Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Mini-whisk

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I come from a family of cooks.  We spend a lot of time jawing on the phone about what we ate last night or last week, what we’re making tonight, and what’s the recipe for that German Apple Pancake again?  When one of us cooks in miniwhiskanother’s kitchen, there’s the inevitable rummage in the utensil drawer followed by the incredulous question: “don’t you have a _______?”  Personally, I can’t believe my own flesh and blood survived without tongs for so long, and most recently, my mom helped me up my game with the small-but-mighty mini whisk.  It’s the perfect tool for blending oil into vinegar, or butter into some reduced wine for a pan sauce.   I am not one to spring for random kitchen gizmos (although egg pants are hard to resist), but this is a tool I now use at least three or four times a week.  Thanks, Mom!

Immersion Blender

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

What would you rather do: A. dig the blender out from appliance Siberia, assemble it, plug it in, dump in ingredients, blend, pour blended things into glasses/bowls/back into a pot, potentially add a second batch or even a third and repeat the process, meanwhile dripping and spilling everywhere, then disassemble, wash at least 4 pieces, and then replace in appliance Siberia or B. grab a handy immersion blender where you keep it close by (since it is so small and so convenient), plug in, immerse in the food to be blended, already in it’s destination container, blend in one batch, either large or small, eject the business end from the handle, wash one piece, and replace in convenient nearby storage? 
cuisinart_smartstick
Unless I am blending something containing ice cubes and I need the extra torque, my answer is always B.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to use an immersion blender:

Pour berries (fresh or frozen), banana, yogurt, milk, and agave syrup or honey into a large glass pitcher — immersion blend and use the pitcher to serve and store extra.

Add a roughly chopped shallot, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1/2 cup or more of olive oil to a large jar with a lid.  Blend, and use to dress your salads for a week.  Store the dressing in your lidded jar in the refrigerator.

For an easy vegetable soup, saute onion or garlic or shallot or leek or scallions in 1 tbsp of butter.  Add 2-3 cups of peas and lettuce, or chopped carrots, or chopped potatoes, or chopped tomatoes, or chopped beets, etc.   Add water or vegetable or chicken stock to cover.  Salt gently and bring to a simmer.  Cook until vegetables are tender, then immersion blend right in the pot.  Check seasoning and add salt if needed.  Serve hot or cold.

Let Me See Your Tongs…

Friday, June 29th, 2007

The next best thing to an opposable thumb. Tongs cost around $3 in a restaurant supply store, and they’re indispensable for turning scallops or chicken or sausages or anything relatively sturdy you happen to be sauteing, for tossing salads, for extracting bay leaves, etc, etc etc. When I’m cooking in someone else’s kitchen, tongs are usually the utensil I’m most jonesing for (unless the knives are dull and there’s no sharpener.) Get yourself some tongs, friends, you’ll be super psyched!