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www.goodeatsfanpage.com • View topic - QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

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QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Chef Mongo » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:19 am

Most of us have the basic kitchen stuff: knives, cutting boards. pots and pans, food processor, blender, etc.

What I want to know is what's your "coolest" tool ... something that does a certain job for you that allows you to make really great food, preferably something you almost never see in someone else's kitchen.

For me, it's my Jaccard tenderizer. It's spring-loaded, and one pass of that sucker across a chicken breast leaves it micropierced and ready to drink up whatever marinade I choose to inflict on it. :)
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Catherine » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:30 am

Three things. I bought a mini-mandoline from Crate-and-Barrel. Love it.

I have a mezzaluna and a wooden board for it.

My immersion blender.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby LucyLu » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:43 am

In AB's perfect world everyone would have this, but I've got to say, it's pretty rare I see a digital scale in other homes. I can't live without it!
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Jules » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:05 am

Oh we have a Jaccard, too ... even with the safety guard and all, I give that thing LOTS of respect. It's very cool.

The "coolest", "certain job" ('tho far from a uni-tasker), "typically not seen in kitchens" tool that assists in creating significantly outstanding meals is PF's Sous Vide Supreme. When Santa gave it to him for Christmas, Santa completely underestimated just how much we'd use it and how convenient and awesome it is. I'd sooner get rid of our microwave before handing over the Sous Vide.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby chefshawn » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:15 am

You know, as I've been collecting for, God, 20 years, and I'm a sucker for the latest and greatest, I have some version of almost every gadget out there, this side of molecular gastronomy. I have the jacquard tenderizer (never use it), almost a dozen pepper grinders (i really like the gravity-powered one), a great food processor and mixer and 4 kinds of blenders (i'd trade em all for a vitamix), cast iron of all shapes and sizes, lot with enamel, a gas stove...I am truly blessed.

I'm gonna flip this question over, actually, and hate on my "untool."

I have the $#!++!#$+ pizza cutter available on the market...actually, it's just one step up from dollar store. It's small, flimsy, wobbly, and you can't even put it's wood-handled self into the dishwasher! I cuss it everytime I see it, but have yet to throw it away or replace it. For one thing, when we want pizza, someone usually cuts it for us. On the rare occasion that we bake our own pizza, I'm content to slide it onto the giant Boos Block, and dig into it with any of my dozens of knives. Maybe I keep it around for future pastry dough work.

I don't get me. I'm gettin' mad at that thing just typing this!
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Myrealana » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:18 pm

I don't really have anything unusual, but I'm in love with my new stick blender. It comes apart so the messy part can be sent through the dishwasher.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Slamdunkpro » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:44 pm

My draw injector
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Put the tube in you injection and just squeeze the handle over and over. Makes injecting big meats a breeze.
(I too have a Jaccard)
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby tj » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:57 pm

Slam, please hide that thing from the oncology nursing staff. They'd love it!

It's hard to think of something unusual in the kitchen becuse It s all so usual to me, but one tool that comes to mind is my pliers. It's just an ordinary set of gashouse pliers and comes in handy for dealing with large pots with bail handles, as well as pinchy things that my fingers will not grasp, such as those evil, irritating and fiendly little pieces of plastic wrap on top of the peanut butter and the store-bought potato salad and the marshmallow fluff. "They" never give you a grip for the things and my fingers will never pinch hard enough.

The pliers is also said to be good for pulling the sinews from a turkey leg, though I find it easier to give the leg to a teenager and tell him to play savage.

Another absolute necessity is the spoon that looks like it has been cut off to give a flat side for scraping the bottom of pots. I have a regular one and one with crain holes and would not be without either one.
Last edited by tj on Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby okbye » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:51 pm

I don't think I have anything unusual either. My favorite gadget is probably the stack of rubber jar opening thingies. I have little hand strength and sometimes I need 2 of them, one on the lid and one to hold the jar. Since I'd be screwed as far as jarred goods go without them I think they're pretty cool.

I do have a CO2 powered wine cork remover which is kinda cool, it sucks the cork right out, but I don't drink wine so it doesn't get used.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Butterbean » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:23 pm

My best-loved odd tool is hard to describe. When I bought it long ago, I believe it was called a Pedrini Baked Potato Piercer. It really does a job on baking potatoes, much better than a fork. BUT WAIT, there's more. It's a multitasker. It's also great for docking pastry and piercing the plastic film on microwave meals - much neater than a fork, because the prongs are so sharp. Heck, it could probably serve as a mini-Jaccard. I'll try to post a picture, since my description is kind of wonky & I can't find it by Google.

ETA: a picture

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Last edited by Butterbean on Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby carla » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:41 pm

Ha! Beurre, it sounds like a devil's pitch fork; maybe Neptune's trident. I can definitely picture it.

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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby chefshawn » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:01 am

okbye wrote:I'd be screwed.


Teeheehee. I see whatcha did there.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Chef Mongo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:48 am

*snort*

Slam said "injecting big meats."
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby gypsy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:17 pm

My 1940s-era grilled cheese & sandwich press and my "Made in Japan" 1940s ceramic citrus hand juicer from Jim's mother, and the huge farm kitchen ceramic bread dough bowl that I found at a flea market 10 years ago.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby nolafoodie » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:25 pm

I have two culinary tools that give me mad skillz like a kitchen ninja. *Chop*swoosh*chop* Aw, snap -- this forum doesn't have a ninja smilie?!?!

Anyway, the first tool, of which I actually have two (a larger one from Pampered Chef, and a smaller one, which gets a lot more use, given several years ago by Vickatina), is a crinkle cutter. As you can imagine, I do a whole heck of a lot of cutting foods up into bite-sized, non-choking-hazard pieces. Chopping the items with a crinkle cutter renders textured edges that provide enjoyment for my 3-year-old and enhanced grip for the babies. Anyone who feeds small children should have a crinkle cutter on hand.

The other tool is a zucchini corer, not to be confused with other vegetable corers available at most stores. Mine looks like this:

Image

Its purpose is to hollow out small- to medium-sized vegetables for stuffing, Middle Eastern-style. Middle Easterners are somewhat obsessed with stuffing things, especially vegetables. While leafy vegetables can be rolled around a cylinder of stuffing, and large vegetables can be cut open, primitively eviscerated, and readily stuffed, smaller items like zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, long peppers, Roma tomatoes, carrots, and even large okra need to be cored with a narrow device that can remove internal tissue while still leaving the outer "shell" of the vegetable intact. Said shell must also remain closed on one end in order to keep the filling safely inside the vegetable. So, you end up with a vegetable that looks like one of these:

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Mahshi - stuffed vegetables by Adventuress Heart, on Flickr

For a tutorial on coring technique, click here.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby carla » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:02 pm

^ cool!
could be a good weapon also.
Does it work on meat, so that you can run scallions through beef?
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby haleoalau » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:10 pm

carla wrote:^ cool!
could be a good weapon also.
Does it work on meat, so that you can run scallions through beef?



Well...damn...now I want one!
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby carla » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:15 pm

Stuff meat with sausage in tubular form?
Now I want one too!
What a wonderful tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOhEiFa030I
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby chefshawn » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:38 am

Scratch that...5blenders now. Aldi's talked me into a $15 version of the magic bullet.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby vickatina » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:59 am

Aaaand thanks to Nola, who gifted me with a veggie corer, I have one of those too!!
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby nolafoodie » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:13 am

carla wrote:Stuff meat with sausage in tubular form?
Now I want one too!
What a wonderful tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOhEiFa030I


Hmm, I guess you could use it to stab meat for stuffing with scallions, but a filet knife could work for that too. Stuffing meat with sausage sounds interesting (and by interesting, I mean something that I'm totally going to experiment with in the very near future), but again, I'd use a filet knife for that too. The edges of the corer are not very sharp. On some models, the tip is pointed to help with insertion, but the edges function more to scrape than to cut. I'm not sure it would do anything at all to meat.

That video is a good illustration of coring technique. I use the "thumb trick" too. However, I don't cut around in a circle like he does. I start by boring a narrow hole in the center (i.e., just stick the corer into the zucchini, twist it around, and pull it out -- kind of like sampling from a wheel of cheese). Also, he cuts off way too much from the stem end. I know it makes for a prettier, "cheffy" presentation when all the pieces are uniform in size, but if that's important, then I'd rather cut them after they're cooked. Prior to stuffing, you want to cut just enough of the stem to make the opening wide enough to core and stuff, but you still want to take advantage of the tapered end to help hold in the stuffing. So what I do is closer to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlycLeuNMgU

vickatina wrote:Aaaand thanks to Nola, who gifted me with a veggie corer, I have one of those too!!


I hope you've been able to have fun with it. You can also do cucumbers and stuff them with cold spreads/salads, then slice the cucumbers and serve them with crackers or cocktail rye.

haleoalau wrote:Well...damn...now I want one!


There are some on Amazon, if you search "zucchini corer." Also eBay. But avoid the ones with short blades, which will do you no good for supermarket zucchini varieties and other long vegetables. Happy hunting!
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby nolafoodie » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:16 am

chefshawn wrote:Scratch that...5blenders now. Aldi's talked me into a $15 version of the magic bullet.


It's good. There's a version available at Macy's and JC Penney that often goes on sale for $15-20, and my experience is that it's just as good as the Magic Bullet, and has lasted longer. ;)
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Myrealana » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:39 am

Oh, I like my bullet. I've had it for a few years. Makes great quick smoothies with frozen fruit and yogurt, and I just used it the other night to make citrus herb butter to stuff under the skin of a chicken before roasting. So quick and easy, and easier to clean than the full size blender or food processor.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby new cook » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:58 am

My coolest kitchen tool? I <3 my VitaMix.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby tj » Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:42 pm

Isn't there a barding needle sort of arrangement with a plunger for insterting lardoons and garlic and such into roasts? Seems like something of that sort would work for "sausaging" meat.

The veggie corer does remind me of the cheese tool, which is sharp, so the first thing I thought of was cut fingers.

I wonder what other neat tools are out there in ethnic/regional cooking land.
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Re: QOTD 9/13: Cool tools

Postby Quizmistress » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:05 am

Have to think outside the box on this one, but have to say my imagination.
Being able to take what's on hand and make a decent meal, or altering a recipe so my family will eat it is the most used, & taxed, tool in my culinary arsenal.
Sorry if that's too simplistic. Just reality.

Adore my kitchen shears. Wish I used my spaetzel maker more. The mini chopper that goes on the blender base is useful.
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