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Seriously Now -- Which countertop appliances do you leave out on your counter?

Years ago, when I put my first house on the market, the realtor told me to put everything away except the coffee maker. I was miserable for months. Why? Because I must be some kind of kitchen appliance junkie. It has to be so, because the 100+ square feet of granite counters in my kitchen are covered in appliances. And I am forever considering adding to the collection. I love all colors and have no trouble mixing and matching, although most tend to be white.

Let's see, the last one was a rice cooker. It is now next to the microwave (I have two, one is a built-in), the ice tea maker, coffee grinder and coffee maker. That would be the right side of the sink. I won't get started on the other things I like to use, like my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, electric kettle, and blender. About the only things I put away are my slow cooker, ice cream maker and a rarely-used electric fry pan.

I'd buy a high end espresso maker right now if not for the trouble I have deciding what color to choose.

What do you insist upon leaving out on your counters, not matter how silly it is starting to look?

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  1. I'm your opposite...I'm a minimalist who hates anything that smacks of clutter. I keep only the two that I use daily -- often more than once -- a toaster oven and electric kettle out on the counter. Stashed away are Cuisinarts (mini & regular size), coffee grinder, spice grinder and a hand mixer. Long gone are an electric frying pan, coffee maker & juice squeezer. The microwave is built in so I don't count that as a counter occupant.

    Paradoxically, I completely understand your fascination/obsession -- I'm forever contemplating purchases (the latest is an immersion blender) which I am just about to decide against after months of flirtation, research and wavering.

    20 Replies
    1. re: fauchon

      No, no, no. I came along just in time!!! You MUST get the immersion blender :) I just got one after years of thinking I didn't want one. I got it at Costco for $30 and it has attachments for FP and whisking. I made wontons recently and the FP attachment was the perfect size for chopping 4 oz. of chicken. And it fits great in a drawer. See? Aren't you glad you read this? HAHAHA.

      1. re: c oliver

        Immersion ..... in my drawer and I love it.

        1. re: c oliver

          I have one of the immersion blenders from Costco. I got it with a coupon for less than $20. Five years later it's still kicking. Works like a charm!
          On my counter top?
          Microwave
          Bean Grinder
          French press
          Knife Block
          Fruit bowl

          1. re: Fritter

            Appliances that stay on the counter.

            coffee grinder
            coffee maker
            digital scale
            toaster
            food processor
            stick and jar type blenders.

          2. re: c oliver

            I agree. I've had mine for over 10 years and I love it. It's so handy, and it's not very expensive.

            1. re: bayoucook

              ive only used mine a couple of times to make soup...what do you use yours for?

              1. re: bythebayov

                "refried" beans
                to add body to a stew or a soup
                smoothies
                on tomatoes to make some pasta sauces

            2. re: c oliver

              I'm not a gadget person, but the immersion blender is a must in my kitchen. Purees soups, cooked beans, chops garlic when I need more than a few cloves, etc. Nothing more tedious then putting soup in blender in batches to puree, then having to pour back into separate container, because you still have soup in pot that needs pureeing. Immersion blender eliminates all that.

              1. re: c oliver

                C. Oliver, you are SO right. Fauchon, run out right now and buy an immersion blender. Mine is a Braun, about $40, and comes with the above-mentioned whisk attachment and a chopping jar with a blade inside, like a mini–food processor. The blender's profile fits your hand firmly, and the pulse button gives you precise fingertip control of texture and consistency. It comes with a wall mount, but I keep it out of the way in a drawer. Along with my four-cup Cuisinart coffee maker, it's the one appliance I use every day.

                I still have my beloved Cusiniart food processor, which I've had for 30 years, but it's now relegated to a lower cupboard and rarely used, because the immersion blender performs many of the Cuisinart's tasks so well; and I gave away my retro Oster blender with glass pitcher for the same reason.

                While the immersion blender doesn't make doughs or items in larger quantities, it's superb for puréeing sauces, and soups: gazpacho, carrot or squash, bean or lentil; it lets you process half smoothly and leave the rest chunky. And it does the job right in the pot, on the stovetop, with no messy pouring of hot liquids back and forth from pot to blender or Cuisinart.

                It's the ideal tool for making my breakfast smoothie. With a tap-tap action, it even breaks down frozen fruit—but don't make the same mistake I did and blend in the yogurt container, as it'll chew through the plastic; as well as fresh salsas, hot pepper sauces, and tapenade, or enough pesto for one meal; chopping garlic, onions, and herbs; making half a cup of seasoned fresh bread crumbs; whipping cream or whipping up frozen cocktails; and whatever else the creative cook can think of.

                Relative to the cost of a full-size food processor or even a good-quality mini one, the price is negligible, and the appliance invaluable.

                 
                1. re: c oliver

                  Re: immersion blender. Many years ago now, we needed a new blender, and my wife said blenders took up too much room on the counter or in the cabinet, anyway. I read a few raves by other Chowhounds about this thing called an "immersion blender," and that sounded like a great replacement to a regular blender. I was thrilled to find a macho silver-colored one by Cuisinart, I believe, and expected to pick up the task of blending anything, where we had left off. I like to make smoothies and Italian Sodas, and things with ice cubes and crushed ice and...NOT THE RIGHT PRODUCT FOR MY NEEDS. So disappointed in the immersion blender-so limited in what it could do for us. I used it 3- 4x for a few things after we bought it, and we finally gave it to the church yard sale about 6 months ago. Haven't had a good home-made smoothie in years. This morning, my wife came back from Wal Mart with a 'Ninja Master Prep Food and Drink Maker" (About $39.00, she says). We look forward to breaking it in later this weekend with malteds. It may well be an appliance that "stays out on the counter," even if there isn't quite enough room. Florida Hound.

                  1. re: Florida Hound

                    Just an update, 3+ months later- still love the Ninja Master Prep Food and Drink Maker. We have settled in to frequent malteds with my granddaughter (Walgreens' old classic recipe is on line). We have a ball making them and the results are great. I brag on the new Ninja appliance every chance I get.

                    1. re: Florida Hound

                      Walgreens has a classic recipe for malteds...?

                      1. re: MacGuffin

                        I am posting here, to make sure MacGuffin gets my reply, and also starting a new thread since we're drifting away from countertop appliances... An employee at Walgreens in Chicago is credited with inventing the Malted- a "Pop" Coulson, in 1922. A link to that history and info about milkshakes, etc:

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkshake

                        But you also asked about the Walgreens recipe, and I found one on-line at:

                        http://www.grouprecipes.com/75263/old...

                        The one I copied down a few years ago is a variation as follows:
                        2 Cups vanilla ice cream
                        2/3 cups cold milk
                        2 T malted milk powder (Horlicks brand or other brand
                        )2 T chocolate syrup
                        Dampen your glass and place in freezer for a short time.
                        In blender, combine these 4 ingredients. Cover and process until smooth.
                        Get the glass out of the freezer and pour the malted into the chilled, frosted glass.
                        Top with:
                        Dollop of whipped cream, "cherry on top."
                        Serve immediately. Yield: 1- 2 servings.
                        In our house, we sometimes add "our secret ingredients," such as a capful or two of vanilla extract, and a small tray-full of very mini ice cubes (prior to any blending).
                        Also, at our house, with my background as being from the New York area, the chocolate syrup brand has to be Brooklyn's U-bet brand. The soda fountain people at a Walgreens in Chicago in 1922 probably would not get out the U-bet.
                        Enjoy,
                        Florida Hound

                        1. re: Florida Hound

                          Thanks! I became aware of this malted milk powder elsewhere on Chowhound some time back and plan to look into it one of these days: http://www.ctlcolfax.com/ctlfoods.html . Nice that you can get U-bet where you are. :)

                  2. re: c oliver

                    my immersion blender is mounted on my wall next to the stove so that "technically" doesn't count as "on the counter".

                  3. re: fauchon

                    I'm like "fauchon," and believe less is better. On one end of the kitchen is an espresso machine. On the other end of the kitchen is the stand mixer. There is a toaster in between, but it's really getting on my nerves because it's clutter.

                    There is an electric kettle I use every day to make tea, but I don't even leave that on the counter.

                    There are a few appliances we use, like the immersion blender, and I did recently acquire a convection toaster oven (see? I need to get rid of that countertop toaster) because I bake bread a couple of times a week, but don't want to heat an entire large oven to do it. The small oven is out of the way on a shelf, and it works great.

                    But a rice cooker? A bread maker? We have pots and bowls for that sort of thing. We have a waffle iron, but I've recently managed to concoct a great pancake recipe, so...anyone need a waffle iron?

                    1. re: UnoakedChardonnay

                      ""anyone need a waffle iron?"""

                      talk to scuzzo, he cooks everything on a waffle iron! ;-)).

                    2. re: fauchon

                      i love my immersion blender.
                      it hardly takes up any space in the drawer.

                      1. re: fauchon

                        Where does one stash said items? My cabinets are full, the tops of cabinets too. The counter seems like the logical storage place. Prefer to avoid attic since it is two flights of stairs and basement is dusty.

                        1. re: melpy

                          Now that I have moved Inhave stashed most of my appliances in the pantry. On the counter remains: toaster oven, toaster and kitchen aid mixer. I have so much more work space!

                      2. You might find this thread from a few months ago interesting:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5674...

                        I've since then started keeping my KA stand mixer on the counter because I'm using it alot and it's too heavy to bring down from the top shelf of the pantry which is the only shelf tall enough to hold it. Still a minimalist. I don't decorate with books or stereo equipment either :)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          kitchen appliances decorate my bedroom.
                          microwave on the table, dish drainer on the other table, kitchen aid stand mixer, blender (cause it fits behind like a champ)
                          espresso machine, coffee grinder
                          and water filtration system.

                          I don't do pictures, books... and the stereo equipment is part of the computer, for betatesting.

                          cherry knife block on topof the fridge.

                          1. re: Chowrin

                            i have a friend who has an "appliance garage" in one corner of her counter; consists of a piece of wood attached to bottom of adjacent cupboards. hides several larger things like blender, bread baker. etc.

                            1. re: betsydiver

                              If we had large counters with a big corner, I'd build an appliance garage. If I were going to build a new house one of the features to include definitely would be a walk-in pantry with shelves big enough for the appliances listed as well as the normal food items.

                          2. I have a few hand made pottery pieces which are my canisters and my spoon holder for all my hand made spoons. Toaster, Coffee Maker, micro, my wrought iron plate holder hand made, s/p and not much else. I have a wine rack and glass rack but with an apartment. I seriously downsized. I still hate an empty counter, looks cold and bothers me, but also hate it cluttered. I have just enough. Now with an apartment you never have enough room..

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: kchurchill5

                              Agreed about the space issue. My knives w/ their block, the cuisinart, the kitchenaide (I've got the 5-speed pro and I swear it's got to be at least 30 lbs - probably wouldn't move it even if I had someplace to stash it), and the french press stay on the counter. And, of course the microwave, but where else would I put it. The rice cooker and blender(s) get put away, but that's because they fit in the cupboards.

                              Although I'm rather neurotic about clutter, I think the thing that really helps is that all of my stuff matches and is on the minimalist side (black and stainless steel).

                              1. re: adrienne156

                                Mine may be all pottery and good pottery however, they do match. I have an art degree major in advertising, commercial art and interior design so ... yes, they match. My pet peeve as well. Not black and stainless, but all matching. I hate non matching items. Picky I admit.

                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  3 majors - wow! That must have taken awhile. My neurosis is purely self imposed (I have a "pre-law" L.A. degree). :o)

                                  I've been toying with the idea of getting a hanging rack for my kitchen, but I don't know how my landlord would feel about me drilling the 20+ holes it'll need to bare the weight and then having to pull the mollies out when I leave. Oh, the joys of living in an apartment...

                                  1. re: adrienne156

                                    I drill away. Only way I can survive ...

                                    Spackling is a great fix :)

                                    1. re: adrienne156

                                      My god, do NOT hang a pan rack from a ceiling with molly bolts! Well, unless you want it to fall down on you one day while you're in the middle of making a marinara sauce! Find the ceiling joists and screw large substantial hooks into them, then use chains, that can hang at an angle, to mount your pan rack. And the holes from the bolts are quite easy to cover and repair when/if you move with no harm to your damage deposit refund.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Actually mine are mollys, but really good ones. Chains, 8' ceiling, they would be hitting me in the head :). It is a small rack, ceiling flat mount with hooks for the pots. I will have more holes to fix than I can count with all the things I have hung just to try to gain extra room. Never lived in an apt, so from a very large house to this was a shock. Thank god for spackle.

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          I vote your way, C1. The thought of molly bolts holding up heavy metal items over my head makes me shudder. I'd rather have nothing than that.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            My bolts hold up to 100 lbs. Contractor grade bolts. I could hang from my rack

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              Boy, they obviously make things differently where you live. I wouldn't trust a molly bolt for that kinda weight. MAYBE a toggle bolt but, nah, wouldn't want to risk it on a ceiling. Walls fine. Even if the bolts themselves hold, it could pull down the whole dang ceiling. I hate suing my tenants but I also don't hesitate to :) Sticking with C1 on this.

                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                Kim, it doesn't matter whether your molly bolts are certified to hold up to 27 tons! The PROBLEM lies in the gypsum board (dry wall) that the molly bolts are hanging from on from the other side. Gypsum board is unpredictable. Many things can compromise its integrity, or whatever integrity it has to start with. Age, humidity, thickness of the board used, the climate where you live. All of these things play a role on how strong the board is. Add that to the fact that NO gypsum board is certified to support ANYTHING hung from it when used overhead. Yes, yes. I know. You're an interior designer. Well, I daresay I have more years as an interior designer and architectural consultant than you've been alive, so PLEASE, Kim, if you want to live very dangerously by hanging a pot rack from YOUR ceiling with molly bolts, that's fine, but PLEASE do not advise others to live dangerously too. Use heavy duty screw-in hooks or even lag bolts (if you have attic access to the kitchen rafters) that attach firmly to the ceiling joists to hang a pot rack. Be safe!

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  I never advised anyone to ... I was just replying to your comment. I have mine up with very strong mollys. I wasn't disagreeing, but mine is very sturdy and I would never suggest to anyone how to hang something. Everyones situation is different. I just mearly said the molly work for me and is very strong. I wasn't trying to tell anyone or to fight over how to hang something at all. I just told you how I hung mine. That was it. And chains are great but not the type rack I could use or have due to the height.

                                                  Is this about mollies of cookware appliances? I'm really sorry I even made the comments I used mollies and they work

                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                    Again, Kim, it has absolutely nothing to do with what kind of molly bolts you have used but relates to the material your CEILING is made of.

                                                    But you do have me wondering just how tall you are. My last kitchen had 8' ceilings, my pan hanger was suspended from it with chains, I had all sorts of pots and pans hanging from it with NO problem. I'm 5'7" tall. The only one I recall having a problem was a 6'4" friend who managed the problem by tilting his head to the side when passing under that particular pot.

                                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                                  K

                                                  Jfood has to agree with C1. He would NEVER hang anything from a ceiling with Mollys. Take the 100# rated mollys and hammer them into whipped cream and pull, then hammer them into 1" steel and pull. Major difference.

                                                  The reason so many racks do do go directly onto the ceiling but are attached via chain links is for 1) aethestics and 2) find the studs to attached safely.

                                                  Jfood does not even attach shelves in the little jfoods' rooms for trophies with mollys. Why? The mollys work great but they "slide" out of the holes ever so often.

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Jfood may not have put the togglebolts (UK) in correctly and ensured that his toggley bit had untoggled. Jfood may well have been trying to put them in an insulated wall where results frquently go awry.

                                                    For the cost of a return flight to NY I will happily instruct Jfood in ensuring a he has a jolly molly and not a boondoggle toggle.

                                                  2. re: kchurchill5

                                                    why dont you find a joist to screw into? Would be a lot safer than those moly bolts.

                                                3. re: Caroline1

                                                  I appreciate the concern and I apologize profusely for my silly comment as it was taken a bit more seriously than I intended it to. I often forget that much is lost in translation on the internet (I would never drills 20 holes in a drywall ceiling, perforating it to basically create a giant easy-tear hole). :o) But, Caroline, you are certainly correct, one would have to find a load bearing beam - aka a ceiling joist - and then use a heavy duty screw (I would probably use a longer lag screw w/ a larger head or fitted with a washer) then chains, and then the mollies if I felt they were necesarry for extra support (toggle bolts would be more appropriate even though the lag screws would certainly be adequate).

                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                            rather than perceiving it as not enough room, i think of it as too much stuff. i moved from a 3 bedroom house with a pantry to a loft with almost no storage. a serious down-sizing of possessions beforehand.

                                            all that is on my counter are the 2 hand-made pottery wine chillers i use for cooking utensils, a glass jar of brittany salt and a kettle which stays on the stove-top. salt dish and pepper mill on back of stove panel.

                                            i do not own a microwave and dirty dishes in the sink are not allowed.

                                            yes, i entertain often, but having worked in professional kitchens, i'm not much of a gadget person.

                                            until this thread, i have never even heard of an iced tea maker! good golly, boil water, steep tea, pour over ice, lol.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              I've actually seen an iced tea maker in someone's kitchen. It's been a year ago probably and I still scratch my head over that one. I have an 8 cup pitcher that's perfect for steeping tea. I've never liked 'one trick ponies' and that seems like the ultimate :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                We combine iced tea (rooibos) with fruit juice at home as our mealtime beverage of choice. We make our iced tea in a 1-litre (2-pint) glass jar, and then store it in the fridge. We got the glass jar when we bought bulk honey, so no additional costs. One of the most used items in my fridge!

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  I kwym about one-trick ponies, and philosophically I agree, but when I hear people who have something like that that they LOVE and use all the time, it starts making sense to me. I mean, try parting me from my coffee grinder & espresso maker - not likely! I adore them and they certainly don't do anything else - in fact, it takes both of them *together* to get me my espresso, so maybe they're really 1/2-trick ponies!

                                                2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  I make fun of my own iced tea maker all the time. I don't remember what possessed me to buy it. Mr Coffee brand, $15 from Target a few years ago. But we use it ALL the time during the hot months here in AZ...where are plenty. I know I can easily make iced tea without one of these but for whatever reason this stupid machine is a well-used well-loved un-necessity in our house. LOL It gets way more use than our microwave and I swear if we had to pick between the two the microwave would be gone.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    I have my 7 or 8 main items and that is it. I agree, I don't have much. Coffee Maker!! A must, 1 small, 1 large processer, A must!! immersion blender in cabinet, hand mixer with or without but I do use it. Knives and good wooden spoons and my cast iron. Oh yeah toaster and micro. There you go. I could do without the rest

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      Yes, it's a one-trick pony but it was much easier to use an ice tea maker than it was to get my pennsylvanian born husband to get the dang proportions right with the boiling hot water, the time to let it all steep the ration of hot water to cold water and the right amount of ice. Now after 8 years of marriage later I've got him well trained, we moved on to the electric kettle and the rubbermaid pitcher but I still have to mark the pitcher with the little lines that let him know how much hot water, how much cold ater and how much ice.

                                                      We take iced tea pretty seriously down here in TX, and wherever else it's the "house wine." I do have a beautiful big french copper kettle that stays on the stovetop and my kitchenaid mixer (agreed, too heavy to use) along with the coffee maker stay out permanently.

                                                  2. Toaster Oven and Microwave. Now that the weather is warming up the iced tea maker will come out and sit out until things cool off again in October.

                                                    That's all on the counter. I will confess that the Kitchen Aid, Nespresso, Food Processor and blender live on the bottom shelf of my butcher block cart so while they aren't on the counters they aren't necessarily out of sight completely either. Easy to grab when I need them and not cluttering up the counters when I don't.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: ziggylu

                                                      MY FP would be on the counter if I had room. I barely have room for what I have.

                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        I use the FP so infrequently it should live in back closet. I hate the thing to be honest but it is handy for the very rare things I use it for(unfortunately my pie dough by hand is not yet as good as my pie dough in the FP. ONce it is I may just dump the thing). I have yet to be convinced its any kind of time saver though given what a bitch it is to clean.

                                                        1. re: ziggylu

                                                          I can't believe you feel that way. I love my FP. If it isn't out it would not used, but I bet I use it every other day!! I slice, mix, grate, chop!

                                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                                            slice with a knife or benriner for larger qty or very thin, consistent slices(gratins)
                                                            mix with a whisk or spoon
                                                            grate with a microplane
                                                            chop with a knife

                                                            I really only use mine for pie dough. My DH might use it occasionally but if he does he has to clean it, I won't go anywhere near it.

                                                            However, I AM the one with the iced tea maker on the counter. ;)

                                                            Seriously i loathe having to using the FP. THere's no way it's a time saver by the time you put it together, use it, take it apart and clean it.

                                                            1. re: ziggylu

                                                              FP pie dough is always going to be better than by-hand pie dough IMO! FPs were made for making pie dough.

                                                              You're the second person I've heard complain about how hard they are to clean - seriously, I don't get this. First, they're dishwasher-safe; secondly, half the time I don't even bother to put them in the dishwasher because it's so easy to just pour in some hot water and a squirt of dish soap, give it a 30-second spin, and voila! Clean FP!

                                                              1. re: elsiecat

                                                                I'm with the hard-to-clean crowd. I don't use my FP for anything other than veggies. Anything with oil/animal protein is just too hard to get off the inside of the feed tube. I love making pie crusts by hand, the texture is far easier to control and you don't wind up with library paste. I make 'em five at a time, wrap and freeze. They keep for a long time, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

                                                                1. re: blaireso

                                                                  If the feed tube is hard to clean, then don't use the feed tube. Just put the product with oil/animal protein in the processor bowl with the blade and then cover and process.

                                                          2. re: ziggylu

                                                            I bought an iced tea maker from WalMart. The price was very low so I got it, and diswcovered that it was really badly designed. I quit using it and won't buy uber-cheap appliances there again, I think their 'specials' like that are dumping grounds for bad designs.

                                                          3. Only 2 things out on my counter are a 2 slice toaster and a set of canisters. Everything else is tucked away. i was gifted an Immersions blender (Wolfgang Puck) set recently but have to admit I have not used it as I will need a spot for it. I love to cook and am in the Kitchen all the time, but love to have the counter clear. It's a struggle..Crazy huh?
                                                            Maybe I should revisit that Immersion thingey..What is it great for again?