Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Must Have Kitchen Appliances

A food processor is a must have for any kitchen. I have had the Cuisinart Food Processor for many years. It saves a lot of time in the kitchen.

Kitchenaid Burr Coffee Grinder-Purchased it the day after Christmas on sale for $129 at Williams Sonoma. Metal/glass. You can set the grind from course to very fine. The very fine setting does not grind the coffee as fine as I would like (powdery texture), but it is good enough to make espresso. I used the espresso grinds to make espresso ice-cream and the espresso grounds had a grainy texture in the ice-cream. I use this machine every other day.

I purchased a Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer a couple of months ago, also from Williams-Sonoma for $299. It was pretty much the same price everywhere, except amazon had it for $269. It looks nice, but I have to say I don't use it as much as I thought I would. I don't bake that much but I imagine it's especially for someone who likes to bake. Hmmm, I have used it to mix meatloaf as well as the inside part of a wontons. The mixer made these tasks so much easier. Other than that, I haven't really used it. I did purchase the juicer attachment and the ice cream maker attachment. Juicer attachment was annoying since the juice kept on dripping down my arm. I made a great batch of ice cream with the attachment, but quite honestly, making ice cream is a whole process. You have to freeze the ice cream bowl 24 hours prior, make the ice cream from milk/cream, eggs and sugar a couple of hours before (slowly cooked under low heat), then refrigerate, then filter. Once all that is done, you can finally put the mixure in the ice cream bowl attachment. I've only made ice cream once since the purchase. This is the reason I don't make bread, only quickbreads. Too many steps.

Bialetti Cappucino Maker - Purchased from Williams-Sonoma also for $89. Also sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Crate and Barrel and Sur La Table all for the same price (different colors are offered). Make great cappucino at home on the stove (medium heat). It did leak a bit at first, but I finally discovered a way to consistently screw the top and bottom together so it won't leak. Also, a bit hard to clean. The top part where the cappucino is finished gets a slimey feeling from the milk, so you have to clean right away with a sponge. If you wait to long to clean the slimey parts, it becomes caked on from layers and layers and then you have to scrape it off with a metal object. Never use soap-it will slightly alter your cappucino flavor. If you don't mind the cleaning, this thing makes great cappucino. It also makes latte (you just add more water, but use the same amount of milk and espresso grounds) and don't press the button down which makes the foam of the capucinno. I've used at least once everyday since I purchased it, except recently. The last week or so, I've been making iced coffee with my espresso maker below.

Stovetop espresso maker - I purchased my 3-cup from Cost Plus for $12 last year. I've seen it at Ross for $5. This thing is so cheap and totally worth it. I had just learned about the stovetop espresso maker when I went to Italy in April 2006. I wish I had learned about it before. This think is so easy to maintain. Easy to make espresso, easy to clean. Never use soap. I pour the espresso over ice and cream and sugar. Yum. Tastes so good.

Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker NS-KCC05 (3 Cup) - Best rice cooker I've ever owned-proudly states "made in japan" on front. $129 (free shipping, no tax in ca) on amazon. I purchased mine brand new thru amazon 3 years ago for $59. I am convinced amazon had a pricing error since every other place had the same rice cooker listed fro $119. I should have purchased more. Its claims of "making perfect rice every time" are correct, as long as you follow the directions. Very easy measuring system, takes only seconds prepare rice. Light, easy to put away, also has retractable cord.