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I buy a lot of cooking gadgets. (Hello, my name is Mike, and I have a gadget problem.) Most of them aren’t worth it, but a some become trusted tools.
Looking for a stocking stuffer for the home cook in your life? Here are the inexpensive kitchen gadgets that I love from the last year.
Instant Pot Mini-Mitts - I love these tiny potholders. (As I talked about here.) The mini-mitts are designed to pull the pot out of an electric pressure cooker, but I use them with everything from baking sheets to cast iron pans. (Honorable mention to the Le Creuset fingertip potholders - which I use only slightly less than the mini-mitts).
Chef-n Fresh Force Lemon Juicer: I go through a lot of citrus in my kitchen, and I depend on a citrus squeezer to get the job done. (I always buy the lemon size, and use it on lemons, limes, and smaller oranges.) The gear driven lever makes this a easy squeezer2 - my wife, with her smaller hands, loves it even more than I do. I worry about the durability of plastic handles, but they are hanging tough after a year of use.
GIR Ultimate Spatula: The first of two new spatulas in my kitchen. This single piece silicone spatula is firm enough to loosen fond on the bottom of a pot, flexible enough to scrape the edge of a bowl, and goes in the dishwasher for cleanup.
Victorinox 6-inch semi-stiff boning knife: I didn’t think I needed any more knives in my kitchen. Then I used this boning knife in a butchering class at Certified Angus Beef last June. I ordered one the moment I got home.
Full Circle Dish Brush: This is my go-to cast iron cleaning brush. The stiff bristles make it easy to scrub the pan; flip it over and the sharp edge of the cap is a scraper for extra-tough jobs. Two tools in one!
Mercer Culinary Fish Turner/Spatula: This flexible spatula is strong enough to scrape the bottom of a cast iron pan, but bends enough to slide under the edge of a chop or fillet.
IMUSA Sunburst Tortilla Warmer: The tool that we used the most this year, hands down. This warmer makes it easy to heat tortillas in the microwave, and we do love our taco night.3 Put a stack of tortillas in the warmer, and then microwave for the time on the bottom (10–12 tortillas, 1 minute). Let the tortillas sit in the warmer while you finish the rest of the fixings, and taco night is ready to go.
And, my two favorite geeky cookbooks from 2015:
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science: Kenji Alt’s encyclopedia of food science. I’m still working my way through it, and enjoying every moment.
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail: David Arnold takes on cocktail science. (Notice a theme?) This one is actually from November of 2014, but hey, I didn’t get it until this year. And, when I say “I” didn’t get it, I mean I got a copy for my wife, the chemistry teacher. It was a gift that kept on giving - she is also the family bartender, so I got all sorts of fantastic drinks out of this one.
Looking for something more? Check out my suggested tools list for the following types of cook:
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