I'm a gadget guy
-- whether it's a tool for my workshop, for my backpacking trips, or for the kitchen, I'm in. I like accessories that take a new look at a situation and save me some time, or effort, or -- sometimes -- just because they're cool. Not all of these clever tools are new ... but they're still clever.
Take, for instance, these Fusionbrands Fingertongs
($11). They're a generous 7" in length, made of heat-resistant (to 500 degrees F) silicone, and will fit either right or left hands. The silicone is FDA-approved for food use; it's non-stick and won't harden when exposed to high temps. They are perfect for grabbing items like asparagus, carrots, or any oddly shaped food. The holes at the bottoms of the tongs keep the hot liquids in the pan and minimize any transfer spatter. Nice.
I like this gadget because it saves a step in the mixing process, and makes a cooking experience much more enjoyable, especially if you've got a lot going on in the kitchen. With the Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender
($30), there's no need to transfer ingredients to a mixing bowl; use this clever device to intermix your raw ingredients right in the cooking pot or the included, graduated clear plastic beaker. Powerful 200 watt motor, one-touch
control, and the extended shaft on the blender is ideal for use in such things as a pitcher of iced tea, for example; not to mention mixing pancake or waffle mixes, salad dressings, powdered drink ingredients, or your favorite sauces. If it needs blending, and you don't want to make an extended operation out of it, this is the kitchen tool for the task.
No need to strain the juice you need for cooking and drinks, with this Joseph Joseph Citrus Catcher Reamer
($8); The soft rubber catcher under the reamer corrals the pips and pulp from a squeezed fruit or veggie, while the juice flows through the apertures into a container. The tool is dishwasher-safe and a breeze to use; the handle ergonomically shaped for easy grasping.
Do your kids like curly fries? If so, put them to work turning the crank on this Sur La Table Curly Fry Cutter
($30). With your help, they'll be able to fill the clear, 3-cup container in no time at all. The cutter features a non-skid base so the young ones don't have to chase it all over the table top, and it's a snap to clean up in the top rack of your dishwasher. The tool is not reserved for potatoes, of course; add carrots, celery, and the like, to the list of foods this gadget will cut through.
Combination tools are the best -- that's why I'm a fan of this Williams-Sonoma Pasta Rake and Measure
($13). You get a pair of cooking accessories for the price of one; the three openings in the handle measure amounts of uncooked pasta for one, two, or four servings, and you keep the rake close at hand to retrieve the cooked pasta from the pot and serve it. Cut from sustainably forested beechwood, the rake is dishwasher-safe and has a hanging loop.
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