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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Chop Sizzle Wow: cookbook / comic mash-up with 50 recipes

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The name Chop Sizzle Wow sounds vaguely like a Japanese cooking show, so I was surprised to discover that this delightful cookery and comix mash-up is actually derived from a classic 1950 Italian cookbook called Il Cucchiaio d’Argento, or The Silver Spoon. That grand work had 2,000 recipes, boiled down here to a svelte “50 step-by-step kitchen adventures.”

This large-format cookbook is categorized into the usual suspects: appetizers, pasta, main courses, and desserts & baking. But the main difference from most cookbooks is that each recipe is presented in a page or two of sequential art. It’s Mario Batali for the Marvel and DC crowd – or for anyone who learns best from visual aids. The illustrations, though, are less superhero and more quaintly utilitarian. These aren’t the gorgeously rendered drawings in Cooks Illustrated, but they do the trick and fit the format. Aside from the occasional size relativity issue, it’s quite clear what each of the illustrations is portraying, and they make it easy to envision the dish from start to finish. In an age of effortless photography, one has to marvel at the time taken to put each of these little drawings on paper.

The recipes are quite basic as well. Each set of ingredients is depicted at the top of the page and is a good reminder that tasty, wholesome food can be made with few ingredients and basic methods. There’s no molecular gastronomy here to scare off the kitchen first-timers. Kids will no doubt enjoy learning with this book, and the slick splatter-resistant cover will keep the book looking good when they do. Read the rest

The best hot sauce recipe

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I usually avoid hot sauce because I'm afraid it might contain onions and/or cilantro, both of which are loathsome by any objective standard. Here's a hot sauce recipe from my friends Kelly and Erik at Homegrown Evolution that sounds perfect. Read the rest

Simple, space efficient grater set

Easy to use, clean and store, this grater/slicer set has replaced my box grater and my mandoline.

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The best can opener I've owned

Fighting with a can opener is zero fun. This OXO locking can opener is my absolute favorite!

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Quickly peel a hard-boiled egg by shaking it in a glass of water

I haven't tried this fast eggshell-peeling method yet, but I hope it works as well as it does in the video. Read the rest

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