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Useful kitchen gadgets

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We have a thread on useless kitchen gadgets and so I thought it might be an idea to start one on useful kitchen gadgets. The sort you didn't think you needed until you got it!
I will start the ball rolling with a strawberry huller.
Also an egg pricker - this pierces the shell of an egg before you pop it in the pan to boil to save it bursting.
post #2 of 18

Silly but useful

I've had a little 6" stainless steel pocket rule with a sliding pocket clip I use for small woodworking layouts; I realized it would be a good reduction guage.

When I'm reducing a liquuid, I wash off the rule, set the end on the bottom of the pot, and slide the clip down so it touches the surface of the liquid. This nails the original depth of the liquid, and I can reinsert it as the liquid falls and not just judge the reduction, but measure it exactly. It helps to be using a straight-sided pot, of course. :rolleyes:

This probably doesn't rank with Leonard Lee's discovery of the kitchen utility of the Microplane wood rasp, but I gotta make do with what I can rustle up.

Mike
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post #3 of 18
my el cheapo from the $2 shop rubber non skid mats that i put under my chopping board. they are the best thing for keeping the board fixed and safe and i can just slap them through the washing machine , or the dishwasher

my melon ballers in different sizes, are the bomb

my off set palette knife with a long blade and a good handle

my beautiful free standing mixer

my hands
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Another one which saves a lot of time grating is a lemon zester. I also have a pair of kitchen / salad /serving tongs I have had since 1965! They have been in constant use ever since.
post #5 of 18
my favorite would have to be the pizza wheel cutter thing.

its liek a knife on wheels. I find alot of uses for it especially quesdillas which i tend to make alot of for the wife.
post #6 of 18
I guess what they say is true: "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I never even heard of these items, and in more than six decades have never had a need for either. However, I never cared much for gadgets - a bottle opener, a garlic press, a microplane grater, and a can opener are about all I have. Maybe this thread will introduce me to something I gotta have.

shel
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
No, what you never have you never miss!
post #8 of 18

Treasured gadgets

I used my egg piercer so frequently that I wore it out. It was a cheap plastic thing, but with a magnet on the back, so I kept it stuck to the inside of the range hood. When it broke, I found a nice stainless steel replacement, but no magnet. So I epoxied a magnet to it. Now I'm back in business.

Orange peeler. It really saves your manicure. Basically just a stick of plastic with a sharp piece at one end for scoring the orange skin, and flat and flexible at the other end for getting under the peel and pulling it off the orange. i've had several over the years. The best ever was from Tupperware, but I like the Pampered Chef one also.

The egg slicer gets a lot of use.

And yes, the pizza wheel is for more than just pizza. I use it for cutting grilled cheese sandwiches and cutting dough strips for lattice crust. Use a little cooking oil or spray, and it just glides through whatever without anything sticking to it.

I do like 'multi-taskers', but I'm not a slave to the concept. Some things are only good for one purpose. Other things simply aren't good for anything at all. :)
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post #9 of 18
Favorites of mine are my bagel cutter (looks like a doughnut cutter). I make bagels every week so the cutter makes it easier to cut the dough before boiling.

I couldn't live without my Silpat baking mats. I bake just about everything on them and love how nothing sticks, nothing burns and everything cooks evenly.

Also my silicone pastry brush is a life saver. I keep a container of olive oil by my stove with the pastry brush and love it. Before I used the cheap pastry brushes with the hairs and the little hairs would get into my cooking- yucky.

Emily
post #10 of 18
>Also an egg pricker - this pierces the shell of an egg before you pop it in the pan to boil to save it bursting. <

My first reaction to this was, "you're kidding, right?" But I see Amazingrace also uses one.

Whatever for? I've never heard of, let alone experienced, an egg bursting by being boiled. And certainly have never seen this gadget.

Unlike Shel, I'm a gadget freak. But for me a gadget has to actually make me more efficient. It has to do the job better, or neater, or faster than I otherwise could.

Here's an example: I have a plastic thingee that makes radish roses. I have made them with a knife, in the past. But for me that's a slower (not to mention sloppier) way. So I use the little pastic gizmo.

Most gadgets do not meet that criterium. Indeed, most gadgets---perhaps 80% of them---are merely ways to do knifework less effeciently---especially if you back out those that are actually knives themselves. This would include the pizza cutter (a round knife), and food processor (a rotating knife).
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 18
With the egg piercer a tiny hole is poked in the stout end of the egg prior to hard cooking. This releases the air inside the shell and allows some water to be admitted. The purpose is two-fold. The procedure helps to prevent the egg from cracking during the cooking process, and it also facilitates the shelling of the hard cooked egg. Is an egg piercer absolutely necessary? No. But I think it does make things go more smoothly for me. I'm all for that. :smiles:
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post #12 of 18
My Kyocera paring knife is dear to me. :D Aside from that, I rarely make a meal without needing spring-loaded tongs.

As Tessa mentioned her hands, I will mention my palate :lips:, my nose and my ears- all of which I need to gauge seasoning and doneness.
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post #13 of 18
And what does the water do to the quality of the boiled egg?
post #14 of 18
Sorry for the second post.

Cracking, a term you used in your latest message, and bursting, the term you used earlier, are two different things. I have had a few eggs crack over the last fifty plus years, but never has one burst. My eggs cracked when the banged against the pot or other eggs while cooking. Will an egg pricker prevent that?

BTW, once I learned about using a proper sized pan for the number of eggs being cooked, there were no more cracked eggs. Haven't had one in more than three years.

As for peeling, if you use eggs that are a few days old, Grade A rather than Grade AA, the eggs will be very easy to peel. The fresher the egg the more difficult to remove the shell.
post #15 of 18
.......>Also an egg pricker - this pierces the shell of an egg before you pop it in the pan to boil to save it bursting. <
......My first reaction to this was, "you're kidding, right?" But I see Amazingrace also uses one.

.....Whatever for? I've never heard of, let alone experienced, an egg bursting by being boiled. And certainly have never seen this gadget.

if you poke a hole in the air sack in "the big end of an egg" the pressure build up (due to temperature increase, science thing, no options, it happens....) has a place to go short of busting up the egg.

I 'sorta' agree about the "bursting egg" thing. frankly methinks those eggs that bust open and spew the white (hopefully only the white, but I have indeed seen yolk spewed out of an egg in for a soft boil.....) have already been "cracked" or otherwise subjected to some stress resulting in a "looks right but not obviously cracked egg shell"

if you are heavy duty into conspiracy theories, any "pre-cracked egg shell" fulfills the magic bullet theory of "run for your life - it's a salmonella egg!"

anything can be used to poke a hole - needle, special doohickie, pointy tine of a carving fork, point of a 38 inch chef's knife.... in that respect it is a "most useless" - but per your own thoughts on plastic radish flowering cutters.... it does exactly what it's supposed to do when&how you want it to do that and it is convenient . . .
post #16 of 18
Actually, it was another member who said 'bursting'. I said cracking, and I know the difference. Eggs do crack sometimes during the cooking process. It's a fact of life, although, as has been pointed out, using the correct size pan and a gentler boil, will help prevent this from happening. And eggs that have been on the shelf for a few extra days will be easier to shell.

To answer another question, water entering the shell has no affect on the quality of the egg. It's not that much water in the first place. The hole actually amounts to harly more than a pin prick. Also, there is a protective membrane inside the shell that helps to keep the water from coming into contact with the egg, if the egg is properly pierced...this is the reason for piercing the fat end of the egg, where there is an air pocket.

As I said before, it is not necessary to pierce eggs prior to hard cooking. This is not a 'right thing' vs. a 'wrong thing', just a matter of preferrence. :smiles:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #17 of 18
Couldn't live without them:
-Salad spinner
-Scale
-Kitchen scissors
-My old, big, black, naturally tempered pizza pans
-Big cutting board
-Pizza cutter
-off set spatula (there's not way to frost a cake without them)
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
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A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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post #18 of 18
Ooops! My pizza pans are naturally seasoned, not tempered...:o
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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