Friday, January 26, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets I can't do without!

It can be intimidating when watching Martha or Emeril or Rachael to see the myriad of tools, appliances, gadgets, and cookware that they have. However, I am sure they all would agree that it is one thing to cook in a TV kitchen where everything is laid out especially to prepare one meal and a real kitchen with dishes in the sink and kids and dogs running through, like the ones we all have to deal with. Since Cuisinart, Calphalon and Le Creuset aren't sending me free appliances and kitchen gear to try, I have to be selective in deciding where to spend my money in order to make my kitchen the best it can be to support my family's cooking lifestyle. I want to show you a few things I use in my kitchen all the time and I hope you will write to let me know what you use to make playing with food easier.

My Dacor dual fuel range- This was the one "luxury" item I could afford when we added onto the home we bought over five years ago. The oven is roomy, I love the gas cooktop (I was able to cook for myself and my neighbors for the 14 days we were without power after Hurricane Isabel), and Dacor has incredible customer service.

My Kitchenaid mixer - This was the one time that my husband violated the "nothing that plugs in" rule for a gift for me that I wasn't upset! This is an appliance that is worth the price and you can now get them at warehouse stores like Costco or even on Ebay at a bargain price. The dough hook makes making dough easy and quick. You can buy cheaper mixers, but if you are a serious cook or if you have a large family, the Kitchenaid is economical because they last forever!

A good (and large) cutting board-I got mine at Frank Spicer, a cooking supply store near me, and I opted for a large acrylic board that can be thrown in the dishwasher after cutting a variety of foods.

My Smart Spin - okay, don't laugh! Be honest- how many times have you opened the cabinet above your stove (or fridge or microwave) only to be bombarded with a shower of lids, Cool Whip tubs and Tupperware? My mom sent me this as a gift and I totally love it because it organizes these containers, the lids fit all sizes and it fits in a small space. The only down side is that you can't get additional containers and you know what happens to plastic food containers - they walk out the door and often don't come back!

My new silicone accessories - I got potholder/trivets and silicone baking pans for Christmas (they are Kitchenaid and Farberware and came from BJs) and after I got over thinking that they would melt when I used them on hot pans, I have become addicted to them. They have absolutely no heat transfer unlike even the thickest cloth potholders. After getting these I got some silicone spatulas and a silicone pastry brush, all of which work great.

My Magic Bullet - All right, another infomercial product, but I use this all the time. As a woman enduring my own personal year-round summer, I have been trying to include more soy protein in my diet and I can make incredible protein smoothies, and iced coffees with my bullet. It is also great for grinding hard cheeses, coffee, or spices and even my husband can make his own sugar-free, fat-free pudding in it (now that is magic!)

My cast-iron griddle - I ordered mine on Ebay, but you can also get them at Bass Pro Shop. This thing is great and you can read more about why I got it in my post about "Good David" and his PAM warning.

My Foodsaver - Now that I think about it, this started as an infomercial item too! My Mom gave me this as a gift and I use it all the time. Since we shop at warehouse stores for our food, I can break down packages of meat, blocks of cheese, etc. into portions that are easy to defrost and cook, and since all the air is removed, the food can be kept longer. Another great use for us is preparing to go camping, you can seal anything- matches, for example- and keep them dry no matter what. These can also be bought at buying clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Great way to make the most of your food budget.

These are some of the things I use to make life in the kitchen easier - let me know what you couldn't live without in your kitchen!

6 comments:

Ash said...

A new addition to my kitchen, but one I can't imagine how I survived without is my Microplane grater. I got the fine one for zesting lemons and I love it!

Lisamike said...

I love my Smart Spin too!! And I found replacement containers for it for $5.95 online at ABC Distributing, Check it out here:
http://www.abcdistributing.com
And search "Smart Spin."

The gadget that I find myself going for all the time these days is my silicone spatulas. I use them for everything -- mixing, flipping, scraping, scrambling, etc.

Another gadget I couldn't live without is my kitchen scale. I use it several times a day to measure ingredients and portions.

Deborah Dowd said...

Thanks for the tip on smart spin replacement containers. Despite my grown kids' promises to the contrary, they seem to rarely come back once sent out( or at least not in the same quantities)! I checked out ABC and they are on backorder, but I will keep checking!

David G. said...

I have also been looking for replacements. Found them on AMAZON.COM today 12/9/2007 for $12.95

http://www.amazon.com/SMART-SPIN-EXPANSION-PACK/dp/B0007MD2EW/ref=pd_bbs_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1197196680&sr=8-3

Bekki said...

thanks david g - you are a genius. just ordered my smart spin expansion set!

Carol M said...

I tried all your sites with no luck till I went to smartspin.com. There is a phone # in Conneticut to call for customer service where you can order 3 replacement sets for $5.95 each and get free shipping!