Spoons
Who: Eva Katz of Cook’s Country and My Front Burner Where: Jamaica Plain in Boston, Massachusetts See her kitchen: Cook’s Country Editor Eva Katz’s Homey, Hardworking Kitchen Eva Katz’s favorite measuring spoons do something a lot of other measuring spoons can’t do. Can you guess what it is? They fit into spice jars!
Jan 29, 2015
No Carving Board? Here’s a Hack to Make Any Cutting Board Better for a Turkey.
The most ideal carving situation for a Thanksgiving turkey (or any large piece of meat) is a big cutting board with wells or grooves to catch the juices that leak out when you’re carving. But you may not be able to justify the space for an oversized board like this if you only use it once or twice a year for holidays. Here’s a quick hack to make your everyday cutting board into a better setup for a large bird, roast, or piece of meat.
Nov 19, 2014
6 More Ways to Use a Microplane
If you like to cook, it’s hard to imagine life without a Microplane zester. In fact, this little gadget even made it onto our list of The Top 10 Most Useful Kitchen Gadgets! While there’s no other tool that does such a fine job of turning thin citrus skin into fluffy piles of fragrant zest, here are a few more foods that this tool can handle with great finesse. 1.
Nov 5, 2014
How Moving to Vietnam Taught Me to Simplify My Kitchen
Who cooks and eats here: Allen Coin and me, Lisa Pepin! See the kitchen: What It’s Like to Search for an Apartment (and a Good Kitchen) in Hanoi, Vietnam Where: Hanoi, Vietnam Rent or Own? Rent Living near a restaurant supply store is a dangerous thing. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten good at justifying buying too many loaf pans (they’re only $5!), too many little one-use tools (I can make that dessert I saw on Pinterest!
Sep 24, 2014
The Best Way to Store Whisks in a Drawer
Almost a year ago, I participated in The Kitchn Cure. I cannot recommend it enough. The Cure forced me to take a look at all the things in the kitchen I wasn’t doing, and all the little things I was doing that were annoying me. Miraculously, The Cure stuck and most of my kitchen is still in pretty good shape.
Aug 5, 2014
3 Practical Ways To Use Squeeze Bottles
You might think that squeeze bottles are only used by chefs in restaurant kitchens to artfully plate chocolate sauce or raspberry coulis, but here are 3 practical ways they can be put to good use in the home kitchen! Squeeze bottles are great because they give you more control than wider-mouth bottles when pouring, allowing you to get just the right amount out. Plus, they’re inexpensive and can be run through the dishwasher when they get sticky or dirty.
Jun 4, 2014
I Finally Found the Perfect Potholder. And It’s Blue Suede, of All Things!
Item: Suede Mitt from Jane Domestic Price: $29 Overall Impression: Surprisingly practical and a really great potholder! I don’t know about you, but I have trouble with oven mitts, hot pads, potholders — whatever you want to call them. These are essential and heavily used in my kitchen, but I’ve never been able to get comfortable with one. Until now. I finally found my all-time perfect, practical, ovenproof potholder, and — bonus! — it’s beautiful too.
May 13, 2014
How I Cook: Anne’s Vinaigrette Technique & Why She Loves Her Mortar and Pestle
Yesterday we explored Anne’s gorgeous rental kitchen, with its packed pantry and pretty details. Today we’re getting a personal look at Anne’s cooking style, including a few of her favorite tools and her special way of making a homemade vinaigrette. Anne is an avid home cook and entertainer. She’ll throw dinner parties for friends at a moment’s glance and is often hired as a food or prop stylist for events in and around Oregon, California and New York.
Feb 26, 2014
Why I Use Chopsticks to Do Almost Everything in the Kitchen
Looking at the big pile of dishes in my sink, you might wonder why there are so many chopsticks in there. Did I recently have a dinner party for eight and serve stir-fry? Nope. I was simply cooking for myself day-to-day, using one of my favorite go-to utensils for anything from stirring the French press to eating pasta. It all started with a warning from my brother not to stir my French press with a metal spoon.
Nov 1, 2013
Bone Appetit: Skull-Inspired Kitchen Tools
Looking to add a last minute spook to your kitchen for Halloween? Check out these five skull-inspired kitchen gadgets to add a ghoulish flair to your cooking this week. Don’t worry — priced at $30 and under, these spine-chilling frivolities won’t scare your budget. Plus, some are so stylish you’ll want to use them year round! 1. Halloween Skull Spatula, $10 from Williams-Sonoma: This silicone spatula is perfect for whipping up a ghostly confection. 2.
Oct 28, 2013
Help! I Need a Vegetable Peeler That Doesn’t Suck
Q: My last peeler broke, and since then, I’ve bought three others…and they’re all awful! The serrated one barely takes anything off the vegetable (though it’s fantastic at taking skin off my fingers), and the non-serrated ones are ineffectual. Last night’s butternut squash was the last straw — I need help finding a strong and effective peeler! Sent by Christine Editor: Christine, I use and love the OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler.
Oct 10, 2013
A Spare Ladle, a Plastic Cake Cutter, and a Dead Plant All Walk Into a Bar…
Day 3 Task: Declutter appliances, gadgets, and tools The third task arrived, and I approached it with trepidation after my bruising experience in the pantry I learned from my last kitchen not to store the things I use most in any high or hard-to-reach cabinets. So when I set up this kitchen in June, I put all my glass food storage containers and my pots and pans in the large, low drawers. It’s worked out pretty well for the most part, but things do get messy.
Oct 2, 2013
Allegheny Treenware: Kitchen Utensils Made from West Virginia Hardwood
Do you love your wooden tools and utensils? Then you’ll love Allegheny Treenware. This husband-and-wife shop features wooden utensils hand-carved from West Virginia hardwoods, but they don’t stop at wooden spoons; they have hand-carved wooden gravy bowls, butter dishes, even an egg separator!Allegheny Treenware pieces are made from cherry, maple, birch, beech, or walnut, and sanded to a super smooth finish.
Jul 29, 2013
Quick Tip: Separate Your Measuring Cups
If you’ve been baking or cooking for awhile, this will sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a life-changing tip for those who have never thought of it. Ready? Get rid of that ring that holds your dry measuring cups together. Forever. Do this and baking will instantly be an easier, cleaner and altogether happier experience.
Mar 25, 2013
The Wisdom of Owning More Than One Set of Measuring Cups and Spoons
I’m a big fan of keeping unnecessary tools and gadgets out of my kitchen, but I find that there’s one item I don’t mind owning a few extras of: measuring cups and spoons. The reason is simple. There are very few recipes that require just one teaspoon of something or don’t need more than one measuring cup. These utensils are used daily in my kitchen, if not several times a day, and they don’t take up a lot of space. So why not have a few extras around?
Feb 11, 2013
What’s Wrong With My Pizza Stone?
I conditioned the stone by coating it with vegetable oil (I used canola), and put it in a cold oven, turned the temp to 350°F, and once it reached that temp, left it heating for 20 min. Then I turned off the oven and let the stone cool overnight. Repeat the next day.Sent by JudyEditor: The smell could have been the oil burning, but that doesn’t seem likely to have caused the kind of extensive stinging and bad odor you mention.
Feb 6, 2013
A Ladle Is Not a Ladle: Advice To Help You Find the Right Ladle For Your Pot
If the title of this post makes you think we’re being a little nit-picky, we beg to differ. One may think a ladle is a ladle is a ladle, but if you make a lot of soup, you know that’s not true. If the ladle is too short for your pot, it sinks; if it’s too long, it can be heavy or awkward. If the handle has no bend in it, it’s very hard to get a clean scoop, but if it has too much bend, then it’s hard to dip the ladle into a tall pot. So what to do?
Oct 18, 2012
Tip: Use Chopsticks as a Cooking Tool
Leela’s artful chopstick collection/wall art!Most non-Asian cooks aren’t aware that chopsticks are more than just an eating utensil. They also make great cooking tools. In fact, there are special cooking chopsticks (saibashi in Japanese) that are a little longer and sometimes joined at the end with a string for just that purpose.
Aug 9, 2012
What Kind of Salad Servers Do You Use?
Serving a green salad with grace and competence is actually a tricky thing to do. Success ultimately depends on how comfortable you are with your salad serving implements. The classic salad server set usually consists of one spoon-like and one fork-like implement, but these days there are a dizzying number of options to choose from, including spoon, fork, and flat implements as well as the short, chubby salad ‘hands’. And for some, a pair of tongs or chopsticks is the only way to go.
Jun 18, 2012
Could a Wooden Cutting Board Be Used as a Trivet?
Q: I was shopping for cutting boards recently and saw a wood board that was heat safe to 350°F. Could such boards be used as trivets? Thank you!Sent by LeeEditor: Yes, it sounds like heat-safe cutting boards would be fine to use as a trivet. Let dishes cooked higher than 350°F cool a little first, but everything else should be fine to place on the cutting board without fear of leaving charred marks.Readers, do any of you have experience with cutting boards like this?Next question?
Mar 16, 2012
My Favorite Baking Tool: The French Rolling Pin
Choosing my favorite baking tool was a difficult challenge. I thought first about the things that I use often like my favorite zester or my Silpat. Then I thought about things with emotional significance like my grandmother’s cookie cutters or my mom’s old sheet trays. But when it comes right down to it, there’s only one favorite. And for me it’s the tool that I find both useful, practical, and beautiful. My french rolling pin is a true champion.
Feb 14, 2012
Surprisingly Cool (And Useful!) Tool: Garlic Peeler
This square of rubber may not look like much, but in the last few weeks, it has quickly become one of my new favorite kitchen tools. It has single-handedly transformed the task of peeling persnickety cloves of garlic from annoying to easy-breezy.This garlic peeler is genius in its very simplicity. Bundle the cloves inside the rubber mat and roll it back and forth against the counter a few times while pressing down on the cloves.
Jan 4, 2012
5 Tips for Making Perfectly Pureed Soups
No matter what equipment you have in your kitchen or how perfectly creamy you prefer your soups, here are some tips to help you puree your next soup.1. Choose Your Equipment – When it comes time to puree a soup, our main choices are a blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender. Each has their pros and cons:• Blenders – Blenders do a great job of pureeing soups.
Oct 26, 2011
Quick Tip: Keep a Grease Pencil In Your Kitchen
From permanent markers to chalk, we keep all sorts of writing implements in the kitchen. Another indispensable tool is the grease pencil.Made from non-toxic wax, grease pencils (also known as wax pencils or china markers) can be used to write on all sorts of non-porous surfaces from porcelain dishes to glass jars, metal canning lids, and plastic containers.
Oct 12, 2011
How Do You Drain Your Pasta? Drain, Claw, or Scoop?
There are three basic methods of removing pasta from its cooking water: the drain, the claw or the scoop. Read on for my descriptions and pros and cons of each, and let us know your preferred method in the survey! The drain method is the most classic: You simply pour the pot of pasta and water through a colander set in your sink. If you are interested in keeping some of the pasta water, place your colander over a bowl.
Oct 10, 2011
Can You Guess What This Is?
I discovered this beautiful and intriguing object in the kitchen cupboards of my sublet. It definitely has a culinary application. Do you know what it is?Here’s a hint, above. Yes, it’s a pepper mill!The mill is made of pieced teak with an iron handle and has a lovely soft patina from what I can only guess to be many years of use. It’s easy to operate: you simply turn the handle and out comes the pepper from the bottom.
Sep 26, 2011