These three tools are invaluable when cleaning up, or cooking with, your cast iron skillet.
This threesome of scraper, chainmail scrubber and a silicone hot-handle-holder is pretty great. I use all three of these tools frequently, and certainly paid more for them individually. The pot-handle and hard plastic scraper are wear items and will eventually be tossed, but the chainmail should outlast you.
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This $7 paring knife feels good in my hand, and unlike my other paring knives it is not lost.
In my home, paring knives disappear almost as frequently as socks and Apple Lightning cables. I was buying really cheap replacements at the dollar store, but they'd pretty much come apart in my dishwasher after a few cycles. This Victorinox will be lost long before it breaks.
My parents gave me a Hamilton Beach Electric Carving Knife about 10 years ago, and even though I use it just a couple of times a year, I'm glad I have it when I have to carve a large turkey. If you've never experienced the joy of using an electric knife, this is your chance. Amazon is selling it for $15, including the fork. Read the rest
The old ice cream scoop we had wasn't really an ice cream scoop. It was a disher, and was more suited for scooping mashed potatoes than ice cream. When the trigger mechanism on it finally broke, I happily got rid of it and replaced it with the OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop ($15). This surprisingly heavy scoop is made from a solid chunk of stainless steel with a comfortable rubber grip, and comes with a pointed end that digs right into hard ice cream, especially if you run hot water over it. It's supposedly dishwasher safe but why put it in the dishwasher? Just rinse it and dry it with a towel. Read the rest
The reason it's hard to open jar lids is because the vacuum seal is pulling the lid tightly against the jar. Once in awhile, the vacuum seal is so strong that I can't open it. That's when I grab my Jarkey, a $3 plastic lever that effortlessly breaks the seal, making it easy to open. I always try to open jars with my bare hands, then use the Jarkey as a backup. My wife goes straight for the Jarkey, because she's smarter than I am. Read the rest
Soon after I started using my Paderno vegetable slicer in 2015 to cut sweet potatoes into curls, I bought an oven crisper pan. This thing is great. Instead of drenching the slices in hot oil to fry them, I just put them in a bowl, add a bit of salt and olive oil and stir until the slices are lightly coated. Read the rest
I've yet to find a hinged garlic press that I love. The ones I've tried are inefficient, fragile (especially the hinge, which inevitably fails), and not that easy to clean. I end up having to peel the unused garlic from the inside of the press, and my fingers stink for days. Everyone has their opinion about crushing garlic - my top choice is Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher, Press, and Mincer ($12). I've had it for over two years and I use it almost daily. Read the rest
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!
I have a nice espresso machine (a Rancilio Silvia) but I hate using the frother to make foamed milk for my cappuccino drinking guests. On our last trip to Ikea I bought this battery-powered milk frother. Wow, is it great. It whips up milk to a voluminous foam in a matter of seconds. It also makes matcha, cocoa, and butter-coffee with ease. Just stick the business end into the mug and turn on the switch. It's better, quieter and cheaper than one of those blender sticks. Amazon sells them for $6 including shipping. It takes 2AA batteries (not included). Read the rest
I bought this 3-pack of Enviroboard Microwavable Sterilization Antibacterial Cutting Board in 2015 for $35. They're on sale now for $24. Read the rest
I've tried a few different kitchen knife sharpeners (including this Cook's Illustrated recommended sharpener) and my favorite is the KitchenIQ Edge Grip 2 Stage Knife Sharpener. It's only $6 on Amazon, but it has held up splendidly since I bought it in early 2015. It's got a corner-shaped groove that fits into a kitchen counter edge, which prevents slipping. It gives my favorite cheap kitchen knife (the $12 Winco Acero 8-inch chef's knife) a keen edge. I use the coarse sharpening groove (I can see tiny shards of metal coming off the knife) if the fine groove isn't doing the trick.
Here's a demonstration of sharpener:
I also use a sharpening steel to keep the knife edge straight every time I'm about to cut food:
The reason it's hard to open jar lids is because the vacuum seal is pulling the lid tightly against the jar. Once in a while, the vacuum seal is so strong that I can't open it. That's when I grab my Jarkey, a $6 plastic lever that effortlessly breaks the seal, making it easy to open. I always try to open jars with my bare hands, then use the Jarkey after I strain my wrist. My wife goes straight for the Jarkey, because she's smarter than I am. Read the rest