Thursday, March 5, 2009

Calling All Kitchen Gadget Addicts!

Note to self: Next time I chop a hot pepper, do NOT (and I can’t stress this enough), do NOT wipe my nose with the paper towel I used to wipe the pepper juice off the cutting board.

Today’s blog topic is kitchen gadgets.

“Hello, I’m Lynn and I’m a kitchen gadget addict.”

I collect them like dust bunnies. I have peelers, mincers, zesters, graters, choppers, spoons (wooden, plastic and metal), ladles, separators, blenders, knife sharpeners, cork screws (manual and electric), mixers, whisks, spatulas (rubber and metal), thermometers, and tongs. (I think blogger Beanie has the same addiction, given the kitchen tour she gave in a recent blog.) My sister is not helping matters. She just became a Pampered Chef representative. If my husband finds out, he’ll lock up my wallet like a chastity belt, so let’s just keep this between us, OK?

Yesterday I was reminded of an oft forgotten item that I consider a kitchen gadget: rubber gloves. I know they feel unnatural, they can’t give you the skin-on-food sensual pleasure, but seriously. Use them when cutting hot peppers. And don’t wipe your nose until you take them off. They are also handy when peeling beets because afterwards, you won’t look like you’re starring in a “Friday the 13th” movie.

While not a kitchen gadget per se, I use a lot of my gadgets after reading one of my favorite food blogs: Yummy Diet Food. From author Juliet’s info page: “I love food! I am also both weight and health conscious, and I don't like to eat foods full of unhealthy ingredients (especially the ones targeted at dieters these days). So, I created Yummy Diet Food for people like me who are looking for low calorie foods that are both healthy and delicious (meaning *no* artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or sugar alcohols).” She had me at “I love food!”

Sign up to have Juliet’s postings sent right to your inbox! I’ve tried several of her recipes and have not been disappointed. I especially loved the Orange Julius-like Smoothie last week.

Back to kitchen gadgets. I’d like you to weigh in on two questions.

# 1: What’s your favorite gadget and why should I buy it? (Because you know I will.)

# 2: How the heck do you clean a hand grater without running it through a dishwasher? Because I don’t own one. And those dammmm graters eat up my sponges. Am I doomed to having dried out cheese yuck on my graters even after washing them?

Thanks, as always, for your advice and comments!

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out :) Now I feel famous...lol. Do I see a french fry maker in the one drawer? Looks like the one I have. I also see you have the crock full of utensils as well.

    As for your questions...
    #1 My gadgets are all my favorites. I love them all and I know when one of them has gone missing. If I had to pick just one though I'd say I couldn't live without my Chicago Cutlery Santoku knife. In close second would be my mom's spider strainer.

    #2 I clean my grater by first wiping with a dishtowel against the grate...then once the big chunks are off I spray with the sink sprayer to get even more off...What is left I use a dish washing brush with LOTS of soap. The second spray may be unnecessary if you've gotten most out with the towel...

    And WHOA...wait a minute...
    You don't have a dishwasher??? Oh my I'd cry without mine!!!

    Lovely post!!!! Thanks as always and thanks so much for the vote of confidence.

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  2. I see you already own my newest favorite...the colorful flat "sheet" cutting boards! I got mine at Ross - a four-pack for $3.99. Love how they don't take up any space, but now I don't have to stop and scrub my cutting board when I'm in the middle of preparing multiple items.

    What I don't see, and what you totally should own, are MAGNETIC MEASURING SPOONS!!!!! I saw them in the Crate and Barrel catalog around Christmastime for around 15 bucks, but found mine in my grocery store's "gourmet" section for $6 - they are rounded on one end and oval on the other (perfect for getting into spice jars). PLUS there is a 1 1/2 tsp. (or half a Tbsp.) that I love for putting some jam in my Fage. Love these; they are always stuck together in my drawer...no searching for that one size that has gotten lost among all of my gadgets.

    As for cleaning the grater, my kitchen sink is 3/4 - 1/4 (rather than a normal double - does that make sense?) and I fill the small side with soapy hot water and toss items like the grater in to soak - I can usually just run a sponge down it afterward (not "grating" it upward) and it's clean!

    Umm...sorry for such a long comment. But I share your enthusiasm for kitchen gadgets!

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  3. I agree with the hot soapy water on the grater.

    One of my fave tools is a green bean de-stringer /french cutter, of all things. You slide the green bean through and it takes the string out of the side and french cuts your beans as you pull it through the cutter. It turns a small pile of green beans into a mountain, plus makes them thin and tender for salads!

    Here is the one I have (actually from where I bought in on vacation):
    http://www.kitchensonthesquare.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=280&category=6

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  4. Yes! I am obsessed with kitchen stuff...unfortunately my kitchen storage space is small enough that it keeps me reigned in. I walk into Williams-Sonoma and could cry for all the cool stuff they have.
    Ditto on what Shelley said about magnetic measuring spoons - I bought a double sided set at Target that I love. One side is round and the other is a long oval shape for getting into containers with small openings. Excellent buy. I also love my Magic Bullet...can't beat it for smoothies on the run (and without the mess). And an immersion blender for soups and sauces - can you tell I love a blender?

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  5. Hand graters are easier to clean immediately after you use them, while the food is still moist. If you need to, soak for a few minutes in enough soapy water to loosen the guck, and use the "scratchy" part of your sponge. It usually works for me.

    As far as my fav gadget: I like the GT Express 101 - it's got a lot of problems like the coating comes off if you don't use it correctly, but it makes great quick meals like "pancakes" or other things. Oh, and my twister blender thingy - quick to make a "diet" smoothie and takes only an immediate quick rinse to clean. Just my .02 - Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

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  6. My kitchen gadget recommendation is the SoyQuick Premier 930P Milk Maker. I got one for my birthday in January and it is fantastic for making rice, soy, or other dairy milk alternatives, tofu, and soy yogurt!

    As to the cheese grater--as a vegan, I would say, stop eating cheese! It's stuck to that grater but just think what it's doing to your arteries! (By the way, I don't have a dishwasher either. I don't even have a tumble dryer for laundry! Clothes horses everywhere...)

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  7. Things I use almost every day:

    Magic Bullet blender (I love this thing!). Great for my protein pancakes, for grinding nuts, whipping cream, pureeing soups, chopping veggies.

    Microplane grater. I use this mostly for nutmeg - but it's great as a lemon zester and for cheese. We have a dishwasher, so I just put it in there. Otherwise - wash going in the direction of the holes, not against. You just need to press hard after letting it soak.

    Espresso machine - cannot function without it.

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  8. My yogurt maker - so I can actually forget about it for 4 hours and most importantly - my kitchen food scale. It's got a dead battery right now and I'm jonesing to weight my peanut butter!

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  9. Since just about the only thing that my grater is used for is vegetables I just give it a good scrub with the soapy kitchen brush. I'm a gadget junkie and I don't know that I could name a favorite (other than the coffee maker, and that's not really a gadget, it's more like a life giver)

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  10. I love my Progressive Onion chopper. I am a pretty picky eater and eating healthy can be a challenge. This chopper chops, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, peppers, anything you really want in a very nice small square. It is awesome. I use it at least 5 days a week. I actually get excited to pull it out of my drawer and use it to cook. It cleans up by hand as well.

    As for your cheese grater problem, I would say make you next favorite kitchen gadget a new dishwasher. You are a true wonder woman for not having one!

    Thanks for your posts. I love them all!!!!!

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  11. I use my Vitamix and coffeemaker everyday.
    Those are appliances though, right?

    I have come to cherish my food scale. I initially bought it so I could follow foreign recipes when baking. Now I use it to weigh my own food for portion control. So I use that everyday, too.

    I wish I'd bought those hefty steel scoops I saw at the Container Store so I could just leave them in my flour canisters. I only have 1 one-cup measuring cup, and I often have to use measuring cups creatively when baking, or rinse out the one-cup when it gets dirty in the middle of mixing up the ingredients. I thought those scoops were extravagant at the time, but now I think it would have been a practical purchase.

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  12. Oh my gosh, so many gadgets, so little...well...$$$. I'm all over the measuring spoons, though, and I agree that soaking the grater will no doubt end my grating woes. I'm NOT giving up cheese, though. Sorry Carla.

    Coffee and magic bullets seem to be a running theme with you guys :)

    As for the dishwasher...I haven't had one for at least 10 years. My kitchen here is way too small and I actually like to wash dishes. It's zen-like most days. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate being able to throw things in my daughter's dishwasher when I'm there. I don't feel guilty about making a mess there. hehe

    Thanks for the suggestions! You guys are the best.

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  13. Two more things. Pam, I love the bean stringer thingy! Thanks for the link.

    And Shelley...I'm the queen of cutting boards. I love them way more than I should. It's like every freaking veggie I chop gets its own board. It's a sickness.

    Oh wait. A third thing. Kath52, I get the whole "I wish I'd have bought it when I had the chance" thing. Can you go back and get them? Find them online, maybe? I hate seeing necessities like that slip through our fingers.

    Wait, a fourth. (It's been a long day.) Ruthan, that chopper sounds very very cool. I'm off to Google it.

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  14. Thanks for the wonderful & kind words about my blog. :) I love my placement amongst the kitchen gadget talk!!

    My favorite gadget right now is definitely my Vitamix. It is an amazing blender. After that, I like my cheese slicer. It is pretty basic and probably from 1980 but I love it anyway. :)

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