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fifi

Kitchen Gadgets - "stocking stuffers"

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As soon as I can get back into the kitchen I am going to lay out my collection of whisks and take a photo.

I have been banished from the kitchen for a while as my housekeeper and three of her friends from school are making some kind of Austrian or Hungarian pastry that involves a lot of stretching to get the dough paper-thin. And this is all I know about it so far.

I have been told to keep myself out from underfoot - supposed to be "resting" after a busy few days.

I could hear a lot of giggling a while back so whatever they are doing must be a lot of fun.

She doesn't bother with my collection of vegetable peelers, she can peel a potato faster with a paring knife, very thin peel, as rapidly as I can with a peeler. She likes some of the gadgets but others get just a shake of her head.

Like me she began cooking at about age 9 or 10 - she has 1 older brother and 7 younger ones and the small town in which she lived did not have stores with a lot of gadgets.

She does approve of the whisks and can beat egg whites or whipped cream by hand in a copper bowl as rapidly as I can with the mixer. She also has an incredible grip.

I certainly won't need one of those Black & Decker Lids Off appliances as long as she is around.

I can't imagine having one of those taking up space on my counters, I do have arthritis in my hands but the old V-shaped thingy with the toothy jaws, on the underside of one of the cabinets, has done a good job of opening just about everything except bottles with caps less than 5/8 inch in diameter and for those I use an old-fashioned metal nutcracker.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I'm a big fan of these tongs:

192476_4515c.jpg

Kuhn Rikon.  $20 at Surlatable.com

How stiff are the wires? I bought a similar one but the wires were too flimsy to hold onto anything with any weight to it. I tossed them out in the trash.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I haven't found a way to contact Amco, either. Do any of you folks out there even know what city Amco is in? A google search on Amco and kitchen just gives too many hits. While one would expect to see the company site at the top, it isn't.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Oh and my favorite newish kitchen gadget is the serrated peeler!  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00...M/egulletcom-20

Mr. Bill said "what are you ever going to use THAT for?" when  I brought it home, but you've never seen anything like it for peeling difficult items like quinces and stone fruits, and though I haven't tried it yet, I'm suspecting that butternut squash will now bow down before me in Fear  :raz:

Eden

I have one of these. Someone at Sur La Table told me it was their best seller among peelers. I do not like what it does to things that don't need its aggressive bite, but for tough skins it is excellent.

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I've ordered a few things from this place. after someone sent me one of the Bodum garlic slicers. (tried it once, it works fine but I keep forgetting about it.)

I did get a couple of the salt pigs, cute and handy, keeps stuff from falling into the salt in the open dish.

I also bought several of the salt & condiment servers as I am giving them as gifts along with some of my homemade mustard and/or other condiments.

I also got a couple of sets of the Amco measuring spoons. here

One advantage of these is that they set level on a flat surface so if you happen to have a tremor in one hand (my left) which makes it difficult to hold a spoon and pour a liquid into it, the spoon can rest on a counter and I can pour with my right hand then pick up the spoon and dump the liquid with my right hand. No shaking drips of stuff all over the place.

Also the shape allows the spoon to fit into skinny jars.

They also have a silicone pastry brush.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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That reminds me, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a sliding measuring spoon.

Also those big sliding measuring cups are handy dandy for measuring honey and stuff. You can buy them as a set with the measuring spoons here from Chef's Catalog

Just ordered my father's present for this year. They're on back order though :sad:


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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fif...just had a thought for you...they may have a toll free number you can call....

in which case all you need to do is contact the watts info operator...1-800-555-1212....if they have a toll free number they can give it to you even if you dont know where they are located...if you take a miss on that the next best thing to do would contact a kitchen stroe that carries theri current products and get the town off one of the boxes..only two things i can think of off the top of my head... and though i did try the watts number myself all i got off the automated system was AAMCO..which hardly qualifies here....lol...however they do have real people you can possibly talk to monday through friday..when prompted for inormation just say operator and you should be able to get a live person


Edited by ladyyoung98 (log)

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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I LOVE gadgets :biggrin:

Things I have used today include my kitchen shears(to spatchcock my chicken for supper), My measuring thingy that slides up and down(for molasses today), my offset spatula and my microplane grater.

I am looking at the silicone pastry brushes for my stocking(have to buy my own presents) and a large offset spatula.

Can't have too many gadgets right? :blink:

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This is a great thread! Tons of good ideas. Here are a couple of my current faves:

pancake rings: if you make pancakes a lot (and we do) they're really handy

squadle: a square-shaped ladle, which for some geometric reason I can't explain gets out every last bit from a round pot

ingredient scooper-thing: great for transporting chopped stuff from the cutting board to the pan

oxo angled measuring cups: so you can see how much you're measuring while you're measuring--no need to worry about that pesky meniscus

also:

locking tongs

spaghetti server

cookie scoop


thoughts on food, writing, and everything else: Words to Eat By

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I'm a big fan of these tongs:

192476_4515c.jpg

Kuhn Rikon.  $20 at Surlatable.com

How stiff are the wires? I bought a similar one but the wires were too flimsy to hold onto anything with any weight to it. I tossed them out in the trash.

Pretty strong. I use it for picking up large filets or anything with a lot of surface area. Its heavier than your standard tongs w/scalloped edge, but its also easier to grab small and/or delicate things with these.

Plus, its Swiss. There's something about that and the weight and the design of the things gives it a 'thank you kitchen mistress, may I have another?' feel to it, and I'm kind of into that.

I wouldn't use it as my only tongs, but as part of a tongs arsenal.

In reguards to the numerous garlic gadgets: I only have one. My global chef's knife. It slices, it mashes, and when held under running water, it sucks the garlic smell off my hands.

I WOULD like a few more microplane graters. I have the one for a fine grate now, need something for a coarser grate.

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squadle: a square-shaped ladle, which for some geometric reason I can't explain gets out every last bit from a round pot

ingredient scooper-thing: great for transporting chopped stuff from the cutting board to the pan

I think I am in love with these two.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I've got one more that I thought was fun when I saw it. The problem is, I can't remember where I saw it, I feel like it was at Chef's Catalog though. Anyway, it was this mini-whisk about the size of a finger. It was attatched to a keychain so you could plop it on a backpack or anything. I just thought that was kind of cool.

Also, there are these new whisks out that have little balls in the middle of the wire. Apparently they whip more air into the product. I've never tried one but they sure look neat.


Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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Microplane, check

Cherry Pitter, check

Someone post a link for the silicone pastry brush, please. I've never seen that before and I was just eggwashing something this morning, and cursing my inferior pastry brush.

Gourmet Magazine had an article about the silicone pastry brushes and it featured some pretty fancy ones. Couldn't find those here where I live - but I did pick up one at Bed Bath & Beyond - a Pyrex model - for $4.99. Has a short handle - but otherwise is terrific.

Another cool thing I bought for myself is a bulb baster which has a flat bottom (so it sits on the bottom and doesn't mess up your counter). You can buy it at the MOMA store - but I picked it up for a few dollars less at Broadway Panhandler. Not one drop on the counter when I was through basting the turkey. Robyn

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Speaking of Amco.

This place seems to carry a very large selection of their products so this might be the place to get info about the company.....

chef's resource

And this place has a bunch of silicone pastry or basting brushes from the small ones to a super large one.

Anything you might desire.

They also have the wood, mushroom-shaped garlic smasher.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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OK... andiesenji wins. She is the gadget queen. But then... We knew that. :laugh:

andie... that site with the pastry brushes is the bomb. The prices are incredible. Some of them are really pretty. I have to have them. You have done a major service to your community. :biggrin:

Perhaps a topic in the Pastry forum is in order to see how they are used and how one would choose. I am wondering about bristle size for different uses. But, I know next to nothing about pastry.

That wooden mushroom is really cute, but the stainless gets the smell off. If I can't find the stainless I may go ahead with some of the wooden ones just because they are cute.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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squadle: a square-shaped ladle, which for some geometric reason I can't explain gets out every last bit from a round pot

Oh that's so cool. I can completely envision how it works. The sides and bottom of pots are straight, usually at a right angle, the part where they come together is curved. The Squadle will fit right in there, much better than a traditional round ladle, which leaves a gap at the joint.

I've got one more that I thought was fun when I saw it. The problem is, I can't remember where I saw it, I feel like it was at Chef's Catalog though. Anyway, it was this mini-whisk about the size of a finger. It was attatched to a keychain so you could plop it on a backpack or anything. I just thought that was kind of cool.

Also, there are these new whisks out that have little balls in the middle of the wire. Apparently they whip more air into the product. I've never tried one but they sure look neat.

Those small whisks do come in handy. I have a few, I think I usually find them as impulse purchases near the cash register at cookware stores. Although I got a really nice one (with keychain, just as you described) as part of a goody bag from my visit to the CIA last May. Unfortunately, they don't have an online gift store, I just checked.

Edit: Scratch that, they do have a store, but I couldn't find that whisk in it: http://store.yahoo.com/ciaprochefstore/index.html. And let me add, that I find it hilarious that a cooking school online catalog has narry a whisk in site, but does have a $22,500 Diva Range (call for availability) and a $4000 induction burner (2-3 days shipping) available!

My mother has the ball in the middle whisk and I used it for whipped cream on Thanksgiving. I don't think it whipped that 1/2 cup of cream that much faster and it seemed to splatter a little more than usual. Give me an oversized balloon whip instead. (Oh and as long as you're giving me something, I'll take a silicone pastry brush too. :wink:)


Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)

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How about a potato masher or ricer? I know that is on my list (I was a bit overzealous with the potatos this year and squished my masher).

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Stick food thermometers with the little case with pen-clip. Pan handle holders -- great for cast iron skillets -- and for holding hot SS utensils like spoons or spatulas when they get uncomfortably warm. Cooks aprons, full body -- we found some (in various colors) at ACE Restaurant supply for under $8 -- got myself a denim apron (the perfect mask a stain fabric :wink:). One cup liquid measures that measure down to one ounce. Locking tongs.


Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Thank you, Judith. Tongs and thermometers are now "in the goody box". How on earth could I have neglected those? And I know they don't have thermometers. I get these panic phone calls... "Mom, I have seared the xxx. How long does it have to go in the oven." "I don't know. I just cook it to 140F." "But mom! I don't have a thermometer." "Well, why the hell NOT?"


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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fifi, did you include oven thermometers? I gave them last year to my girlfriends, and all of them were rather amazed how out-of-calibration their ovens are.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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fifi, did you include oven thermometers?  I gave them last year to my girlfriends, and all of them were rather amazed how out-of-calibration their ovens are.

Good point! Added to "the box".

Speaking of thermometers, the remote thingies are a good gift for any BBQ afficiando, though outside of the price range of this discussion. I have given them a couple of times and, once the recipient got past the skepticism hurdle (Ah know when my Q is done) they can't live without them. :laugh:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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These simple vegetable peelers from Kuhn-Rikon. Their size, weight and configuration are all perfect, and at $3.50 ea. they're practically disposable. I keep a supply on hand so that I can give one to every visitor who tries and falls in love with them. And lots of them do.

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The Magi-Whisk is very handy and sells at most places for under $5. I keep one in a cup with my measuring spoons and thermometer out on the counter. It is great for sauces and lightly beating eggs.

http://fantes.com/whisks.htm look for the Small Bent Pan Whisk (aka Magi-Whisk).

enjoy!

N.


"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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I have a bunch of Kuhn-Rikon implements and have yet to find one that is not superior to other makers. The various peelers are very well designed.

I have their small, hand-held slicer (they call it a mandoline) which works better than the specialty chocolate shaver for shaving curls of chocolate off the edge of a block of chocolate.

I use it for getting extremely thin slices of fruits and vegetables when I need just a little, not enough to warrant using the big mandoline.

The heart-shaped sauce whisk is also very easy to use and gets right into the corners of straight-sided pans. The head swivels on the end of the handle so it will lay flat on the bottom of the pan. I have several of these types of whisk and some work better for thick sauces or gravies and others work better with the thinner types. This one is excellent for the thinner types and when reducing coulis.

I also have a pressure cooker and the pressure fry pan made by this company and they are much easier to use than the old style pressure cookers.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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