This butcher's twine dispenser helps keep things in place

This stand stops my spool of kitchen twine from rolling off the counter.

Years ago I bought a loose spool of kitchen twine. My cat constantly knocks it off the counter. I finally finished that spool, and replaced it with this spool on a stand!

Seriously a spool of thread lasts so long that I want a stand for it. I like to keep it on the counter, and not in a drawer. I do not like it on the floor. I don't like it rolling around.

Thoughtfully, this stand even has a string cutter on top!

Regency Cooking Butcher's Twine on Handy Dispenser with Cutter for Meat Prep and Trussing Turkey via Amazon Read the rest

Lekue Cooking Mesh makes boiling veggies fun again

It's pricier than the five-buck alternative, but my Lekue silicone cooking mesh bag [Amazon] has survived dozens of boils.

Kitchen shears to spatchcock a chicken

I needed kitchen shears, so I might spatchcock a chicken. These do the job nicely.

This fantastic video from America's Test Kitchen has kept me busy. It involves fun uses of cast iron.

I'm eager to try the 500F heated cast iron steak searing method, the chicken was fantastic. I also just like saying spatchcock.

KitchenAid Shears with Soft Grip Handles, Black via Amazon Read the rest

I'm excited to try out a thermal cooker

I just ordered a thermal cooker, they sound like wonderful camping tools. Anyone got recipe suggestions?

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EveryDayCook – A welcome evolution from what Alton Brown did with Good Eats

I discovered Alton Brown during the last few seasons of Good Eats, and I was instantly a fan. You’ve got to appreciate someone who can make a good martini. Brown’s Monty Python humor and Bill Nye nerdiness was right up my alley. Since the show ended, he seemed to publicly take off his apron and put on a jacket, acting as host and performer in many popular shows, a podcast, and live road show. But, if you’re like me, and missed Alton behind the stove, then get excited. EveryDayCook feels like his triumphant return as a cook.

The book’s a welcome evolution from what Brown did with Good Eats. While you won’t find yeast puppets, you will find his familiar humor and meticulous attention to detail. Each recipe is broken down with Brown explaining how to prepare the dish in a simple and clear way. It’s very apparent that this was a personal project for him, and that he had a hand in every aspect of the book, even the photography.

Each and every picture in the book was taken using an iPhone. A 6s Plus to be specific. Why? Because he uses an iPhone. But then, because he’s Alton freaking Brown he takes it a step further, and uses a top-down perspective for all of the photos. Now for non-photographers out there, just know, this is an incredibly difficult angle to shoot at. There are lighting issues, shadows can be a nightmare, you’re left wondering what kind of masochist would do this? Read the rest

Joule turns sous vide from an experiment into an everyday cooking technique

ChefSteps Joule sous vide eliminates all the niggling inconveniences of other models and turns sous vide into a really useful, everyday technique. I've been cooking with it for months now, and I'm in love.

Sous vide cooking is a method of bringing the foodstuffs you want to eat up to their cooked temperature in a gentle bath of heated water. The protein changes are more predictable, flavors far bolder and less cooked out, textures not destroyed by high heat. I love the results sous vide produces but even the best of last years circulators kept it as an every-so-often technique.

The containers I found I had to use to match up with the depth, clips and mounting hardware of most units was a total pain in the butt. Over time I settled on using an igloo cooler with the then favorite circulator. It was larger than I wanted to keep in my kitchen, and needed more water than a California felt great about for making a few steaks. Sure, I could recycle the water but it just never felt like something I could do every day.

Here is what is so great about Joule: it has a magnet in its bottom instead of using a mounting clip. Even the best mounting hardware doesn't compare to this. If you have any pots that a magnet will stick to, you can sous vide in them. The Joule also runs with much less water than other units I've tried. You do not have to fill the pot up to where the exhaust hole in the unit is. Read the rest

Kraut makers delight! A $9 cabbage shredder

Xeni got me addicted to making my own kraut. Life has me addicted to specialized kitchen tools. Combine the two and I've decided I just love this cabbage slicer/shredder.

The strong handled, wide stainless steel bladed tool easily converts a cabbage into kraut size slivers. Perfect for mashing and smashing in your kraut jar. Gone are the careful slicing and cutting down of a cabbage with my chef's knife. This feels a lot safer!

Cleaning is as easy as rinsing the blade off and lightly wiping it down. The tool is also dishwasher safe.

If you like making kraut, this shredder is a cheap and easy way to cut down the cabbage.

Westmark Germany Cabbage Slicer with Stainless Steel Blade via Amazon Read the rest

Simple silicone garlic peeler

I am amazed at how well this simple, silly tube of silicone works. Simply crack the outer layers of skin on a clove of garlic, pop it into the cylinder of silicone and roll. The skin comes right off. My hands don't smell of garlic.

Rinse this off in the sink, set it aside to dry and it is ready for next time. One of the most useful, overlooked $6 kitchen tools I've got!

Zak Designs E-Z-Rol Garlic Peeler (Red) Read the rest

Ditch plastic food containers and get a 10 piece Pyrex set for $13

About a year ago my family started replacing plastic leftover containers with pyrex containers and we have been really happy with them.

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Silicone whisks are easy to clean

Using a whisk makes for better beaten eggs, hot chocolate, and the list goes on. I avoided using my wire whisks because the cleaning was always a bit more trouble than I cared for. Having been introduced to the kitchen wonder that is silicone, I am now happily whisking away.

For $13 lucky dollars this simple set of 4 whisks, 2 larger and 2 smaller, can not be beat. They simple rinse off under hot water. If I've used them on something more sticky, they don't take much effort to clean. They also successfully come clean in the dishwasher's utensil tray, my wire whisks do not.

Silicone Coated Wire Whisk with Stainless Steel Handles, Set of 4, Colorful via Amazon Read the rest

Rocketship salt or peppermill

This peppermill is really great. Not something I replace more than once a decade, I wanted a grinder that stood out and was fun. I've had a set of Shaker style ones, purchased in my late 20s, that just needed to go.

This Rocket is looks great. Standing at 14" tall this grinder is certainly part of the conversation. The Rocket feels well made, has adjustable coarseness and grinds pepper.

Potential buyers will be happy to know the fins appear slotted in, and unlikely to break off. They appear to be the weak link in the design. If a tip breaks, you can easily re-level the rocket with a few cuts.

Suck UK Salt and Pepper Rocket Mill, Brown via Amazon Read the rest

High-carbon Japanese whale-shaped chef's knives and pencil-sharpening knives

The Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kurouchi Kujira Whale Utility Chef's Knife is available in four models (the Type B has some clever handle-stuff going on -- and the charming, hand-forged kids' pencil sharpening knives are now available in the US! Read the rest

Bake a lot? I love my aluminum pizza peel

Perfect for getting anything I'm baking on my baking stone into or out of the oven, this aluminum pizza peel really comes in handy.

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Review: The Bitterman Himalayan Salt Block

I’m not much of a chef, but I really enjoy my newest culinary purchase. It’s the Bitterman Himalayan Salt Block, and it sure is pretty. Read the rest

Krups electric kettle with tea infuser

Amazon has a good deal on a glass Krups electric kettle. This model holds a liter of water, and you can set the temperature for different kinds of tea. It's regularly $156, and is on sale now for $50. Read the rest

Beautiful portable camping kitchen

The Camp Champ is a stately and elegant mobile kitchen with equipment and utensils for six that collapses into a compact wooden box. Its construction reminds me of a magician's stage illusion! Read the rest

Jackson Pollock has a cookbook and it's delicious

I used to have a bad attitude about Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings. I thought they were junk. Then one day a friend asked me if I’d ever looked at one of Pollock’s paintings in a museum. I hadn’t. He suggested I do and see if my attitude changed. I followed his advice, and after about 5 minutes of staring at the painting and trying not to judge, it won me over. I love Pollock’s paintings now.

Dinner with Pollock is a spiral bound cookbook that combines Pollock’s art with his own recipes. He was an accomplished cook, and especially good at creating tasty dishes from the kind of food typically available during the Great Depression and wartime rationing. Robyn Lea’s photos of Pollock’s borscht, blintzes, johnny cakes, hummus, Long Island clam pie, and dozens of other recipes are mouth watering. It’s another reason to love this amazing person.

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

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