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Old 07-29-2011, 06:54 AM   #1
Ea
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Your 5 favourite kitchen gadgets

Inspired by this blog post - and realising I didn't get why on earth those exact gadgets could be so essential... A pickle press?

I wondered what other people's (and my own) 5 essential kitchen gadgets are? What 5 gadgets makes your life easier in the kitchen?
BTW: I don't think stoves, fridges and standard microwave ovens count

I love to cook, but have only ever had access to small kitchens without a dishwasher, so I've had to scale down and cut away large and/or inessential things. The lack of dishwasher really have an impact on your gadget selection, because things need to be quick and easy to clean by hand.

Global vegetable knife
- My first really sharp knife, and still my preferred (even if it's slightly short)

Tefal Actifry
- Absolutely great for frying vegetables, chicken and making mixed fry-ups (and frying bacon! ). Fairly easy to clean too, so even if it takes up valuable counter-space, it's worth it.

Stick blender + mini chopper accesory
- SO much easier to clean than an ordinary blender and so much easier to use, especially for smaller quantities. The mini chopper is essential for grinding almonds (which I use a lot of) and is a decent replacement for a food processor.

Slow cooker
- I guess this could be replaced by a pot on the stove - but it's easier to keep the low temperature and cook smaller portions in my 1.5 litre slow cooker.

Microplane mandoline
- I like my food finely chopped and sliced. This gadget makes nicer saladds from raw cabbage and fennel than I'm able to with a knife.

Gadgets I might consider if I had the space:
- an electric slicer (those semi-professional things for slicing meat)
- a more advanced mandoline that can also slice julienne - but is still easy to clean!
- a medium-big solid food processor (all I have room for is a small, flimsy one that I hardly ever use and is put in the back on the top shelf in a cupboard)
- an programmable electric cooker that is both a slow cooker and able to boil things properly. Perhaps something like this (it can even fry) or this.

Last edited by Ea; 07-29-2011 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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In the kitchen, I love it low-tech...

This picture shows two of my favorites: my mezzalune knife, and my mortar in pestle made from vitrified stoneware.



(I took this pic to illustrate a blogpost with a recipe for a pesto made with bittercress, the herb on the cutting board)

And my "coticule" whetstone, that keeps all my knifes razorsharp...
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:49 AM   #3
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Le Creuset shallow casserole that is used far more than any other cooking vessel I own.


Love this - all it does is remove the zest from lemons and lime, but it does it brilliantly.


It's amazing how many things that I cook start here.


A cheap Japanese cleaver - costs about £8 in the UK, frighteningly sharp and can joint a chicken, slice cabbage as fine as you like for coleslaw and crack lobster claws!



It's a coffee mill - useless for coffee but brilliant for grinding spices.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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  • Mortar and pestle. Pounding up assorted pastes to an album of music is meditation
  • Atlas pasta machine. From dough to pasta, like magic made with your own hands, way easier than I ever thought
  • Le Creuset large French oven, and "multifunction" pot and pan (bought as set, multifuction as the saucepan acts as a lid for the pot). I love the heavy, enameled cast iron of it all
  • Furi knife set. They're just nice knives in the hand, and I like the little curve-bladed peeling knife
  • Slow cookers (or possible icecream maker...a toss-up). I probably use the slow cookers more, as they match my slow way of cooking (I need slow, as I'm not that handy or organized), but making my choice of ice creams from creme anglais onwards (trying different ingredients for flavour) is quite satisfying as it's my favourite of foods

    Cheers,
    Marc
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:03 AM   #5
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Those previous posts inspired me...
And I only named three of my favourites yet;

A Le Creuset casserole, and an Atlas pasta machine for me too...

(Got the casserole as a wedding present, and the giver couldn't understand I was so happy with it... she hated cooking.)
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
  • Slow cookers (or possible icecream maker...a toss-up). I probably use the slow cookers more, as they match my slow way of cooking (I need slow, as I'm not that handy or organized), but making my choice of ice creams from creme anglais onwards (trying different ingredients for flavour) is quite satisfying as it's my favourite of foods
The reason I like slow cooker is that it takes the stress out of cooking, especially the last-minute stress where everything must be finished at the same time (I like my food fresh and hot and NOT overdone).
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:48 AM   #7
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The reason I like slow cooker is that it takes the stress out of cooking, especially the last-minute stress where everything must be finished at the same time (I like my food fresh and hot and NOT overdone).
Yes, for me cooking is a way to relieve stress, and that means for me slowing things down. On the other hand, The Loved One likes that all-at-once thing. I daresay the first thing he'd list is his two woks, though he's fond of his KitchenAid food processor and mixer too. Either way, we like our fresh ingredients.
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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chef's knife, just as long as it's sharp (I've got two, one Santuko (with the dimples) and one regular old Henkel's)
microplane grater
boos block cutting board
immersion blender
gigantic le Creuset pot that weighs eight tons
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:51 AM   #9
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I sometimes look longingly at the mid-sized Le Creuset casseroles - a low one like TGS' would double (triple?) nicely as a sauteuse and a frying pan.
But the times I've tried to introduce cast iron, I just end up not using it. They are too heavy and un-wieldy in a small kitchen. I need to be able to handle them with one hand and have it easy to put in and out of cupboards (and my cupboards are packed like chinese puzzles).
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:56 AM   #10
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^Yeah, good luck with this thing:



I'd probably break my wrist trying to one hand it.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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My cast iron skillet for most things including biscuits and cornbread.
Keurig Coffeemaker
Zyliss soft skin peeler
http://www.amazon.com/Zyliss-30600-S.../dp/B0018IAH8I
rapid boil electric kettle
stick blender
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Old 07-29-2011, 01:51 PM   #12
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food, buying it, preparing it, cooking it. What a great pleasure. I am the one in charge of it: wifes can decently open a bag of chips, most of the times. Daughter (4) just learned to use the knife, a small, light paring knife.

My kitchen is equipped with a modern and intelligent MW (useful for heating, defrosting, and perfect steaming). A big 2 doors fridge with ice generator and cold water dispenser: both very useful, especially the ice. Yesterday I steamed fresh string beans and plunged them in the sink filled up with ice cubes, so they remained bright green.Almost limp salad leafs will return to quasi crispness. Of course, I put ice in my Campari. And a nice modern electric oven. I would like a steam oven but I am not a good enough cook for that. Yet. Apparently is what is required for baking breads with a nice crust and not only.

These are the things that I use more frequently. But the thread is about favorite gadgets. So there they are.
In first place is the knife. Without a good chef knife I would feel ... at a loss. Mine belonged to my mother and it has become an extension of my hand. German steel and wood handle, very easy to keep sharp. I gave a concupiscent look at Ea's Global. I actually practiced with one while visiting a friend. Wonderful knife. But my mother's ...
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Then comes the Braun stick blender. Easy to handle. I can detach the lower part if I have to add ingredients and it stays. Powerful and easy to wash. Since I have this one I haven't used the robot.
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In two weeks we will go in Holyday in a well equipped house, but I will bring me those two.
Then the gadget that helps me a lot, both in realizing nice recipes and in saving my time and attention is the Actifry. I bought it for making French fries without oil (just one spoon) and use it for stir roasting everything, from mushrooms to chicken legs.
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What would an Italian do without Parmesan? This is what I use almost every day to grate it. I buy it in big wedges, separate the core that is for eating at the table, and the crust with a couple inches of cheese. Those I grate, but before I cut them to size and keep them in the freezer. My cooking guru disapproves
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Last but not least my best friend. The slicing thing, for cold cuts, bacon and what else. I use it a couple of times every week, maybe more. Got it with points of my Supermarket. Faithfulness pay

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The last two are resident in an external room. I have plenty of space in the kitchen, but there are other appliances that I am not mentioning.

Last edited by beppe; 07-29-2011 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ea View Post
I sometimes look longingly at the mid-sized Le Creuset casseroles - a low one like TGS' would double (triple?) nicely as a sauteuse and a frying pan.
But the times I've tried to introduce cast iron, I just end up not using it. They are too heavy and un-wieldy in a small kitchen. I need to be able to handle them with one hand and have it easy to put in and out of cupboards (and my cupboards are packed like chinese puzzles).
My casserole "lives" in the oven - any time I am using the oven I am likely to be using the casserole, either in it or on the stove. These shallower ones are nothing like as heavy as the old orange ones used to be. Wouldn't want to give the impression that you can flip pancakes in them, but the weight is not that bad.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
^Yeah, good luck with this thing:



I'd probably break my wrist trying to one hand it.
Hey, that's my pot, colour and all (6.8 litre, I think). I love that pot, especially for making goulash and (mum's) Bolognese (with my own variations). But I don't need to one-hand it. I would never be buying one of their woks, however. Way too heavy for the one-handing required.

Hey, beppe, your stick-mixer is the one I've been suggested (instructed) by The Loved One to buy for his upcoming birthday.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:49 PM   #15
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The only real kitchen gadget I have is the Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven. It does a great job with frozen pizza.





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