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Your best big gadget\tool?

I know I'm not alone on this site for lusting after a bigger mixer or a gas range, even a commercial one. Sometimes it's because something I do is really slow but often it's because I perceive that something will make me perform better, faster, etc... etc...

I'm trying an electric pressure cooker "Instant Pot IP-DUO" and a "Eurodib S2F1" induction cooktop.

These may not be big ticket items to some of you but for me I'm hoping for a year of messing around to experiment with them.

What are your favourite, perhaps outlandish, purchases that you enjoy in your kitchen?

Why?

Its ok to be completely honest. If you love the item because you think Batman had one, that's ok :).

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  1. I thought my Breville Smart Oven might be just an overgrown toaster, but oh, it is so much more than that!

    10 Replies
    1. re: kitchengardengal

      That is next on my list. My son is older now and I think we will get so much use out it, plus my ancient toaster is…errr… toast!

      I have yet to find them on sale. WS, BBB, Macy's, etc all list Breville as an exclusion when they have sales and coupons. I am waiting for "tax free weekend" so at least that will save me $$.

      1. re: kitchengardengal

        Just bought a toaster oven, and I seriously considered the Breville (altho' Mr. P. 'bout fainted at the price). However, I needed an oven that would hold a 9x13 pan, so the choices became limited. Got a Hamilton Beach, so far, so good. Next will use the convection function, then the rotisserie for chicken. Still like the idea of the Breville, though.

        1. re: pine time

          The full sized Breville fits a 13x9 as long as it doesn't have extended handles.

          1. re: rasputina

            Yeah, my mistake--I was looking at the smaller Breville.

            1. re: rasputina

              Just out of curiosity, how well does the Breville stay clean? My toaster oven is horrible - although I'm not the best at keeping it clean......but it is so hard to clean. The glass is all brown, and that will not come off.

              1. re: rudeboy

                Mine stays pretty clean, other than crumbs. I have one of those liners on the bottom tray. We mostly bake and toast in ours though. I don't cook a lot of meats or things that splatter in it.

                  1. re: DebinIndiana

                    DebinIndiana - but I'm a dude. Can't it just magically stay clean? No, I'll admit, you have a good point....

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      <Can't it just magically stay clean?>

                      Mine does. At least, that's my presumption, since I never clean it.

                      I brush off the crumb tray once or twice a year, just for grins.

            2. re: kitchengardengal

              ohhh i am coveting one of these. it's on my wedding registry and if i don't receive one it'll be the first thing i buy.

            3. My gaggia icecrean maker. I bought for my parents back in the 80's and it was practically my whole paycheck. I took it back after he died and it is still going strong!

              1. Most used has got be the Breville Smart Oven. We have the full sized one and it's used numerous times a day.

                Second would be my Ankarsum mixer, I just love it and wish I'd bought one years ago. The most used attachment has to be the meat grinder.

                My pressure canner, I use it mostly for canning stock but it's so nice to have jars of homemade stock ready to use and not wasting freezer space or requiring thawing.

                Brød and Taylor proofing box. My only complaint is it doesn't fit a half sheet pan, but it is great. My cats think it's the perfect thing to lay on top of so it doubles as a cat tree and proofer all in one LOL Only problem is only one cat can use it at a time.

                1. Probably my Sansaire (sous vide machine) and my sausage stuffer. Neither of them were really outlandishly expensive, though. As soon as I get outdoor space, however, I am TOTALLY splurging on a Big Green Egg!!!!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Oh man, we LOVE our Big Green Eggs. We have 2 larges. I should have put them on my list.

                    1. re: rasputina

                      I hate you. GREEN with envy here! :)

                      1. re: rasputina

                        Is it the easy and style of cooking with the egg that you like? Or do you just love the taste?

                        1. re: Sigurd

                          Food retains moisture better, which I think is due to the radiant heat from the ceramic. I love how versatile it is, you can sear a steak and do a pizza at 800+ degrees or maintain 225 for 24 hours on one load of charcoal. Due to the thermal mass it excels in maintaining even temperature even in the snow. It's great as a smoker and a great grill.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            I want one so badly....I had forgotten about my BGE envy ARGH - alas I just spent a grand on roof repairs so no BGE for now

                    2. I love my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker - not super fancy, but I use it ALL the time.

                      Second is my KitchenAid blender. SO many uses beyond drinks. I basically never haul out the food processor because the blender will do the job...and I HATE cleaning the fp.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jbsiegel

                        I bought the same ice cream maker and tried to use it once without success. Could you give me some guidance and perhaps a recipe that you like. I bought the Ben and Jerry ice cream book but it seems so complicated. I would like to make some recipes that are not too high in fat - if that is possible.

                        Thanks in advance for any suggestions

                        1. re: lukfam

                          I am REALLY lazy when it comes to ice cream. I don't do the whole cooking/egg thing. I mix up the base (usually in the blender), let it sit in the fridge overnight so the sugar, etc. can dissolve, and then churn in the morning.

                          I keep the ice cream canister in the freezer so that it's always frozen solid. I also make sure the base and any add-ins are cold. Works great for me.

                          As far as low fat...no such luck - sorry! I make my base with 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 and 2 cups of heavy cream. My go-to recipe is a brownie batter:
                          1.25 cups brownie mix
                          .25 cup cocoa powder
                          .5 cup sugar (I use slightly less)
                          2 tsp vanilla
                          pinch of salt
                          1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
                          2 cups heavy cream

                          I blend the brownie mix, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, salt and 1/2 and 1/2 until mixed. Then add the heavy cream and blend until just mixed (don't want to over-whip). Let it sit overnight in the fridge. Give it one last jolt on the blender before pouring into the canister to churn. I churn about 20-25 minutes and then add any add-ins.

                          You can easily adapt the above recipe, but that's the basic that I use.

                          1. re: jbsiegel

                            Thank you for taking the time to reply. I hopefully will give it a try in the near future.

                          2. re: lukfam

                            I, too, have a Cuisinart ice cream maker and have had great luck with gelato. You might want to try gelato instead of straight up ice cream (calls for more milk than cream). Though I don't think anyone would consider what I make low-fat. ;)

                            But my favorite kitchen thinG is my new candy apple red Kitchen Aid mixer with the glass bowl. I had a cobalt blue KA for many years and always coveted (even publicly on this site!) that sexy red mixer. When part of my old mixer fell off (no kidding), I was all to happy to snatch up the new one. I even picked up the dough scraper attachment--bonus!

                        2. What I enjoy the most in my kitchen is looking at and using all of my Italian majolica ceramics that I have collected over the years.

                          1. Hi Sigurd -

                            No, not the Gaggia Ice Creme machine that my wife stubbs her toes on continually, and wants removed from the house.

                            No, not the immeasurable boxes of spares and odd kitchen tools in the closets and garage.

                            Yes, on our Rösle Küchenfolienschneider, Schneider für Frischhaltefolie. Or in English, a kitchen foil paper and cling wrap dispenser.

                            Not inexpensive, not a necessity, but very useful and practical for us.

                             
                            10 Replies
                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              :)

                              I commend your lady wife and remind her that patience is a virtue.... :)

                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                Ok now I want one of those. I like my other Rösle products. My only concern is the cats playing with the rolls and unraveling them. They love to do that with toilet paper.

                                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                  I LOVE that, Swissaire! Can you tell me if it can hold more than two rolls of paper? I've got a drawer full of paper products (heavy duty foil, regular foil, non-stick foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, wax paper) and unless the dispenser could hold all (or most) of them, it wouldn't be practical for me.

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    Hi CindyJ-

                                    It is 22:03 here now, and by my simple math, you have 6 rolls of various kitchen paper.

                                    The dispenser only accommodates 2 standard-sized rolls, so you would either need 3 dispensers, or another solution.

                                    You did bring up an excellent point, being the elimination of a drawer full of paper rolls. Or freeing up said drawer for another purpose, which resulted for our paper drawer on or kitchen island.

                                    We removed all, and 2 more under the sink, and now keep those on a pantry shelf. We only require the 2 (foil and cling paper) for 90 % of the time in the kitchen, but the cling wrap is much faster and easier that we use it more.

                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      I always detested parchment paper in roll form so now I buy the flat sheets from King Arthur Flour; I took a sheet to Container Store and found a plastic box with lid that they fit in just right. It does go in a kitchen drawer but just thought I'd mention it.

                                      1. re: walker

                                        I love love love my parchment paper flat sheets. If you search out bakery supplies you will find places where you can buy the sheets by the box. It is much more economical!
                                        I left them in the box and just cut out a strip in the front so that I can access them easily.

                                        1. re: walker

                                          Even Amazon sells 1/2 sheet pan sized parchment for 20% cheaper than KAF.

                                          1. re: rasputina

                                            That's good to know! Does anyone have a favorite half sheet pan? I used to have the gold ones from Wms-Sonoma but they got stained, now I have the $12 ones from W-S and they get stained, too. Do they all get like this? (I never put them in dishwasher.)

                                            1. re: walker

                                              I use these: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001MS3P6/?...

                                              Mine are 4 years old and stlll look good. I usually use parchment, though not always. Maybe 90% of the time.

                                              1. re: walker

                                                NordicWare. Made in USA and you can get them very inexpensively on Amazon. I'm pretty sure they manufacture the gold pans for W-S.

                                      2. Without my Copco kettle and my Bodum French press nothing would get done in my house. Ever.

                                        3 Replies
                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                            My Bodum SS insulated French press is the start of every day - I have an old now Alessi Michael Graves kettle that has lost its little bird whistle and ball handle the most two used items

                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                              That was my AM duo until a month ago when the Copco lost its whistle and had rust inside. DH bought another brand and it sucks. I may thrift shop the new one and buy another Copco.

                                            2. As seen on TV - my versatile little Magic Bullet. Love all the cups. Only $50.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                don't tempt me I don't need more things - how many things can I get rid of if I get one?

                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                  Right off the bat, JTPhilly, I tossed my mini-cuisinart chopper thing to goodwill, and I haven't used my blender since (although I'm keeping it because it is pretty on the countertop). If you have a dedicated grinder for spices, as i did, you can toss that, as there's a chopper blade for nuts and dry spices (and I like the little cup used for that because it keeps them all close to the blade). I tried grinding coffee beans with it, but I actually think that my grinder does a better job (and it's pretty), but it will definitely work. It has a grinding attachment for ice, but I've never used it. Some people still may have ice grinders.

                                                  I didn't buy it for that reason, as it was just an impulse buy, so I realized only after I started using it that "hey, we can get rid of these things." Easy to make ice cream shakes for the kits, and the blender pitcher thing is about as big as my blender's. If you don't really like your blender, you could store it now and then give it away later. The bullet will certainly NOT replace your new processor.

                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                    Well I may be sold.. next time I am a few into the evening and watching infomercials I may just dial it in LOL.

                                                    I would be happy to drop the horrible mini-processer, second coffee grinder for spices and get my (not particularly pretty) blender off the counter.

                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                      Just so you know, JTPhilly, the Magic Bullet has gone big time. I got mine at Costco, but Target, Bed Bath Beyond, and others have it in stock now. They're all less expensive than Amazon.

                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                        I got one at Costco for my niece. College girls have lots of uses for Magic Bullets, from protein shakes to margaritas.

                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                          LOL I know I have seen them at target - but 2AM impulse buys are more fun

                                                2. my most loved gadget is my great-grandmother's Chitarra although I have not yet been brave enough to use it, I will though.

                                                  My most used is my programmable slow cooker

                                                  Most frivolous is the wine fridge

                                                  Most feared is the Mandolin

                                                  Most underused is the ice cream maker

                                                  Most underrated is the immersion blender

                                                  Most frustrating is the Atlas pasta maker - love the thing but it really is a project to use

                                                  I collect coffee making apparatus so I love all of them even the never used superfluous ones

                                                  I just got my first real grown up Cuisinart food processor - I have only had a baby one and a horrid blender/processor combo that sucked at both so I am excited about that

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                    "Most feared is the Mandolin"

                                                    I think mine will kill me one day. It sent me a blue heart.

                                                    Sounds like my next purchase should be an immersion blender, as everyone has been so positive with theirs.

                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                      I have an immersion blender but if you really want something pureed well (like a soup) it does not do that good a job and takes longer than a blender. Also, messy, splatters, esp. when you try to get to upper part. Just easier to clean than a blender.

                                                      1. re: walker

                                                        My blender is just about the easiest thing to clean ever. I just put the canister and the top in the dishwasher. Easy peasy!

                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                          Do you put everything but the bottom motor/stand in the dishwasher?

                                                          1. re: walker

                                                            Sure do. It's just the pitcher part and the lid. Right in they go.

                                                        2. re: walker

                                                          Immersion may be a little less effective, but it is much safer for hot foods than a traditional blender, you don't get the steamy exploding vortex that can happen when you put too much hot stuff in a blender.

                                                          1. re: walker

                                                            My experience has been that the immersion blender purees at least as well as my old blender (admittedly, a 1970s Osterizer, not a top-power Waring or Vitamix). Partly that's because it's easier to see what's going on, to control where the blades go, and to stir/scrape the food being blended.

                                                            Just this week I'm reading the Zuni Cafe Cookbook for the first time, and came across Judy Rodgers' tip for maximum smoothness while using an immersion blender: Remove half or more of the liquid to another container and buzz the solids and remaining liquid to the desired smoothness, then add back liquid until the texture is what you want. This might seem to defeat some of the efficiency of using an immersion blender in the first place, but I know it would have shortened the blending time for a spinach-green pea soup I made this spring (delicious, but really did take so long to reach smoothness that I had to take breaks to avoid overheating the blender motor).

                                                        3. re: JTPhilly

                                                          Get yourself a cut resistant glove to use with the mandolin .. I even use it when I use microplane grater to grate cheese. On a recent cooking show they were at Old Hen Inn and the male owner got a cut from using a mandolin w/out glove.

                                                        4. not sure if it counts as a big ticket item, but i'm in love with my kitchenaid stand mixer. i bake a lot and it's so beyond any mixer i've had before. i joke about if there were a fire in my house, the two things i'd save are the cat and the mixer.

                                                          (not sure if Batman had one - but he might have been interested, given that all the attachments can convert it to a meat grinder, juicer, pasta maker, ice cream maker, etc!)

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: poochiechow

                                                            And funnily...I DETEST my KA stand mixer. I hate the way all the ingredients get caught in the paddle, hate the way I can't reach in with my spatula to easily scrape (or clean off the paddle), hate the fact that the head doesn't tilt (on my model), just basically hate the thing. Makes me long for my old cheapo Sunbeam! (Although I do like the way it makes yeasted dough...)

                                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                                              no way! i've never heard of anyone hating theirs! have you seen this thing? http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

                                                              i don't have one yet but it's on my list. looks like it could be pretty helpful.

                                                              and if cake batter or frosting didn't get caught in the paddle, what would you have to taste?! ;)

                                                              1. re: poochiechow

                                                                I wouldn't mind if the cookie batter (my fav) got caught COMPLETELY MIXED in the paddle, but I am grossed out by the unmixed softened butter that gets caught in there. I have to carefully scrape all that out to be sure the whole batch gets mixed well.

                                                                I have one of the flexible scraper paddles that came out before KA started making their own. Why they didn't anticipate the need for one from day one is beyond me. But..the flexible scraper paddle has even MORE nooks and crannies for things to get caught in.

                                                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                  Ah, you've got a SideSwipe. I love mine. I rinses clean very easily, and batters and doughs are easily shaken off it into the bowl.

                                                                  Plus, it just plain works.

                                                                  Duffy

                                                                2. re: poochiechow

                                                                  YES! That's the attachment I mentioned above. It's great! And tastes good, too. ;)

                                                                3. re: jbsiegel

                                                                  I agree I hated mine too. I hate the overhead motor, I hate the mess when trying to add ingredients, I hate the crappy plastic housing of the meat grinder that cracked. I finally gave it to Goodwill a year ago after it sat in the box for a couple years when I replaced it.

                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                    Please tell me what you bought to replace it. Do you like it better? I swear...just bring my Sunbeam back and I'll be a happy girl!

                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                      I bought the Ankarsrum. It's a Swedish mixer that has been made for over 40 years. I've had it for about 2 years now and I still love it. It works differently than the KA does. First off it's a belt drive and the bowl spins not the beater. It has a completely open bowl because the motor is in the base. It has a roller and scraper that cleans the side of the 7 1/2 qt bowl. It can mix up to 10 lbs of bread dough ( 18 cups of flour). It also comes with a dough hook that can be used instead of the roller.

                                                                      It also comes with second bowl with a traditional double beater that is supposed to be for cakes and cookies. I only use it for whipping cream or beating egg whites though. The main bowl with the roller and scraper mix cakes and cookies very well and even frosting.

                                                                      I bought a bunch of attachments for it also. The meat grinder is larger than the KitchenAid so it processes faster and the housing and grinder parts are all metal.

                                                                      You can read more about it here

                                                                      http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/elec...

                                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                                        Oh yes...I've looked at those while trying to figure out what the "ultimate" mixer would be. To be honest, my KA hand mixer gets the most use right now in my house!

                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                          Hi, rasputina:

                                                                          Thanks for the link. This looks great, especially in light of the off-shoring and de-engineering of KA and others.

                                                                          A few questions, though. (1) Is it really a torque monster as the ad copy suggests? 600W sounds somewhat small to me, even considering it's belt-driven.

                                                                          (2) How accessible is the bowl while it's mounted up for scraping, adding stuff, etc.?

                                                                          (3) Does the scraper blade function as pictured?

                                                                          (4) Do you have many of the attachments? If they work well, this would be a huge plus for me.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            I really don't know much about engines and electricity and how watts and torque work together. I can say that I rarely run it over 1/2 speed. In fact the manual says not to run it over 3/4 speed when doing normal mixing, for a long time the older models were 450 watt IIRC. The higher speeds are for some of the attachments like the blender. The only times I've turned it up to 3/4 was beating egg whites and cream. It has plenty of power and it doesn't walk on the counter.

                                                                            The bowl is totally open even with the roller and scraper on. The scraper normally rides right against the side of the bowl but you can swing it a middle, and I do that on occasion if I want to free up anything clinging to it. The roller is on a spring arm that has a dial to tighten it to hold it in place where you want it in the bowl. But you can still move the arm to the middle if you want to pick up dough or batter. You basically adjust the roller arm depending on the volume of ingredients in the bowl so they don't ride up on the side.

                                                                            It's extremely easy to add ingredients. With yeast doughs though, you start with liquids and then add the dry ingredients. This machine is incredible at creaming and makes lovely textured cakes and cheesecakes. I've found that it mixes better when the fats aren't cold though. It won't beat cold butter into submission like the KA does since has a different action.

                                                                            Bread Beckers has a really good you tube video on using the mixer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMB4C...

                                                                            As for the attachments, I have the Grinder Complete package that Pleasant Hill Grain sells. It's the meat grinder, sausage stuffer, strainer, cookie press, pasta disks, and grater ( the nut and chocolate one).

                                                                            The grinder is really nice it's a size #10/ #12, IIRC the KA grinder is a #5, this one is notably larger and grinds faster. I only got the attachment set a few months ago and I've only used the meat grinder and the cookie press so far. I make cookies for Christmas every year with a star plate and it's really nice to have it auto dispensing for me. I just have to catch them and put them on the sheet pan. I was planning on using the strainer for canning tomato puree this year but my tomato plants aren't cooperating so I haven't tried it yet. I had the strainer for my KA and like it though.

                                                                            I have a Vitamix so I don't need the blender, but I am considering the slicer graters.

                                                                            The mixer is really popular on The Fresh Loaf and the people over there could probably explain the mechanics better than I.

                                                                    2. re: jbsiegel

                                                                      Hi jbsiegel-

                                                                      You might feel better if you knew that KA is THE ULTIMATE MARQUE for stand mixers right now here in European kitchens.

                                                                      We had an old model, possibly prehistoric, and decided to shop around and upgrade one week. We donated the entire KA stand mixer kit first, to make it final, in the style of Hernán Cortés with his ships in Mexico. No going back.

                                                                      The KA units had jumped astronomically, and are expensive in Switzerland, France, and Germany ( around 1000-1500 €/CHF ) for a good model and complete set. One nice salesman offered us a generous rebate if we "traded-in " our old model, but as that option was behind us, we felt it was time for a change.

                                                                      His offer got better as we headed out the door, almost too good, but we had made up our mind. I'm sure he thought we were balmy to turn down the opportunity for a new KA.

                                                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                        My sister hated her tilt - head KA because she had to pull it out in front of the wall cabinets to tip the head up. Now she has a mixer lift base cabinet in her new kitchen, so that's not a problem anymore.

                                                                    3. I want to buy a small deep fryer. Frying has always been a pain....does anyone have one and just love it (best big gadget/tool)? Or is it something that eventually goes to goodwill?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                        I bought one a few years ago with high hopes. The one I purchased sold itself as more healthier - uses less oil. It worked well but unless you do a lot of frying in my opinion it's a waste of money. To fill the container requires a lot of oil. Then, how often do you change the oil? Also, you have to store it with the oil. After I cleaned it out for the first time it went to "storage" and has not been used since.

                                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                                          I have one. It's ok. It's a complete PITA to clean. It's only real benefit is you can store the oil in it for multiple uses, vs having to empty and clean a pot on the stove and the fact that you can set the temp is nice.

                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                            Thanks lukfam and raspunita = exactly what I was looking for. I don't like wasting oil, and if I fry in my cast iron skillet or wok, I toss the oil each time. Seems like they'd make the basket bottoms and 1.3 up the sides as "crumb catcher" sized holes to reduce the gunk at the bottom. I haven't seen one like that.

                                                                        2. I bought a Cuisinart Elite processor. I liked that it has 3 different sized bowls. I took my 8 C. to my niece. She did not have one and with 4 kids to feed she can use it to save time. I sent her a pressure cooker a few years ago and that she loves.

                                                                          1. 1) Cuisinart Griddler. It's like a better Foreman grill thing that actually does a god job of searing and cooking steaks and pork chops as long as they're at least 1 1/4" thick and boneless. For the two of us it is perfect -- get a nice Char on the outside and then put a thermometer in and finish to temp. Also it does sandwiches, veggies. You can use it open as a grill too though I never have.

                                                                            2) Fasta Pasta. Interestingly this just got reviewed in ATK magazine. It's basically a plastic box that you put water and salt and your pasta into, and according to their chart, cook your pasta in the microwave for a total time (from cold water) of from about 10 to 15 minutes. I've had mine for several years, paid ca. $8 for it at Amazon, and have never made pasta another way since the first time I used it. I've given them as gifts and the recipients have loved them as well. This is another time, energy and heat saver, especially in the summer.

                                                                            3) My old metal steamer basket thing, the thing that looks like a flower that you put in the bottom of a pan. First I caught on to the recipe that I guess I saw on Chow Tips on cooking the perfect boiled eggs by steaming them -- since I use jumbo 7 minutes or soft, 12 for hard. Then I found it perfect for steaming corn on the cob -- 4 minutes for local just picked, 6 minutes for the Florida stuff you get in February that's bred to carry over for a long period of time.

                                                                            4) My smoker. Maybe this should have gone up higher on the list. I have a $800 Weber grill, but my $200 propane smoker gets used four times as often. And each time I use it I stuff it with enough meat for at least six meals. This past weekend I did a large roasting chicken, beef ribs, two bns chicken breasts, and sill had enough room on top to put a little foil pan with chicken liver for smoked liver pate. It is something that has to be monitored for a few hours so I might as well make it worth it each time.

                                                                            1. It would have to be my Blackstone pizza oven. So easy to use and doesn't heat the house on hot days.

                                                                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M2XU...

                                                                              jb

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                Way to go Junior !

                                                                                A 90 second capable Pizza oven.

                                                                                Outside the house and rotating too !

                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                    Hey, Junior? Wanna swap for a big-ass wine fridge?

                                                                                  2. My confectionery guitar cutter. Cuts a slab of ganache, pate de fruits, marshmallow, etc into dozens of perfect even pieces in a few quick steps.

                                                                                    http://www.dedy.de/en/products/cuttin...

                                                                                    My ice cream machine would be the most underused.

                                                                                    1. I love my Breville SmatOven. It's the bomb. And if a cutting board can be a gadget, I'll give honorable mention to my Boos island top. I can cut anywhere on my island, and do.

                                                                                      I'd be remiss if I didn't give a nod to my Presto Poplite popcorn popper,which makes the best popcorn ever, and it's the easiest thing on the planet to use. It's so perfect, that like the Bass-O-Matic, there's never been the need for a redesign. It's perfect in form and function.

                                                                                      But best of all? This is horrible, I know... but I really love our big-ass Vinotemp wine chillers. We've got two of them, holding ~500 bottles each. Wine never had it so good. It was brought back to me this morning how wonderful they are. We opened a '97 Buttonwood merlot that is lovely, and I would never have predicted this wine would last so long. It's in tonight's roast, and yum.

                                                                                      Batman didn't have one, but I'm pretty sure that Bruce Wayne's wine cellar is a Vinotemp design.

                                                                                      Duffy

                                                                                      BTW - We're looking to unload one of them, so if you're in need... just a thought.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                        Wow 500 bottles, It has to be as big as my kitchen LOL - my wine fridge holds 8 :)

                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                          Hi JT,

                                                                                          It fits perfectly into your basic 4-ft closet. By perfectly, I mean exactly. You'll need help moving it, they weigh almost 500lbs.

                                                                                          It doubles as a 250-pair shoe closet. Sweet!

                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                            Cause everyone needs refrigerated shoes!

                                                                                            Would love to have such a device, but I doubt it would make the decent and turn into the basement.

                                                                                            1. re: autumm

                                                                                              Hi autumn,

                                                                                              Sure it will. And it will do that demo work on the stairs you've been putting off at the same time.

                                                                                              One thing about this fridge, it takes a commitment. Once it's in place, it's in place. I doubt it could be moved when it's loaded. It's gross vehicle weight is about 2000lbs.

                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                I think we will pass on the wine fridge. When first moving in, we managed to get a sleep sofa stuck in the stairs, as we were 4 inches (4 INCHES) short on turning space at the bottom.

                                                                                                And I only have about 150 bottles in the root cellar, and with the contemplation of another pregnancy, I'm guessing you would be better off with the wine fridge

                                                                                            2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                              LOL Duffy - my house was built sans-closets in the 1860s (sans electricity, plumbing and people I think too) I will take 500 bottles of wine over 250 pairs of refrigerated shoes anyday!

                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                Just as well, JT. Without electricity your shoes will never get cold. Best stick with the wine.

                                                                                        2. My nicest knife - and the nicest thing I have in my kitchen - is a 240mm Sakai Yusuke gyuto, custom made for a lefty. I like it because it cuts like a lightsaber.

                                                                                          After that (and perhaps a few other nice knives), probably my nicest kitchen appliance is a Sous Vide Magic PID controller. It's already fairly outdated as home sous vide equipment goes, but I've gotten a lot of use out of it. Also, the more janky technology forced me to really learn the mechanics of the cooking technique.

                                                                                           
                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: wattacetti

                                                                                              And built to fit the proper hand. So few knives are. That's some thoughtful design.

                                                                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                              Beautiful. You should make that pic your avatar.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                Great looking knife. What steel? What material is the handle?

                                                                                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                                  The handle is ichii wood. Really nice look to it in person. The blade itself is made of hitachi white #2 carbon steel.

                                                                                                  There was a big thread about it when I bought it initially:
                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757992

                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                  ~$1000: Vacmaster VP 215C, use it for sous vide, compressions, infusions, quick pickling, preservation. Super versatile and I think it's a value at the price it is offered. Having the oil pump motor is a huge benefit I think. This 90 lb. beast lives on my kitchen counter since I use it so much, I buy vac bags by the 1,000 now.

                                                                                                  <$500: Kunh Rikon 8L pressure cooker, my favorite kitchen tool of all time besides my knives. Also love my Waring MX1200XT blender, never thought I'd use it so much. A lot of the time I use the pressure cooker in conjunction with the blender and a fine strainer or cheesecloth.

                                                                                                  ~$200: I also love my Anova circulators, Dynamic Mini Pro immersion blender and Misono 270mm Swedish steel gyuto

                                                                                                  I'd love a proper kitchen but until a few years down the road when I own, I gotta deal with a shitty glass-top piece of garbage, no real ventilation, and a smoke alarm that hates me.

                                                                                                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                                    I'll get an anova circulator eventually. Initially I was holding off waiting to see how the reviews were. The reviews have been good, but the truth is I'm so used to rigging up the SVM that I'm not in a hurry to buy a new device, even one that's admittedly an improvement.

                                                                                                    Someday I'll buy a chamber vac, but it's still a little too pricey. That's a bigger hangup in my sous vide process than the lack of an immersion circulator. I'm a little jealous of yours.

                                                                                                    The swedish steel misono is a nice gyuto, btw.

                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      Oh weird, I don't know how my post replied to yours, meant to reply to the OP with the general reply button, oh well.

                                                                                                      The Anovas are good, definitely the only real choice out there, but I think the market is still in its infancy, you seen the Anova Pro model coming out soon? That looks really sick. I ordered one of the ones on Kickstarter too, I liked the option to adjust it for a lower or higher water level. I don't need it, may just sell it or gift it since I got 2 already, I'll see how I feel in October.

                                                                                                      Chamber vacs really need to go down, they're crazy fun. It just makes SV so easy. I've never done a ziplock, but I know ziplocks are the way to go for burgers, fish, and a few other things. Chamber vacs deform stuff sometimes, chicken breasts can look kinda gnarly occasionally, nothing a sear won't fix, but you gotta torch it or grill it because the surface is not even for a pan sear. I think I waste less food since I got a chamber vac, it's just so easy to seal and freeze something in the blink of an eye.

                                                                                                      Love the knife, my other gyuto is VG-10 (One of those JCK house knives, the "Gekko," line with the cliched hammer finish and that sorta faux damascus, good knife actually, just looks sorta cliched) and the differences are crazy when sharpening, and just general edge retention.

                                                                                                3. I've had my Waring "Ice Cream Parlor" since 1995, and we use it almost weekly. It's an electric ice cream churn that you put ice and salt in. We always have plenty of ice in the ice maker bin, but I don't usually have room for the canister type freezer bucket that they make these days. As long as we keep a couple packages of salt in the pantry, we're ready to make ice cream anytime. DH has been using Jeni's (from Columbus OH) recipe for vanilla ice cream, and he printed up one of her chocolate recipes to try soon.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                    Those old-school churns make the best ice cream. :-)

                                                                                                      1. re: lukfam

                                                                                                        Here's the vanilla:

                                                                                                        http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/va...

                                                                                                        And dark chocolate:

                                                                                                        http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                                                        And milk chocolate:

                                                                                                        http://leitesculinaria.com/80235/reci...

                                                                                                        When my husband and I went to Jeni's last month in Charleston, we had these - he had the dark, I had the vanilla bean and the milk chocolate. Hubby's been making the vanilla bean for a while, though, as one of our friends can't have eggs in a regular custard ice cream. This ice cream doesn't suffer for the lack of eggs. It's delicious.

                                                                                                        1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                          Hi kitchengardengal,

                                                                                                          Um, thank you? And a huge thanks to lukfam, too, for requesting your recipes.

                                                                                                          I will make almost anything with cream cheese. I might even dig out our benighted ice cream maker for this recipe.

                                                                                                          EDIT - BTW, I just received this oddball ice cream recipe from Purewow. It's easy enough, and made with stuff on hand... but ricotta? Well, why not?

                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                            A while back, when DH made the vanilla, he thought it would be perfect if he made it with all heavy cream, no milk. Oh my god, was it creamy. But it was just too slimy in the mouth. This week, I asked him to make it with the whole milk that the recipe calls for, and half & half instead of the cream. I like it this way - for one thing, I can have a bigger bowl, cause it's not 400 calories per half cup. Plus, I prefer the less greasy texture. I pointed out to him that using all cream is just making sugary frozen butter.

                                                                                                            We just recently found that Horizon Organics makes a lactose free half & half, and we use Lactaid milk in it, too, so we can finally have ice cream without (ahem) discomfort.

                                                                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                                                                              <We just recently found that Horizon Organics makes a lactose free half & half, and we use Lactaid milk in it, too, so we can finally have ice cream without (ahem) discomfort.>

                                                                                                              That's a recommendation I will definitely take, having experienced the very same ahem from time to time.

                                                                                                    1. I have rediscovered my food processor. I have several blades for slicing and grating, and I've discovered how easy it is to get julienned or grated veggies using various blades.

                                                                                                      I've never used the unit for mixing pie crust, but perhaps I should try that next. (Although I've made pie crust for decades with a KA mixer.) At any rate, I am discovering new uses for it, and it was definitely a major purchase about a decade ago.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                        The food processor makes pie crust in under 30 seconds. You'll never go back to using the KA for crusts!

                                                                                                        1. re: Susangria

                                                                                                          Thanks funny, because I went back to my pastry blender. Most of the time I just don't feel like cleaning the FP.

                                                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                            I thought I was crazy for doing this! I really prefer being "hands on" with my pastry dough, so happily went back to the pastry blender. (And I still sometimes knead bread doughs by hand, even tho' my KA does a fine job. I kinda like the kneading process.)

                                                                                                      2. Well, I'm torn.
                                                                                                        I have an electric pressure smoker that is just wonderful for bringing in pulled pork sandwiches when the teenager forgets to tell me he signed me up for food. 90 minutes to feed 30 or so people. I have a huge vacuum tumbler for quick marination and infusion. It can hold a 13 lb turkey. The souis vide oven so I don't "really" have to cook on work nights. The older style stainless vitamix.

                                                                                                        tough to decide. I could live without the break maker, but I use it a lot. I did give up the convection microwave.

                                                                                                        1. Probably my Lello Musso Pola 5030 Ice Cream Maker. It is a beast in terms of size and weight, not to mention cost, but well worth it as it churns ice cream in about 13 minutes that is exceptionally smooth, dense, and creamy. I made a 1500g batch of Roasted Carrot ice cream that went down nicely with the family.

                                                                                                          icecreamscience.com/lello-musso-pola-5030-commercial-ice-cream-maker-rev…

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: RubenPorto

                                                                                                            Your sister called...she wants her apron back :)

                                                                                                          2. Fortunately, you haven't limited us to one item. However, my #1 item at the top of my list of can't do withouts is my Juro Capressa superautomatic coffee machine. Well, espresso machine actually. Whatever you want to call it. It cleans itself, then it grinds my whole coffee beans, tamps them into a firm coffee puck, shoots high pressure steam to moisten the grounds in order to extract the richest flavor, then shoots through enough high pressure steam to condense into a super rich crema laden cup of the best espresso on planet earth! And all I have to do is push a button! I used to use one of the traditional, tamp-it-yourself espresso machines, but it was a lot of hassle before I got my coffee. So now I am spoiled... I just push a button! But it's not entirely hassle free... I do have to keep water in the reservoir, coffee beans in the grinder hopper, and empty the used grounds hopper when it is full. But all in all, I've never had better coffee anyplace in the world! Now, if only decent coffee beans weren't running at about $40.00 a kilo! <sigh>

                                                                                                            #2 fave, but not by much, is my Sous Vide Supreme stainless steel "water oven." I did a LOT of investigating, trial and error, and thinking before deciding on the SVS instead of a "traditional" external circulator pump system. First off, unless you have unlimited kitchen counter space (I do not)you will most likely want to break down the usual set-up for a circulator pump in a lidded plastic container when you don't plan to sous vide anything in the next day or two. Then there are the racks you have to use with the circulator pump set up to make sure water is able to flow freely around the bag of food. With my "water oven" everything is ready, it's compact enough it live on my counter top. I change the water once or twice a week, but unless a bag breaks (never happened so far) the water is good for more than one session. It's designed so that I can use it with or without interior racks because the bottom of the oven has a raised platform that makes it work just as well without a rack, meaning I can do much larger items than I could with a standard circulator pump set up that would fit on my counter top. I'm learning a lot about sous vide cooking every time I use it. For example, I've learned it is a great money saver if you like really tender medium rare beef because I can make a shoulder roast as tender and juicy as a tenderloin, except the shoulder roast has more flavor! I've also learned that I don't care for sous vide chicken. In my experience, it comes out tasting like post WWII canned whole chicken, and that was never one of my favorites. It has other advantages I have come to appreciate. Like it doesn't matter how many times a week I sous vide something, or how many days it takes to cook, I NEVER see it reflected in my electric bill! Living in an all electric house in an area where electricity is pretty darned expensive, that's a real bonus!

                                                                                                            So now, where am I probably headed next? Well, I have a one burner induction hot plate I've been cooking just about everything on for a couple of years now. It sits on top of my total electronic knob-free ribbon element ceramic cook top that I don't use any more because it is an energy hog! For a long time, my "plan" has been to replace the cook top with a GE induction cook top because GE has 19 presets in its induction units, which is more than any other induction cook top available on the American market. The number of presets in an induction unit are what determines how smooth the transition is from one temperature level to the next. GE is the best available for home kitchens. BUUUUUTTTT... Now I'm rethinking that and twice now, I have ALMOST ordered a new Volrath single burner induction hot plate because..... It has 100 presets, super sophisticated magnet management, and it's designed for front of the house restaurant use. You can temper chocolate on it WITHOUT using a water bath! And hold the chocolate as long as you like. You can make a stock that takes days without it automatically shutting down as long as you remember to stir the pot every couple of hours or so. It will heat a 14" pan from side to side. And it's in the $500.00 ball park, which is why I'm still thinking about it... My latest selling point to myself is that with the Volrath, if I ever move (joke!) I can take it with me. With the built in, I have to buy another one if the next house doesn't already have induction... I think I'm almost sold...! '-)

                                                                                                            Oh, and finally, OMELETTE PANS...! Two days ago, I made an omelette to die for in my ancient 8" CAST IRON frying pan!!! So now I'm banging my head against the wall and asking WHY I own a "non-stick" (NOT!) Swiss Diamond omelette pan, a Zwilling TruClad non-stick pan that isn't any more non-stick than the Swiss Diamond, not to mention several T-Fal and other "non-stick" pans when NONE of them work as well or are as non-stick as my well seasoned near ancient cast iron? Sometimes I have to wonder if I'm the Queen of Dumb or the Queen of Gullible when it comes to "non-stick." One things for sure, Queen of Smart I haven't been! But I am learning...!!!

                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                              I'm completely with you on cast iron over nonstick for omelets. They work fabulous.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                How can you do bigger items in a SVS compared to a regular circulator like an Anova? I have a full 20 liters of water I can put things in. You can definitely go bigger with a conventional immersion circulator, there's simply far more room. Not to mention you can see what's going on when things are cooking.
                                                                                                                I never use racks with mine and have never had any problems. I've put in 4-5 hanging tenders (small-medium pork tenderloin size) in mine at once and never had any problems.

                                                                                                                Interesting about your chicken experiences, I've found chicken to be juicier than ever cooked sous vide (I cook breasts to 59.5C for 1.5-2 hours).

                                                                                                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                                                  I understand your doubts about my comments re "bigger things," but my thinking was/is mostly about not having to break down and set up between uses. As a senior senior who needs help with heavy/heavier appliances the SVS is easy for me to handle in that my housekeeper takes care of changing out the water and such. As for problems with uneven cooking with a circulating pump, that was second hand information from an acquaintance who said he had a problem with a roast that sat on the bottom of his container and was not uniformly cooked because he didn't have it on a rack and failed to turn it. I believed him because it sounds logical to me. In a SVS, the "bottom" is perforated and about a quarter to half inch above the "true" floor of the unit, which gives me the freedom to use or not use a rack. I suspect that like all cooking equipment, we quickly come to prefer what we're familiar with. But given my arthritic hands, I do find the SVS works well for me.

                                                                                                                  As for chicken, I'm beginning to suspect I just don't like chicken all that much any more. I did some Vietnamese style lemon grass-ginger (large) chicken legs last week and was seriously disappointed by the texture more than anything. Theoretically, a good sear to the skin with a kitchen torch or on a grill and they should have been fantastic. They were not! My results on that dish are MUCH better when I make it the old fashioned way on a grill. To date, I've tried about five sous vide chicken recipes and concluded that sous vide chicken just isn't my cup of tea. Or soup! I think I used 140F for 2 hours, if I remember correctly, which was the consensus for sous vide chicken on several websites. The finished texture was surprisingly "dense," as in too close to tough for comfort. Maybe I did something wrong, but I'm low on incentive to try again when I get sensational results the old fashioned way. '-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                    I see, changing the water would probably be a huge pain for you with a 20 liter container.

                                                                                                                    I could see that problem happening with a roast if it was big enough and had a flat spot, I probably would rig up some sort of rack for that. The perforated bottom is great on the SVS. I hear it is great for making custards and stuff because it's easy to set the dishes in some water and have them heated to the perfect temp.

                                                                                                                    I only really cook chicken breasts sous vide, most other parts I cook a different way. I'm with you on preferring the grill for most chicken, especially dark meat. The flavor seems fuller, even compared to sous vide then torched chicken. I also think that a ziplock bag is best for chicken breasts sous vide because it doesn't compress them at all. I haven't tried it yet, but I recently heard that it is better than a sealer for chicken breasts.

                                                                                                                    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                                                                      I've heard the same thing about custards, but so far haven't tried them. I have thought about it enough to figure out I can do a crustless quiche by covering the top of the quiche dish with a round cake rack, then vacuum seal it and it won't get sucked out because of the cake rack protecting it. I just have to find a smaller diameter quiche dish than the ones I have now... Or maybe make a deep one in a souffle dish? Fun and games!

                                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                  Can you link to the Volrath induction burner you like? I would love to find one that goes low enough for chocolate.

                                                                                                                  Thanks!

                                                                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                    Here you go. And I was spelling it wrong. 2 "Ls"!

                                                                                                                    The best price I've seen is here:
                                                                                                                    http://tinyurl.com/qya4a3k

                                                                                                                    Amazon also carries it. And here's a link to Vollrath's original Introduction of it a year or so ago:
                                                                                                                    http://tinyurl.com/jvsbo7s

                                                                                                                    The MSRP is nearly a thousand bucks, but you can find it with steep discounts such as the first one above. Vollrath has now introduced this same unit with the 100 presets in a drop-in unit. When I win the lottery, I'm going to buy four of them, then have a new black granite top cut for my island with all four of them mounted in it SIDE BY SIDE! No more reaching across any boiling pots!

                                                                                                                    Now, note to self: Self, BUY lottery tickets! You can't win without 'em!!! <sigh>

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        Thanks. 80F is really low, sometimes the kitchen is hotter than that! That actually could be good with chocolate.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          <When I win the lottery, I'm going to buy four of them, then have a new black granite top cut for my island with all four of them mounted in it SIDE BY SIDE! No more reaching across any boiling pots!>

                                                                                                                          Like these induction tiles, for which I fell head-over-heels when in the '80's when I saw them at the Del Mar Fair one year. They could go in any configuration you wanted. I don't recall how many presets they had, but those Fasar tiles were too cool for Cocoa Puffs.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                            We first saw them at the same place! I used to live in Del Mar. The ones I recall (and tried very hard to find when I remodeled my kitchen, but to no avail) were hexagonal in shape and looked like hand painted Mexican tiles. Loved them! No longer available.

                                                                                                                            I forget who the current manufacturer is, but there are induction warmer units now available designed for installation UNDER stone counter tops for keeping buffet dishes warm. Tons of fabulous things you can do with induction if you have a rich imagination...!!! '-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                              <I forget who the current manufacturer is, but there are induction warmer units now available designed for installation UNDER stone counter tops for keeping buffet dishes warm.>

                                                                                                                              I've seen those online. Here they are: http://springusacom.siteprotect.net/p...

                                                                                                                    1. I don't have one, or a frequent need...but always wanted this

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          Food processor...really GOOD food processor - Robot Coupe

                                                                                                                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                                            Then I'd like a real robot, a la The Jetsons, to clean up after it's been used. :) C'mon over, Rosie!

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                                              Ahah! I have a "VERY vintage" Cuisinart, which was touted to be a first cousin of RobotCoup when it was new. Good grief! Its got to be coming up on its 36th birthday at least! Which is about the age of my Kitchenaid mixer. Neither has any plastic or nylon parts, just metal, and both work as well as when they were new.

                                                                                                                              I readily agree that a great food processor is a true kitchen joy! A vintage Cuisineart is probably pretty cheap by now, if you can find one. It might be worth a try? I have all sorts of blades and attachments for mine, which makes it fun. But I will admit that when I first got it, I was a bit miffed that matchstick and julliene veggies came out with a slight curve to them, but it is sooooo much faster than my chef's knife!

                                                                                                                          2. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                                            Serious drool.... ugly but oh, so functional!

                                                                                                                          3. Oh, what a fun thread!!

                                                                                                                            My faves:

                                                                                                                            Vitamix - could not live without it

                                                                                                                            Cuisinart - I have a pretty big one and a variety of blades, it's amazing

                                                                                                                            KitchenAid Artisan mixer - LOVE - I am a bread maker (totally hobbyist level!) and use it to start off all of my yeast doughs

                                                                                                                            Honorable mention: immersion blender and Breville juicer

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: RabbiBeth

                                                                                                                              I've had a kitchen for over 40 years, love to cook, but just finally bought a KA mixer (Professional) last year. The first time I had butter & sugar creaming and I could just walk away for a few minutes was a revelation! Glad I finally got one (altho' Mr. P. calls it "the door stop." Silly man.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                <Glad I finally got one (altho' Mr. P. calls it "the door stop." Silly man.)>

                                                                                                                                If a man says something but there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

                                                                                                                                Why yes, he is.