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COOKING tools

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Must-Have Tools to Cook and Serve Crepes or Pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

My French background means that I prefer crepes to pancakes. It might be for the same reason that I enjoy more the taste of a thin crust pizza. But if you are the pancake type, my tips will work as well. You can revisit my traditional crepe recipe as a start.

First, you need a proper crepe pan.  The electrical crepe maker takes too much space and the non-stick crepe pan do not work as well. I believe that nothing beats a blue steel crepe pan or if you can handle the weight and additional cost, an enameled cast-iron crepe pan.

Based on my experience, a pan with low edges works the best. I pour a soup ladle of crepe batter to get the right quantity each time. A few rotations while holding the pan in the air is enough to cover all the pan up to the edges. You know when the crepe is ready to be turned when the edges have rolled up.

Crepes are easy to reheat on the oven. If you plan to serve them at a party, cook them ahead of time. You can keep them inside your freezer but make sure to separate each cooled down crepe with a parchment paper. I recommend letting them rest on a cooking rack before stacking them.

Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish

What put the pancake warmer from Williams-Sonoma on top of my wish list is the ventilated lid that releases steam.  The worst thing you want is a soggy crepe.  A pancake warmer is handy when you host a brunch or if you have a family. You first heat the base and lid of the stoneware pancake warmer in the oven. Then, you stack the fresh pancakes or crepes inside. I am tempted to buy one. Have you try it?

SOURCING:
+ Ceramic Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish $26.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Steel Cooking Rack $10 USD
+ de Buyer Crêpe Pan $24.95 USD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Three Kitchen Gadgets by Joseph Joseph

joseph joseph pie kitchen timer

rocker garlic crusher by joseph joseph

My kitchen cabinets are full of cooking gadgets. I am intrigued by the design of these three cooking tools by Joseph Joseph. And they will make an affordable gift the next time you are invited to dinner at a friend’s house.

Rocker Garlic Crusher

Rocker, a uniquely shaped stainless-steel garlic crusher. I need to purchase a new one since my old garlic crusher broke a couple months ago. I feel that this one will be more resistant. A unique feature is that the garlic pieces are held in the shallow bowl, allowing them to be spooned or scraped easily into a pan. Since Rocker is made of stainless steel, you can rub your hands on it when you rinse it to remove the garlic smell on your hands. If you do not have one, simply rub your hands on the side or bottom of your stainless steel kitchen sink.

Pie Kitchen Timer

joseph joseph pie kitchen timer

Designed by English brothers Adrian and Jeremy Wright of WrightDesign, the Pie Kitchen Timer won in 2011 the Design Plus award and the Gift of the Year. They were a Design Plus 2010 winner for their Y-Grinder. The Pie Kitchen Timer will hit the stores soon. The gray Pie Kitchen Timer would be gorgeous on my new quartz kitchen counter top. I will keep that one in mind.

Catcher Citrus Reamer

joseph Joseph Catcher Citrus Reamer

The unique feature of this citrus reamer is that it catches the seeds as you press the juice. It is available in gray or in a new color, green. I prefer the green version.

SOURCING:
USA
+ Joseph Joseph Rocker, Garlic Crusher $15 USD
+ Joseph Joseph Catcher, Citrus Reamer $7.99 USD

Canada
+ Joseph Joseph Rocker, Garlic Crusher $11.84 CAD
+ Joseph Joseph Catcher, Citrus Reamer $7.50 CAD

UK
+ Joseph Joseph Garlic Crusher Rocker £16
+ Joseph Joseph Catcher, Citrus Reamer with pip-catching cup £8

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Useful Space-Saving Kitchen Gadgets by Progressive

progressive collapsible salad spinner

progressive collapsible salad spinner

I became a fan of collapsible kitchen tools since I bought my collapsible strainer. Now that I have seen the Progressive collapsible salad spinner, I am tempted to replace my reliable Zyliss salad spinner. I am not alone who appreciate its efficient since this collapsible salad spinner was a product design 2010 red dot winner.

lettuce, fresh fruit and veggie keeper by progressive

Another useful  product is the Lettuce, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Keeper.  It comes in 2 sizes. The larger of the 2 containers has a divider to allow you to store more than one type of produce. Progressive says that you will be able to keep fruit, lettuce, and vegetables fresher longer for up to approximately 2 weeks. There is also a small berry keeper which is mostly designed for raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

SOURCING:
+  Progressive collapsible salad spinner $29.95 USD at Sur la Table
+  Lettuce, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Keeper $10.50 on Amazon.com, smaller $8.00 USD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Cool Kitchen Tools from Vacu Vin

pineapple corer tool

pineapple corer tool

One of the more practical (yet utterly unsentimental) wedding gifts my husband and I received was a humble pineapple corer in a basket of miscellaneous kitchen tools. Turns out it was actually a last minute registry addition, courtesy of my pineapple-loving betrothed.

For more than a year it sat tucked in a drawer, forgotten amongst the minutiae of kitchen tools we all accumulate. But when my craving for fresh fruit salad last week coincided with a super sale on pineapple at the grocery store, I decided to finally put our corer to the test.

Made of stainless steel with a plastic release handle, this inexpensive tool from Vacu Vin works like a corkscrew to core, peel and slice pineapple into a spiral shape that would add interest at the center of a fruit platter. It also comes apart for easy clean up. If you’ve ever avoided buying pineapple because of the added work it takes to peel and chop, this cool tool will sweeten the deal.

vacu vin kitchen tools

Netherlands-based Vacu Vin also makes several other innovative and stylish kitchen tools, such as a kiwi guard that protects the fruit from bruising and includes a built-in slicer; a salad cutter that cores a head of lettuce or other leafy greens; and an award-winning set of colorful candy/nut dispensers that help keep snacking hygienic.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

SOURCING:
+ Vacu Vin Pineapple Corer from Amazon $28.75
+ Vacu Vin Kiwi Guard from Amazon $9.42
+ Vacu Vin Salad Cutter from Amazon $9.61
+ Vacu Vin PopSome Fruit and Nut Dispensers from Amazon $39.45 (set of 3)

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Roast Turkey Equipment Essentials

roast turkey equipment essentials :: meat thermometer

roast turkey equipment essentials :: meat thermometer

Confession time: I’ve never roasted a turkey. When it comes to collaborative holiday meals, my contribution tends to steer toward side dishes and desserts. Though the flavour payoff is worth it, all that cleaning and stuffing and trussing and basting and carving can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re a turkey first-timer like me.

The best place to start? With a few equipment essentials to ensure your feathers don’t get ruffled in the kitchen. Whether this is your first or your fiftieth bird, we rounded-up the top tools you’ll need to prepare the perfect roast turkey.

Equipment Essentials

Equipment essentials for carving your roasted turkey

  • Invest in a sturdy roasting pan with strong handles and it will repay you with a beautifully browned bird.
  • Regular basting is the secret to moist meat.
  • A meat thermometer helps to prevent under-cooking by providing an accurate temperature for your turkey.
  • A super sharp carving knife and meat fork are essential for easy slicing and serving.
  • Presentation is everything! A pretty patterned platter showcases your culinary handiwork.

SOURCING:
+ Calphalon Stainless Roasting Pan with Rack $129.95
+ Tovolo Angled Dripless Baster with Basting Tip and Cleaning Brush $18 at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer $12.70 at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Salter Gourmet Digital Meat Thermometer £ 9.99
+ Alessi Mami Carving Knife and Fork Set
+ Sesame Letterpress Harvest Entertaining Platters $15 – 31 at West Elm

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Five Fall and Thanksgiving Baking Tools

Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters

Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters

If I had to my top two, it would be the Forest Piecrust Cutters and the Fall Icon Cakelet Pan. Both carries the right amount of festive vibe. If you wish to spend less, you could get a Wilton’s non-stick cookie pan to bake sweet fall treats.

thanksgiving and fall baking

What else besides baking?

parchment paper leaves for cheese and desserts

This is not a baking tool but the Parchment Paper Cheese Leaves could be used to decorate your dessert platters. It is the fastest way to bring fall to your table. Another option is to place one leave in the middle of your salad on which you will rest your a place card holder or a rolled napkin.

A food mill is a versatile cooking tool that you will use all year long. You can perfectly mash potatoes, prepare fruit sauces, or make your own baby food.

SOURCING:
+ Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters $18 USD for 4 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Fall Icon Cakelet Pan $36 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Oxo Food Mill $42.53 at Amazon.com [affiliate link] – $50 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Fall Cookie Pan $7.95 at Crate & Barrel
+ Parchment Paper Cheese Leaves $10.95 at Sur La Table

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Pac Man Hothead by Fred and Friends

fred pac man hothead

fred pac man hothead

I almost bought this silicone pot holder in Pac Man shape for my husband tonight. It would make a nice gift for a classic arcade game fan. If you a long time readers on my blog, you may remember the classic arcade cupcake tower I ordered for his birthday.

Plus, silicone pot holders have a major advantage over the fabric oven mitts; they are more hygienic.

SOURCING:
+ Pac Man Hothead $12.25 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Creative Uses for Everyday Things: Magnetic Knife Rack

Knife Racks

Knife Racks

For those of us who like to spend time in the kitchen, a magnetic knife rack is a must-have for keeping knives and other gadgets organized and within arm’s reach.

Not Just for Knives

But it’s clutter-busting abilities don’t end there, as I recently discovered. I put one to use in my craft space to store my (growing) collection of sewing and craft scissors. Not only are they easier to find when I’m working on a project, I also use the rack to corral other metal sewing essentials like pins, a stitch ripper and a ruler.

My husband liked the idea so much he uses a knife rack for his screwdrivers, wrenches and other guy stuff. I even have plans to mount one near our entryway to trap outgoing mail, keys and shopping lists.

Have a revolving display of children’s artwork on the fridge door? Consider mounting a magnetic rack in another room to create a mini gallery.

Affordable Magnetic Knife Racks

Ikea has a few different styles. We opted for the sleek simplicity of the affordable Grundtal stainless steel version – but other options are easy to find in most kitchenware stores. And if you want a more colorful, customized rack, don’t miss the super cute and easy Magnetic Knife Rack tutorial from The Farm Chicks.

Don’t you love finding new ways to use old things?

SOURCING:
+ Ikea Bygel Magnetic Knife Rack, $4.99 CAD / $2.99 USD
+ Ikea Grundtal Magnetic Knife Rack, $14.99 CAD / $8.99 USD
+ Ikea Kroken Magnetic Knife Rack, $9.99 CAD / $7.99 USD
+ DIY Customized Knife Rack Tutorial at The Farm Chicks

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

The Coffee Catcher Solves Two Problems with One Tool

coffee catcher

coffee catcher

I have to admit that I am curious about this French press accessory. I make my daily coffee with a French press. I love the taste but I always pour my coffee over a fine strainer to make sure no coffee grains go into my cup. My technique eliminate to the bitter tail of the second cup is to throw out the last couple of sips. There must be a better way.

Apparently, there is with the coffee catcher. The disk acts as a second filter, which is supposed to prevent the bitter tail. The other useful feature of the coffee catcher is when it comes the time to clean your French press pot. You simply affix the handle when you are ready to remove the coffee grounds.

The Coffee Catcher is available in three sizes. I want to know if any of you have tried it before. If so, did you like it? Does it worth the small investment?

SOURCING:
+ Coffee Catcher $18.95 to $21.95 USD at Kaffeologie

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Coolest Dish Rack and Fruit Bowls from Alessi

tempo dish rack and drainer by pauline deltour for alessi

tempo dish rack and drainer by pauline deltour for alessi

Thursday night, I went to a media event at the Montreal Alessi store on Crescent Street. One thing that I learned about Alessi is that they do not commissioned designers for projects. Instead, designers presented to Alessi their ideas and Alessi selected the best ones for their brand. This is why their catalogue of products is so diversified.

Let’s have a look at my favorite items from the Spring 2010 collection or the Fall 2010 collection.

The French-born, Munich-based designer Pauline Deltour created a series called Tempo. Her Tempo dish rack with its resin drainer is the most gorgeous dish rack of market. You would not mind that it sits on your counter. The dish rack and the cutlery drainer are made in 18/10 stainless steel. An optional thermoplastic resin tray not only acts as the drainer but it enables you to bring plates and bowls from the table to the sink.

Fruit Bowls and Bread Baskets

pauline deltour wire baskets for Alessi

This is not all. Look at the beautiful wire basket collection by Pauline Deltour. She designed a fruit basket with an optional fruit plate, a citrus basket, and a waste basket. I like the simple lines of their utilitarian design.

peneira mesh baskets by fratelli campana for alessi

A fine 18/10 stainless steel mesh is used to produce the Peneria baskets designed by the Campana brothers. The Brazilian duo finished it with a natural fiber rim. The result are baskets that look delicate and organic. They are stunning. I like the small one as a bread basket and the middle size as a fruit bowl.

Finally, it gave me a chance to see and touch the Ovale dinnerware collection by Studio Bouroullec. The plates and dishes are smaller than I imagined but I see it as a plus. I’m getting tired of oversized tableware. And it probably why the collection feel modern Scandinavian. The double walled ice bucket is superb.

SOURCING:
+ Tempo dish rack by Pauline Deltour for Alessi $116 USD
+ Tempo draining tray by Pauline Deltour for Alessi $34
+ Tempo wire basket by Pauline Deltour for Alessi from $52 to $95
+ Peneira basket by Fratelli Campana for Alessi from $69 to $190

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Six Recipe Cards to Give to the Hostess or the Cook

recipe cards with well-designed layout

recipe cards for couples who cook together

People love it when you share your recipes. Whether it is for you or to give a friend, it is more personal when you hand write it on recipe cards. I often use the 3.5″ x 5″ or the 4″ x 6″ lined cards from the office supply store but when you want to make it special, I go for nicely designed recipe cards.

I selected six sets that you would be perfect to bring as hostess gift to the cook of the house. Try to find one that matches the personality of the recipient.

kitchen gadgets recipe cards at paper source

+ I bought the PS Kitchen Gadgets Recipe Cards. $6.95 at Paper Source

recipe cards with well-designed layout

+ I like the well-organized layout of the Sweet Southern Recipe Card Set. $15 for 10 cards at Dapper Paper on Etsy

from the grill of recipe cards

+ Fine Stationery proposes two unique recipe cards. The Personalized Grill Master Recipe Card would be a great gift for the grill man of the house. Couple who like to cook together will appreciate the gesture to give them the Personalized Man & Woman Recipe Card. Both models are at $33 for 25 cards and you can select the faces.

jumbo personalized recipe cards

+ You will have plenty of space to write every details of the recipes on the (letter size) Jumbo Personalized Recipe Cards. $15 for the PDF or $30 for 25 printed cards by VO Handmade

recipe cards in diners hues

+ If you are looking for a modern twist, have a look at the Recycled Personalized Recipe Cards in Diner-Inspired Hues. $12.50 for 20 cards at Two Poodle Press on Etsy