Posted by rhondascooking on August 2, 2008
Have you ever had a recipe that required lemon zest, but you had no idea where or how to get lemon zest? Well, of course you know that I have the perfect gadget for you—called the Microplane Grater/Zester! The Microplane has a long blade with grating edges that will allow you to finely grate foods. I started using this nifty tool when I started cooking with ginger root. Because ginger root is very strong in flavor, I needed a way to use just a pinch and the Microplane did the trick. This tool is very easy to use, but you must be careful when grating because you can scrape your hand if you aren’t paying attention.
I think you should consider purchasing the Microplane due to its versatility. There are many different types and sizes of microplaners. Select one based upon your needs. You can purchase these gadgets from almost anywhere—Wal-mart, Target, Amazon.com, etc. The prices range from $8 – $20, depending on the size and model.
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Posted by rhondascooking on July 19, 2008
OXO GOOD GRIPS Salad Spinner
The OXO GOOD GRIPS Salad Spinner was indeed a lifesaver in my kitchen, especially when I started to change my diet and eat more salads. Though salads are wonderful and nutritious—especially the ones without the extra ranch/Caesar dressing—they are a lot of work to prepare! The biggest chore for me was washing the lettuce (3 times) and drying it! During my pre-salad spinner days, it would always take me about 30 minutes just to wash and dry each leaf without damaging the leaves. I felt there had to be an easier way to wash my lettuce.
After receiving my first “manual” salad spinner as a gift, I realized that not all salad spinners are the same; some spinners require more work than others. For instance, some spinners have a handle at the top that require you to turn (or pull) in order to make the basket spin. On the other hand, there are some—like the OXO Salad Spinner—that only require you to push (or pump) the handle in order to make the basket spin. Of course you know that once I tried the OXO spinner, I began to get excited again about making salads because it didn’t take me an hour just to prepare things!
The OXO Salad Spinner is about $30 and is available in various kitchen/department stores as well as online. For the best deal, be on the lookout for that $5 or 20% discount coupon from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, you will only play about $24. You can get Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons if you sign-up for their mailing list either in the store or on the website? (Please be advised that once you sign up you’ll start getting them after about a month.)
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Posted by rhondascooking on July 12, 2008
This week’s gadget a classic cookware in Asian cultures—the bamboo steamer.
What’s so special about this bamboo steamer? Well, for starters, this hand-made Chinese design dual steamer traps steam and has a high bottom which keeps vegetables from sitting in water. I love it also because it also holds a lot of food and cooks in less time than the traditional metal pots.
Bamboo steamers absorb moisture, prevent condensation and retain heat after cooking. There are several different sizes of bamboo steamers and they can be purchased at any Asian grocery store, online, or kitchen/department stores. Currently, Amazon.com has the Joyce Chen Bamboo Steamer available for just $9.95!
Posted in Gadgets | Tagged: bamboo steamers, joyce chen bamboo steamer, steamers | 2 Comments »
Posted by rhondascooking on July 4, 2008
This week’s gadget is the traditional, basic slow cooker (sometimes called Crockpot®)! Slow cooker meals are excellent for the summer months—especially for those of us in temperatures over 110 degrees! All it takes is a little preparation in advance and then you are good to go. No heating up the kitchen and only 1 pot to wash! I have used my slow cooker to cook red beans, pot roast, collard greens, and even barbecue chicken!
There are many brands on the market and each function basically the same with some minor improvements such as a digital clock! The only major difference in my opinion is the lid—yes, the lid! It is important to select a slow cooker where the lid is completely sealed in order to avoid the water evaporating during the cooking process. So be careful when selecting the slow cookers that are oval shaped. Make sure that you inspect the pot before you purchase; take it from me, you don’t want to come home after work to find that your meal has been burned because there was no more water in the pot!
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Posted by rhondascooking on June 20, 2008
The Epicurean Cutting Surface is a cutting board that is made of wood composite and non-porous material, which prevents bacteria from harboring. This material is the same material that is used for skate boarding platforms! I started using the Epicurean about 8 months ago. What made me buy it wasn’t the price—it is actually pricey—but it was the size and the appearance. This cutting board is relatively flat and has a very stylish look for my kitchen (it comes in a natural or slate finish).
What I love most is the fact that I don’t have pieces of the board’s material on my food as I cut. Also, unlike the other boards that I used in the past, my Epicurean cutting surface doesn’t have deep cuts in it after slicing food. The Epicurean is NSF approved, dishwasher safe, heat resistant, and eco friendly. This board can be purchased from Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sur la Table, as well as on Amazon.com. If you haven’t seen the Epicurean Cutting surface, take a look at the demo video from their website
Posted in Gadgets, Uncategorized | Tagged: cutting boards, epicurean cutting surface | Leave a Comment »
Posted by rhondascooking on June 12, 2008
This week’s lifesaver is the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System. I use this wonderful appliance everyday, several times a day! The FoodSaver keeps food fresh longer by using a vacuum sealer packaging. When I first purchased this appliance 2 years ago, I was a naysayer; I didn’t believe the claims. However, after using it for a variety of things from storing lettuce to freezing dinners I soon became a believer. What I really love most is that it does not require a lot of counter space.
The FoodSaver comes with an instructional DVD explaining the usage and benefits of the system. You can purchase this appliance online at FoodSaver.com, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, or Costco. Due to the fact that Foodsaver.com offers free shipping and lots of sales, it is the best place to purchase the accessories and newer models that are not offered in retail stores.
Posted in Gadgets, Uncategorized | Tagged: FoodSaver, vacuum sealing bags | Leave a Comment »
Posted by rhondascooking on May 29, 2008
I have so many favorite kitchen gadgets, but I must say that for this week, the Prepara Tri-Blade Peeler has done wonders for me in the kitchen! I call this tri-blade peeler the Rolls Royce of all vegetable peelers! I know one might say, “What’s the big deal? They all work the same.” Well, I beg to differ. After using this peeler for over two months now, I am a firm believer that not all peelers are created equal. Prior to this purchase, my peeler was simple and cheap ($1), and I thought it did the job until one day I was browsing in one of my favorite kitchen stores and found the Trio!
The Trio is made of Japanese surgical steel and has three different blades—soft, firm, and julienne. What I really love about this peeler is that it doesn’t remove much of the flesh of the food as do most other peelers, as well as the fact that the Trio has a soft glide. However, one word of caution about this wonderful must have gadget is that you better be careful as you peel, because there is a chance that you can cut yourself. You can find this gadget at many specialty kitchen stores like Sur la Table or Williams and Sonoma, or you can purchase online.
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Posted by rhondascooking on May 6, 2008
I call the Vita-Mix the Cadillac of all blenders! This powerful appliance is excellent for preparing quick and easy meals. Since having the Vita-Mix for over 2 years, I have done a number of things with this gadget that I never thought I could do such as making almond butter and even making hot soup!
The Vita-Mix allows customers to make whole food juice that’s full of fiber and flavor in under a minute, cook soup from scratch that’s hot, hearty and satisfying in just 4 minutes, make frozen treats that are full of fruit and low in fat in only 30 seconds, grind fresh whole grains into flour and knead dough for healthy home made bread in one 5-minute operation.
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Posted in Gadgets | Tagged: blender, juicer, smoothies, Vita-mix | Leave a Comment »