Friday, December 28, 2007

Kitchen Gadget - Silicone Muffin Cups and Pans

There's nothing quite so frustrating as creating the perfect batch of blueberry (carrot, oatmeal, chocolate chip - you pick) muffins, only to find you can't get the litle glories out of the pan when they come out of the oven!

Easy solution? Silicone muffin cups or baking pans. Use the muffin cups - in either grand, regular or mini size - on top of regular sturdy cookie sheets. You don't even need to grease the muffin cups beforehand, and still you'll be able to slide out your baking delights with no worries!

Or, even easier, invest in a high grade silicone muffin pan and you won't even need to use a cookie sheet underneath. Either way, your muffins will look perfect and intact - not misshapen and embarrassing!

Or...for the cutest silicone muffin cups EVER, check out these little lovelies by Wilton - Silly Feet Silicone cupcake holders with silly silicone feet! They're adorable and a surefire hit with kids of all ages.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kitchen Gadget - Say Goodbye to Wooden Bread Boxes with this WMF Stainless Bread Box

Goodbye clunky bread box! Hello shining, stunning WMF stainless bread box.

This one will keep your bread, bagels, muffins and baked goods fresh and out of sight, while still looking stylish and streamlined. Bravo bread box, bravo!

Ice Cream Gadgets - my Favorite Ice Cream Scoop - Zyliss Right Scoop Ice Cream Scoop

The Zyliss ice cream scoop is the best I've ever used. I love the fun colors, and the intelligent design of this product:

When you first hold this ice cream scoop in your hands, you'll feel the difference right away. This Zyliss ice cream scoop has an incredible, substantial weight - it just feels RIGHT. It is designed to fit snugly and comfortably in your hand. That weight, together with that clever design I already mentioned - the edges glide right through even hard ice cream - makes this an absolute winner! I have the lime green - love, love, love it! Hard ice cream just seems like a joke now, not an intimidating foe.

Here are some cool (haha, pun sort of intended) ice cream topping recipes posted on my other site. Enjoy, ice cream fans!
Ice Cream Topping Recipes

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kitchen Gadget - Onion Goggles

I already shared with you the secret of preventing onion odor seepage in the fridge. Now, I'll wipe up your onion-cutting tears, or as a matter of fact - prevent them in the first place with - Ta Dah!

You guessed it. Onion goggles! A fantastic novelty gift OR a truly practical gift for anyone who hates to chop onions because of the inevitable tears.

These onion goggles create a tight seal around your eyes, and work well to prevent any emotional outbursts over the chopping board. At least any caused by onion chopping - the rest is your business.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Lovely Stainless Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons

I know, I know. I say that a lot of things are necessities. I guess that comes from being a kitchen gadget nut! BUT...having one good set each of stainless measuring cups and measuring spoons really are vital in any kitchen where ANY sort of real cooking goes on.

Here are my picks for top stainless measuring cups and measuring spoons. I love them because they're functional, adorable AND ultra durable. All very important things, and yes adorable CAN be important in the kitchen! It keeps your morale up when you've been cooking for hours and are feeling very UN-culinarily inclined.

Their clever elongated design means that you can dip these spoons into ANY jar, and they'll easily fit. Plus, there are 6 different measurements included: 1/8 tsp, 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 3/4 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 TBS

- Dishwasher safe (hurrah!)
- Constructed of 18/10 stainless steel - a lovely high quality stainless
- Chain to keep all these lovely spoons together, so no losing your spoons!

If you want the Best of the Best, it has to be this lovely All Clad set:


- All Clad makes incredibly fine all stainless products that are meant to last - not just years - but decades and decades. They have a beautiful, substantial weight that proves their quality. You'll love using these!
- Made just like their pots, they also have the traditional All Clad handles - just like the pots and pans have!
- Handy inside measurements - for example, the 1 cup measuring cup has a line inside where the 1/2 cup mark is. Helpful when baking...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bestseller Kitchen Knife - Kuhn Rikon Colorful Paring Knives with Protective Cases - Ultra Sharp Paring Knife!

At the kitchen shop where I work, we literally sell box after box of these - and each box has dozens of these gorgeous little paring knives tucked inside:

This is my favorite paring knife. Ever. End of story.

Okay, I'll provide a few more details than that! I adore this knife, and once you try it you will too. Don't let it's colorful and playful exterior deceive you. This knife is unbelievably sharp. (Case in point - last Saturday when a poor little girl actually cut her finger on one, even though her Mom had warned her not to take the protective cover off! But don't worry - she was okay. We gave her a Tinkerbell sticker and all was well...)

This little powerhouse of a knife is created with carbon steel - the same type of steel as pricier brands like Wusthof and Henckels! Then it's powder coated with a non stick coating, making it another perfect choice for slicing through cheese! (Hurray! This is what I use the most when cutting through cheese.) I've had my knife at least seven months now and it is still incredibly sharp. It has exceeded my expectations on every level.

This paring knife by Kuhn Rikon (another of my favorite brands) is an absolute must. Don't be foolish and buy one, because a family member/friend/coworker will likely end up 'borrowing' it for an extended period of time. (Forever.) Instead, buy about three or four, and hide one for yourself to use! :) It really IS that good.

Kitchen Gadgets - Cheese Gadgets - The Perfect Cheese Slicer

A nice piece of cheese is a gorgeous, gourmet event to me. Whether it's rich aged cheddar, or a chunk of pungent blue cheese - it's all cheese heaven to me! Which means that I like a good cheese slicer as much as the next cheese lover...

For a lovely version complete with a hardwood board, try this cheese slicer by Prodyne. It has a superior wire for cutting through hard or softer cheeses with ease. Handheld slicers are okay, but once you try this baby you'll be eating more cheese than ever!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is a lemon reamer?

What is a lemon reamer, you ask? A lemon reamer is often a small wooden gadget that works perfectly to squeeze into the fleshy halves of fresh lemons, to extract as much of the delicious lemon juice as possible. (Of course, you can also use your reamer for other citrus fruits, such as limes and oranges.) It's ridged edges squeezes out the maximum amount of juice.

I love traditional wooden lemon reamers, such as:

But you might prefer something funkier, like this:

or even this snazzy stainless option...

Whichever style floats your boat (or squeezes YOUR lemon), a lemon reamer makes juicing lemons and other citrus fruits a real breeze! And we all know that the freshest possible juice makes the tastiest possible recipes.

Kitchen Gadget of the Day - Microplane Zester

The Microplane zester is one gadget you REALLY truly need. From grating fine little strands of citrus zest, to making great piles of fluffy parmesan cheese (or perfect little gratings of delicious chocolate) - this gadget is a necessity in any cook's kitchen. Microplane makes zesters that are incredibly sharp, and they stay sharp (as they should) for absolutely ages.

This is a tool that is multi-purpose, and you'll find yourself reaching for it often.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jamie Oliver Strikes Again - the Flavor Shaker is a Huge Hit

Just toss in all sorts of lovely culinary essentials - oil, vinegar, herbs and/or garlic cloves - and add the wee ceramic ball into the flavour shaker. Give it a really good shake up, and then VOILA - a gorgeous emulsified blend of goodness for all of your cooking creations!

Just like last year, we can barely keep these in stock at the kitchen shop where I work. Not sure if it's the flavor shaker itself, or the fact that the ladies just LOVE Jamie Oliver. Regardless, this is a funky little product that is truly unique.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kitchen Gadget of the Day - Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Maker

Today's gadget of the day is a Whirley Pop popcorn maker. Remember making delicious, homemade popcorn on the stove with a heavy-bottomed pot? Remember standing over the said pot, shaking it constantly in case it burnt? (And nothing is quite as nasty as the smell of burned popcorn!)

The Whirley Pop makes the most mouth watering popcorn - just like you get at the movie theatre. It has a 25!! year warranty (amazing, really) and comes with a bag of popcorn and topping to get you started. This stuff will take you back to when popcorn was a real treat, not just something we threw into the microwave for a few minutes and then tore into.

Enjoy, popcorn lovers, enjoy!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another cool Chef'n Gadget - Palm Peeler for Veggies

I love Chef'n products. They're cleverly designed, fun to use, affordable AND they work well. The latest of my Chef'n obssessions is the Palm Peeler - a handy peeler that fits snugly over your finger to nestle inside the palm of your hand - creating an easy way to peel potatoes, carrots, apples - whatever needs peeling! This ingenious design makes a boring chore in the kitchen much easier - and it's an adorable little gadget to boot. A winner!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Chef'n Garlic Press with a (Screwy) Difference

A customer was telling us today at the kitchen shop where I work that the Chef'n Garlic Machine is her absolute favorite. It lets you store tons of freshly peeled garlic cloves in the tube, and then when it's time to press out some garlic - EASY! Just screw top down and out comes lovely thick threads of gorgeously fragrant fresh garlic. If you hate traditional garlic presses (and are too lazy to chop the stuff all the time) then this is just for you...Lazy freshly minced garlic - hurrah!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Onion Savers - No More Stinky Onions in Baggies in the Fridge!

One of my real kitchen pet peeves is - "What on EARTH am I supposed to do with this half an onion??" Inevitably, I throw it into a baggie. And then you know what happens next - everything from the watermelon slices to the butter ends up with a certain onion-ish taste. Not terribly appetizing.

That's why these onion savers are true brilliance in my books! They seal up ultra tight, giving you lovely fresh onions inside, but no lingering odors to drift in the direction of any of the other culinary delights in your refrigerator!

Hurrah for the onion saver! Fantastic design, too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oxo Good Grips Nylon-tipped Tongs

A cook can never have too many good wooden spoons, too many good spatulas OR...too many efficient and well-made tongs.

I like these ones because the nylon tips are safe to use in any cooking surface - it won't scratch any of your cookware. And Oxo Good Grips makes products that are comfortable to use, living up to their name of 'good grips' with rubberized sections on their kitchen gadgets that make them just feel right in your hands.

Kitchen Gadgets and Gifts - Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

If you already own a fabulous Kitchenaid mixer, then you don't need to buy a separate ice cream machine! Just invest in this well made ice cream maker attachment, and start churning out delicious homemade ice cream using your already beloved Kitchenaid.

Kitchen Gadgets - Automatic Opening Garbage Can - Great for Germophobes!

Here's a funny and yet also highly functional idea for anyone who just hates opening the garbage can, to think of all the creepy crawly germs lingering on the surface. Finally - a garbage can that opens itself! Now, if only they'll create a toilet that scrubs itself, we'll really be set...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Chef'n Silicone Switch It Spatula

What it is: Chef'n Silicone Switch It Spatula
Why It's Different: Great design, durable product
Why You Need a Few: Handy for everything from folding, to scraping the last bits of mayo or mustard out of the jar
* Great Gift Alert!*

Chef'n brand products are some of my new favorites. Many are made from durable silicone, which just makes any cook's life a lot easier. Why? This SwitchIt spatula, for instance, is handy for every mixing job in the kitchen - and it's heat resistant, meaning you can use it in any of your beautiful cookware. With nary a concern about scraping and scratching!

The Chef'n products also just LOOK great, and let's face it - we love to fill our kitchen with cute (and functional) gadgets. Pick up a few of these, because friends will want to 'borrow' one once they try it at your place...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Mezzaluna - Herb Chopper with Special Matching Cutting Board

What it Is: Rachael Ray Mezzaluna
What it does: easily chops everything from fresh herbs (which is truly what it's ideal for) to garlic, shallots, small onions - anything that needs to be chopped!
Why you need it: The dual blade mezzaluna does the chopping work for you quickly and easily.

Popular TV chef Rachael Ray not only creates fun and easy-to-read cookbooks, but now she's venturing into her own kitchenwares line. This 'Froggy' mezzaluna, takes the old fashioned, incredibly useful mezzaluna and makes it just as adorable as it is functional. The green grips are easy to hold on to, and makes a breeze of normally tedious chopping jobs - especially chopping up herbs. And the specially designed chopping board has a rounded groove in the bottom, so as to fit the mezzaluna perfectly. Chopping has never been so easy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Cuisinart Mini Food Processor

What it is: Cuisinart Mini Food Processor
What it does: Chops, blends - everything a monstrous food processor does, but in smaller portions

Why You Need It: Works GREAT...and makes everyday tasks like whipping up salad dressing, homemade hummus and homemade salsa a breeze. And hey, it looks adorable while it does it. Seriously - do you need a full-size food processor for all of your daily chopping and mixing? I didn't think so - so this one, you DO need! Also great for smaller kitchens.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Aerolatte Frother - Handheld for all your lattes

Fast, delicious, foamy, frothy lattes in a flash with this:

Yes you CAN create a delicious latte with little effort! This little gadget is a necessity to impress all your friends with your Starbuck-esque groovy Javahead, you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Epicurean Cutting Boards

Epicurean Cutting/Chopping Boards
Why I love them: They won't dull your knives as much as regular wood AND you can bung them in the dishwasher

Epicurean Boards are a chef's best friend. A regular everyday-use board will cost you about $30 give or take a few bucks. They're easier on your good quality knives (like Wusthof) than regular wooden chopping boards. And, they're dishwasher safe - making clean up a breeze! I love the idea of how sanitary a good wash in the dishwasher will make these boards too.

If you've tried one, please post a comment about your results with Epicurean boards!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Silicone Pinch Bowls - Easy Prep Bowls (and great for little chefs...)

What it is: Silicone Pinch bowls
What it does: Gives you a handy little bowl to use during food prep - when you need a pinch of this, and a pinch of that. (Also incredibly cute and handy for little chefs in the kitchen.)
Why You Should Get Some: For under $4.00 these are amazingly useful little kitchen gadgets that you'll use time and time again

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Swissmar V-Slicer Plus (Mandolin/Mandoline)

What it is: Swissmar V-Slicer Plus Mandolin
Why It's Fantastic: Because it slices and dices everything you need in the kitchen
Why You Should Get One: Because it's $21.99 for a very reliable mandolin. Every kitchen needs one of these gadgets!

Whether you need to slice, dice or julienne - this Swissmar V Slicer does it all for you. Neatly and with minimal effort. Plus, the huge hand guard thingamajiggy keeps your fingers all protected from the big, bad (and very sharp) blade. This is a good thing, as only professional chefs should use a mandoline without a guard on for protection.

The thing that impresses me about this model is not only that it's well designed and made, but look at that price! We sell mandolines in the kitchen shop where I work for $300. This is less than 1/10th of that price, for a very decent kitchen must-have.

Right, it IS plastic. But really, unless you plan to use a mandoline all the time, you don't need the pricier stainless steel versions.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter

What it is: Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter
Why You Need It: Because it WORKS! This handy little kitchen gadget easily and quickly cuts a mango in two, neatly removing the pit as you go
Who It's Great For: You, if you happen to love mangoes half as much as I do

At the kitchen shop where I work, we could not keep these mango splitters/pitters in stock. Mangoes are an incredibly hard fruit to cut the pit out of - it's one of those kitchen tasks that you just had to get on and do, without a great gadget to help. Until now! This Good Grips mango splitter is fantastic - it removes the pit easily, and leaves the maximum amount of delicious, juicy mango flesh behind. It really does an excellent job, and I highly recommend it.

Kitchen Gadgets - Cool Frog Teapot - Just Because It's SO Cute

What it is: Adorable frog teapot
Why You Need It: Because this little fellow is way too cute to resist
Or...Give it as a gift to a tea & frog loving friend (hey, there's more of those than you'd ever imagine!)

I'm a sucker for cute gadgets and kitchen must-haves and so this little frog teapot absolutely grabbed my attention! How can you resist this adorable teapot? If you love teapots, visit Teapots Teapots for more to choose from.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Zyliss Shake 'n' Go Shaker (for Protein Drinks, Smoothies, Dressings, more)

What it is: Zyliss Shake 'n' Go Shaker
What it does: Shakes things up (in a wonderful way)
Why you need it: It's ideal for taking a smoothie to go with you in the car...or for making lovely homemade dressing and vinaigrettes at home for your healthy salads.

Zyliss, 29440, Shake 'n Go Shaker, Green

Can you tell yet that I'm a little obssessed with Zyliss products? I just love them. Zyliss makes smart products that work well and feel right in your hands while you're using them. This Shake 'n' Go shaker is a perfect example of just that.

I have this little green shaker container, and use it for whipping up quick homemade dressings (thanks to the little attachment inside that helps make blending a breeze) or to take a smoothie to go with me wherever I happen to be going.

This is a real bargain too - for under five bucks you're getting a true multi-tasker for around the kitchen. I find that the spout makes sipping easy AND the lid stays on true and tight. I've never had this little shaker leak even a drop! (At work, where we sell these - a box usually doesn't last a week. Customers have caught on to these amazing little gizmos too, and so they never last long.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - A Bodum French Press

A must have for any coffee lover is a Bodum French Press coffee maker. A Bodum makes delicious coffee, and hey - no electricity required! Today's Kitchen Gadget (MUST HAVE) of the day is a Bodum Coffeemaker. Their Chambord line is the one we typically think of when we think of a Bodum - it is the real classic.

Enjoy, coffee lovers!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Danesco Silicone Cupcake Liners

Danesco Silicone Mini Muffin/Cupcake Liners
Why you need them: They make mini muffin and/or cupcake baking far easier. (Read that: no more stuck cupcakes! Which means no more wasted cupcake yumminess...)

Just use these on top of a regular baking sheet, or in mini muffin pans to line your delicious cupcake creations. Once you try these, you'll be hooked - especially if you love baking cupcakes, but want them to come out of the pan in one piece. These handy little silicone liners ensure excellent results.

Kitchen Gadgets - Zyliss Palm-Held Pizza Slicer

What it is: Zyliss Pizza Slicer (in the handy little round shape that fits neatly into your palm)
What it does: Slice easily through thick or thin crust pizza. And look stylish at the same time, if that happens to matter to you (as it does to me...)
Why you need it: It's the grooviest little pizza cutter/slicer that I've tried

When we first received a box of these Zyliss pizza cutters/slicers at the kitchen shop where I work, we sold out within a few days. People came back wanting to buy more as gifts for pizza-loving friends and family. Why were they so popular? Because the sharp edges of this handy little slicer will zip right through any pizza...and it's small size makes it easy to hold AND easy to store in even tiny apartment kitchens. The stylish look of the cutter certainly doesn't hurt either.

Kitchen Gadgets - Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop

What it is: The Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop
What it does: Create perfect scoops of ice cream - and I do mean perfect!
Why you need it: Yeah, I know it's the middle of winter - but I'm a firm believer in ice cream consumption all year round.

In the market for a fantastic new ice cream scoop? This is by far my favorite of all time. The Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop just feels right in your hand, so if you're scooping ice cream (or frozen yogurt, etc) for a crowd, your hand won't be left feeling completely numb. It has a nice weight to it, and it swoops out perfect little scoops of ice cream. Great for stuffing into a cone, piling up in an ice cream bowl and smothering with hot fudge...or adding on top of steaming hot apple pie.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Danesco Garlic Peeler Reviewed

What it is: Danesco Garlic Peeler (In a gorgeous shade of green - yes, other colors are available)
What it does: Easily peel cloves of fresh delicious garlic
Do you need it? YES
Why you need it: Because it makes peeling garlic an absolute breeze. And your friends won't have a clue what that green tube is doing in your gadgets drawer...

If you ask me, garlic should be a mandatory ingredient in every recipe. Yes, even your Mom's lemon meringue pie. (OKAY...maybe I do have a bit of a garlic dependency. But can you BLAME me?) If you have a deep and loyal love for the smelly stuff too, then you'll want to pick up one of these handy little garlic peeler tubes. For five bucks you get a handy little gadget that does JUST what it should. Just pop a fresh garlic clove in this little green tube, place on the countertop, and roll it around with your hand and all the papery garlic skins will come right off. Leaving you with a cute, naked little garlic clove. Ready for any recipe!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kitchen Gadgets - Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Fondue Set

What it is: Hershey's Kisses Novelty Chocolate Fondue Set
What it does: Cover everything in delcious melted chocolate. How can that NOT be insanely good?
Why you should get one: It makes a fantastic gift. And hey, it costs under $10.

Hershey Kiss Fondue Set, just $9.99

It's cute, it covers all things edible in a gorgeous velvety coating of rich melted chocolate fondue. It's a fabulous bargain - I'd say these are all incredible reasons to invest a few bucks in a cute little chocolate fondue pot.

Have a fondue night - it's incredibly trendy right now to fondue. Start off with a great cheese fondue, then top the night off with a chocolate fondue. Need inspiration on WHAT to dip in chocolate? (Wow, you must live on an entirely different PLANET than me...but I digress...) Fresh fruit, hearty chunks of pound cake, roasted nuts - the list could go on forever. Enjoy!