what you don't need brings up a good reverse question...what you do need. What do you guys have that you love and could not live without (beyond a good knife)?
Could not live without a line cook spatula (also called a fish spatula), forged serrated tomato knife. Actually I adore my mandoline! reversible wood cutting board that has a side for roasts and the other plain for cutting, side saddle basting spoon, Microplane, cast iron frypan,
My husband, who hails from upstate New York, has been reading "Summer in a Glass", the book about the wine growing industry in upstate New York. He would like to try some of the New York State wines, but does not like sweet wine and generally drinks red wine. Could you suggest some dry or semi-dry NY Rieslings which would dispel his feeling that Rieslings are too sweet? We are located in Fairfax, but could easily shop in DC.
Wine columnist Dave McIntyre says
Brands to look for are Dr Konstantin Frank, Red Newt, Fox Run and Ravines. Distribution around here is spotty, but Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits probably has the best selection of East Coast wines in the city. Ask for Tony Quinn. In Virginia, you might check with Arrowine in Arlington or Unwined in Alexandria. Total Wine might have some New York, though probably not the smaller wineries.
We got married about a year ago and got a bunch of great stuff, most of which we do use. So far so good. One of my favorite gifts was a mini food processor by cuisinart, a very simple design--on button, off button, canister, lid. It quit working about a month after we got it, though, through what I suspect was human error. I love it and want it to work again! But I'm at a loss as to where you can get a tiny appliance like that fixed. Normally I am quick to freecycle/Goodwill (or trash heap), but that little guy has a place in my heart.
Waters Appliance Service in Gaithersburg carries some replacement parts, but they said if it's something to do with the motor, they won't be able to help. Give them a call if you want.
Anyone else know of a repair shop?
Otherwise, take solace in the fact that a new one won't set you back too much -- probably $30-$40.
I wish I hadn't bought so many round wood spoons. The flat paneled ones (wood spatula? wood turner?) are a million times better for quickly and deftly moving food around a pan, plus they make deglazing a breeze. I also wish I never bought that canning kit even if the mason jars turned out to be great to have around the kitchen.
I hear you. Every so often I run across a seasoned wooden spoon at a culinary yard sale and grab it, but I've pretty much limited my wooden utensils to the flat-edged ones you suggest. Hang on to that canning kit. Big season just around the corner. Just sign up for one of MrsWheelbarrow's fine classes. Master Blaster canner, she.
First of all, congratulations! This book is long overdue. But I'm curious about two things -- Why not make it "fabulously voluminous and comprehensive"? More choices are better, I say! Unless it's "reader's top 150 recipe picks." The other question -- What is the common factor of recipes "that aren't in our Recipe Finder database now" -- those older than X date, or something else? (I'm glad you mentioned this as I was just about to toss all my old Food sections, assuming I could loo the recipes up on-line.) Anyway, again, congrats! And may I suggest that you have samples of the recipes at all your area book-signings, or at least the one I go to ...
Thank you! I feel the same way -- in that it's long overdue. The particulars of the contract and how the publishers do their thing with repurposing content dictates the size of the book, in part. When we began input into our Recipe Finder database about five years back, we had a finite amount of man-hours (management speak!) to get as much in there as we could, so we started with recent recipes. Over time, we've managed to add some old recipes -- think our oldest dates to the early 1980s) -- but ideally we'd have all our recipes in there. For this cookbook, we hope to publish the ones readers loved the most. Which is why good folks like you who keep Food sections around should contact us and let us know what recipes you'd like to see included.
Samples at book signings...you're on!
what are you looking for? usually there is a theme.
Let's stick with the kitchen cleanse. Riff on something you've pitched or something they'll have to pry from your cold hands one day....
It was interesting to see the BGR recipe, as the one time I had one, I could not eat it. I said to my spouse "It is so overwhelmingly sweet--it tastes as if I am drinking molasses." The recipe has molasses, barbecue sauce (sugar), honey, AND sweet potatoes? For Pete's sake, is this dessert? To make it worse, the buns are sweet, too. The owner's wife might like it, but she apparently has a crazy sweet tooth. It is kind of sad that everything in this country now has to be sweetened to death. Joe's mushroom recipe looks wonderful, however, and I cannot wait to try it.
I think you might try this recipe anyway, because at BGR I believe they also glaze it with a little more barbecue sauce when grilling. I didn't find it all that sweet when I made it, and when you look at the nutritionals, there's not that much sugar in it, for the number of servings. And of course you don't have to serve it on a sweet bun! Anyway, they're both pretty darn good, IMHO.
my grandfather was a baker and would make rolls for us when I was growing up. They were great for packing sandwiches for school lunches.
Bonnie, I know it might be an obvious one but can you ask Giada about Ghost writer-gate? thanks.
Absolutely. First q on my list. But I've spoken with her already (a pre-interview; that's what the celebs ask for these days) before all that kerfluffle, and she said she develops and writes her own recipes. This new book sounds like her voice. She is one busy person.
Is eating cheese allowed during Passover, as long as it's not at Seder and not with meat? Or might somewhat observant friends be discomfited to be served today's quajado recipe -- "zucchini frittata-type Sephardic dish with lots of cheese"? Is some cheese kosher and some, maybe goat's milk, not?
Short answer's yes, there are kosher for Passover cheeses. You'd find them at kosher stores ( I love the Seven-Mile Mart near Balto) or at delicatessens that sell Passover products. As for the meat-milk thing, if people keep kosher, you'd need to serve it as part of a "dairy" or pareve (neutral) meal that did not include meat.
Linda Sendowski, who gave us such nice recipes today, says she ordered her kosher for Passover Parm via Amazon.com. (Kosher Reggiano by Fanticini; also sold by SupermarketItaly.com)
How I used to love going to kitchenware stores and discovering there were special tools I'd never imagined or felt I needed, like butter-ballers and melon ballers, one for each task! Mostly I did without. But, Bonnie, I still use my "1970s-era cheese plane" like yours with the red handle. Do you no longer want thinly-sliced cheese, or did you find another way?
I've heard from a couple of devoted cheese plane fans. Thing is, I just don't use it. The only time I pick it up is to move it out of the way in the drawer. I tend to use the slot on the side of my trusted box grater (my dear departed mother's, aw) or a very light all-purpose vegetable peeler. It's a wooden handle, actually. Want it? Come on down!
okay, I'll admit, I had two different cheese planes and I got rid of both of them. I just didn't use thin slices of cheese on a cracker. My mom did, though.
And it taught me something: what a two-wheeled pastry cutter was. Reading the description, and then seeing the photo, made me realize my mother had one of these in her kitchen drawer my entire childhood, and I never knew what it was (why I didn't ask, I can't say). Perhaps it won't surprise you to read that I have never known my mom to make her own pasta or pastry in her life.
I admit to Googling the images of a few things I had, just to remind myself what they were! I also admit to being a fan of that Cook's Illustrated magazine feature that asks the musical question: What the heck is that thing?
Can you help me come up with something to go with a Greek Easter meal that is vegetarian? There will be roast lamb, greek salad, and roasted potatoes already. But I'd like another side/vegetarian main that has protein - without eggplant, olives, and easy on the feta since there will aready be a salad with feta. I may just do Spanikopita, but wanted something different (not crazy about messing with phyllo). Thanks!
My never-used gadget is a mandoline. I KNOW I'm supposed to love the paper-thin, even slices, but I'd rather grab the cutting board and my big knife and slice things a little uneven and not-quite-paper-thin.
I totally agree. I pitched a very expensive mandoline years ago. My knife works just fine.
I enjoyed the article on veggie burgers, but was a little surprised to see no mention of the black bean burger published in the old Mighty Appetite column.
I just mentioned that to another chatter. You should never be surprised when we give you all new recipes rather than old ones, even if they're good! But we could link to that old post from my column -- Bonnie, you could mention to the web gods?
While I agree with many of your spring cleaning suggestions, there are a few that I'm scratching my head over. One is the salad spinner. I find this to be very useful. It's more effective and less wasteful than drying with paper towels, plus I find it easy to wash. Usually I just rinse it, since lettuce and other greens aren't leaving behind any kind of residue (I give it a more thorough cleaning every now and then). As for storing it, I hear you, but there's a great place for it: inside the salad bowl. The Misto is an interesting one. In an effort to eliminate aerosols, I started using one a few months ago. Then recently it took a bad turn. It stopped spraying, a noticed a flaky black substance in it and the oil smelled terrible when I opened it. Not sure what that was all about, but I gave it a thorough cleaning and it seems be to back in order, for now. Finally, why are you tossing out your vegetable peelers?
I agree about the salad dryer. I have used mine every time I make a salad. Have had it for years. I can rinse and dry blueberries etc in it too. My Misto had to be ditched after a while as the pumping gizmo stopped working.
You know, the spinners a personal thing. I dry the lettuce on clean dish towels. For me, it works and saves storage space.
I love my SS -- use it not just to spin greens, but to store them in the fridge. Takes up a lot of room there, but seems to keep them crisp longer than other ways.
Hello. Thank you for reading my question. My boyfriend's mother's birthday is coming up and I would like to bake her a birthday cake or cupcakes. She liked the orange pistachio cake I a couple of months ago so was thinking of using the recipe again but with a different frosting/ icing (i don't know the difference between the two). Last time, I served it with a vanilla rum whipped cream. This time I was wondering if you had any suggestions? She doesn't like white chocolate and I hate butter cream. Would cointreau/ grand marnier flavored mascarpone and cream work? Or would some sort of ganache type of topping be better? Cream cheese and... another flavor? A different cake? Any advice would be appreciated.
Is she contractually obligated to show cleavage? Not that I am complaining...
I can say with some discretion that this topic will be addressed.
I finally bit the bullet and got rid of my blender, as I figured my food processor and immersion blender would suffice for the dust-gatherer. However, my one problem is that my food processor just doesn't do frozen drinks as well. It's almost like some of the ice stays whole, while the rest gets processed back into a liquid. Any advice?
I think you may have to pull the blender out of the trash, if it isn't too late. Or try an immersion blender (uh oh, new gadget) in high-sided container.
This isn't what you want to hear, but I use my blender almost every day and I can go weeks without touching the food processor. We've gotten hooked on homemade smoothies. I think it had to choose at this point, I'd be loathe to part with blender.
It certainly could be a butter mold, but it could also be for shortbread. I'd also speculate springlerle, but the thistle inclines me toward a more Scottish interpretation.
You know, that's what I first thought. (Belongs to Jane and she's at the Virginia Food Expo in Richmond today.) We've had a silly thing happen....we started going through each other's stuff, laying claim to a few things. That mold might be going home with me! Such is the way of purging, then bingeing a la gadget. (Attn Food Police: a little joke, not at the expense of any serious food disorder. Stand down.)
Those were originally for butter but then people tried to use them here to make an imprint on "Scottish" shortbread.
It's so nice to have a kitchen equipment expert on hand.
Bonnie, I feel your pain on the problems with metal skewers. But they are more environmentally sound than disposable ones.
I thought about that. We tend to toss the wooden ones on the grill fire, so they're not going into any Wall-E situation. (Do you feel my pain? The poking of skewer tips?:)
Thanks for the story on veggie burgers today. But the recipes posted seem to have a lot of ingredients - or ones that aren't in every kitchen (chickpea flour?). Do you have any suggestions for recipes that may call for just a can or two of beans or other binding ingredients, and some flavorings?
Did you notice that in the Mushroom-Chickpea Burgers recipe, I gave you more-common options for those more unusual ingredients? That is, regular flour instead of chickpea, Parm instead of nutritional yeast, etc.? Wasn't that nice of me? ;-) Honestly, I think these are worth it; they're not much effort.
As for recipes with fewer ingredients, check out this post by former Postie Kim O'Donnel from a couple years back. Features a chickpea burger from our friends Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough, and links to her black bean burger, too. They each have a couple fewer ingredients than mine.
I've never made spectacular homemade pizza and I always find the sauce to be bland (I use store-bought spaghetti sauce). I tried store-bought pizza sauce last time and didn't think it added much. What can I do to get tangy, tasty pizza sauce at home? I'm willing to make it. Thanks!
I have made more pizzas from the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks than I care to admit (only partially because my colleagues like to tease me about my ATK devotion), and I think two of their sauces are quite good. You get a lot of tanginess from this one that's uncooked.
New York Style Thin-Crust Pizza Sauce
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Process all the ingredients in the clean bowl of the food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
I also like this thick, slighly sweeter one.
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressend through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably Tuttorosso or Muir Glen
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the onion, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
(Becky's note: Watch this sauce. It will bubble -- use a splatter screen if you have one. Or you can do my cheapo approach, a very lightly dampened paper towel carefully placed over the pot.)
I make an all-purpose spaghetti sauce that works for pizza as well. I start with sauteed onions and garlic, add Pomi Strained Tomatoes (no additives just pureed skinless, seedless tomatoes available at Whole Foods, Giant and Wegmans carry it), then add salt, pepper, Italian herbs, red wine and a healthy pinch of sugar. Cook for about 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
I've never eaten a veggie burger before, but after reading today's story, I'd like to try one (or more). Besides BGR, who does a good veggie burger? I'd be particularly interested in knowing whether of the places known for their hamburgers also make good veggie burgers?
Hi there - I'm hoping you can help me with what is hopefully an easy question! I'm making chocolate-dipped strawberries for the first time. I've read that you should wash and dry the strawberries thoroughly before dipping and then let the dipped strawberries chill for an hour or two before serving. No problem there. But do you think they could be made the night before and left to chill overnight? Will the strawberries get mushy? Unfortunately, I don't have time to experiment to find out. Thanks!
The strawberries have to be dry, the chocolate has to be tempered or you have to get the candy coating type of chocolate if you do them the night before. If your chocolate isn't tempered, you will have a grayish bloom on the chocolate. Not harmful, it just isn't pretty.
It was both cathartic and inspiring to read about everyone's kitchen purging today; I really loved it! I am ready to tackle my own purge, with some unsalvageable cast iron (clueless BF ran then thru the dishwasher, then tried to scrub them with salt to reseason and left them sitting in water) and the half million plastic gewgaws for my KitchenAid stand mixer that my loving mother and aunt kept buying for my birthday and xmas. It's a complete mess; I'm not even sure what white plastic parts go with which other white plastic parts to do what exactly - why design them to have separate parts and with no clear way to match it up? But this leads to my (possibly) heretical position; I need to get rid of the KitchenAid stand mixer itself. I have used it exactly once, it takes up tons of my (nonexistant) counter space, and the bowl collects dust if I left it out, and it's so heavy to move from the cabinet to the counter for using when i could just grab a bowl and a whisk/spatula and go to work. I make cakes and breads aplenty, and even if I made meringues I have a whisk attachment for my stick blender. Yet I feel hesitant to part with it; everyone swears by theirs. Am I being foolish and ungrateful? Or clear-eyed?
Even though I love my 35 year old Hobart Kitchen Aid mixer, if you ain't usin' it, get rid of it. Put it out on the sidewalk, someone will love it. I did that with a microwave (which after a couple of years, it really became for me, a very expensive bread box) and I did the same with a food processor, although a lot of my cooking friends wouldn't part with theirs. Believe it or not the cast iron pans are quite salvageable...if you really want them.
thanks for the veggie burger article today....loved it! the chickpea and mushroom bruger reminded me of my favorite veggie burger....my Spinach Burger! the ingredients are basically the same, only i use whole chickpeas instead of mashing them, but i DO use the chickpea flour (called "besan" in indian grocery stores...so much cheaper there!). instead of mushrooms, i use 2 10 oz. boxes of frozen spinach that has been thoroughly drained and dried 9i even sautee it very very low for a little bit to get the excess moisture out. the result is a very green, very tasty, textural burger....topped with carmelized onions, a little goat cheese and tomato...it's the most perfect veggie burger i've ever had! (and no soy, egg, or other fillers to boot!) :)
It sounds fantastic! If you're interested in helping out a guy who is writing a vegetable-focused cookbook, and getting credit for it, I'd love to see that recipe! Email me at email@example.com.
Congratulations on the cookbook contract! That is so awesome. What an interesting process it will be to put together. I saw your call for reader suggestions and plan to contribute. One recipe I remember fondly was for this colossal Mediterranean sandwich. I don't think it's in the Recipe Finder. I'd guess it ran sometime 2002-2005. It was this big crusty bread stuffed with just about everything: meats, greens, feta, olives, tomatoes and I think it had a yogurt sauce. It looked brilliant--very colorful. I'd love to see the recipe for that again.
We're on it. Thanks!
for the vegetarian, i've made this a few times with great success. Sorry, it's from that OTHER paper, if you can get past the paywall.
We're equal opportunity linkers.
...post that list of how long it's advisable to keep various foods before tossing?
Not yet. Got a particular product/ingredient in mind?
Oh I have what would be a small drawerf-ull of those gadgets - they were my mother's and I can part with them! But they are in a bag somewhere in storage, not my kitchen drawer!
I have a few bags of cookie cutters that are nestled inside some large pots that don't get used very often. All I can say is, watch out for the poking factor when you approach The Bag.
the most versatile cookware I have and use fequently is my cast iron dutch oven. I use it for frying foods, sauteing foods, making chili (indoors and on the grill when tail gating), braising foods or making soup. I have also made frying pan and girlled cakes using this one item. My favorite recipe is braised rabbit from a cook book from the early 1900's. this is a timeless piece of cookware that is a great multi tasker.
I agree about cast iron, and now Lodge is even preseasoning their pieces. I like them better as Dutch ovens than the enamelled cast iron ones, becasue they don't chip. And it is so easy to reseason them.
I laughed when I saw the picture on the front page of the Food Section -- I have everything there except for the fish rack! I too love my mandoline as well as my food chopper and garlic chopper. I don't use them for all chopping, but when making a cauldron of soup, it's nice to have uniform pieces of vegetables and garlic. Also, I would never give up my salad spinner (Oxo) -- hey, the folks at Cooks Illustrated continue to recommend this one, so even though it does take up valuable kitchen real estate, it's worth it.
I see everyone's in love with their spinner but me. I have an extra one available if anyone needs a spare....
I'm making cupcakes on Thursday for a party on Friday, what's the best way to store them in the mean time? Will they stay fresh enough with some saran wrap on the counter? Or would they do better in the freezer? Thanks!
For one day's storage, I just covered tightly with palstic wrap. Any time you freeze bread or cake the item immediately takes on the characteristic of a cake or bread that's been stored one day at room temperature so why bother.
I think a swap is in order! I have an awesome mandoline that I've rarely used and would love to exchange it with someone for...an offset spatula (for cake frosting) and a biscuit cutter. The value is clearly not in my favor but my $40 gadget would go to a loving home. Alternately, I bet a young, just-starting-out person would love some of the castoffs to set up a kitchen. Sure the stuff might not be perfect but at least it's FREE.
Neither of those made it onto our heap. Love both those utensils too dearly.
Bonnie, How do you Google an image? Many times I've wanted to find a thing or person but inputting a description has yet to do the trick ("Man on Red Line with salt-and-pepper hair, red-and-blue striped tie, got off at Metro Center at 8:52 a.m. ...")
Well, the trick is coming up with the right words to search on. :) I'm sure the Oz-like Google's working on your request even as we speak.
This recipe looks great; however I was wondering how easy it would be to use canned fire roasted tomatoes instead of charring some for this recipe.
The tomatoes need to be dry and whole, I think.
After all the complaints about coffee being bitter, I noticed that the burnt coffee on the bottom of the glass carafe (that was left heating too long) -- smells sweet. Why is that?
Because there are natural sugars in coffee beans! They caramelize when roasted, so I bet you're picking up the smell of more of that caramelization from the burnt coffee.
I tried Barnes & Noble--not on their lists, even online. Amazon has only secondary sellers. Amazon.co.uk has it--but from experience the shipping costs are awful.
Which one? Of course, there's her “A History of English Food," which we excerpted a few weeks ago. If that's what you're looking for, contact Salt & Pepper Books in Occoquan. They don't have it yet, but they intend to. Owner Christine Myskowski said she can help you find other books too.
I'm looking for a really good recipe for lemon cake that I can use to make a layer cake. Any suggestions? One of my best go-to resources has a layer lemon cake that's really white cake with lemon curd filling. I want the lemon flavor in the cake itself.
Some recipes that start with chopped bacon call for sauteing the meat in a little oil. This seems unnecesary to me, but so many recipes call for it that there must be a reason. To my thinking, the fat rendered from bacon almost immediately after putting it in the pan should be sufficient, so why the added fat of oil?
living in an apartment with a shared/paid laundry room using dish towels to roll my lettuce dry would be more time consuming (it take more time to do laundry than wash the spinner), not to mention expensive. My salad spinner lives on top of my fridge, out of the way till I need it.
I think I see a key difference. I'm never not doing laundry. With a full house, I wash at least one load a day. For me, it's nothing to add a few towels in with a load.
Cheeze! One of the first kitchen doo dahs I bought after college, from Georgetown Coffee, Tea, and Spice (long-gone). I use it slice cheese and it is the perfect size to remove small cookies from baking sheets. However, I have surplused the stove top smoker and the clay cooker.
I have hit a major nerve with the cheese plane castoff, haven't I? I just use other things instead; was trying to be ruthless in my kitchen purging. I understand they can be mementos and that they're still functional! Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I cheese-planed as a part-time student at -- Hickory Farms. (Care for a slice of Pepper Jack today, ma'am?)
I totally agree that the garlic press needs to go. It's hard to use and inefficient--half of the garlic clove always remains behind unminced and you have to pick it out with a fork. I've actually replaced this tool with something even less versatile, however much more effective: a garlic "twist." I used it all the time with much better result. Metal skewers are annoying too. I used to have these really thick ones that were so big that pieces of onion and tomato would often fall apart when being skewered.
Finally, I like how your story balances tossing out both the useless and the much-used. Sounds like many of the nonstick pans are being discarded because they've been enjoyed for many years but have worn out.
I am about to embark on a project of making and freezing meals so I can have a some things ready after I have a baby in two months. The catch is that I am gluten-free, so I feel that even if people bring me meals, odds are I won't be able to eat them. hence the cook ahead and freeze plan. Any links to any articles that you've done that gives hints about freezing? Any suggestions for easy meals that are divisible into single servings and freeze well?
You need to have a look at our superb freezer guide from a few years ago. And it sounds like you might find our Make It, Freeze It, Take It recipes useful as well. Soups are great to portion out into single servings for the freezer, as are dishes like lasagna.
Other ideas for the mom-to-be?
Love the article on getting rid of unused utensils! It's inspired me to go home tonight and clean out my drawer - and actually, I don't know why I haven't done it before. I completely agree, btw, with you on the egg separators. My husband bought me one when I first started cooking and I thought, hey, how nice that I don't have to get my hands messy! Except wait, you have to precariously balance this stupid think on some container because I'm not good enough to pour the egg into it with one hand, and God forbid your aim is off just a little bit because there goes the whole egg! What a nightmare - I'd much rather get my hands dirty than use that thing ever again! I do disagree with the salad spinner, though. I love mine, and cleaning is a pinch - just toss it in the dishwasher. Yes, it takes up some space, but so do a lot of my other bowls and what not, and I use it a lot.
For those of us who don't have dishwashers -- at least not the mechanical kind -- I've become very conscious about not using unnecessary tools to do a job that my chef's knife or hands can do just as well. Hence, goodbye garlic peelers, egg separators and the like.
I've never actually done it, but I keep thinking of having a gadget-swapping party. My mother and I did pool our cast-offs one year; between the two of us we filled a box which she kept in her kitchen for a time and let friends go through it and take what looked interesting. No spending money on things that look like they'll work then turn out not to be worth the drawer space! By the way, I'm with Jane on the Misto sprayer (does anyone want my egg slicer, or how about a meat pounder?) -- but I REALLY want that wooden shortbread mold on p. 20! The one I brought from Scotland 20 years ago has been used so much all the soaked-in butter has turned rancid. See?
It's funny you mention that. We here in the Food section went back and forth over many of the gadgets. Some we all agreed were useless; others, we argued whether the tosser wasn't tossing them needlessly. Like those rubber pinch bowls that Bonnie tossed. I love 'em!
They're yours, Tim.
I laughed out loud when I saw that worthless butter measure thing on the list of purged items, complete with question mark! I am embarrassed to admit I bought one too and quickly realized it made no sense. I know they say that the markings on the butter wrapper can be inadequate but I never understood how this thing was any better. Most ridiculous kitchen "tool" ever!
Love the chats! I'm bringing flourless chocolate-walnut cookies to my boyfriend's parents house for Passover, and I need Kosher-for-Passover powdered sugar (aka no cornstarch) for my recipe. I know I can make some by grinding granulated sugar with potato starch in my coffee grinder, but I'm hoping you will be able to tell me that I can just buy it somewhere. Any luck?
I have seen it at the Westbard Giant. Chatters, other sightings? I must say I like having this advance-notice thing for the holiday. A weekend ahead to plan plus a weekend day to prep for my second Seder.
LOVED this article and am embarrased to say I own (but have seldom used) many of those items. Misto - right there with you! My favorite bought but never used item is a creme brulee torch. I think I am secretly afraid I will burn myself. If you can convince me otherwise, I will hold on to it, otherwise it needs to go. I will say that I love my cherry pitter and the waffle iron rarely used post-wedding has received new life post-kids. Thank you for a few good laughs this morning.
I wish Misto made a better product, it's such a great idea. I bought more than one before I gave up. I just threw out the old fashioned French branding iron I used to use for creme brulee. I use a torch, but not a teeny one. They just don't put out enough heat.
Joe, Any idea how the cost-per-burger compares for your homemade compared to brands like Boca and Morningstar? Also, do you think yours freeze as well for as long? Thanks.
Great question. I wasn't out for money savings -- as I wrote, I wanted to make at home to control the ingredients -- but I just did some quick math on the Mushroom-Chickpea Burgers for comparison, with the help of Peapod and Amazon for pricing. Looks like they'd cost about $11.75 to make 8, which is about $1.45 per burger, while the Boca and Morningstar burgers are $4 for a 4-pack. So they're a little more expensive to make at home -- and the tradeoff is you know just what's in there, cause you put it in there, and hopefully had fun doing it. (And my calculations were assume you'd buy everything, whereas I used onions, garlic, and herbs that we grew, so I spent a little less on that one.)
As I said in the recipes, they can be frozen for up to six months, no problem.
I got a "box of contents" at a country auction last summer (for $1), and found probably 10-15 ladles and that many granny forks in it. I picked out the ones I liked best, such as oldest appearing, or coolest handle, and put the box in the garage. Last Sunday I went thru my 'stuff' drawer, and found 7, count 'em 7, turners in it. Again, I picked out the ones I liked best, and put the rest in the box in the garage. I do like granny forks...
I do too. Lamson in Massachusetts still makes a nice one. You probably have one!
Baby is due in 10 days and I'm cooking up a freezerful of dishes for my husband and I in advance. I'm planning a couple of pasta options, a beef-and-beer stew, and chicken enchiladas. He's more of a meat-eater and I'm more of a carb girl, so what else do you recommend? Everything's being frozen in individual portions so we can just pop em in the microwave at all hours.
I did the same thing when I was about to have my second child. I made quiches (very popular with visiting relatives), chicken pot pie filling, stews, meatballs and soups. Soups taste good at all hours, which is excatly when you'll be eating.
This doesn't count as leavened bread? Besides, I always thought the rule was we weren't allowed to eat leavened bread AND anything else I happen to like.
There's no yeast or other leavening agent (baking powder, soda, etc.) in the rolls. They get their lift from the eggs, and are put into the oven right after the dough is mixed. I didn't know it was this specific, but apparently there's some 18-minute cutoff for whether something is considered leavened. These make the cut under that interpretation.
You're referring to a salad spinner, right? Not Stephanie Sedgwick?
Ha! I meant the former, but it's true of the latter, too!
i disagree. Have one and never use it because I hate having to wash it. Sure, it LOOKS clean, but I still have to give it the thorough wash. And it takes up too much space in the drying rack. Guess I don't eat that much salad...
Thanks for your support!
At the anti-garlic press web-page you sent us to, Robin Cherry writes, "Alice Waters of Chez Panisse sees no reason to waste money on a garlic press or any other fancy gadgets. She recommends using a mortal and pestle to make a garlic puree" Guest: My, what wonderful garlic soup, garlic mashed potatoes, garlicky roast chicken and garlic bread! Did you have help to puree all that garlic? Host: The butler did it!
Hmm, I use a garlic press a lot, never have to peel it when I use the press. But the press design has to be really good, certainly bought my share of truly useless ones, some of them cheap, some expensive. Having said that, I use a mortar and pestle for a lot of other things. The one I have used happily for years is made by Zyliss .
First, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your recent article about Red. He was truly fortunate to have adopted you, and I hope your pain dissipates as only good memories stay with you. Second, WaPo needs to adjust their bio of you (shown in yesterday's chat) - it states that your book, "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One" WILL be published in Spring, 2011. Third, so glad you are back chatting today - I miss you on Mondays & Wednesdays!
Thanks! Glad you liked the piece. Was tough to write, but glad I managed. Lots of good feedback. And thanks for letting us know about the bio!
the one piece that has followed me through my kitchens since college, suprisingly, is my George Foreman grill! i can quickly sear chicken, meat, veggies, and now my kids can use it themselves to make grilled cheese. i also use it to heat up leftovers, or better yet, to stick whatever leftovers in between two slices of bread or a tortilla, add some cheese, and shut the lid for a quick "surprise when you bite into it" sandwich. the other kitchen appliance i can't live without? my vita-mix. it is about 20 years old (it was my moms) and does everything from make smoothies to soup to ice cream, and clean up is a breeze!
You just reminded me that I should have added my old George Foreman grill to the junk pile. It was given to me years and years ago -- and sits foresaken in some out-of-the-way cupboard that I obviously rarely open.
I was the first kid in my generation to get their own apartment so all my relatives dumped their second tier kitchen stuff on me (which I was grateful for at the time). I finally decided to do a spring cleaning and found I had not one but three biscuit cutters and had never once made biscuits.
I too inherited a bunch of stuff from my mom. I started with nothing and now I have way more than I ever expected!
As those biscuit cutters, they could be good cookie cutters or molds for little appetizers.
I'm French and grew up never using a salad spinner...until now. We would put the wet lettuce in a clean dish towel, lean over the balcony and just wave our arm back and forth and the lettuce was always drier than my salad spinner ever gets it. If we couldn't use the balcony, we would go in the bathroom and do the same technique over the bathtub....
I have 3 kinds of madeleine plaques. Scallop shaped, mini regular shaped, and regular shaped. Completely unnecessary, yet they store flat so they get to stay.
Ditto here, but they make lovely small cakes and friands which are easily stored in the freezer. Then you can glaze them before serving them for dessert.
Joe, what's your favorite frozen veggie burger from the store? (Just curious) Amy's California is by far my favorite. "Seeing" you two days in a row is a major treat!
I have to admit that I've dipped into these only occasionally, because I prefer to make stuff like that from scratch. Good to know your prefs, though, for those times when I'm slammed!
One idea is to make a lot of batches of legumes and freeze them in single portions. Then they'll be quick and easy to defrost and toss with sauces or into salads for filling, gluten-free dinners. And if you can subtly ask people to leave the starches out of the foods they give you (like, sauce and meatballs versus sauce mixed with pasta), you can enjoy what people give you without having issues.
Mushroom brush and those dopey corn on the cob holders that never stick in the cob.
Hear, hear, had both of those, and dumped them too!
Because we've had no real winter in NC, we've had some wonderful greens at the farmers' market. A new one for me this year is tatsoi, which I've been enjoying just sauteed in olive oil. But I wonder what else can be done with it--the same as other greens, or does tatsoi lend itself to anything unusual?
Here's a recipe for Asian wilted greens, which sounds pretty tasty.
According to this document from the University of Arizona on tatsoi, the green is even stronger in flavor than bok choy. This makes me think it will stand up well to equally strong flavors. As such, you might take a look at some of our bok choy recipes in the database.
Hey guys, I've got some shredded chicken leftover from a roast earlier this week and would like to use it to make tonight's dinner, but alas, I can't decide what I want to make. I can go to the store after work, so other ingredients don't really matter, but I was thinking something involving a creamy, maybe spicy, sauce? I dunno, just can't picture anything!
How about this Red Pepian?Or you could make your own enchiladas -- concoct a bechamel sauce (see mac and cheese recipes in our database), add a can of your fave enchilada sauce on top, saute some onions and peppers and throw them in the with the chicken as filling, or black beans; melty cheese on top?
Hi free rangers! I can relate to the kitchen gadget clutter - I have a cluttered drawer of things I rarely use (although my neighbors do borrow my pastry blender/cutter thing occasionally). But the 1 thing I can't live without is the alligator dicer I got from Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. I love onions and this thing dices them perfectly in seconds. Also works well for raw peppers and potatoes. I learned the hard way it doesn't work for carrots though, and on celery it's so-so. But I use it at least 3 times a week, so it's worth the space!
Good to know! How do you store it? Easy to clean?
I went through the drawer about two weeks ago. I jettisoned several items including the lemon juicer shaped like a pine cone with a handle......it just smashes the inside of the lemon and most of the juice runs down my hand and into the sink. Now, roll, nuke, halve and squeeze with my hand.
It seems none of the recipes posted in this chat by readers makes it into the online database. Am I wrong about that?
? If they have a link, it means we linked to our database! If the recipe's written out, that means it's not in there.
OK, while the recipe for the veggie burger seems like it would be delicious; can we find a recipe for one without soy in it that isn't loaded with sodium?
I have a wooden fork that I would fight to keep because try as I might I have never been able to find another one so I hold onto this one tightly.
I had a wooden spoon like that. I killed that with overuse too.
I'm pretty sure during a previous chat, you discussed what to put on a wedding registry, but I can't find it. Can you send me a link? I trying to put together a list. Thanks!
Best single-purpose tool: shrimp deveiner. Does the job in one motion. Worst: melon baller. It makes ragged melon chunks.
I don't use my shrimp deveiner often, but I love mine as well and my pear coring hook (which is now no longer made...sigh) But the melon baller, that is a surprise. It may be the design. Econome makes a really good one which gives me perfect melon balls in two sizes.
Loved the veggie burger recipe - will try it soon! Where you do find the Gimme Lean soy meat substitute mentioned? I don't recall ever seeing that brand. I know Morningstar Farms makes soy crumbles that are supposed to be a ground beef substitute - is that the same thing?
I've seen Gimme Lean in Whole Foods. The thing is, it's really sticky, and you need that here. When our tester first tried it, he used another brand of "soy crumbles," and they didn't hold together. Jane Touzalin sourced it for another round of tests, which worked well, and I'm asking her where she saw it. What your looking for is pictured below.
This could be our first Free Range photo product placement!
Joining chat late--hope this hasn't been asked. I love my 70's style cheese plane, although I know, for sure, that some work better than others. Maybe I was given a really good one. If, however, you know of something that works better than a plane, I'd be willing to change. Or do you just use a knife?
Read and catch up! We discussed...I use side of box grater or my thin metal Y veg peeler.
...is indeed a Scottish shortbread mold!
I finally started smashing it with the side of my knife and now I love the method! It really gets the skin off much easier and then I use the knife to chop the squished slices. Only wash one utensil.
My husband considers our garlic press his mortal enemy since mincing garlic is one of his kitchen duties. He's very good at it too! I usually just let him have at it. I do hate cleaning that press with a toothpick.
They're solid and wonderful and I bake bread every couple of days using a less mighty mixer. PLEASE!
Ha. We were only half joking about setting up a Freecycle-style forum to go along with this story. Sounds like maybe we should have! I guess you can communicate with each other via the comments in the story, or -- even though I'm afraid to offer this -- send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can try to play matchmaker if both sides are interested.
Isn't that just a little too unhealthy?
A teaspoon or two of olive oil isn't going to make much of a difference.
I have to disagree about the garlic press - I have one from Pampered Chef and it's excellent and seems to maximize the amount of garlic I get from each clove!
For garlic. It's quick and easy and cheap.
Hi all, I'm a solo cook with a large bunch of fresh dill to go through. Any suggestions? (yes, I will freeze some of it, but no matter what I do, the stuff in my freezer takes up a bit of that weird freezer taste) On a completely different note: I make gluten-free chocolate-peanut butter cookies that are fantastic but very intensely flavored. I'd like to add something to offset the intensity of the cookies and play nice with the chocolate-peanut butter flavors - I was thinking something like a raspberry or cherry-flavored glaze/whipped cream topping. Alternately, I could swap out peanut butter for almond butter (if that's possible), and make an orange glaze. Thoughts? Thanks!!!
I like to dry dill instead of freezing it. Check out instructions here.
You could make this great Carrot Soup With Herb Puree to kill off some of it -- and have people over.
As for your other question, you could absolutely use almond butter instead of peanut butter. I love to do that in a PB cookie recipe. But I'm not really feeling the idea of adding another element in a fruit glaze here. Instead, why not think about adding dried cherries and sliced almonds to the mix? With the almond butter, too. And if there's vanilla, use almond extract instead.
Wegmans doesn't have a huge selection of NY wines (oh NY distribution issues) but they do have a decent selection of Dr. Frank, which is on the dryer side.
Here you go, Riesling fan.
How about some nice slow-roasted tomatoes with diced kalamatas, tossed with white beans and oregano?
Thanks for the suggestion.
I have some delicious buttercream frosting in the fridge that a friend gave me when she had too much. How long does it stay good? Need to bake something to put it on - besides a spoon - and haven't had time yet. Thoughts?
Buttercream frosting will hold about two weeks in the fridge, though some say it will last longer.
Kitchen gadgets, like exercise equipment, frequently end up in garage sales and have a pretty low resale value (hello $4 Le Creuset terrine mold!). A few years ago I renovated my kitchan and downsized from five fondue pots, purged ravioli plates, a pasta drying rack, an egg poacher, avocado slicer, etc. I did keep all of my coffee gadgets and for some reason, all of my used-once-a-year chestnut tools (ceramic roaster, chestnut knife, and chestnut scorer).
Instead of a big plastic bowl type spinner, one Christmas I got in my stocking a white cotton drawstring bag with a printed pattern indicating it was meant for drying greens. Stick 'em in there, take the bag out to the backyard and give your rotator cuff a good workout. Make sure nobody's within 15 feet or so unless they want to get damp. It's rather cathartic!
Thanks for answering my question! Just need to make sure I cover them tight enough to keep the cat out, she LOVES cupcakes. She will drag cupcake wrappers out of the trash and we'll find them hidden throughout the house with chomp marks on them.
That's one wily feline. Now if only they could invent something to keep me out of the cupcakes.
More of a suggestion than a question: When I got married we registered for items I knew my kitchen lacked...but at the time I didn't have storage for them. I took some of the generous cash gift we received and hired an organizer for an afternoon. We edited things that I didn't use normally (to include a stand mixer that was NEVER touched) to make room for the new items. She carted off all the extras to donate and I felt like a new person afterwards...and my kitchen functions really well!
Out of curiosity: How much did you spend on the organizer? And was it worth it? I'm trying to figure out if the organizer's skill is mainly convincing people to part with unnecessary kitchen tools. Kind of like an advice columnist who tells you to ditch bad boyfriends.
Your former colleague, Kim O'Donnel had a delicious black bean burger recipe on her blog. If you haven't already, you should give it a try.
Yep -- I linked to it earlier in this very chat!
Several years ago, my wife succombed to pressure to purchase worthless Pampered Chef stuff from a pushy Dance-Mom. We have boxes and boxes of unused gadgets. The chopper comes to mind - it's much easier to use my 30-year-old knife to cut an onion. Don't get me started on those baking stoneware things and pie pans that can't be washed with soap! Bulky and useless!
I hear ya, but I will defend my two -- two! -- baking stones to the end.
I recently made multiple batches of lemon curd using the Alton brown recipe. I loved it so much I had to make more after making it and tasting it the first time ever. That being said, I was curious about how to avoid getting pith from citrus. Both the lemocello recipe in today's Post and the Alton Brown recipe mention this. I used a fine food grater, but felt that I left a lot of the essential oils still in the peel in order to avoid getting any pith. do you have any tips or tools to help with this kitchen task?
We're running out of time, but I'll quickly say you should read this piece by Bonnie on a visit from Thomas Keller. Includes a good zesting technique for less pith. You don't want to pith him off, after all. ;-)
I have been making since Taunton first published a recipe in 1997. You couldn't buy it here then, and I became obsessed with making it. I learned early to make a double batch because it is labor intensive, and I make lemon curd with the juice (and of course a couple of extra lemons for zest). I just made a batch with lemons my sister sent from her tree - and I used a microplane instead of a vegetable peeler so it is experimental in a way. I am not looking forward to the filtering, but what the heck - I want to see if it tastes better. I am very good at using the veg peeler and not getting pith, but boy does my hand cramp up when I am doing it.
a "bone saw" used by my grandmother. Tried it once on a marrow bone--completely useless, but can't convince myself to toss it
Save it for sawing logs next winter?
Can I turn the Lemon Cake into mini cupcakes? I'm bringing dessert to the office on 11 April and it just occurred to me that I might need a Kosher for Passover option. Any guidance would be appreciated.
Kinda needs that filling layer, I think. You could bake and cut into portions...
MORTAL and pestle, not mortar and pestle. The typo amused me ...
I think I spent about $300 on the organizer. I would say that the best part was that she had really thought through the function of a kitchen and asked how I liked to cook whereas I just stashed stuff where it fit in. We adjusted shelving heights in the cabinets and everything just made sense afterwards. My husband said it wasn't worth it but it's funny that he never complains about not knowing where something is in our kitchen!
Hey, I really enjoyed today's article on the equipment purge. I definitely felt a pang when I read about the nonstick pan -- since I began cooking more, I've never had one last more than about a year, even though I lovingly handwash them after every use. Stuff I would purge include the small ice cream scoop that was supposed to make measuring cookie dough easier. The dough always sticks inside that thing. It's simpler to use my digital scale and my own two hands. Stuff I love includes my collection of Le Creuset silicone spatulas/spoons. I use at least one each day. As for the cast iron situation of the earlier poster, my husband wrecks my grandma's cast iron skillet every time I go out of town. I just clean it and reseason it and carry on. It's a little annoying, but not a hard fix at all.
Yes, I'm still searching for that perfect nonstick skillet. And I'm with you on the Le Creuset silicone tools -- I have just one that I use all the time and it's getting really hard not to buy more.
What timing - I've been carting around one of those Misto sprays for many years. I pull it out every few weeks/months, hoping it will work better, but it never does. I finally tossed it this weekend. I feel like I was so ahead of the trend!
I'm not allowed to touch ours, since I once took off a small piece of my thumb (including a piece of the nail!) with it. lol. Husband said he knew something was wrong when he heard me say, "OH!" (not ow!) Please use the finger guard.....
Don't punish a kitchen gadget for your own mistakes!
Clear plastic measuring cups! Pyrex used to make these (sadly, no longer). They have flat tops perfect for leveling, their transparency makes it easy to tell whether you effectively packed brown sugar or other ingredients, and they have a marker halfway up that allows you further measurement increments.
It's funny. I still have a coffee maker, but only use it to heat water, since I make only pour overs at home anymore.
Something I got rid of: toaster oven. Something I still haven't gotten rid of: a mezzaluna. I hated the last toaster oven we had and one thing in particular that was a problem is that it didn't make good toast! My husband and I both like toast. Its spot on the counter was replaced with a good old-fashioned toaster. There are times (especially in the summer) where I'd rather not heat up the oven and have to, but I've also discovered more uses for the microwave as a substitute for a toaster oven. I bought the mezzaluna on a whim and have never been able to master a technique for using it to chop things. I end up having to use a knife to finish the job anyway, but I still haven't disposed of the thing....
..it was Ms. Pollard who wanted to get rid of her Hobart. So no behind the scenes matching needed. I've got lots of good stuff from her store, anyway.
I'm hosting Russian Easter for the first time and am looking for some real kielbasa. I'm not totally anti-Hillshire Farms, but I'd love to get some authentic stuff without driving 300 miles each way to raid my hometown church's freezer. Are there any Russian or Polish markets around? I live in Nova but am willing to drive. Thanks!