'In Gear' on Serious Eats

In Gear: Watch Out Teapot, Behold Adagio Tea's TriniTEA Electric Maker

Sure, I live in coffee country, but as soon as I saw Adagio Teas TriniTEA—something of a cross between a coffee machine and Big Mac—I had to try it. For $100, the electronic tea kettle can make up to four cups with the ability to brew at two temperatures (212°F for black and herbal tea, 185°F for everything else) and steep between two to eight minutes. How Does It Work? Just put loose tea leaves in the steeping chamber and add water to the first of three chambers. After turning on the machine, water will reach the proper temperature, then it beeps and dispenses water into the steeping chamber. When it's done steeping, the machine beeps again and allows the... More

In Gear: Pitcher Perfect, DWR's New Filter Pitcher

Water filtration pitchers can certainly be useful for improving the quality of tap water, but they have their drawbacks. Filter pitchers require regular replacement of disposable plastic filters to maintain performance, and they are generally big, bulky, and nothing to look at. For all but the most casual gatherings and dinner parties, I decant filtered water into a glass or ceramic vessel that looks better and takes up less table space than my filtration pitcher. Though it may not be ideal, this method works well enough that I’d never much considered another possibility. Filtering with Charcoal and Stones Design Within Reach Then, while flipping through the pages of the latest Design Within Reach (DWR) catalogue, I found a tempting alternative:... More

In Gear: Beer Accessories for Summer Suds

Aaaah, beer. In my opinion, there are few things more satisfying on a hot day. For those of you of like mind, here are a few nifty ideas for getting your beer on: Tool Bottle Openers Bearing likeness to pliers and wrenches, these tool bottle openers will impart a greater sense of productivity to the opening of your next brew. $25, from The Curiosity Shoppe... More

In Gear: The Scoop on the Nuscüp

simplygoodstuff.com I acquired a Nuscüp (pronounced: noo-skoop) adjustable measuring cup last year out of curiosity rather than need. I already had an adjustable measuring cup—the Metric Wonder Cup—with which I was perfectly content, but thinking it might make for a worthwhile write-up here on Serious Eats, I scarfed up the last Nuscüp in stock at the local Sur La Table—a boxless floor model. Initial Failure My first experience with it was one of utter disappointment. As soon as I got home, I ran to the sink to measure out some tap water; the water slipped right past the rubber gasket (around the edge of the cup’s adjustable bottom) and into the body of the cup. I took the Nuscüp apart... More

Father's Day Gift Guide: Cooking Gadgets and Kitchen Gear

Equipped with little more than a hibachi grill and an improvised chimney (a rusty old bottomless chicken-feed bucket that has been a part of his life for at least as long as I have), my father has expertly rendered some of the most delicious, perfectly cooked steaks of my life. On the other end of the spectrum, he’s also been known to make phone calls to the 800-number on the back of a frozen fish stick box to inquire whether or not said fish sticks could be microwaved rather than baked and how to do so. Cooking can be uncertain ground with dads, but eating and gadgetry rarely are. So, gifted chef or Chef Boyardee, here’s a spectrum of gadgets... More

In Gear: Noble Enamel

Composed of a hard vitreous glaze melded at high temperatures to a metal substrate, enamelware is extremely durable, shatterproof, heat and rust resistant, non-reactive, and easy to clean. More

In Gear: An Outdoor Dining Indulgence: Portable Blenders

For most of us, Memorial Day weekend marks the launch of the outdoor dining season, marshalling in a summer of picnics, barbecues, and pool and beach parties. As I find the standard gear marketed specifically for such occasions (folding picnic tables, special baskets and packs for tableware and flatware, enormous tong/spatula/fork sets, etc.) to be flimsy, fussy and/or cumbersome, I turn to camping suppliers when I’m looking for tools to get my outdoor eat on. There I tend to find equipment that is robust enough to withstand the elements and a good bit of jostling, lightweight and compact enough to be easily transported on foot, and just plain sensible for outdoor/remote usage. Now, I appreciate the simplicity necessitated by al... More

In Gear: Lighten Up with Cream Whippers

Despite the implication of their name and the regularity with which they appear behind coffee bars, for topping dessert-like beverages with snowy mounds of dairy goodness, cream whippers are good for more than whipping cream. In restaurant kitchens the devices are prized for making and keeping delicate sweet or savory mousses, sauces and foams. More

The Boundless Value of Disposable Chopsticks (and More)

For those who may not be receiving returns this year, a few tips for squeezing extra value out of ordinary kitchen items: In addition to their overt purpose, standard issue rounded stainless steel measuring spoons are also excellent for neatly removing cores from halved apples and pears, balling melon and making small, perfectly round ice cream scoops (to make ice cream orbs come out easily, dip the spoon in warm water before scooping, and after scooping rub the back of the spoon back and forth across the palm of your hand a few times to warm the metal slightly).... More

A Medieval Multitasker: The Whisk

The whisk is more than a tool for aeration. Useful for making sauces, emulsions and more, it is one of the home kitchen’s greatest multitaskers. Here is some information for selecting and making the most of this apparatus, which dates to medieval times. More

For St. Patrick's Day, A Proper Pint

A nonic pint (left) and a tulip pint (right) flank fish and chips at Mc Donagh's, Galway, Ireland Not all pint glasses are created equal. In Ireland and Great Britain the internal volume of so-called "pint glasses" is regulated by state authorities in accordance with the imperial system of measure. As such, a state sanctioned pint glass (indicated by an official mark etched on each glass: a crown in the U.K., a circle bisected by a wavy line in the Republic of Ireland, or, in accordance with recent standards set to unify the mark throughout the European Union, the letters “CE” *) must hold a minimum of 20 imperial fluid ounces (the equivalent of about 19 US fluid ounces,... More

In Gear: How to Season Carbon Steel Pans

Though I rarely used it to make crepes, for which it performed rather poorly, I had always appreciated the design of my flimsy, nonstick crepe pan. As it was, it mostly just made for a great quesadilla toasting pan, its short sides making it easier to maneuver and flip without losing filling. But in my mind’s eye—much heavier and made of a material capable of maintaining heat—the pan’s wide, shallow form became a stage on which perfectly cooked pancakes flipped and crisp-skinned fish fillets sizzled. When, a few weeks ago, I found myself in a kitchen shop looking right into the expansive face of an inexpensive carbon steel crepe pan, there was no resistance.... More

Impress Your Valentine With Cookie Stamps

Ceramic cookie stamps Making sweets for your sweet this Valentine’s Day? Consider cookie stamps. As their name suggests, cookie stamps are usually employed to make imprinted cookies. However, they can also be used with marzipan, firm fondants (think peppermint patty-type filling or wedding cake covering), edible modeling chocolate, even tootsie rolls—anything plastic enough to take and hold an impression—turning simple sweets into beautifully filigreed mignons with the barest commitment of time and effort. For those less inclined to make their gifts, the stamps, which make lovely kitchen display objects as much as useful decorating tools, make for thoughtful gifts in their own right. Available in a staggering array of designs and motifs—from florid hearts to fire breathing dragons, austere initials... More

Utensils at the Ready

From General Tso’s on the go to Colonel Sanders at your office desk, forward-thinking designers are devising novel ideas to ensure that you’ll never miss a bite. Roll n Roll is an unfortunately named but nonetheless stylish set of portable chopsticks. Winning a bronze medal in the 2007 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), the set of hollow chopsticks can be rolled open and then rolled up to make an attractive metal cuff-like bracelet. Din-Ink cutlery caps transform everyday ballpoint pens into implements of consumption. The three-piece set, a first-prize winner in Design Boom’s Dining in 2015 competition, includes a fork-, knife- and spoon-cap made out of biodegradable materials for environmentally conscious desktop dining. While neither of these designs appear to... More

In Gear: Artimetal Juicer

So, here we are in the thick of the winter doldrums: insipid, over-priced, globe-trotting produce lining every grocer’s shelves, and colds spreading like the giggles in a high-school sex ed class. Fortunately for us, there’s citrus, which is, for the most part, at its peak this time of year, and at the ready to inject a little zest into our meals and a little vitamin C into our phlegmatic corpora. While I enjoy a half grapefruit with breakfast here and there and perhaps a few Meyer lemon chunks added to an occasional pasta dish, I tend to consume my citrus in juice form. To that end, my Artimetal juicer is indispensable. Working with a simple lever mechanism, I find it... More

In Gear: Ice Cream Ball

So the New Year may have inspired us to scale back on the bacon and amp up the spirulina dosage, but this time around, thanks to the marvels of plastic and thermodynamics, there’s less need to adjust our ice cream... More

In Gear: How to Unclutter Your Winter Fridge

This time of year has a way of testing (and overcoming) the capacity of even large refrigerators. Opening the door, out comes a bottle of mustard and a head of lettuce, and a slippery little pouch of baby carrots. Using your crisper drawer as your starting point, you can alleviate some of the clutter, freeing up valuable space for cream cheese loaf and leftover roast beast. More

In Gear: Pie Birds

Thinking about Thanksgiving, my mind makes its first stop at turkey but invariably forges on to pie, where it lingers, meditating on silken pumpkin, lightly spiced apple and sticky, sweet pecan, among others. Considering topics for this week’s piece, I took the progression one step further: bird to pie to pie bird. When I was a child, a small, bird-shaped tchotchke perched on my mother’s kitchen windowsill, silhouetted against the sunlight beyond. I recall being told that it was a pie bird, that you stuck it in the center of a pie before baking and that it whistled when the pie was ready. I had all but forgotten it until I received one, almost identical to my mother’s, for my... More

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