Apr 152010
Authors: Madeline Novey, Michael Kalush

Open any drawer in a foodie’s kitchen.

Among the knives and measuring cups are alien-like whisks and devices that seem to belong in a medical lab.
But not to worry. We’ve got the solution to your utensil ignorance.

Here’s a list of those gadgets chefs of all levels should know and use, those that are lesser known, even among top cooks, and those tools that have no place in the kitchen –– ever.

Underused – Microplane

Everyone has used a grater to shred cheese over Mexican food, but how many have used the grater’s more intricate cousin, the microplane?

Appearing in many forms –– stand-up, hand-held and somewhere in between –– the microplane is used to more finely shred, or zest, anything from nutmeg and cheese to the rind of any citrus fruit.

This handy tool can be found at any kitchen store or online at the following places:
The Cupboard / $9.95 to $14.95 / http://www.thecupboard.net / 152 S. College Ave.
Williams-Sonoma / $16.95 / http://www.williams-sonoma.com
Crate&Barrel / $14.95 to $34.95 / http://www.crateandbarrel.com

Meat tenderizer

No one wants to wait overnight for steaks to marinate. And as Mike put it, “I want my tender meat, and I want it now.”
For great meats fast, use a meat tenderizer –– there’s two kinds.

The first is the mallet, which looks like it sounds. Simply pound a piece of meat while pulling outward on its edges. Eventually, the meat will become softer and cook up nice and juicy.

The second is a tenderizer with sharpened columns that act as little needles, puncturing the meat and allowing for marinades to soak in. The device looks like a hand-held stamp used on postal or legal documents.

Find the meat tenderizer at:

The Cupboard / $11.95 to $35.95 / http://www.thecupboard.net / 152 S. College Ave.
Williams-Sonoma / $28 / http://www.williams-sonoma.com
Crate&Barrel / $14.95 / http://www.crateandbarrel.com

Unusual –
Onion Goggles

Onions bring tears to the eyes of even the most insensitive person. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a good cry session, especially when food’s involved.

One company has come up with a product that’ll keep your tear ducts dry throughout the cooking process. Known as Onion Goggles, these souped-up sunglasses have foam seals to keep pervasive onion fumes away from your eyes.

While we think you’d save money buying a pair of cheap Speedo goggles, here’s where to buy those made for onions, not water.

The Cupboard / $21.95 / http://www.thecupboard.net / 152 S. College Ave.
Tundra specialties / $15.49 / http://www.etundra.com
Amazon / $19.95 / http://www.amazon.com

Unnecessary –
Dash Pinch Smiggen measuring spoons

These novelty spoons are ridiculous. Dashes, pinches and smiggens are negligible measurements that are better made by feel, sight and taste. And while the three spoons run $3.95 at The Cupboard on College Avenue, your money is better spent on one of the store’s candies or chocolates.

Garlic Zoom

The simplest way to get garlic is: take a garlic clove, break off one of the clove’s pieces, crush the piece with the flat edge of a large knife and put the crushed pieces into a hand-held garlic press.

But the Chef’n company decided to make the process more … childlike?

They created a small, two-wheeled contraption that minces garlic cloves using small blades contained in a tiny, clear globe. The blades spin as the user rolls the wheels back and forth across a countertop.

For $9.95, this little plastic gadget would appear to have a shorter lifespan than most garlic presses, most of which are made of stainless steel. The small wheely motion, however, seems more fun.

Staff photographer Michael Kalush and Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 6:10 pm

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