Is there any fruit or vegetable that doesn't have its own special tool? (In case you were wondering, that's a rhetorical question.) And peppers have the Progressive Pepper Corer Duo ($9.69), which is actually a set of two tools, paired to core and seed peppers of all shapes and sizes. The larger corer works on bell peppers and the like, while the smaller handles jalapeños, serranos, and other diminutive varieties.
'Gadgets' on Serious Eats
If you've been thinking about buying a paddle-style slicer, the Microplane Adjustable Slicer with Julienne Blade is all that and more. It straddles the line between being an inexpensive paddle-style slicer and being a full-fledged mandolin.
If you're adept at using a pastry bag, there's no need to add this to your gadget collection, but if you need a simple tool for yourself or for kids, this has some useful features.
SleekStor Measuring Beakers aren't so innovative that I'd suggest throwing out your existing measuring cups to buy them. But if you need an extra set, I'd suggest looking at these. The three-piece set—4-cup, 2-cup, and 1-cup—nests for storage, is heat resistant to 650°F, and each cup has its own lid so you can store things in them.
The OXO Batter Dispenser may not be an essential gadget, but I do like that it's neater than my usual batter-dispensing methods of using a disher or pouring from a cup or bowl.
This double-sided whisk is nice for starter kitchens, people with limited storage space, or those who need an extra whisk and like the idea of two tools in one.
Looking for a way to keep your herbs fresh beyond one recipe? Ball's Fresh Herb Keeper works as well—and often better—than other herb storage options I used.
I imagine that if my rice cooker got it on with my Roomba, their offspring might look a bit like the new Breville Crispy Crust countertop pizza oven, a new plug-and-go appliance that promises "professional brick-oven results right in your own kitchen." Considering how poorly our testing of previous countertop pizza cookers has gone, we weren't holding out too much hope of the Breville contraption producing anything but middling results. Happily, I can report that the oven indeed doesperform as advertised, pumping out crisp-crust 10-inch pies in about 7 minutes, crisp bottom crust, decent charring and all.
The TopChips kit ($23.95) allows you to cook potato chips in your microwave without adding fat. I didn't miss the frying-oil flavor at all from these microwaved chips.
If you want a hot lunch at work, but the office microwave frightens you, what are your options? Toaster oven? Hot plate? Crockpot? Maybe that's a little too much. How about a little insulated container that heats your food and keeps it hot? That's what the Hot Logic Mini ($49.97) is—a lunch-size insulated bag with a carrying handle. A heating plate on the bottom takes care of warming food slowly and gently, keeping it warm without burning it.
The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker makes great ice cream and it's pretty simple to operate, but whether it's worth the space and $399 price tag depends on your level of ice cream dependency.
Bottle openers have been around since our Cro-Magnon ancestors first encountered bottled beer. Okay, maybe not that long, but bottle openers have been around for a long time—you'd think we'd be done updating them by now. Apparently, we are not: meet the latest bottle-related tool to hit the market, the GrOpener, short for Grab Opener ($16).
The Microplane 3-in-1 Bar Zester Citrus Bar Tool ($19.95) features a grating surface for zesting citrus, a cutting blade for making citrus curls, and a bottle opener, all in one compact tool.
The Spifter is a spoon-sized sifter. It would take you forever to sift flour with this for your cake, but it's ideal for neatly spewing paprika onto deviled eggs or sprinkling colored sugar onto cookies. Since it's small, you get more controlled placement of whatever you're sprinkling.
Microplane's star grater is now my favorite for grating hard cheeses, no doubt about it. Before this, I was using a fine grater, but this one definitely is easier to use and I'm pleased that the cover it comes with holds a reasonable quantity of cheese.
If you already have a kitchen full of measuring devices, this isn't going to be an essential addition to your kitchen. But for someone with a less-comprehensive setup, or who measures a lot of small amounts of goopy substances or who needs to measure 1/4 and 1/2 tablespoons a lot, this could come in handy. Since it's adjustable, it takes the place of other measures.
Although it's not the most innovative product on the planet, the new dry herb storage jars from Ball ($6.95/4) are pretty handy. They're small—just four ounces (1/2 cup)—and the lids have built-in shaker tops.
Starting next Wednesday, April 24, McDonald's Japan is giving away french fry holders for cars as part of their "potato holder" campaign. But the "potato holder" can do more than just hold potatoes. So much more.
If you don't have super-fresh eggs and you don't want to lose half the whites while draining the eggs, egg poaching cups might be the answer. I tested a pair of silicone egg-poaching cups ($7.99 for two) from Mastrad and I have to say they worked pretty well.
This unitasker isn't an earthshaking, innovative device, but someone probably needs it. If you have egg-separation anxiety issues, this product is for you. Otherwise, I'm sure you've got your own favorite method already.