Tools & Equipment
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Good Product: Immersion Blender with Whisk
As we gear up for some summery cocktails, we start thinking about blending things — margaritas, daiquiris, milkshakes with homemade ice cream…Problem is, this is our blender: A hand-held immersion blender that might not attack those chunky ice cubes as well as a regular blender. However, it is one of our favorite appliances. Let’s talk about the pros and cons…Pros: This baby can whirl a pot of simmering vegetables into a silky smooth soup in about three minutes flat.
May 20, 2008
Where to Buy Commercial Rolls of Plastic Wrap
There have been several comments about the industrial-sized roll of plastic wrap on chef Dan Kluger’s counter, pictured in yesterday’s Brooklyn Kitchen Tour.Personally, we lack the counter space for a box this big, but if you’re itching for 2000 feet of plastic wrap, we found some sources for you…And yes, most commercial rolls are 2000 feet long. They do vary in width, however. We found ones from 12 to 24 inches.
May 8, 2008
Window Box Sale at Smith & Hawken
We’re still on a window box kick, dreaming of hanging our herb garden out the window soon. Are you with us? Well, here’s a sale alert for you. Smith & Hawken’s window boxes are 20 percent off right now… The Red Vine Window Box, left, is on sale for $71 and looks pretty traditional. The Modular Window Box, right, is $79 and definitely more contemporary. We see it hanging out a window of a modern, minimalist building.
May 7, 2008
Happy Kitchen: Caring for Wooden Utensils
We’ve talked a lot recently about how much we love cooking and serving with wooden utensils. Silicone and stainless steel have their uses and particular beauty, too. But there’s a tactile pleasure in using a wooden spoon that’s all its own.Wooden utensils do have one downside: they quickly lose their attractive glossy finish, are prone to cracking, and are generally a little fussy to take care of. Here are a few simple steps to help you avoid replacing them every few months.
May 5, 2008
A Tour of London’s Bookshop Café Books for Cooks
One of the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in London is to crowd into bookstore/café Books for Cooks, a Notting Hill institution where you can browse thousands of international cookbooks and grab one of a handful of café tables to sample daily changing light meals cooked up in the open test kitchen in the back. By the time we got there at 2 pm on a recent Saturday, they were down to their last slice of coconut cake.
May 2, 2008
Twist on a Classic: Square-Edged Wooden Spoon
We’ve written before about how much we love wooden spoons and constantly reach for them for sweet and savory dishes. They look organic, feel good in our hands, and are sturdy and powerful while being gentle to our pots and pans.One we don’t have but desperately want: the square-edged wooden spoon. Read why and see Sara Kate’s below…The square edge allows you to scrape the bottom nooks of a pot while sautéeing and gives you a more targeted approach.
Apr 30, 2008
Essential Kitchen Tools: A Baking Stone
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a brick hearth oven in your back yard, a baking stone–also called a pizza stone–is an essential tool for all of us would-be bakers!These stones mimic the conditions in those brick ovens by absorbing heat from your oven and allowing you to bake loaves right on top of the heat source. This creates a direct transfer of heat and ensures that your loaves are cooked evenly.
Apr 30, 2008
Good Question: Best Burr Grinder Under $100
I am looking to buy a new coffee grinder for my husband, a coffee lover. We currently have a Cuisinart blade grinder, but I would like to upgrade to a burr grinder. We use both a French press and a Cuisinart drip pot. Can anyone suggest a great grinder for under $100? Thanks!– Kristen (To All Good Questions) Kristen, we really researched this one for you. We went to our favorite coffee shop and roastery and quizzed the coffee geeks there on burr grinders. Here’s what they told us.
Apr 22, 2008
Good Question: Do Fridge Crisper Drawers Really Work?
One commenter in the post about how not to waste food offered her solution to wasting less food which is to put vegetables and fruits on the top shelf of the refrigerator so that they won’t go forgotten in the produce drawer. I “learned” that each section of the refrigerator had a specific purpose for keeping foods. True? Old wives tale? Can we get a refresher on how to best use our fridge and store its contents properly?
Apr 18, 2008
New KitchenAid Stand Mixer Attachment: The BeaterBlade
Remember the SideSwipe Spatula Mixer Blade? It’s an attachment paddle for your stand mixer, and it seems like they were on to something, because here is another whole crop of custom paddles that help you mix things better and cleaner with your stand mixer. Enter: The Beaterblade.The BeaterBlade is like the Sideswipe in that it has silicone fins to help it scrape and fold ingredients as they are mixed.
Apr 18, 2008
Help Design a New Cookware Set
Remember the KitchenSync and its designer Noah Balmer? Well, Balmer is still working on getting a manufacturer for that brilliant little recipe device, but he’s also working on new designs and is curious for your feedback. Here’s his question, and he’ll be looking for your answers! He says:I am designing a 7 or 10 piece stainless steel cookware set.
Apr 14, 2008
Good Product: Regency Professional Parchment
Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to parchment paper? Try this reusable parchment from Regency!Similar to Silpat, these sheets of “paper” have a Teflon coating that’s nonstick and oven-safe up to 500-degrees. This reusable parchment is thinner and more flexible than Silpat, making it useful for tasks like lining brownie pans or casserole dishes. You can also cut the sheets down to size so they fit perfectly onto your baking sheets and inside dishes.
Apr 8, 2008
More Colorful Cast Iron: Ikea’s Senior Line
We make a trek to Ikea only once or twice a year, so we don’t always catch the latest products in person as soon as they come out. The Senior line of enamel-coated cast iron isn’t brand new, but it’s an interesting addition to Ikea’s cookware. With all things Ikea, you tend to sacrifice some quality to get a good deal. But is this one?
Apr 7, 2008
Microwave Silicone Steamer from OrkaInternational Home and Housewares Show 2008
Microwaves and silicone – these two things and certainly the combination of both were hardly likely to win our attention at the Housewares show. We’ve predicted that home cooks are past the honeymoon phase with silicone and until recently we really only used our microwave for defrosting chicken and melting butter. But things have changed. Yesterday two illustrious kitchen figures – Mark Bittman and Harold McGee – sang the microwave’s praises.
Apr 3, 2008
Good Tool: Measuring Scoops
Traditional “spoon”-shaped measuring spoons have a host of problems–they are shallow and it’s difficult to measure dry ingredients accurately. Measuring small amounts of liquid is near-impossible. We usually spill as we’re measuring and then lose most of it before we get it into the bowl.We stumbled upon this obvious solution a few weeks ago in our local hardware store: measuring scoops!
Mar 24, 2008
Kitchen Tool: Romertopf Clay Baker
One of our favorite kitchen tools to cook with on busy weeknights is our Romertopf clay baker. It’s so easy to use, and food cooked in a clay baker is healthy and flavorful.Clay pot cooking is an old method that can be traced back to the time of the Romans. Romertopf clay bakers come in various sizes, and are unglazed. To use, simply soak the pot in water, add your ingredients, and place in the oven for 45 minutes. The clay absorbs the water, which turns into steam and cooks the food.
Mar 19, 2008
Handy Kitchen Tool: The Bench Scraper
Whenever we have bread dough to separate, icebox cookies to cut apart, or even onions to scoop into a prep bowl, we find ourselves reaching for our bench scraper. As those of us diving into the Kitchn Cure this week start to think about trimming down the number of utensils cluttering our drawers, this one is definitely a keeper.A bench scraper is primarily intended for baking, where you’ll sometimes hear it referred to as a bench cutter or pastry scraper.
Mar 17, 2008
Hot Weekend Deal! Staub 8-Quart Dutch Oven at Amazon
We wanted to share this deal that came through our email this morning: Amazon’s Deal of the Day is a great buy for the kitchen. They have this 8-Quart Staub Cocotte for only $179.99, which is at least $80 cheaper than anywhere else we’ve seen it.Staub makes a fantastic Dutch oven and at 8 quarts this one should get you through the rest of your winter braising and stew-making needs. It comes in many pretty colors, too; our favorite is the Grenadine above.
Mar 8, 2008
Good Question: Best Manual Knife Sharpener?
Here’s a question from reader artichoke queen. How do you keep your knives sharp? Looking for a good, manual knife sharpener that will work on Global knives and others. The Furi has been recommended. Any suggestions?(To All Good Questions) We confess right now that we are not as diligent as wes should be at sharpening our knives, so this is a learning point for us as well. Sara Kate initially suggested just getting a steel and stone.
Mar 7, 2008
Mystery Gadget: What’s This Yellow Plastic Squeezer-Thing?
A few years ago we received several boxes of plates, pots, cutlery and gadgets from a family member who was downsizing their kitchen. Ever since then, we have been mystified by this yellow plastic squeezer-thing.Can you guess what it is?It consists of two plastic boxes that can be squeezed together, and that close up when pressed shut. Their construction is curious, though, and we could never figure out what this thing was for.
Mar 5, 2008
Silicone Placemats and Table Runners from Modern-twist
We usually avoid placemats on our small dining table; we feel like it clutters it up visually. We prefer tablecloths and runners. These silicone placemats though, with their hint of transparency and their subtle designs, could change that…Modern-twist is a design company that broke out recently with its very popular PJ Pocket Pillow, a twistable hiding place for all sorts of things. They also have a line of silicone coasters.
Feb 27, 2008
How to Season a Wok
Like cast iron, woks need to be seasoned as well. Properly seasoned woks have a caramel-colored patina on the inside. Seasoning a wok not only helps to impart flavor into your food, but also helps the inside of the wok build up over time to a smooth, non-stick surface. Since I loaded up on all manners of Asian vegetables and crab at the Alemany Farmer’s Market on Saturday, I’ve been stir frying a lot this week.
Feb 21, 2008
Store Review: New York Cake & Baking Supply
This store is not unlike the act of baking itself – slightly messy, occasionally overwhelming, but ultimately satisfying in the sweetest way.On our last visit, we overheard the following conversation:Woman 1: “Do you see anything?”Woman 2: “I see everything!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Feb 14, 2008
Coffee Methods: The Costa Rican Chorreador
French press, drip brewer, Chemex, and… the chorreador? Yes, if you live in Costa Rica.Last week we talked about the most popular methods for coffee brewing at home. We received several more recommendations from readers, including this one from reader Erin of Gringuitica. Erin lives in Costa Rica, and she told us that the chorreador is a simple coffee maker that is in daily use in most Costa Rican homes. She sent us a photo of her own chorreador, the beautiful rosewood model above.
Feb 6, 2008
Best Product: UtiliTea Electric Kettle
Remember when we asked about the best electric kettles? Well, it took us over a year to decide, but we finally made our choice and now we’re in love. Deep, deep in love. Click through for more photos and full review.The UtiliTea Kettle from Adagio ($49, via Adagio’s website) has everything we want in an electric kettle, and it has transformed our tea and coffee habits.
Jan 31, 2008
Coffee Methods: The Chemex Carafe
Among many coffee purists the Chemex brewer is the gold standard. Its elegant shape is perfectly melded to function, and it’s a design classic that resides in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. But how’s the coffee?The Chemex brewer was invented and released in 1942, and since then they have been made by a small company in New England.
Jan 29, 2008
Un-Gift Guide 2007: Wrapping Homemade Candy
We wrapped two pans of caramels and toffee in individual slips of paper over the last two days. At first this felt like sheer torture, the effects of over-ambitious bad ideas, and we swore to never do it again. But now, looking at two buckets of old-fashioned wrapped candies, and with many having gone out to friends already, it doesn’t seem so bad! Click for details…This kind of candy wrapping is extremely economical.
Dec 14, 2007
Un-Gift Guide 2007: Pretty Packaging from Martha Stewart
Oh, Martha. We were looking for gift bag ideas for our 2007 Un-Gift Guide and really, Martha Stewart has a corner on pretty pictures of holiday wrapping and homemade gift ideas. Here’s one of our favorites – gift bags of coffee, spiced with a teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla pod seeds. You can also find smaller, miniature-sized bags like these at craft stores and Target – they are fun to fill with wrapped candies. Seal with a ribbon.
Dec 10, 2007
Food Mill for Sauce Season
Tomatoes and apples fill the markets right now and they are begging to be sauced. On Monday, we talked using a wide pan to keep tomato sauce tasting more lively. Today we want to check in with you on another tool of serious sauce makers: the food mill. We’ve heard many people scoff at the food mill. We think they don’t understand how this old-fashioned looking tool differs from a food processor, blender, or standing mixer.
Sep 19, 2007
A Swiss Peeler from the Streets of New York City
We introduced Joseph Ades, New York City’s best sidewalk sales guy, yesterday. Today we’re reviewing the Swiss made Star brand peeler he peddles. This peeler is a Swiss kitchen classic, according to The Rex ($2.99 on eBay), a similar peeler made by the same manufacturer, appeared on a Swiss postage stamp in 2003!
Apr 18, 2007
Smallest Coolest Kitchen 2007 Entry #5: Jessica’s Blue and Silver Flair
To Contest Page & All Entries(note: deadline has been extended to Monday, April 16th!) Name: JessicaLocation: New York, NYSize & Type: 45 square feet (not including dining area) in a 1 bedroom 5th floor walkup Favorite resource: The local thrift store, to get rid of kitchen miscellaneous stuff. To make everything fit easily, I got rid of most of our kitchen stuff. What we do have we use daily and for multiple purposes (eg. small French tumblers are used for both juice & wine).
Apr 16, 2007
How To Use a Stove Top Heat Diffuser
Persnickety stoves can seem like they have just two settings: off or devilishly hot. That’s no good for braising. But don’t get all hot and bothered if you can’t find a low, slow heat source to finish your braise. There is a solution — the stove top heat diffuser. We asked Norman Kornbleuth, owner of Broadway Panhandler and Taylor Erkkinen from The Brooklyn Kitchen, to tell us more about stove top diffusers.
Mar 26, 2007
Bed Bath & Beyond: Online
We would usually not look to a big-box store like Bed Bath & Beyond to fulfill our kitchen shopping needs. Large chains like BB&B often include their hefty chain store overhead in their prices, leaving deep discounts for exclusively online stores like Amazon. But we wanted to review them here, for their wedding registry if nothing else.
Mar 19, 2007
Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop: Online
From Aebleskivers to Zabaglione and Zesters, Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop online has it all. It’s a treasure trove of basic to unusual kitchen tools, as well as information on their history and use.Fante’s was established in 1906 in the Italian Market area of Philadelphia. They have a long history of sourcing a huge range of cooking and pastry supplies and tools – often things that were otherwise difficult to find in the United States.
Mar 5, 2007
Good Product: Victorinox 8-inch Chef’s Knife
I’m in love, but I’m afraid it’s unrequited. My new Victorinox knife slipped out of my grip this weekend and bit me just a little on the finger. Two BandAids and some embarrassment bear witness to some rather clumsy knife skills. Perhaps I can blame the wonderfully sharp blade and light handle, however; accustomed to heavier, more awkward knives, I was unprepared for its lightness and agility.
Feb 21, 2007
Good Question: Should I Buy a New Cuisinart?
Dear Kitchen,I have a 7-cup classic Cuisinart, which is 7 years old and whose work bowl is slowly cracking. The plastic shaft on the grating disc also just broke. A new disc is $26, a new workbowl is $30. I also read that the dough blade should be replaced every few years, and that’s another $30.Should i just get a completely new food processor?Thanks!Jill in Boston (To All Good Questions)Dear Jill,The one thing that Cuisinart food processors are known for are their great motors.
Feb 19, 2007
PoachPod: Silicone Egg Poachers
There’s more than one way to poach an egg, that’s for sure. I’m still practicing the whirlpool method, but I took a crack at these silicone PoachPods ($9.95, from Lamson & Goodnow. I agree with the recent thumbs-up from The New York Times (subscription required). The eggs come up from the water with a rich flavor since hardly any poaching water mixes in to them.
Jan 26, 2007
Cookware & More: Discounted Cookware from All-Clad & Wüsthof
If you’ve wanted to build a collection of All-Clad cookware or eyed a set of Wustof knives, then listen up: Cookware & More, based in Trooper, PA, specializes in irregular pieces at deep discounts from big-name cooking and bakeware brands, most notably All-Clad, Woll, Vitamix, Wusftof, and a host of others.
Oct 12, 2006
Surfas Commercial Kitchen Supply
One of the pleasures of going to a new city is finding the shops you don’t have in your own city. As our world gets smaller and smaller, this is an experience that is harder to come by. Surfas is one of those special places. Surfas is commercial restaurant supply meets chef’s boutique. When I’m in LA, Culver City isn’t exactly my favorite place to visit, but it’s worth it just to go to Surfas and browse the aisles, or stock up on baking supplies.
Jun 6, 2006
What’s the Deal with Magnetic Knife Strips?
The issue of knife storage came up in a recent post, specifically whether or not magnetic strips were a good way to keep one’s knives. My mom says the strips pull the edge out of whack. Being a professional, she keeps her finest in a knife roll, and her “everyday” (which are pretty darn nice) in a wooden rack fashioned by my grandfather and screwed to the side of the wooden butcher block. I don’t have that kind of space. We have a strip.
Mar 28, 2006
Vintage Gear: Dansk Kobenstyle
A striking kitchen shot from one of Friday’s Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest entries at Apartment Therapy sparked a lot of discussion about a little yellow pot. Guido was quick to ID it as Dansk, cooking show appearances made Laura a longtime admirer, Tat recommended one to a friend, Jean generously shared her secret DC source, and Melinda recalled getting one as a wedding present.
Mar 27, 2006
Technique: Seasoning a Brand New Cast Iron Skillet
With plans this weekend to make Big PancakeBroadway Panhandler Here’s the step-by-step guide: 1. Pre-heat oven to 325° 2. Wash skillet with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. 3. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil, or vegetable shortening with a paper towel on all surfaces, inside and out. 4. Place in oven on center rack, upside down. Place a baking sheet or a sheet of foil on the rack beneath to catch drippings. 5.
Feb 27, 2006