If you've watched enough food shows, you've probably seen chefs using a tamis—a drum-like sifter that can be used for puréeing berries, smoothing mashed potatoes, or getting the lumps out of flour. That's what the Sift'n Sieve ($17.99) from Chef'n is, but instead of being made entirely of metal it combines a plastic rim with metal mesh.
A small scraper is attached to the handle and can be used to persuade berry pulp to squeeze itself through the mesh. I thought the scraper was a little small—I preferred using a plastic bench scraper instead. But still, it's nice that it's included for those who might not have a suitable scraper.
I used the Sift'n Sieve for sifting flour, puréeing berries (while leaving the seeds behind), and for sifting sugar I'd pulverized into powdered sugar. It would also be useful for straining yogurt to make a Greek-style product. In the past, I've always used a typical bowl-shaped strainer instead of a flat one, but this would be faster since there's more surface area.
The one advantage this has over professional metal tamis strainers is that where those have straight sides, this has sloped sides, allowing it to snuggly fit into a few more pots or bowls than the straight-sided version does. However, you still need a reasonably wide bowl to fit the Sift'n Sieve's 10-inch diameter.
This is top-rack dishwasher safe, which is great—some of the metal ones are not suited for dishwashers. On the other hand, this doesn't fit well in the top rack of my dishwasher, so I've washed it in the bottom rack with no apparent damage.
About the author: Resident yeast whisperer and bread baking columnist Donna Currie also has a serious gadget habit. When her father-in-law heard about this column, he upgraded the nickname for her kitchen from "gadget world" to "gadget heaven." You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie.
Disclaimer: Testing samples were provided to Serious Eats.