3 kitchen gadget secrets

Product makers will label their new-and-improved gadgets as breakthroughs and new and better replacements for the old version that's sitting in your kitchen drawer. If you succumb to temptation and buy the new gadget, don't throw out your old tool just yet.

3 kitchen gadget secrets

Tried and true kitchen gadgets

  1. Discover the double boiler. This kitchen tool is so old but it never gets any hype, so it might as well be new and unknown. The good old-fashioned double boiler is a favourite of some cooks and cookbook authors because these pots are guaranteed not to scorch and they're great for keeping food warm. They are available in big and small sizes or you can improvise a simple double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. The bowl should sit over the water, not in it.
  2. In with the new, but hang on to the old. Graters are a great example of a tried and true kitchen gadget. The old-fashioned four-sided box grater, with different sizes of grating teeth, is still the best for grating tomatoes and cheeses such as cheddar. It also has small teeth that do a decent job on hard cheeses such as Parmesan. But a newer kind of grater, the rasp grater, does an even better job on hard stuff, like Parmesan cheese, garlic, nutmeg and chocolate. But it does a lousy job with the softer things, so hang on to that old one.
  3. Easy, improvised sandwich press. You don't need a special panini press. Some restaurant chefs recommend using a brick instead. Set your grill for about 120°C (250°F) or, if using charcoal, wait until the coals have cooled down a bit and are not too hot. Use some kind of substantial bread, such as a baguette, and slice off the domed part on top. Slice the loaf in half lengthwise. Depending on the size, you can probably get several sandwiches from one loaf. Put some cheese such as Swiss and provolone on both sides of the bread, and the filling goes between the layers of cheese. For a filling, use what's in season, zucchini or tomatoes with some simple cured meat for example. Put the sandwich on the grill and weight it with an ordinary brick wrapped in aluminum foil. The brick helps everything melt together and keeps the heat even. The sandwich should be done in three to four minutes.

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