Jedi-worthy Gadgets for your Kitchen

by Rae on August 8, 2011

Most people covet certain possessions more than others, perhaps a smart phone, laptop, priceless family heirloom, or car, but mine are probably more important because I wouldn’t eat as well without them, if at all. That’s right, this pseudo-chef would choose her kitchen gadgets nearly every time*.

It sounds silly, but they are so treasured because my kitchen is pretty small and with a busy schedule and limited space, meals must be made quickly and related appliances must store away just as easily. Meeting those requirements is challenging enough, but a final characteristic is needed before anything is brought into my sanctuary: the gadget must be cool (not in temperature, but quality and style).

Here are my Top 10 favorites:

 

1) Avocado Peeler from PamperedChef.

Other avocado peelers feature strange rounded ends for pit removal, flimsy handles, and sharp edges, but this one is durable, smooth edged, and easy to clean. I love making guacamole from scratch and using any excuse to try avocado in a recipe. This gets the job done and for a reasonable price.

 

2)  Misto Olive Oil Sprayer from Bed Bath & Beyond

I use olive oil in nearly every dinner and any time dessert requires baking. It’s self-propelled (without any chemicals), refillable, and promotes healthy eating. Plus, it’s fun and sprays evenly. Some reviews allege that it does not work as well over time, regardless of cleaning. However, I find that this is only the case when too much oil is poured inside or the can requires a few more pumps of air. I swear by this one, folks; it will lengthen the use of any bulk purchased olive oil tin, which is much more affordable than those fancy, smaller bottles higher up on the shelves. Buy a couple for different oils and say goodbye to store bought salad dressing ever again.

 

3) Kapoosh Universal Cutlery Block from Bed Bath & Beyond

When I moved into my first apartment, I quickly noted that knife blocks are usually ridiculously expensive and ill-equipped to handle knives of various shapes and sizes. The Kapoosh is actually fun, containing loose but secured reeds that mold around most kitchen tools or utensils you might jab at it. The reeds hold up well too (none broke on me in its three years of use so far), and they won’t fall out if you hold it upside down. The standard Kapoosh is heavier than one might think, but mine sits on top of the microwave without any problems so far. BB&B sells different sizes. It’s also available from Amazon.com, but you’ll pay a little bit more.

 

4) Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender from Target

This dainty, but tough blender holds 14 oz. and is great for mixing up a smoothie to go. The container actually has a travel lid, and the blade is inside- there are no other pieces to detach, which is not only convenient, but less hazardous to one’s fingers. There is only one speed, and as you can see above, the container locks in place. It’s simple and can chop up frozen strawberries like you wouldn’t believe. Make sure to place the heavier foods on the bottom for best results.

 

5) Apron Gift Set from Vera Bradley

I like to avoid mess when possible, but I wear this trendy, functional apron from Vera Bradley (Baroque pattern) when there’s flour and measuring cups on hand. It is packaged in a colorful tin to house your cherished recipes and comes with a cookie recipe. The apron is worn with a traditional halterneck and ties around one’s waist. It also has a large, deep front bottom pocket. One size fits most.

 

6) Onion Goggles from ThinkGeek

Every mad scientist cook needs a pair of onion goggles; they really work. As a result of my Italian heritage (and in quest of serving up the best homemade tomato sauce you’ve ever tasted), I tend to dice, mince, grill, and saute a lot of onions. Admittedly, I feel pretty silly with them on, but they’re nicely padded. My eyes never burn any more, which is miraculous because I used to wash my eyes out with cold water and leave the room for several minutes on my heavier chopping days. They’re made of plastic and foam. Plus, they match my apron. It was a completely worthwhile purchase.

 

7) Tomodachi Tomato/Cheese Knife from Target (in stores)

The listing was not available on Target.com, but I purchased it in the store (view similar alternative on Amazon). The knife looks like plastic, but is very sharp and stainless steel. It should be handled with care and kept away from children, but it can slice cleanly through a tomato! I haven’t tested it out on cheese yet, but it was vital to making an excellent salsa. It is an attractive piece that stands out. The sheath is thick, transparent plastic, which serves as a protective display. I don’t let this knife get anywhere near my Kapoosh.

 

8 ) Water Drainer from PamperedChef

Another goodie from a friend’s hosted Pampered Chef party. It’s awkward to maneuver a strainer and hot metal pot of boiling water and noodles, but this heat-resistant, nylon tool makes the process remarkably quick and pain-free. Hold the handle, place the drainer against the top so that its raised sides hold tight against the pot’s edge, and pour. Rinse it off when you’re done and hang it by the loop on the end.

 

9) Star Wars Chop Sabers (chopsticks) from ThinkGeek

Only for the experienced chopstick user (and Star Wars fan), these “chop sabers” are made of plastic. Novices can certainly try, but these serve form over function as it’s somewhat difficult to keep food from sliding around. Coincidentally, I’ve been practicing my entire life, seemingly in preparation of bringing these bad boys to the table. Consider it part of Jedi training for the determined Padawan. These might prolong the time one spends eating, as it takes a bit more time to get food into one’s mouth and many influenced by the Sith will try to distract you with questions about them; they’re good conversation starters. Buy them and bond with your loved ones during mealtimes. May the force be with you if you decide to eat a bowl of cereal with them.

 

10) Asian Fusion 7-Piece Microwave Rice Cooker Set  and Magic Dough Pastry Mat from Bed Bath & Beyond

Sure, it’s rice cooker, but it’s so much more. In fact, I’ve never cooked rice in it. No, I’ve been too busy making pasta and steaming vegetables to notice that it can do that too. The thick plastic holds 3.7 quarts and mine has not melted in the microwave. Allegedly, it can take a lot of heat, but I’ve never tried to roast a chicken in it, despite the directions informing me I can do so without fear. I really like the individual pieces in this, and how I can make so many dishes with minimal clean up needed.

The Magic Dough Pastry Mat helps keep my counter top clean and my dough circumference on track when I get on a rolling pin spree. My version also lists several recipes for baked goods, including pizza dough, but similar to the tomato/cheese knife, may only be in stock at the store. The rice cooker set was being used to flatten it out from a rolled position, as it went unused for several weeks.

 

BONUS) Rare Earth Magnetic Fridge Pins and Tetris Magnets (no longer sold) from ThinkGeek

The Fridge Pins are strong and capable of holding up paper much heavier than I believed they could, which is important to mention because our refrigerator has a lot of memos, pictures, and notes to support.

Unfortunately, the Tetris magnets are not currently for sale. However, they are not nearly as powerful as even the small, circular magnet shown in the picture. If this is not a deterrent and you still want these awesome looking, if somewhat disappointing magnets, visit Etsy for a slew of handmade and custom sets.

 

Do you have any favorite kitchen gadgets to recommend? I’m always looking for new ones to try! Comment below and I’ll gladly check them out.

 

*Please note: I am in no way endorsed or compensated by the aforementioned manufacturers or retailers. They’re really great products and I recommend them from experience as an objective consumer.

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