Kitchen Gadgets

Discussion in 'Food & Drinks' started by Beth Gallagher, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Let's talk about kitchen gadgets, shall we? Over the years I have amassed a ridiculous amount of "seemed like a good idea at the time" kitchen items and I need to start sorting them out. What are your favorite and most-used gadgets?

    Also checking on @John Brunner's purchase of a Breville oven, which appears to have turned into a saga. :D
     
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  2. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    First off, I thought of starting a similar thread because I love my Oxo mandoline so much and wondered if anyone else uses one.

    oxo mandoline.jpg

    I make salad ingredients for the entire week, and use this to thinly slice carrots & radishes, and to shred radicchio. I also use it pretty often to slice potatoes for pan fried potatoes. I've had it for years. When the knife-edge blade got nicks and was dull, I went on Oxo's website searching for a replacement. When I could not find one for this model, I called Oxo Customer Service and they sent me the new & improved design one for free!!

    Regarding that Breville oven, the backstory for the uninitiated is that it arrived yesterday, damaged in transit. It took a while to wend through Amazon's system working directly with the vendor to get it sorted out so I could get a replacement and not just a refund (these have become somewhat constrained in supply.) Through the magic of the internet, credit cards and modern transportation, I dropped the damaged unit off at The UPS Store this morning to be sent back, and the replacement is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow! It's Breville's newest high-end model: convection oven/air fryer/deyhydrator. The dehydrator will hold a temp of 82°. I had to modify an appliance stand I built a few years ago (the Breville is larger than my $25 Black & Decker toaster oven.) I actually sawed off the top tier of it to give the Breville sufficient head space. I'm drawing up plans to build a new stand (needed to do so anyway for other reasons.)

    I've got all sorts of stuff I cook with, but the only other real "gadget" I've got is a pizza docker. I bought it when I made crackers for a church function, but have always wanted one because I make homemade pizzas and calzones.

    I guess the only other thing that's a little off-beat is a temperature probe clip I finally purchased so I can use my digital thermometer/timer to monitor the temps of liquids and frying oil. I use it a lot when heating water to make breads. These are VERY HANDY to have. They clip onto the side of a pot or frying pan, and you can set the depth of the probe.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, I also have a remote temperature monitor for my grill & smoker. It has 2 probes: one for the temperature of the smoker/grill, and one for the food, each with their own hi/lo alarms (so you know the smoker is cooling off, or the food is done.) Obviously, you can just use one probe. I use this when roasting in my oven so I can carry the receiver around with me and see how things are progressing.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
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  3. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Keep me posted on the Breville; I hope you have better luck with the replacement.

    I have that exact OXO mandoline and I can attest that it is a very dangerous tool if you decide to forego the safety guard. :D :whistle:

    I have never used a thermometer for grease when frying; I just have that "intuition" when I see the shimmer. (Also will toss a pinch of flour in the pan and see if it sizzles.)
     
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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Funny you should mention that about the mandoline. Not too long ago I was slicing radishes and thought "I really should be using the guard" when there was just about 2 slice's worth left. I did not hurt myself too badly, and I won't do that again.

    I always use a thermometer when frying so I can see when the oil is back up to temp after throwing in the food...not that I deep fry that much to begin with.

    I guess I forgot to add my Insta Read thermometer to my list. The best thing about those is you can plunge it beyond the halfway depth of the meat and then retract it slowly, dragging it back through the center to check for cold/underdone spots. I always seem to leave a narrow raw center in boneless chicken breasts, and never seem to find that chilly section with a regular thermometer.
     
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  5. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I seldom use my mandoline (why does spell-check keep underlining that when I add the "e"???) since I have fair knife skills and good quality knives. It is handy when I need very thin and uniform slices, though.

    My favorite thermometer is my Thermopen instant-read. I use it a lot, especially for things like meatloaf that I am notorious for "should have left it a few more minutes."

    A few years ago I belonged to the America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated forum and talk about food/gadget snobs. SHEESH. Anyway, I learned a lot and bought a ton of kitchen things that were "must haves" at the time. I was also a recipe tester for Cook's Illustrated which was kind of fun but I had to buy my own ingredients so I got tired of cooking stuff that I didn't really want to cook. :D That forum has since disbanded since the participants dared to criticize His Majesty Christopher Kimball.

    I'm embarrassed to admit that at one time I owned three Kitchenaid stand mixers and ALL of the attachments...argh. (I have since given one to my sister and one to my daughter.) I also bought a Philips pasta maker that now lives at my son's house. I'm such a sucker for kitchen stuff. Ack.
     
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  6. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I'm the same as you. I love to cook so will always buy another gadget. I've thought of getting a larger stand mixer because the bowl on the one I have is sometimes too small...and it's just me that I cook for!!! I've yet to get a pasta maker, although it's still on my list as a "one day I've gotta try it" thing.

    Before the days of the internet, I would go to the bookstore looking for certain recipes. I recall I wanted to make Szechuan Green Beans. I walked out with 3 cookbooks because each one had its own version of that dish.

    I'll tell you a story that kind of turned me off to America's Test Kitchen. I was watching an episode and they "discovered a secret" to making the perfect biscuit. I forget if it was an ingredient or a technique. I could not type fast enough to capture the recipe so went to their website. Of course, it was for paying members only (speaking of Kimball.) So I searched the web, and I found a photo someone took of that exact recipe with that exact same "secret" printed on the side of a 1950s box of baking powder!!!

    I felt betrayed.

    edit to add: You wanna see snobs, just go to a pizza making forum. Those guys and their damned "air pockets."
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    The big problem with kitchen gadgets, I think, is counter space. We have things that we bought because they seemed like they might be useful. For the most part, it's true that they could be useful but often not so useful that we're going to spend time searching for it. I have a nice juicer, and that's something that I'd use from time to time if I knew where it was, but it was taking up too much kitchen counter real estate apparently, so my wife put it away, which is a euphemism for making it disappear forever. Although I know we have a toaster somewhere, if I want to toast bread I generally do it in the broiler because I have no idea where the toaster is. It's not like my wife knows where this stuff is either, because I have asked from time to time, and she doesn't remember where she put any of it either.
     
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  8. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    That used to be my biggest gripe about America's Test Kitchen and all their various websites, you had to PAY for everything. Of course I have an entire library of all their cookbooks, gathering dust. Once you made the mistake of ordering a book from them, you'd overlook the minuscule print that indicates you are now signed up for lifetime "auto-delivery" of cookbooks. :rolleyes: Trying to get out of that is like trying to break a contract with the mafia.

    That forum was so snotty, if any hapless individual showed up and dared to mention "cream of mushroom" they were doomed. :D:D Frankly, discussions of the merits of milling flour got a bit tedious after a while. And don't get them started on ... coffee. OMG. (FWIW, I'm not adverse to the occasional can of Cream of Whatever, lol.)
     
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  9. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Sounds familiar. I even have a spare floor-to-ceiling cabinet built in the garage to hold kitchen overflow. I could haul that entire cabinet to Goodwill and never miss any of it.
     
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  10. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I've often said that I could convert every room in my house to kitchen storage and sleep in a tent out in the yard, and it still wouldn't be enough space for all the stuff I want.

    That's why I was glad to shell out the bucks for that Breville. I wanted an air fryer, and had toyed with the getting an Excalibur dehydrator, but I just don't have the room. And as we all know, you get this bulky stuff and only use it once or twice a year.

    I have canning jars and a cheap canner in the garage. That's all the kitchen stuff I'm gonna put out there.

    Man, life was so much simpler when I was house poor. I got along fine. Better than I do now. Damned self-abuse of a consumer society!!!
     
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  11. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    We, uh, my wife has stuff.
    I mean, I like stuff and sometimes use some of the stuff when the stuff is sitting directly in front of me and not (like Ken) hidden in some nook or cranny gathering cobwebs. But, mostly it’s my wife’s stuff and I generally have a habit of staying away from it because all that stuff is hers. She likes her stuff.

    When I worked in the Food and Beverage industry, I had stuff too but commercial grade stuff and enjoyed using big and bigger stuff in the kitchens like a Buffalo Chopper, 30 qt mixers and a dishwasher that only takes 2 1/2 minutes to completely wash the dishes.
    Ya know, the kind of stuff that whirs, bangs, mixes, cuts, dices, mashes, pique’s, tenderizes and spins louder than little kitchen stuff plus they have a lot of bigger knobs, switches and handles and other stuff to play with.

    Alas, the only stuff I can now call mine is sitting out in the yard. My smoker. A lonely cabinet with a cord and a.......DIGITAL Temp control with lots of neat buttons and stuff on it and a place to put the wood chips into and 3..not 2 shelves to do all my smoking and stuff with!!
     
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  12. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Well, I just fell for another one. You have to admit, this looks pretty cool. :D:D I can make a shake or ice cream out of chocolate milk in a flash. :rolleyes:

     
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  13. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    QVC loves them some Beth. Yes they do. Yes they DO!!!

    I can see a couple of long term problems with those:

    1-They will stain
    2-They will pick up odors you cannot get rid of

    I bought a couple of blender bottles at Goodwill. They were unused. After a few batches of salad dressing, I could not get the smell out. No amount of bleach, no amount of baking soda could remediate it. The only thing that took the edge off was about 10 days of sitting outside in direct sunlight. Such a disappointment.
     
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  14. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I have that problem with the gaskets for my Instant Pot and Breville pressure cooker. The cooking smells (garlic, etc.) get permeated into that material and NOTHING will remove it.

    I don't really think that will be a problem with that slushie maker; I will be using it with milk or soda so I don't expect it to stain or hold odors. I guess I'll find out!!

    I'm not much of a QVC viewer though I will scan to see what's on. I did buy some wooden "spurtles" from there that are my favorite wooden utensils.

    spurtle.jpg
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I'm laughing at "spurtles!" That's just the thing to make me put down my beer at 3AM and pick up the phone!!!

    I tell ya, the best way to get those odors out is to let the stuff sit in the sun for a week or so. I repurpose spice containers for my own blends, and the worst are the ones that have oils in them (cinnamon, cloves.) It took several iterations of: soak with Dawn/run through dishwasher/sit in sun for days, but they eventually got odor-free.

    Those slushie things look tempting, but I don't need an item that will get me to consume more calories.
     
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