Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Useful Kitchen Gadgets – Another List

October 3rd, 2010 · 3 Comments

My friend and co-freelancer Bill Citara has put up a list of Five Really Useful Kitchen Gadgets at the Broward New Times Clean Plate Charlie site.

Of course, there are always more….!!

To his list, I’d add these:

A small food chopper. You don’t want to haul out the Robot Coupe or Cuisinart for 10 garlic cloves and a handful of basil and a few drops of olive oil, but you don’t want to stink up your hands either. The Sunbeam Oskar is my favorite small chopper.  I’ve given them away (sometimes, unintentionally, ahem). Get ’em for $5 at thrift stores – they’ve been around since the ’70s and are still running strong. They make them new, too; find ’em at Amazon or a kitchen gadget store near you.

Zyliss peeler. I swear, it’s still my favorite of all I’ve tried. Fruits, to hard stuff like rutabega – this does it all and curls chocolate to boot.

Dough board scraper. Used by bakers to scrape up flour, etc. from surfaces, it’s great for hand chopping chocolate, nuts, veggies and what have you, then scooping it all up to put in the bowl or pot.

Winged corkscrew. Unlike Citara, I favor the wine opener with wings. I don’t have to worry about centering the wine cork and risk pulling it from one side or breaking the cork; the ring on the top of this corkscrew centers the worm before you start screwing it in. The handles go up as the worm goes down, and you simply press and pull. For tired hands, it’s simply the best bottle opener and cheapest, out there.

Safety lid manual can opener: Don’t like the electric can openers – I’ve had too much trouble with them and they clutter an already covered counter. The Kuhn Rikon version I have is a can opener that runs around the top of the can, lifting off the lid in a rolled edge – no sharp edges on that lid, and it’s a perfect pour out of any can. It’s tricky to use, but once you know how and figure it out, then learn to lift the lid with it’s prongs, you’ll love this thing.

Your Favorite Tools?

OK: I’ve shown you mine – now show me your fav kitchen tools.

Tags: Broward/Palm Beach New Times · Jan's Favorite Things

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thom Smith // Oct 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I would add the following:

    A small mandoline. My Oxo — less than $15 — measures less than 4×10 inches with handle and has a three blade positions. Great for slicing veggies over the salad bowl.

    I also have a small manual food chopper — Zyliss — less than $15 — that is cylindrical, with a “w”-shaped chopping blade that rotates about a quarter turn each time you pound the plunger.

    Here are a couple of tips for those who like to make cappuccino or latte:

    For a frothing cup, don’t fool with those outrageously expensive stainless containers at Macy’s or Williams-Sonoma. They don’t make the froth any thicker. I found a 12-ounce stainless milk pitcher at a local restaurant supply for $3.99. Works great, and is just the right size for one or two cups.

    If you want thicker foam, a battery-operated frother works wonders and creates thick foam that holds its shape and leaves a great white moustache. Basically, a small battery-powered high-speed motor drives a thin stainless steel shaft which has a circular head that resembles a coiled spring. Froth in a few seconds. Bodum and BonJour models range from $15-$20. Rechargeable models range in the $30’s. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if most brands come from the same factory in China, just with different housings, some metallic, some plastic. That’s why, for $4.99 at Wal-Mart ($3.99 on eBay), my Mr. Coffee model works just fine.
    Those small blenders are pretty much a waste of time. Whether you use a big Osterizer or the little one, you still have to clean both of them, and the Osterizer is actually more versatile — multiple speeds, for starters — and far more durable.

  • 2 Jan Norris // Oct 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I love the Osterizer blender -and have worn out far more than I care to think about. Again, I can find them in thrift stores for $5 to $10. You can still order spare parts for them.
    Best part about them, however, is something I learned long ago: The Osterizer blade, rubber gasket and ring that mounts it into the blender fit a Mason jar -either quart or pint or half-pint. So: I can make a bloody mary mix and store it in the fridge, or make a crema to drizzle over enchiladas, or blend a salsa for it in another jar – then use Mason jar lids to seal them up and they store just beautifully in fridge or freezer. And: they’re eco-friendly glass – no crummy plastics to worry about. Wash them in the dishwasher along with the Oster parts. Replace the gasket now and then and you’re good to go. Love Osters!

  • 3 coffee grinder // Jan 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

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