Jump to content
BizBuzz

Indispensable Kitchen Gadgets

Recommended Posts

On 3/29/2018 at 9:13 AM, DeLurker said:

My NutriBullet, I think the Magic Bullet v2.0, just died and it was all my own fault.  I hadn't tightened the cup on all the way and when I went to take it off, my salad dressing poured out all over the machine, counter top, etc...  I didn't think it would be that useful when I got it as a gift, but it was employed 3-4x/week for probably 4 - 5 years.  I'll be getting another one soon.

I got a replacement for my bass-o-matic yesterday.  I can't believe I only killed the last one at the end of March because it feels like sooooo much longer. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've had another spice grinder die on me. I've been trying different models but they all die in less than a year. I'm always careful not to run them longer than the manual says to, but apparently they're all just pieces of shit. This one lasted 7 months.

I'm getting tired of this situation. I use a lot of spices and I like them freshly ground, not powdered a year ago and waiting around in a jar getting stale.

RIP: Epica, Cuisinart, and Krups electric coffee and spice grinders.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think so. I think it would be too exhausting, plus I do tend to grind a fair amount of stuff and I want it to just happen quickly the way an electric model will do.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

You must use those grinders a whole lot!

Ahhh...well me and my ancient bottles of purchased spices will wander off now.  I've actually taken to writing the month & year I opened something on my spices since a lot of them I don't use that often. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, possibilities said:

I've had another spice grinder die on me. I've been trying different models but they all die in less than a year. I'm always careful not to run them longer than the manual says to, but apparently they're all just pieces of shit. This one lasted 7 months.

I'm getting tired of this situation. I use a lot of spices and I like them freshly ground, not powdered a year ago and waiting around in a jar getting stale.

RIP: Epica, Cuisinart, and Krups electric coffee and spice grinders.

My husband is a coffee drinker. He grinds whole beans every morning. He bought this Cuisinart model over 4 years ago and it's still going strong.

5af853ef0500c_coffeegrinder.jpg.08d0187c9aa97db8972edcc77aee33e3.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
16 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

husband is a coffee drinker. He grinds whole beans every morning. He bought this Cuisinart model over 4 years ago and it's still going strong.

That is our coffee grinder but I don't know that it would be great for spices because of cleaning it between different spices. 

I will once again recommend the Magic Bullet which I use nearly everyday and it's been going for years and is crazy easy to clean.

Share this post


Link to post

My first NutriBullet came with two different blades - the extractor blade and a flat milling blade.

I never used the flat milling blade so gave it to my nephew who had used his so much he needed a replacement.

 

My replacement one that I just bought only came with the extractor blade (on the left).

 

image.png

Share this post


Link to post

I do use it a lot. Sometimes every day, sometimes a few times a week. Sometimes I will powder up a quart each of several different herbs, then grind a cup each of a few different seeds. Some are for cooking, some for teas, some for medicines (no one can tell me raspberry leaf tea doesn't stop menstrual cramps-- I don't even get menstrual cramps, but skeptical guests who have them always thank me). I probably should get a commercial grade machine, but they cost a lot and I haven't been able to find any reviews I trust. I don't want to invest and find out they're not really any better than the regular home models. I would really like something that can do all that without overheating or needing to be used only a few seconds at a time with a prolonged rest period between.

Thanks for all the recs. I am going to look at all of them. I really like a glass or steel cup, rather than plastic, and one that detaches so it's easier to clean, but other than that, I just want it to work.

Also, the warranty is mostly a joke on these things. They always want  you to mail the machine to them at your own expense. So by the time you get done paying postage, you almost might as well just buy a new one. It's super annoying.

I don't kill all appliances. I've been using the same blender for 30 years and for a lot of that time, I used it at least once a day.

DeLurker, no shade implied! I have some jars of stuff hanging around a long time, too, with the year of purchase covered over with magic marker so I don't have to think about how old it is. I'm irregularly fussy, and not judgmental. Life is probably easier if you don't care about half the things that occupy my thoughts. I'm sure your meals are tasty and your family well-nourished without my level of kitchen mania.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, possibilities said:

DeLurker, no shade implied!

Oh no, I did not thing you were.  Just fessin' up to my own jars that may one day have value on Antique Road Show! 

For ones I don't use often now I pick up at Fresh Market - they have industrial sized containers of different spices and blends that you scoop into little bags yourself so you are just buying whatever amount you need.  I found that works great for me on spices I normally don't have on hand and am hesitant to go pay several bucks for something I may end up using only once.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/12/2018 at 7:40 PM, possibilities said:

I've had another spice grinder die on me. I've been trying different models but they all die in less than a year. I'm always careful not to run them longer than the manual says to, but apparently they're all just pieces of shit. This one lasted 7 months.

I'm getting tired of this situation. I use a lot of spices and I like them freshly ground, not powdered a year ago and waiting around in a jar getting stale.

RIP: Epica, Cuisinart, and Krups electric coffee and spice grinders.


Okay, so I checked the spice grinder we use at work (a restaurant) and it's Waring Professional model. If you're willing to pay extra, maybe consider getting something commercial grade?

ETA: https://www.waringcommercialproducts.com/c/b55hp/grinders

https://www.waringcommercialproducts.com/p/173j1/commercial-heavy-duty-electric-spice-grinder

Edited by Trini
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
19 hours ago, possibilities said:

I probably should get a commercial grade machine, but they cost a lot and I haven't been able to find any reviews I trust. I don't want to invest and find out they're not really any better than the regular home models. I would really like something that can do all that without overheating or needing to be used only a few seconds at a time with a prolonged rest period between.

Sorry, I didn't read your post carefully. If price is an issue, maybe you can try to find a secondhand commercial model?

The one at my work has been there at least as long as I have (nearly 2 years), and I've never heard of it overheating. However, we mainly do small batches and it grinds fairly quickly so it's not running very long at a time. It's used almost daily, though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm putting this here instead of the Instant Pot topic, since there are other brands. Mom is thinking about buying an electric pressure cooker, and is wondering if they are all they are advertised to be.

Background -- my aunt gave her a stovetop PC decades ago; it sits in the back of the cabinet, never been used. We have 2 slow cookers, and in the winter we do use both at once (chili in one, stew in the other for example). Mom said she has no plans to make her own yogurt. She saw an Elite Platinum Multi-Use PC (6-quart) in the upcoming Tuesday Morning sale for around $50 (regularly sells for about $75 from what I can tell), and is trying to decide if that would be better than spending $100 on another brand, most likely IP.

Thanks for any feedback!

Share this post


Link to post

Crap.  I've been resisting the urge to buy an Instant Pot, but I was looking up recipes today and came across Ropa Vieja (Cuban shredded beef).  And you don't need a pressure cooker to make it, but it certainly helps.  Crap crap crap.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, DeLurker said:

Crap.  I've been resisting the urge to buy an Instant Pot, but I was looking up recipes today and came across Ropa Vieja (Cuban shredded beef).  And you don't need a pressure cooker to make it, but it certainly helps.  Crap crap crap.

Can you link the recipe for me?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, DeLurker said:

Crap.  I've been resisting the urge to buy an Instant Pot, but I was looking up recipes today and came across Ropa Vieja (Cuban shredded beef).  And you don't need a pressure cooker to make it, but it certainly helps.  Crap crap crap.

If you can hold out until early July they typically go on sale on Amazon prime day and triggers other sales.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

Can you link the recipe for me?

This is the one I was looking at:  Ropa Vieja

The site has multiple ones though if you care to peruse.

 

2 hours ago, biakbiak said:

If you can hold out until early July they typically go on sale on Amazon prime day and triggers other sales.

Thanks for the tip!  I just found a restaurant fairly near me where  should be able to get my Cuban fix without schlepping down into Houston.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Someone bought me a plastic "lettuce knife". It looks sort of like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Zyliss-31612-ZYLISS-Lettuce-Knife/

I... appreciate the thought? But, even though I love kitchen gear, this just strikes me as silly.

Does anyone have one? Can you sell me on why it's a great idea?

She told me it keeps lettuce from turning brown after cutting. I confess I have never had this happen, but apparently it's a thing that happens?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
26 minutes ago, possibilities said:

Someone bought me a plastic "lettuce knife". It looks sort of like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Zyliss-31612-ZYLISS-Lettuce-Knife/

I... appreciate the thought? But, even though I love kitchen gear, this just strikes me as silly.

Does anyone have one? Can you sell me on why it's a great idea?

She told me it keeps lettuce from turning brown after cutting. I confess I have never had this happen, but apparently it's a thing that happens?

Yeah, the theory is that metal reacts with the lettuce and it turns brown but if you use a plastic knife that doesn't happen. I also was gifted one and while I think it's mainly silly (I generally don't even cut lettuce at all? I tear it.) it does work. It's not something I would go out of my way to buy, especially because I also don't tend to make salads way ahead of time, they're usually the last thing made right before serving so the whole turning brown thing has never been an issue for a variety of reasons, but the knife does indeed cut lettuce and so I can't be too mad at it.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I use a regular knife, and I've never had lettuce turn brown.  Now, yes, I generally make salads right before I eat them.  But I've made salads in the morning for a dinner party that evening, and, when my mom was sick recently, I'd even cut up several salads worth of greens to cover the days in between my visits.  No browning.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I wasted years of my life tearing lettuce because I believed the nonsense that metal knives turn lettuce brown.  You can Google it--there's zero evidence that it's true.  The truth is probably that it's just moisture + time + enzymes in the lettuce trying to heal the cut edges.  If there was any truth in it at all, it likely goes back to those carbon steel (not stainless steel) knives that people had, with the rust on the knife transferring to the lettuce.  I think you do more damage to the cells in the lettuce leaves by hacking at them with a plastic knife than by slicing them cleanly with a sharp chef's knife.  And this is coming from a person who adores gadgets, but even I wouldn't bother with a lettuce knife.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm generally seen as pretty capable in the kitchen, but I am seemingly incapable of using a tin (can) opener.  Does anyone have a recommendation of how to do it or the best one out there (manual)?  I end up with a strained thumb, jagged edges, a struggle folding back the lid because I can't get the whole thing off, and sometimes blood.

Edited by Brookside · Reason: because "unable of" doesn't mean "incapable of"

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Brookside said:

I'm generally seen as pretty capable in the kitchen, but I am seemingly unable of using a tin (can) opener.  Does anyone have a recommendation of how to do it or the best one out there (manual)?  I end up with a strained thumb, jagged edges, a struggle folding back the lid because I can't get the whole thing off, and sometimes blood.

I had the same issues with manual tin can openers. The only ones I use and like are this kind from Starfrit. It holds and removes the lid completely including the side at the top of the lid. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

I'm very happy with my Oxo Good Grips.WIN_20180615_17_01_12_Pro.thumb.jpg.b049b0b54d754eafc2090dc08be2e7fb.jpg

This is one of the ones I've tried.  Sadly.  I may have to accept defeat.  Since I learned about Pomi (in bricks) for tomatoes, and the fact that buying fresh tuna can be as cost effective as canned tuna that doesn't taste like cat food, perhaps it's all good.  (Struggled yesterday because I needed to make a massive tuna salad for a family event.  Next time I'll sign up for the Caesar.)

Share this post


Link to post

I've had a few Kuhn Rikon can openers over the past 10 years that have worked well. The one I have now is listed for $19 on Amazon. I got it last year for $7 from Amazon Warehouse as "used" but it looked brand new. So I'm not sure if it was a return or something else. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I have this one, which I really love.  I enjoy standing there and watching the device circle the can.  I may need a hobby.  I bought mine online, but I see that it's sold on Walmart's site, so it might be sold in the store.  The reviews there are so-so, but I've never had a minute's trouble with mine.  And I don't think I've needed to change the batteries once in like five years.

Edited by Mondrianyone · Reason: to clarify my otherwise odd meaning
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Try the Swing Away opener.  It's a crank, so it's pretty dummy proof.

If you do get a lid jammed, don't use your fingers.  Use a butter knife as a lever to pry the lid open far enough to get product out.  

Share this post


Link to post

I like the Swing Away, also.

But if it's really that hard for you, why not just get an electric? I have resisted, but when I had carpel tunnel syndrome I really wish I'd done it, because I absolutely couldn't open one with a manual.

Share this post


Link to post

My parents must have a magical refrigerator because produce lasts for!ever! in it. I've never had great luck with produce, not when I lived close by (same climate), not when I moved across the country.

I picked up a Rubbermaid FreshWorks container at the grocery store as an impulse buy and HOLY CRAP do they work! Raspberries previously  moldy within a day are now lasting a few days (I eat them pretty fast so I don't know how long they would really last). Same with strawberries. I picked up a set at Bath and Body Works and will be getting a few one-off of different sizes.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

http://www.rubbermaid.com/en-US/fresh-works

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
On 4/4/2018 at 12:44 PM, JTMacc99 said:

Fantastic. I've got the ratio of coffee to water down to what I need for two full mugs in the morning. I'll be using more coffee going forward than I had been using, but not by much. Also of interest, the way the ground coffee is sold by the actual Dunkin Donuts (3 pounds for $19.99 by the way) is not too fine for a French Press. There is a little bit of settling at the bottom of a cup, but not bad at all. This is good news because it keeps me from having to go buy a burr grinder. I may still do so, as fresh ground is even better, but for now when I want to do that I can use my regular coffee mill and just be careful about how long I grind it. 

I just saw this delightful version of the French Press and was almost tempted to order one.

image.png.ff4ba1f2bfc5adfca577e3ec628cd044.png

It is buy the same company that makes my pour over, which I love (truly, madly, deeply).  Dealing with the grounds was probably the only negative I had with a FP and that was just the nuisance factor.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

This isn't a gadget either, but  I find my West Bend slow cooker indispensable because it really does let you sear meat, caramelize, and develop a fond.

I have an Instapot and a Crockpot, but I probably use my West Bend more.

Share this post


Link to post

A question actually - does anyone have any input on electric roaster ovens?  I've toyed with the idea of buying one for larger roasts since getting then in/out of the oven can sometimes be a bit dicey for me.  I'm also wondering if it might be more versatile for me in the long run since a fair amount of the year here is hot and I am not inclined to use my oven, but then I miss out on things like oven roasted chicken.

As the extended family grows, I am at the point where I need to purchase a larger roasting pan which will only be used really once or twice a year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 11/18/2018 at 2:31 PM, DeLurker said:

A question actually - does anyone have any input on electric roaster ovens?  I've toyed with the idea of buying one for larger roasts since getting then in/out of the oven can sometimes be a bit dicey for me.  I'm also wondering if it might be more versatile for me in the long run since a fair amount of the year here is hot and I am not inclined to use my oven, but then I miss out on things like oven roasted chicken.

As the extended family grows, I am at the point where I need to purchase a larger roasting pan which will only be used really once or twice a year.

I don't have anything to add in terms of brand preference, etc, but we always use a roaster at Thanksgiving in order to leave the oven open to other things like stuffing, roasted vegetables, etc, or a second turkey (if needed)!  I don't think they're that expensive, and they make more sense than double ovens!  

If you can find one with a hinged lid, I would go with that one, but only if the spot you would put it in allows for clearance for the hinged lid.  Otherwise, the regular lid is fine!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
33 minutes ago, DeLurker said:

@larapu2000 - Thank you - I'll keep the hinged top in mind!

How does it do on browning turkey skin?  The reviews I've read are kind of all over the place on this aspect.

Yeah.  No.  It's no bueno on crispy skin.  It holds the moisture in, where an oven evaporates it.  It does hams, turkey breasts (like the foil wrapped Sara Lee one), etc, really nicely because they don't need that exaggerated browning.

You might find it more handy cooking your sides in it if you are a crispy skin fanatic.  Most roasters double as a warmer, too, so it's handy to use it to keep your turkey or sides nice and warm once they're ready for serving.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've had one on my wish list for a while now, but the flabby-skin thing has kept me from going ahead with it.  The one I'm looking at has a sear function, so I'm wondering if you could roast, then sear to get the skin crisped up?  Or maybe finish up the last part of the cooking process with the lid off?  I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.

Share this post


Link to post

@DeLurker do you have a toaster oven? A roaster oven is less expensive and has a larger capacity, but a decent toaster oven will allow you to get things crispy. I've had toaster ovens since I first went to college 25 years ago. I've upgraded when the old ones died (I'm actually in my third one). I currently own a Breville Smart Oven and it is probably my most useful piece of kitchen equipment. I use it multiple times a week. I live in Texas and I'm also a big baker. I've made whole roasted chickens (about 5 lbs) in there. I've made bread in it. I've made scratch pizza in it. I've made casseroles in it. It's amazing.The three things that I've had to purchase at least for my needs is a secondary rack, a pizza stone (which I keep in there permanently as a heat sink; it doesn't lose a lot of heat, but it works for my purposes), and a sheet pan and casserole dish that fit it (I want to say it fits an 8 x 10).

If you really want a moist chicken, but with crispy skin, you could roast the chicken separately from its skin and make a chicken skin crackling to top the final dish.

I'll also add that a lot of people miss opportunities to use equipment like slow cookers, rice cookers, toaster ovens, and microwaves for alternative uses. You need to roast nuts for a dish? If you don't have a toaster oven and your oven is filled with dishes for the main meal, try the microwave.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/toast-nuts-in-the-microwave.html

Maybe you are cooking mac and cheese in a slow cooker, but you want it to have a crispy breadcrumb topping. You can toast that separately in the toaster oven or in a pan on the stove. You want to keep your side dishes warm, but you don't have any more space in the oven, turn your slow cooker into a chafing dish by putting hot water into your crock, turning the slow cooker to low or warm, placing your already cooked side dish in its own dish into the crock with water, and covering it with foil to keep warm until you are ready to eat.

Sometimes innovation is the key. I started making my own "deli style" cold cuts a couple of years ago. My actual smoker was broken, but I made a smaller oven smoker from foil pans. Once done, I let the meat sit. When cooled, I wrapped it in foil and stuck it in the freezer for a little while and used my mandolin to get those thin slices.

Edited by HunterHunted
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I bought the Breville Smart Oven Air to replace a smaller Breville counter top oven that served me well for many years. I use it several times a week. My Jenn-Air range has a huge oven which is a waste of propane gas to heat, especially if I'm making 2 baked potatoes. I absolutely love it.

Breville Smart Oven Air

I got it at Bed, Bath & Beyond, so 20% off.

ETA: I see in the specs it says it can fit a 14 lb. turkey.

Edited by chessiegal
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for all the input - it gives me more info to evaluate and to think about before I make a purchase of anything.

@HunterHunted - I do have a toaster oven, but it is a pretty modest sized affair.  My kitchen is really small and counter-top real estate is at a premium so I only can commit to a counter-top appliance if it is going to be a real workhorse.

Share this post


Link to post

I got an air fryer for Christmas and can’t decide if I want to keep it, or rather buy it again because my dad decided he wanted one and so is taking mine and then  will buy me one on Amazon so we don’t have to ship this one back to California, does anyone have one? Thoughts? Good, bad, indifferent?

Edited by biakbiak

Share this post


Link to post

I like mine a lot, granted I mostly use it to make soups!  But I love soups, and to get a good soup in 25 minutes? is heaven on a weekday.  I have also done short ribs, which turned out great, too.   I know most people love how hard boiled eggs come out, but I haven't even tried that yet.  I love that I can sautee right in it, and then switch to pressure cook, then when done switch to simmer.  (You can simmer at any time, of course).  Mine also doubles as a slow cooker, haven't tested that out yet.

Share this post


Link to post
56 minutes ago, possibilities said:

Lodge is THE BEST.

It is a beautiful piece of cookware. Perfectly seasoned right out of the box. I made stir fried cauliflower rice, including the part where you push the "rice" up the side and cook scrambled eggs in the middle for 30 seconds.  Nothing stuck to the sides, everything was hot and cooked quickly. 

1 hour ago, DeLurker said:

I didn't know Lodge made woks!

I spent a couple minutes browsing around the site when I got that link. They make a bunch of things that aren't just frying pans. The pizza pan (listed as a baking pan) caught my eye. I can see how that would be fantastic.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×