Thursday February 16, 2006

May We Recommend...

We have a few kitchen appliances and gadgets that really improve our domestic lives. We thought we'd share.

Convection Microwave

Micr930 One of the best kitchen appliances we've ever purchased would have to be our convection microwave oven! It's a Sharp Carousel Smart & Easy Convection Microwave (the R-930). We do almost all of our oven-based cooking in this! Some of our favorite features include sensor reheat, a "bacon" setting that won't burn the bacon, and two "mix" settings. Low-mix Bake (more convection heating, less microwaves) works wonders for (re)heating pastries such as Pepperidge Farms turnovers or frozen ham & cheese croissants. High-mix roast (more microwaves in the mix) works for perfect chicken, pork, hamburgers — any meats we've tried.


Electric Teapot

We both love hot tea but we're also both sometimes absent minded. After the second or third time we'd boiled a pot of water dry, we got a clue! Now we use an electric teapot. It shuts off automatically after the water boils so if we forget it, there's no harm done. Specifically, we have a Melitta Express Kettle.


Do you have pets? Do they try to help whenever you open the refrigerator? We have four cats and an Amana 22cu ft bottom freezer refrigerator. That's right, the freezer is on the bottom! It's so convenient; I can't imagine ever buying a "typical" top-freezer unit again!

Just Set it and Forget it

I used to think an automatic dishwasher was just... an automatic dishwasher. That is, I thought so until we replaced ours several years ago. If you don't have a timer on your dishwasher, you don't know what you're missing. Not only is the new machine quiet (and has a lightweight plastic door) but we can load it, set it to run some time after midnight, and then unload it in the morning. Bravo!

Non-stick and Heat-resistant

Have you seen all of the new silicone products for the kitchen? We have a set of trivets/pot holders. They're flexible and cool (and they stay cool even when wet). We've also see turkey basters (cleans up easily), scrapers (impervious to oils), and bakeware. I assume the cake pans need to sit on a cookie sheet to avoid spilling slosh on the way to the oven, but popping out cakes or muffins should be a snap!


Rich says we should mention the electric knife sharpener. Once or twice a year, the thing comes in very handy. We're not compulsive about knives; we don't need to split hairs. But we do want to be able to slice a ripe tomato without bruising.

I swear by my pressure cooker. My grandmother had one or two; my mother has one or two. I have two (6 qt and 4 qt). I can't imagine cooking vegetables without a pressure cooker. Three large artichokes come out wonderfully steamy and cooked through in 15 minutes. Broccoli is perfect in 30 seconds. My first pressure cooker was a gift from a friend of my Mom's who had had it for years, unopened. When she learned I planned to buy one, and wasn't afraid of it, she said "I'll bring mine to your mother tomorrow." (And no, neither I nor my mother has had a pressure cooker "blow up".)

Last but not least (although not a kitchen gadget at all), I feel I really should mention our cordless steam iron. We got it as a freebie with a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum was later replaced; we still have the iron. I will say to anyone who asks (and some who haven't asked) — don't buy a corded iron! With a cordless, you'll never worry about catching your arm in the cord and pulling it off the ironing surface. You'll never wonder "did I leave the iron plugged in" (or, if you did, at least it's sitting in a safer place). Cordless — great in the workshop, great in the home.

What kitchen appliances or gadgets make your life easier?

May We Recommend... ( in category Show & Tell ) - posted at Thu, 16 Feb, 00:10 Pacific | «e»


I would add the electric frying pan to the list of things I'd hate to give up. Used it to brown the sausage this morning and often make an entire meal in it. When Dad and I were first married and came to State College, we sublet an apartment from one of his classmates for the summer while we looked for an apartment for us. Found an apartment on Foster Avenue just one house from the corner of Allen so it was close for me to walk to the high school (Fairmount) and for Dad to go to the university. Anyway, in that apartment there was a meter on the gas stove in the kitchen so that you had to put in quarters to get gas to light the stove. But the electricity was part of the rent on the apartment as the building had once been a house for a family and had been converted into apartments. So I became very adapt at cooking an entire meal in the electric frying pan so I didn't have to buy gas.