Two must have items for Meyer lemon season, a lemon zester or microplane and a lemon juicer. I use my microplane regularly for zesting lemons (it zests very finely so that you just get the zest not the bitter pith) and also for grating ginger and garlic. I love the juicer because it extracts a large amount of juice without seeds in a flash. Both are dishwasher safe so you have no hesitation about using them.
Lemon Juicer $7.40
It’s doughnut time! And that can mean many things to all different people. For me, I make the whole variety all week, from Oreo Stuffed Doughnuts, Doughnut Ice cream sandwiches (these are semi-homemade so go for it, they are so easy), Zepolles, Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes, to my favorites, Baked Doughnuts. Whatever you are making, you need a few essential pieces of equipment.
Baked doughnuts are awesome and taste cake-like. If you serve them warm, no one will even miss the frying. But in order to get that perfect doughnut shape, you need the pan. I have the mini version and use it all year round. For bigger doughnuts, get the regular size.
The DeLonghi fryer is a great item if you have room in your kitchen. I use it for French fries, doughnuts, fried chicken and schnitzel. It has great safety features built in to prevent accidental burning and it creates lighter fried foods. It’s a good splurge piece if you like the real deal doughnut too.
Lastly, a powdered sugar duster is a must have item! I use it for everything from cakes to French toast, but it is the perfect way to dust those doughnuts with powdered sugar. It creates precise and light powdered sugar dust over anything.
It’s latke time and that means getting a few essential pieces of equipment to make sure your latkes come out perfect every time. I tend to buy the inexpensive pieces without much thought and wait for a special sale or a holiday to splurge on items like hi-quality pots and pans. Remember though, these items are well worth the price because they last years, really a lot of years, and they really improve your cooking because they do not burn on the bottom, they conduct heat very well, and cook food more evenly by staying hot. I personally own all of these essential latke cooking equipment and with the addition of these great latke recipes, I make awesome latkes every Hanukah.
1. Nonpro Grip EZ Splatter Strainer
I love a splatter guard because it keeps my kitchen from getting too greasy while I fry up latkes or any other fried food, like doughnuts. I use it when I brown chicken too so it gets plenty of year round use.
2. OXO Silicone Flexible Pancake Turner
This is technically a pancake turner. I use it to flip latkes though because its wide enough for big latkes and the holes drain some of the oil that may otherwise flip with your latke. I like latkes crispy not greasy and this does the trick.
3. Taylor Candy Stainless Steel Thermometer
I use this thermometer to make sure the oil stays hot but not too hot while frying (about 350 degrees is perfect). It’s great because it’s a candy thermometer too so all the Purim peanut brittle and caramel sauces come out perfect with this too.
4. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
Splurge on this!!! Great for latkes, omelettes, sautéing, pasta dishes or browning chicken. It’s worth every penny.
5. OXO Grips 3-piece Angled Measuring Cups
I use these everyday. For everything so I recommend them for measuring everything for every recipe. No more bending over to check the amount of liquid ingredients in the cup, you can check from above, extra markings for precision measurements, and it comes in a set of three. It’s a kitchen essential.
6. Cuisineart DFP 14BCN Processor (Brushed Stainless Steel)
Love my Cuisinart! I have a few and think you need one too.
7. If it’s too much, go with a good grater, like the Edgeware set. It has multiple settings for all sorts of uses. Plus the colors are terrific and make kashrut easier.
The Kosher Cook always has the newest and most useful kosher cooking tools. This year at Kosherfest they displayed some great new Hanukah items. Here are a few of my favorites.
Chanukah Linzer Cookie Cutter Set: The set includes the Chanukah cookie cutters that can be used on their own or to create those fabulous double cut out images on Linzer cookies.
Chanukah Reusable Ice Cubes: So cute and colorful! Little dreidels that freeze and chill your drink and do not dilute it. Use and reuse them.
Chanukah Potato Latke Molds: They come in two shapes, dreidels and Star of David. And they work for both latkes and pancakes. Chanukah shapes are not just for cookies anymore!
All these cute items are available at theKosherCook.com. And make sure to check out their best selling items, like Kosher stickers, spatulas, and silicone molds too.
Where have these brilliant angled measuring cups been all my life? They let you accurately gauge the amount of liquid in the cup by simply looking down, instead of squatting in front of the cup. The 1-cup measure is especially good for small quantities, like the lime juice for my corn salad. Oxo makes great kitchen products and I love these!
Oxo 3 piece set $19.99, available at oxo.com
Part history book, part handbook, part cookbook, this book was so much fun to read. It covers every facet of the ancient hobby of beekeeping, from how to manage hives safely to harvesting one's own honey, and ideas for how to use honey and beeswax. Detailed instructions for making candles, furniture polish, beauty products, and nearly 100 honey-themed recipes are included. Although it made me daydream about becoming a beekeeper, my family is happy that I am sticking to making lots of honey glazed apples.
Available at amazon.com for $24
How smart is this? I wish this had been around a few years ago! Just place the popsicle stick into the slot (which has a great grip) and no more ruined tops or sticky, super, super sticky hands. Flip it over and it holds an ice cream cone. Great colors, dishwasher safe too!
Get it on Amazon for $10
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I found the glass work by Travis Sandoval, travissandovalglass.com. Trained by famous glass artisan, Dale Chihuly, his work is colorful and super functional. Sandoval's wife is a pastry chef at San Francisco's Taste caterers and this has provided him with both inspiration and important details about size and use of his pieces. My new favorites are the colorful tumblers. The shape is chic, whimsical, yet formal enough for my table. The colors are exquisite.
My pizza wheel is too dull and does not slice through the crust of the pizza without reverse back and forth motion. Frustrating to make gorgeous and delicious homemade pizza and not cut through it well. Quirky.com has the solution! They make a cool, dual blade pizza wheel that actually works well and glides through the slicing. Strong, sharp, easy to use and clean, it’s an inexpensive, great addition to your kitchen tools.
Pizza wheel, made by Quirky.com sells for $12.99
Looking for the perfect guy gift? The "I don't know what to bring" fun item that will get a lot of laughs? This carrier is perfect for transporting beer out to a party in style. I gave it to friends recently filled with some special beers from around the world. You can even personalize it!
Available meriwetherfieldgear.com for $40
We are serving ice cream and sorbet everyday on these hot summer days which got me searching for the best ice cream scoop around. It's not hard to find the winner because its the leading brand in ice cream parlors and has been around since 1933 and just get better and better. These ice cream scoops have heat conductive fluids sealed within the handle. So as you scoop, it softens the ice cream to form a perfect scoop.
Made by Zeroll in many sizes and available at Amazon.com $17- $20
This coffee maker is simply breathtaking! Forgive me for posting indulgent items two weeks in a row but this just could not wait. All you see is the graceful spout. Everything else is underneath the cabinet - including a professional grade grinder, milk frother, espresso maker and coffee brewer. Set down your cup and choose your drink using a counter-mounter touch pad or your wireless iphone or ipad. Ingenious, sleek, super cool. I may need to renovate my kitchen just to get one!
$6500 from www.scanomat.com
Dream big, object of desire
By Eldorado Stone this Artisan Fire Bowl is so outrageous and fantastic! It doubles as a picnic table with the separate wood top (maybe my husband will go for it now?!?!) It's a gas fire pit which makes it even cleaner and more usable. I wish I could have one!
Available at www.eldoradostone.com for $2500
These great skewers have double prongs to keep food in place while you flip it. Stainless steel and dishwasher safe. You can buy them with or without the rack which keeps food a little of the grill to prevent sticking.
Skewers are $30 for 6, available at rosleusa.com
Tired of the boring or childish ice cream scoops in your drawer? I sure am! I've been making ice cream and sorbet all season and I hate bringing a lame scoop to the table. This one is sleek and highly styled. A former car designer created this modern, curvy metal ice cream scoop in eight sporty colors. Which is your favorite?
Available at www.savorstyle.com for $14.99
How gorgeous is this? I love the idea of serving three different beverages in one fabulous dish. On sale now at www.neimanmarcus.com for $110
I love the shape and drama of this pitcher. It matches everything and every decor and the price point is perfect for a gift or to treat yourself!
I love these microwave and dishwasher safe mugs that have a cute compartment for crackers or bread. Perfect portions and no boxes on the table.
Available at vat19.com for $11.99 for a set of two mugs.
Did you hear about this? It was all the rage at the tech show in Vegas and is being adored and mocked all over the news. The Hapifork is a fork that vibrates if you eat too fast. Touted as a weight loss assistant and promoting good health. It really vibrates if you take more than one bite of food every 10 seconds and has a removable bottom that plugs into an App that provides your consumption amounts and speeds. I'm not sure if it really helps you lose weight, but it has certainly caused quite a funny stir. If you are excited about it, you need to wait to get one because the release date is Spring 2013.
The Hapifork ask you to, "Eat slowly. Lose weight. Feel great." Well that and to pitch over $99 to preorder one.
Awhile back I posted a cool ipad holder for mounting. Now I’ve found two great tabletop options. One simple, the other with speakers and some hi-tech options. The first, simple and made from Oregon hardwood and finished with beeswax has natural appeal and a great look on any countertop. The second is super chic and full of features. It has USB ports for charging, speakerphone, wireless Bluetooth and speakers. It’s designed and made by Williams-sonoma with a steep price tag but really perfect for watching all those new GKC videos that are coming soon.
Check them each out online.
Williams-sonoma smartstand for ipad available at Williams-sonoma.com for $199.
This is no ordinary springform pan. In fact, its ingenious! Made by Kuhn Rikon, this no-spring springform is made for me. My current pans over time, leak or stick but this new silicone technology releases easily, does not leak and comes in three sizes, 8, 9 and 10 inch sizes.
Kuhn Rikon PushPan $34.95 at Amazon.com
This Finnish sugar and creamer set has an ingenious design. The sugar bowl resting in the top, swivels to stay upright when you pour your cream. It's microwave and dishwasher safe and gives everyone something to ooh and ahh about.
Available from Europeanmarket.us
Here is a crazy great product post. Toasty (they look like toast) handwarmers that plug into your USB port so that your hands can stay warm while working on the computer. Kinda outside of the cooking box but they are called Tato, and shaped like toast. My husband actually saw these and bought them for me for Hanukah and I thought it was so funny that I had to share them. BTW, they really work. Plug them into your computer for instant warm hands and lots of laughs. Get them at ThinkGeek.com for $31.99
Rotato express (get it? rotate potato = rotato), I'm not sure...but this time of year we all could use a little peeling assistance. I saw this being demo'd in the mall and just had to laugh. Admittedly, it was peeling all sorts fruits, vegetables and potatoes in a snap.
Available for about $30 on www.asseenontvguys.com.
If you get one, please let me know how it works for you!
This time of year, some specialty kitchen products are the perfect gift for yourself or others. I'm trying out a few of these donut pans for baked donuts. My favorite is the mini donut pan because it makes the perfect serving size. A large baked donut seems too cake like for me but the mini looks and tastes close to a donut. For a great baked donut recipes see our baked donut recipes.
Available at amazon.com for between $9 - $20.