Who needs an electric kettle? The stovetop kind work just fine! I don’t need another appliance cluttering up the place! I thought all of those things too. How wrong I was! I’ve had this bad boy for a day and I can not tell you how stupid I feel for not only doubting its awesomeness but also for not having bought this stovetop tea kettle one years ago.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty:
It’s fully stainless steal on the inside with the cap up top being the only piece near the water that is plastic. There is no funky chemical or plastic smell with this kettle. The heating element is in the base of the kettle, not the inside.
The water level markings, as someone else mentioned, are on the handle side of the inner chamber which really isn’t that big of a convenience unless you want to fill it to the max level.’
More here: Tips on buying a quality tea kettle
I wrote here about the lid no securing and was corrected! The lid DOES lock into place with a snap. It will automatically turn off as soon as water comes to a boil. I have a small studio apartment and can hear the “click” of this turning off no matter where I am. You can set the kettle down any which way on the base and it will work, there is no “secured position” that it needs to be. Handle may face any direction.
Another small feature I really enjoyed was the cord to this can be wrapped up INSIDE the base and secured so that while not in use the cord is completely out of the way. You can wrap it around once for a smaller cord or twice to completely hide it. Such a nice feature since I have such a tiny kitchen!
It heats up pretty quickly, faster than water on the stove. – Jaq
You might be interested:
I am an espresso addict and this is my first machine. I did a lot of research before buying and it became clear that this machine has the best internals, functionality, and reputation in this price range. I wish I could afford a really expensive machine but for now, this thing is awesome and makes great espresso every time. The process took a little getting used to (making sure I do everything right and keep the machine clean and running properly) but that I know what to do (watched some youtube videos and read some of the instructions).
I am making great espresso at home and know how to care for my machine so it lasts a long time. The process of making the perfect espresso is really part of the enjoyment of the whole experience. This machine has everything you need and is perfect for small spaces. I highly recommend this Delonghi EC155 espresso machine if this is price range you are looking at. It works really well and makes great espresso/cappuccino. The only downside I have found with this machine is that it is not very tall and you have to lean most cups over to use the steam wand but it is easily doable, but it would be nice if it was 1″ taller, but I still love this thing.
- Knowing the types of espresso machine
- Try these super automatic espresso machine
- Tips on making an amazing espresso
It’s surprising how many things one should consider when planning to cook a romantic dinner for two. Obviously, if you’re trying to impress someone, you want to deliver a meal that is both delicious and attractive, but what are the potential pitfalls to be avoided? First off – keep your menu on the light side. You don’t want to lull your date into a carb coma. Next up, opt for some fresh, bright flavours. Citrus is good for that, as are raw vegetables. Avoid raw garlic, or too much of any overpowering flavour that’s likely to linger on the palate long after dinner is done. Consider dishes in terms of how easy or challenging they are to consume. Watching someone gnaw on ribs or saw away at a steak is definitely not romantic. Even trying to daintily slurp up a bowl of long pasta can be problematic. Lastly, think about the time and effort. It’s usually better to have some of the elements made ahead of time so you aren’t shackled to the stove while the object of your affection is left neglected on the couch. I therefore present to you one suggested romantic menu for two, ideal for Valentine’s Day…or any of the other 364 days of the year. I hope some – or all – of these dishes can help you work a little of Cupid’s magic in your own kitchen.
Gougères (savoury cheese puffs)
These tasty little bites are said to hail from the Burgundy region of France, where they are often served at room temperature to accompany tastings in wine cellars although they also make regular appearances served warm as appetizers. Composed of only butter, water (or milk), flour and eggs, choux pastry puffs up beautifully thanks to the air incorporated by beating the batter vigorously, as well as by steam created while the very moist dough is baking. The key to gougères’ rich, delicious flavour is a few seasonings and a generous amount of grated cheese; Gruyère, Comté or Emmentaler are most commonly used. They are the perfect pop-in-your-mouth offering for parties and best of all, they can be made ahead – you can even freeze the shaped dough for several weeks and bake as needed.
Seared Scallops with Grapefruit and Vanilla
This recipe has vaulted to the very top of my list of dishes that I would eat day after day if I could. Buy the biggest, freshest scallops you can find and transform them into something magical thanks to this outstanding sauce.
Fennel, Apple and Pistachio Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
Salads perk up the palate in so many ways. Fruits and vegetables combined with a brightly flavoured dressing make for a refreshing element in a multi-course feast, or a delicious light meal all on their own. This salad hits all the right notes – it’s got loads of crunch along with touches of sweet, sour and salty. For a more elegant presentation, serve salads individually plated rather than in a large bowl. This way you can both divide the ingredients evenly and arrange the components a little more artistically.
What’s not to love about Pavlova? Meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruit – a perfect trio of textures and tastes. Named for the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the dessert was purportedly first created in her honour during a tour of New Zealand in the 1920s. Unlike traditional meringues which are usually soft throughout, the inclusion of cornstarch in Pavlova gives it a crispy exterior and adds to its delicate texture. In the past I have always made larger Pavlovas which can be rather tricky to serve; by shaping individual or miniature versions, that problem is eliminated and the dessert looks much prettier too! Two more great things: this dessert is gluten-free AND you can use lactose-free yogurt instead of whipped cream!
A paring knife picks up where a chef’s knife leaves off. It’s best for slicing and mincing items that are too small for an 8- to 10-inch blade, such as garlic, shallots, or strawberries. “Because the average paring knife blade is about 3 1/2 inches long, it’s a great tool for any foods that require an attention to detail,” McDermott says.
Avoid using paring knives to cut very hard vegetables, such as carrots, celery root, or parsnips. These smaller knives don’t carry enough weight to easily slice through the foods, which may prompt you to increase the pressure or tighten your grip as you’re cutting. “If you find yourself applying pressure at any point, you’re doing something wrong,” McDermott counsels. Forcing the cut is a signal that you aren’t using the right blade for the job, and it can be dangerous, too, causing the knife to slip. – Epicurious Tips
Victorinox Swiss Classic Paring Knife
“I have a few tools in the kitchen that no one but me is allowed to touch. My DH has jokingly (I think) dubbed these items “sacred” and so far has stuck to the rule. This knife is the latest addition to the Sacred Tool area.
I saw this paring knife reviewed on a PBS tv show. I was skeptical, even though the items on the show usually proved themselves. I just couldn’t believe that a knife at this price could be as good as they said. Needless to say, I was so very wrong. I have used this knife for things I’m sure would make the tv folks have a heart attack and it has come through with flying colors. It is amazingly sharp. It’s amazingly comfortable to use. It’s very light, weight-wise; those who prefer heavier or hefty feeling knives might not care for it. For me, it’s perfect. I have smallish hands and also have arthritis. The lighter weight and size are ideal for any number of slicing/cutting jobs in the kitchen. I don’t put it in the dishwasher (all the Sacred Tools are hand washed!) but I have poured boiling hot water over it occasionally to sterilize it, which hasn’t hurt it so far.
If I could give this knife 15 stars I would. I use it constantly and haven’t had to sharpen it yet. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I highly recommend giving it a try.” – Review by Amber
Jordan Milford put six ceramic chef’s knives through their paces and provided this complete write up revealing that not all ceramic knives are equal.
The knives were chosen based on an internet search for ceramic knives and ranged in price from $40 to $200. I then proceeded to contact all of the vendors to determine if they would be willing to provide samples and participate. Here are the other brands that I was unable to contact and/or refused to participate: Asahi (ASKB8H7), Yoshi, Silicone Zone, Boker, Stoneline. Note: Even though Kyocera refused to provide me with a sample, I felt it was necessary to compare against since they are the current market leader.
All of the knives were tested out-of-the-box because based on the same assumption made in the original test (i.e. that most readers will not be hand sharpening their knives). I felt this assumption was even more valid in the case of ceramic knives which pride themselves on holding an edge and not needing to resharpened. In addition, most manufacturers recommended knives be sent back for sharpening which I assume would return it to an out-of-the-box condition anyway.
I followed the same test procedure as Michael to evaluate the knives and decided to add one steel knife as a control. Originally, I was going to take the top knife from the previous test but had trouble getting a sample and also wanted to compare it to a knife I was used to using. I therefore chose the Calphalon knife that I use and purchased a new one to ensure it would be tested in the same out-of-the-box condition.
The following test procedures are taken from the original chef knife test performed by Michael Chu. The only change necessary for the ceramic knives was a small force was required to advance the knives. The ceramic knives weigh significantly less than steel counterparts and therefore the weight of the knife itself is not sufficient to complete the cut.
The Kyocera Revolution outperformed all of the other knives tested followed closely by the Victorinox and Kyocera Damascus. Surprisingly, I did not feel that the Kyocera Damascus knife functioned any better than the revolution (and not as well in some instances). At more than double the price, I believe that this knife may be only more appealing due to it’s look and not worth the price. The other ceramic knives functioned decently and are considered entry level knives but I do not feel that they are any better than a traditional steel blade. I do not feel that ceramic knives are ready to replace steel knives but find that I would utilize them in certain applications; I personally plan to utilize both.
Rice cookers are much more versatile than the name lets on.
Whether you’re a rogue chef experimenting with new kitchen tools or a college student looking for a be-all and end-all appliance, this gadget might be everything you need and more.
Basic electric rice cookers work by heating liquid in an inner pot to steam or boil the contents. Then, once the rice cooker senses a certain temperature, it reverts to a low temperature “keep warm” function. The most basic rice cookers have just two settings: cook and keep warm. Some are more complex, with options for slow cooking and precisely adjusting the temperature. Others — in our opinion, the ultimate rice cookers — sing a song to you when your rice is ready.
Having a rice cooker is like having a little sous chef sitting on your counter. Just pile in the ingredients and leave it to do its thing — it will turn off on its own, so there’s no need to stand by to watch it.
Things you can make in a rice cooker that aren’t rice.
Use the steam basket that comes with your rice cooker to “hard boil” eggs. The eggs will take 20-25 minutes, depending on how you like them cooked.
Depending on the oatmeal consistency you prefer, you may have to experiment with the ratio of water to oats. Use the directions on the oatmeal packaging as a starting point, and once you find the perfect combination, the process can’t be more simple.
Once you’ve measured your oats and water, pour them into the inner pot, stir to combine, turn the rice cooker on and wait for it to be done. Simple as that! Add in fruit and spices for a more exciting breakfast.
First, steam potatoes in your rice cooker until they are tender. (You can either place them in the steaming basket, or directly in the pot.) Then, mash the potatoes with butter and milk until they are the consistency you prefer.
Most rice cookers come with a steaming basket, which is an easy way to consistently achieve steamed veggie perfection.
You can also throw veggies on top of a batch of rice as it cooks for a healthy alternative to fried rice.
Click here for a venison chilli recipe.
Melt down chocolate in your rice cooker for the perfect pot of fondue. The warming function will keep the chocolate consistently melted and deliciously silky. Break out the skewers and let the dipping begin.
Macaroni and Cheese
This mac and cheese recipe is super easy (and cheesy). After you cook your pasta in the rice cooker and throw in the remaining ingredients, the magical gadget will do the rest of the work for you.
I must admit that I was initially used to taking coffee but now addicted to espresso. I simply cannot do without a cup of espresso especially in late afternoons when I relax from my hectic daily engagements. I believe that what has made me addicted to espresso is the latest espresso maker machine that is now part of my kitchen machines. The darker liquid of real coffee that comes off the machine simply makes my day.
I have used different espresso maker machines over the years and I believe that I have a thing or two to share with you on how to choose the best espresso machines.
My first espresso maker machine was a manual machine that i used to brew high quality espresso with great taste. It was also portable an used to carry it to the office. I still have it and the fact that it does not use electricity makes it possible to travel with it and still be able to enjoy my espresso wherever i go. However, the fact that its use involves some level of manual work made me buy a semi-automatic machine the moment they became available.
The semi-automatic machine features an automatic pump and temperature controls. I easily decide when to start and stop the pump. Although I liked the machine because of less manual work manual work involved and quality espresso, I wanted a machine that I could get less involved with. It is for this reason that I invested in an automatic machine that proved very easy to use since it could automatically control amount of water it uses in making espresso. However, it used to break down after some time due to the many electronic parts. This forced me to shop for a super automatic machine. I was lucky to find an all-in-one single boiler machine that features a built-in grinder complete with programmable settings. The machine has two thermostats; one that controls water temperature when brewing coffee and other for milk steaming. I can easily move from brewing coffee to steam milk by simply flipping a switch. It serves me best although I cannot brew and steam at the same time.
The fact that my latest super espresso machine is the best for me may not necessarily mean that it is best for you. You may certainly want to have control of how you make your espresso and a manual or semi-automatic machine will be the best for you. Mine works for me best because I can always make such other drinks as macchiato and cappuccino among other drinks. If a type you choose is capable of making such then it is the best.
In addition to the best type of espresso maker to buy, you also need to consider several factors to make it possible for you to choose only the best. You may need to consider how easy it is to clean and maintain the machine, its durability, size, available features and your drinking preference.
There is coffee and espresso and an espresso maker you choose to buy should be one that will serve you best. There are certainly different brands in the market and it is important that you read different espresso machine brand reviews to identify one that will serve you best.
I love my cookware! Heavy, beautiful, I enjoy cooking again! This set replaced pots I had had for years. My son is a professional chef and recommended these to me. I love the way they cook and the way they look. High heat isn’t needed because the heat is evenly distributed.
In return for this incremental trouble, you get to feel like a professional chef. The pots and pans are works of art to behold, with a beautiful mirror finish, very thick and solid feeling, and, yes – the heat really DOES climb up the side compared with bottom heating pans. They are just beautiful to handle and use. The lids fit well, are heavy-duty and are well designed with a concave shape (sheds condensation down the sides) – I don’t end up wishing they were glass. I expect these best cookware to last a lifetime.
I cook with induction, and the pans work great, and display very little “noise”, although I don’t have other pans to compare them with – not a factor either way. I could not be happier – and doubt that any other pan (AllClads included, which, yes, are wonderful pans too) would outperform or outlook.
More reading: Things You Should Know About Cookware
For the past 10+ years I have purchased several sets of “high end” non stick cookware including Calphalon and more recently ceramic based non stick cookware, paying anywhere from $130-$300 per set). I cook every day and typically use 2-3 pots/pans each day. The longest any set lasted was about 2 years, which seems way too short of a time.
This is my first set of stainless steel cookware. At first I was very nervous about having to use more oil, etc. So far it has not been a big issue. The only challenge is scrambled eggs, which I do cook a lot. If you let the pan sit for 2 hours, it cleans just fine. But I have opted to just buy a non-stick pan to use for eggs. (One pan every 2+ years for less than $15 is OK by me.)
After learning so much about how to pick a cutting board at Bernal Cutlery, I decided to ask Josh about the basics of choosing a chef’s knife. Bernal Cutlery primarily focuses on Japanese-style knives, but also carries new French knives as well as a selection of refurbished recent, vintage and antique knives from around the world.
Bernal Cutlery doesn’t carry the seven or eleven piece knife sets that are often found in cutlery stores, simply due to the fact that most people will never use seven or eleven different kinds of knives. Instead, Josh encourages purchasing the nicest possible chef’s knife that one can afford, and then building a knife kit around that central piece. If taken care of, a good chef’s knife can last more than ten years.
To the average home cook in search of a good chef’s knife, Josh recommends starting with a Japanese-style 210mm stainless steel blade. The alternative, carbon, requires more upkeep and care, as carbon blades are prone to rusting if left wet or with food on them (just ask Diane who almost cried when hers rusted on the drying rack because she hadn’t wiped the blade down properly). Also, if you are going to cut a lot of food that will cause the steel to react (think peaches, red onions or artichokes), wiping the blade clean during use will prevent the food from acquiring a slight metallic taste.
Many home cooks like myself enjoy the familiar weight of a heavy German knife. Japanese knives, on the other hand, tend to be thin and light, and may feel too delicate and unsteady for people used to more weight. Before testing recipes, I only used German chef’s knives. After using a Japanese-style chef’s knife during the day then returning home to a heavier German knife, I have decided to make the switch. I find that the Japanese knife moves easier, can slice thinner, and doesn’t leave my hand tired. For someone that cooks a few times a week, the difference between a heavy and a light knife may not be important, but for professionals or avid home cooks that spend hours chopping and slicing, a lightweight knife might make a big difference. Additionally, the thin, Japanese-style knives are great for fine vegetable work. The thinner blade does not wedge and crush the sides of vegetables, resulting in vegetable pieces with smoother surfaces, less oxidization and less discoloration. Josh, who encounters many fans of German knives, encourages his customers to give Japanese knives a chance by keeping a bag of carrots in the store for them to chop to their hearts content.
I asked Josh to recommend four knives for the average home cook, and to tell me a little about each:
This Ashi has an excellent edge life and is very easy to sharpen. Made in small batch production and hand forged from single steel, the Ashi is light and thin, but not as delicate as many similar knives. This knife retails for $220.
The Yoshikane above is a high quality, hand forged option that is slightly shorter than the typical chef’s knife. Constructed of three layers of steel: the outside is stainless and the core is more like carbon steel. This knife is easy to sharpen, but it also has a hard center and so it holds its edge well. The Yoshikane is thicker and a bit heavier than the Ashi. This knife retails at $180.
At $90 dollars less than the higher end Ashi, this Sakai has a similar outline but is a little wider and a little heavier, with a slightly shorter edge life. This is a good entry level knife with a lot of bang for buck, especially for those planning on using a whetstone at home. They make a stainless steel version of this knife that is slightly thinner. The carbon steel version retails at $130.
This gorgeous top-shelf Japanese knife is hand forged and features a powdered steel core with an incredibly long edge life that is easy to sharpen. The beautiful acid etched Damascas cladding breaks up the surface area of the knife and makes for smooth cutting. In case you can’t tell, I’d be beyond thrilled if my boyfriend took the superfluous language in this knife’s description as an indicator of what I would love to see under the Christmas tree this year. Unfortunately for me, this knife retails for $358.
In terms of knife care, Josh says there are three main culprits that cause a large percentage of the knife damage he deals with:
- The number one knife no-no is the dishwasher! Even though some manufactures state that their knives are dishwasher safe, don’t subject your knives to the high heat and caustic water of the dishwasher. Interestingly, stainless steel is a bit of a misnomer; this material stains less, but is not impervious to staining and rust.
- In terms of at-home sharpening, Josh recommends learning to use a good sharpening steel or a whetstone, and cautions that using a diamond steel or a pull through sharpener (especially two carbide blades or disks that shave the metal off the knife) can be very damaging.
- In terms of knife use, scraping on hard surfaces or wiggling and bending knives (such as cutting through a large squash) can do significant damage to both the blade and the knife’s edge. Using knives deliberately and making sure your cutting surface is soft enough to protect your knife’s edge both can go a long way to keeping your blade in good shape.
While there are many great cheap and low-cost espresso machines on the market, there are still some factors you will need to take into consideration before you purchase. Some of the things you may want to ask yourself include:
How much tinkering do you want to do with your machine?
Some people like to tinker with their espresso machines, and others do not! Some want to be able to press a button and have espresso rather than fine-tuning the machine settings. If that is the case, you may want to consider a super automatic machine or even a machine that takes ese pods.
How versatile do you need your machine?
Some machines only take ese pods and don’t have many brew setting, while other machines have multiple brew settings (check the espresso maker reviews), can take grounds and pods, can brew double or single shots, can accommodate both large and small cups, and can even froth or steam your milk. The more versatile the machine, the more money you will likely pay. However, it is important that you get a machine that suits your needs even if you spend a little more money because you will thank yourself in the long run! (Related information: The best espresso machine to buy for coffee fanatic)
What special features do you want to have?
Espresso machines have slightly different features and generally, the more you pay, the more features you get. Some extra bells and whistles may include a larger water storage tank, a built-in steamer or milk frother, low water level indicators, ready-to-brew indicators, a heated tray, the ability to do a double shot, and even the ability to brew your espresso directly into a slightly larger cup. If not having a certain feature will be a deal breaker for you, make sure to check that out thoroughly before you swipe your credit card!
The Breville Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker is a beautiful stainless steel espresso machine with a 15 bar pump. Its dual-wall filter system allows you to get the most delicious crema, it has a built-in enhanced frother, and even has a cup warming plate. The drip tray is removable for easy cleaning, there is a large removable water container, and the water container even has an external water window so that you can see when the level is low. For the price, this espresso machine really packs in the features. Breville is a trusted brand on the market that continues to produce quality espresso machines that receive high user reviews. Oh yea, it also comes with a one-year warranty which is fairly standard among espresso machines. You will need to purchase your own tamper and frothing pitcher.
“All I can say is WOW! My teenage daughters and I love espresso & designer lattes, This machine made it a BREEZE for us to give up all the overpriced designer cafes in our area. My uncle is a snobbish coffee drinker and spent over $1,500 on a fully automated Capresso machine. You could buy a couple dozen of these Breville machines for the price of his.. and you know what? It’s a few seconds more work but the coffee is JUST AS GOOD!”
I was shopping for additional 3 qt saucepan to add to my All-Clad (AC) collection. A friend recommended me these pots and pans to buy. When I looked it up, I found the set instead. Checked it out at the local kitchen store and I must say that the build quality and finishing is almost (95-97%) on par with AC SS set I have now. I love these new pans! I get a much better color on my meat and its easier to whisk, etc, on these than being careful on the non-stick Calphalon I own. While I have yet to clean them with the Bar Keepers’ Friend product to remove the discoloration from use, the stuck on food comes off relatively easy after a short hot water soak on the counter. Best part yet, the look fantastic when you take them out. I got many compliments about my shiny cookware during the holidays!
This set had nice rolled rims to allow pouring without a spill or mess, not so on my AC pots. Ditto for the brushed SS finish on the outside. The lids are a tad lighter than the AC lids but do not effect cooking. Decided to give it a shot for a little bit more that what the All Clad pot would have cost by itself. This set was made in China unlike the AC which is made in USA.
For the first test I sauteed onions and mushrooms, then cooked a chicken breast, and finally made a proper pan sauce. Don’t tell anyone, but I actually licked the sauce from the plate it was so good. No other pan I’ve ever owned produced such a rich and delicious sauce. I did experience some sticking on the chicken but it was because I didn’t dry the meat before placing in the pan. Lesson learned. Clean up was easy. I did experience a hazy residue in the pan after washing but I cleaned it up with some Bar Keeper’s Friend and the residue completely disappeared. I am very happy with the Cuisinart set and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for new pots and pans.
The fact that they are molded at the bottom.. and the tri-ply is NOT a separate part. My friend had pans that had the tri-ply on the bottom as a separate piece.. and after a few years the bottom of the pan came off! I’ve had this set for 2 years thus far. Easy to clean. Even cooking. Browns meat beautifully. Just enough parts of the set to meet my needs but not too many for clutter purposes. Biggest bonus is the price! Product is priced great and I like the lifetime warranty. I can see passing the pans on to my kids one day!