julia child, mastering the art of french cooking, julie powell, french cuisine

Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

As I’ve mentioned before, Santa was good to me over the holidays. And why not? I was good all year long. I mean, think of all the fun I missed. Think of all the fellas that I didn’t kiss. Next year I could be just as good, if he’d check off my Christmas list. …Wait… that wasn’t me. That was Eartha Kitt. Ah, well. Apparently I was good enough to get some good loot. Among the great clothes and books and new board games (I think we’re addicted to Qwirkle), Santa also brought me a slew of items for my kitchen. What can I say, he knows me. (“I KNOW him!!” Name that movie.) I thought I’d share them with you to give you ideas in case you need to find the perfect something for that foodie friend of yours. I’ve categorized the goodies to give some order to our lives (new year’s resolution, anyone?) – today’s post is all about gadgets.

C is for Cookie, and that's good enough for me!

Item #1: Cookie Press
Long before Julia Child wandered into my life, I really enjoyed baking. Cooking I hadn’t quite mastered, but baking I could handle. Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, you name it. Granted, most of my recipes came from a box mix, but they were tasty just the same. So I’ve had my eye on this little gadget for awhile, and this year it made its way onto my wish list. Perfect for making spritz cookies, the press comes with 12 different shape disks for a variety of pretty cookies. The idea is that you pack cookie dough into the press, attach a disk to the end, then squeeze the pump and force the dough through the shape disk, creating an assortment of fancily shaped cookies. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it looks neat. The best part? You can use softened cookie dough from a tube! Know any bakers? They might like one of these.

Perfect slices every time!

Item #2: Perfect Slice Pie Cutter
I once attended a wedding with a friend who was asked at the last minute to be in charge of cutting/serving the wedding cake. I could see the look of panic on her face and she confessed to me she was terrible at cake cutting, but being the loyal friend she was, she accepted the challenge. (Incidentally, while her pieces really did look terrible, nobody seemed to mind – the cake tasted great!) The point is, I’m not very good at cutting cake either. You wouldn’t think it would be such a difficult thing, but there’s just something about cutting equal size pieces that gives me fits. So this handy slicer is a great idea! A one-piece tool, you simply fit it over your pie/cake/quiche and press down, and voila! Perfectly sized pieces! I’m eager to try this with Julia’s quiches…because so far, I have failed at Quiche Cutting 101.

Clearly, I did not receive a manicure for Christmas.

Item #3: Stem Gem Strawberry/Tomato Stem Remover
I know, this thing looks like some sort of science fiction weapon from the future, but really it’s a stem remover. It’s about 3.5″ long, and all you do is push the button to open the little metal claw on the end, insert it into the strawberry/tomato and release the button. Twist and pull to remove stem. Ta-daa! Isn’t modern technology amazing? While I haven’t tried it out yet, I’ve got a box of strawberries in my fridge that are going to be my test subjects tonight.

These are almost too pretty to use. Almost.

Item #4: All-Clad
Cookware
These stainless pots and pans are amazing! Not only have they been great to work with, but they’re surprisingly easy to clean. They also came with a bonus gift…a cookbook and a new pair of oven mitts! (If you’ve noticed the burned holes in my current mitts, you’ll see what a joy this bonus truly is.) Note to purchaser: if giving these as a gift, I recommend also including a bottle of Barkeeper’s Friend, a cleaning product that’ll help keep these pots and pans shiny and new.

So far, so good, wouldn’t you say? What about you…have you used any of these items? Feel free to leave a review – good or bad – in the comments. We’ve still got more coming your way, including “Cookwear” (aprons), “Reading Material” (cookbooks), and “Miscellaneous” (treasures galore!). Stay tuned, and happy cooking!

– Jessica

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One Response to “Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty”

  1. Gwen says:

    spritz cookies are harder to make than what it seems! The temperature of the dough is critical – too cold – won’t press thru = too hot – they do not set up! But fun! All clad cookware is really good! Now let’s see some recipes again!!

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