I will admit to being a kitchen gadget-a-holic (which has gotten worse since my new apartment no longer has the space issues of my old condo) so when CSN Stores, who kindly sponsored a giveaway on my blog back in April, l contacted me with the opportunity to review a product from one of their over 250+ specialized online stores I was thrilled. Whether you’re looking for a vanity or a stovetop smoker, they seem to carry just about anything and everything. Sure, I need another kitchen tool like I need a hole in my head, but what cook doesn’t love discovering a new toy to cook with. (I know I have been coveting Erin’s Zoku Quick Pop Maker although I can just imagine that if it were to grace my kitchen it would be greeted with a sarcastic “What do you need that for?” from my mother.) My CSN product review is soon to come (Thank you CSN Stores!), but in the meantime I wanted to share with you a few of my current favorite kitchen toys. Given that Father’s Day, college graduations, and wedding season are all upon us it seemed like a great time to share should you need some suggestions of what to get a favorite foodie in your life.
My Dutch Oven
Of all my cookware and bakeware, my dutch oven is the most versatile. I’ve acquired a few different pots and pans over the years and this is the one I often reach for most. I have a 7 1/4 quart Dutch Oven that I find to be the perfect size for simmering soup, braising meats, deep frying, and everyday sautéing. Mine is Le Creuset which although pricy I have found to be well worth the money. That’s because it retains heat incredibly well (perfect for when you’re entertaining and need food to be warm for awhile) and also washes up like a dream. The fact that it has a stylishly simple design doesn’t hurt either.
My Food Processor
To say that my food processor is the workhorse of my kitchen is an understatement. This gadget is almost always whirling, whether it’s making kneading pasta or bread dough, creaming a lovely dip or shredding lettuce. In fact, it gets used so much that the Cuisinart name has completely worn off. When I have the time I love to chop and knead by hand, but for busy days this helps me speed up my pace immensely.
My Meat Slicer
This lovely gadget came not from a high end kitchen store, but from my grandmother’s basement. She brought it back from Germany in the 1980’s and recently passed it along to me. It’s a great hand-crank Geka meat slicer. But don’t let that convince you that it’s usefulness is limited, I’ve been using it to slice everything from homemade bacon to green tomatoes to homemade bread with precision. I love that it allows me to adjust the thickness of what I am cutting so I can get paper thin slices of veggies or a generously thick slice of cheese. It’s as handy as my mandoline, but gives me a better control of thickness. I’d definitely keep a look out for it on eBay or vintage stores.
My Wine Pump with Stoppers
If you’re anything like me maybe you’re afraid to open a great bottle of wine because you’re afraid you won’t be able to finish it and it’ll go bad. Not so with a lovely wine pump and stoppers. The packaging of mine claims that it will allow wine to last up to 5 days and I’ve definitely found this to be true. Now whenever I’ve opened a bottle of wine the first thing I reach for is my stoppers. I’ve definitely noticed it keeps wine fresher longer and has stopped me from pouring extra down the drain. Now I definitely don’t feel as bad opening a bottle just to use a glass or two for a recipe because I know I can drink the rest later. (If you don’t have a wine stopper, however, I still recommend freezing any extra wine in ice trays. It’s great for using later in recipes or for dropping in a pitcher of sangria.)
What about you, what gadgets are your favorites these days?