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.
- There's a reason white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are a classic. [Foodness Gracious]
- Quinoa pancakes? Yes, please. [Bakeaholic Mama]
- Pizza pizza! How about shredded chicken and bacon barbecue pizza? [Carla's Confections]
- Whole wheat bread doesn't have to require kneading. This one doesn't! [Leanne Bakes]
- Have you tried making paletas at home yet? [Pineapple and Coconut]
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.
- Was there ever a better marriage than shrimp and grits? Maybe. But we still love this. [Magnolia Days]
- Easter might be over, but we're still curious about Mazurek, a Polish Easter tart with chocolate, prunes, and rum. [Magda's Cauldron]
- Cream of chicken soup, no can opener required. [Real Girl Food: Unmodified]
- White chocolate, apricots and bacon fall into the oatmeal cookie batter. [That Skinny Chick Can Bake]
- Brussels sprouts fans, this one's for you. Brown sugar bacon brussels sprouts. [Savory Simple]
- White chocolate coconut mojito cookies. You might need a second to process all of that. [Cupcakes to Caviar]
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 Coconut Cake is so fluffy, we almost want it for a pillow. But then we'd have frosting and coconut in our ears.. [Willow Bird Baking]
- These Caramel Cracker Bars have it all going on: sugar, salt, crunch, caramel and chocolate. [Shugary Sweets]
- Gluten-free Brownies? Well, okay. Now let's add some zucchini. [Strands of my Life]
- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake may be so last-century, but Bakers Royale revived the idea with this upside-down blood orange cake. [Bakers Royale]
- Coming down from that sugar high, here's a recipe for Shrimp in Ginger Butter Sauce. [Liz the Chef]
- Looking for something simple? Try this Easy Paneer Tikka Masala. [Soni's Food]
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.
No electric sharpener is going to match a skilled expert, but this sharpener does a good job. It's so easy to use, you can get a sharp edge even if you don't really know what you're doing.
While this isn't the most earthshaking gadget I've seen, I have to say these magnetic knife guards are a nice improvement over the slip-on plastic guards.
I must have a bazillion measuring devices—spoons, cups, beakers, jars, pitchers, and, of course, a scale. But the measuring colander from Chef's Planet ($10 for 2-cup; $13 for 3-cup) is unique among its brethren because it has holes. Lots and lots of holes. The idea is that you can use the colander to measure, drain, and rinse foods. It may not be essential, but it's pretty handy.
Not everyone's going to need a food dehydrator, but if you're in a market for one, this unit's got a lot going for it.
These little measuring beakers from OXO make perfect sense in my kitchen. It's more convenient—and less messy—to measure liquids into a container with graduated measurements. It's also more accurate.
This hands-free, clip-on pot strainer is a genius idea, and it works really well.
I like the way the Blomus Tea Stick looks, but I'm less enthusiastic about its function. With some teas—the ones that had pieces just the right size—it worked perfectly. With other teas with larger or smaller bits, it was much less successful.
This cutting board isn't so outstanding that I'd suggest you throw out the ones you own, but if you're looking for a new board this one is a good choice.
Using the Hightailer is a bit quicker than cleaning shrimp with just your fingers and a knife, but I didn't find it efficient enough to be a must-have gadget.
You might guess that I have a lot of...stuff...in my kitchen. One thing I don't have a lot of is space, so I'm always happy when a product comes along that stores neatly. The collapsible funnel ($6.99) from Ginsey Home Solutions fits that description. It's soft and flexible and accordions down to a much more compact size.
The vacuum canisters and domes ($35-$50) from NewMetro Design are great for things you want to seal but also have regular access to, like a cake or loaf of bread, or maybe that bag of whole wheat flour you're always dipping into.
When the GIR spatula ($22.50) arrived, I looked it over and didn't see anything that made me say, "Wow." It's molded in one piece with nothing particularly fancy about it. It's not super-stiff, nor soft and mushy. One might say that it's juuuuust right. I was skeptical about all the hoopla, but found that I really liked using it.
Over the past year, I've tested many gadgets. Most were a lot of fun to play with for a short time, but others earned a coveted spot in my permanent kitchen arsenal. My top eight picks range from stocking stuffers to more sizable appliances that would look good wrapped and waiting under the tree.
The Japanese grater from Chubo Knives ($49) is different from the usual American-style grater. Instead of the grated material falling through holes in the grater, with a Japanese grater, called oroshigane, the grated material stays on top. This type of grater is designed for grating wasabi or ginger, but it works just fine for any vegetable with a similar texture, like garlic, horseradish, or even carrots.
The Ball FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker heats and stirs jam or jelly for you. Dedicated jam-and-jelly makers may scoff at this machine because of the small batches, but folks who want to make a few foolproof jars at a time will love the simplicity.
There are a lot of different rye flours available, including light rye, medium rye, and pumpernickel flour. However, my local grocery chains tend to have one brand and one type, and that's stone-ground rye. It's a coarser, grittier rye than most of the others that I buy online, but it still makes a nice bread. If your local markets have other varieties of rye flour, use what's available or what you like best.
In this bread, instant mashed potatoes create a softer, fluffier texture. I almost always use them in dinner rolls for that reason. The instant potatoes I buy are little more than dehydrated cooked potatoes, with no strange preservatives, chemicals, or flavors. The resulting bread is a very pale yellow, and very soft and fluffy with just a hint of flavor from the egg.
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