Posted in Equipment, Notable Nosh

Equipment: The Joyce Chen Wok

joyce chen wok 1

For a number of years now, I have had an induction stovetop in my kitchen. It is nice in many respects, but a traditional, round-bottomed wok will just not work properly with it. After way too long with disappointing results I purchased a flat bottomed wok in cast iron… this was a nice piece of cookware, and may have had some practical uses in other ways, but as a wok it was just too damn heavy and didn’t allow for easy heat control. Accordingly, back this past May, I purchased the Joyce Chen 14 inch flat-bottomed wok you see above. Sadly, though I have purchased quite a few Joyce Chen products that were well worth the money, this $50 item that I purchased here at Amazon, was a bit of a disappointment … Continue reading “Equipment: The Joyce Chen Wok”

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Equipment: Makiyakinabe

 

Makiyakinabe 1

The Makiyakinabe is also known as a Japanese Omelette Pan as this generally describes its primary function. The name, however, translates as ‘roll-cook-pan’ so, more particularly, it is used for the multi-layer, rolled style of omelette known as Tamagoyaki. These pans are rectangular (or sometimes square) in shape, in contrast to the rounded western omelette pan, and they come in a variety of sizes.  I bought the Kotobuki™ brand version you see above to replace one I lost in a house move some time ago and, today, I gave it a test-run…  Continue reading “Equipment: Makiyakinabe”

Posted in Equipment, General

The Instant Pot® Immersion Circulator

Instant Pot Immersions Circulator 1

I am the sort of cook who would generally prefer the traditional simplicity of open fire cookery over the hi-tech methods of molecular gastronomy, but I have been reading so much about Sous-Vide cookery over the last few years that I have been dying to give it a try. The basic idea, I was surprised to learn, has been around for over 200 years but it only seems to be in recent years that it has become widespread, not only in restaurant but home kitchens as well.

Although interested in this form of cookery, I was not quite ready to throw my heart and soul into it and so I limited my expenditure to just the ‘Immersion Heater, which is essentially the device that keeps the sous-vide water bath at a constant temperature and creates a current of circulating water. One can, of course, buy vacuum-sealing equipment and other bits and pieces, but the home cook can make do without these well enough without these and I decided to keep my purchase to the basics. The Instant Pot® model Accu SV800, which you see pictured above, is a Canadian product and retailed at Amazon for $199.95… Continue reading “The Instant Pot® Immersion Circulator”

Posted in Equipment, General

Equipment: Steaming Ring

Steaming Ring 1

I got this little device for my birthday not long ago. I was using it today and I thought you might like to see it. Basically, it is an adapter for a steamer basket. For years, I had a pot that worked perfectly for steaming as the rim just fit perfectly into the underside of my bamboo steamer set. Now, I no longer have it and my steamers sit rim to rim with my two remaining pots of suitable size and are a little precarious as a result. Luckily, someone came up with a solution… Continue reading “Equipment: Steaming Ring”

Posted in Equipment, General

The Paderno™ Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Paderno Spiral Slicer 1

Sometime ago, I posted a review of a ‘cheapo’ kitchen ‘Spiralizer’ called ‘The Vegetti’. As I mentioned in that review, I barely got my money’s worth as the product was limited to vegetables of a limited range of sizes, produced a lot of waste, and really didn’t ‘cut it’ as advertised. Anyway, after doing a bit of research, I chose another model online and duly received it for testing.

As you can see in the picture above, it came with three different blades for various effects (the reverse side of the machine has a rack for storing the two not currently in use). A stainless steel machine might look a little more professional and ‘sturdy’ but this model is actually well designed and performs its advertised functions nicely.

You can take a detailed look at the various features of the product here at Amazon.ca, so I will just limit my review to my initial tests… Continue reading “The Paderno™ Spiral Vegetable Slicer”

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Equipment: The Veggetti

the-veggetti-01

I am not a big collector of kitchen gadgets, especially of the sort usually advertised on late night TV. This little item went on special at my local supermarket, however, and on a whim I grabbed one to what it was like. The selling point for the device seems to be that you  can turn veggies into ‘pasta’, save yourself all sorts of calories, and presumably go on to be super-healthy and live a wonderful life with many lovers etc.  Anyway, I pretty much ignored the general hype and the following post is my report on the tests I did to see if the gadget actually performed as it does in the pictures on the packaging… Continue reading “Equipment: The Veggetti”

Posted in Equipment, General

The Lobster ‘Opener’

Lobster Tool 1

Here’s a handy little tool I picked up on Prince Edward Island during my summer holiday. It is sold a ‘Lobster Tool’ but, of course, it can easily be used for crab as well…

Usually, in restaurants, when you are served lobster, they usually provide you with a pair of ‘nut-crackers’, for opening the claws and tougher bits, as well as a little ‘pick’ thingy for winkling the meat out of the tricky spots. For years now, I have been using a pair of kitchen shears whenever I cook lobster at home and, though said shears are a bit unwieldy, I rarely need anything else. I thought, then, that a device that incorporates both shears and crackers into a single implement was a pretty clever idea.

I gave mine a test run on a whacking great 2lb lobster at Lobster on the Wharf in Charlottetown where I also bought the tool (there is a little seafood market attached to the restaurant which carries these and other tools). I can tell you, right now… the shell on that 2lb sucker was really thick and tough but my new purchase did really well. In the spirit of full disclosure, though, I should point out that, while the crackers worked okay on the joints of the claw appendages, they were just a bit too short to provide a enough leverage for opening the big claws themselves. A one pounder would present no problem, even a one and a half pound job, but the thick shells on my dinner were just a bit too much.

Did I have to resort to the larger crackers the restaurant gave me? Heck, no… with careful use of the tough little shears I was actually able to open the claws by cutting them open. Not only was this easier, but I avoided crushing the tender meat inside. Quite impressive, really.

Anyway, I have long been meaning to do a post on ‘How to eat a Lobster’ (it’s a bit more involved than most people appreciate) so, when I do, I can show you my new tool in action…

Posted in Equipment, General

How to Season your new Steel Wok

Wok Season 1

Electric and Teflon-coated woks may be all very well but there are certain advantages to the old-fashioned, hand-hammered, carbon steel variety. They are relatively cheap, light-weight and easy to manipulate… you can control the cooking heat very finely, and they last forever if treated properly. Most importantly (for today’s post) when seasoned correctly, a steel wok can form a non-stick finish that is every bit the equal of Teflon. I have had the same hand-hammered wok for about thirty years now but, just recently, I bought a second one and, happily, I can use it to share with you the seasoning process… Continue reading “How to Season your new Steel Wok”

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Experiment: Crackling Bites

Crackling Bites 1A

I was recently thinking about using those commercially packaged pork rinds as a substitute for crackers or bread in canapé type appetizers and it struck me that one could probably use the lovely crackling from an actual roast of pork to good effect. Today, I am going to show you what I did in my very first experiment along these lines. I’m not going to provide you with a proper detailed recipe just yet because, though interesting, the result needs a little more work… Continue reading “Experiment: Crackling Bites”

Posted in Equipment

The ‘Maki Sushi Ki’

Maki Sushi Ki 1

I can’t remember exactly where I purchased this little gadget. It was quite a long time ago and the thing ended up languishing in one of my kitchen drawer for ages waiting for me to get around to trying it. I seem to recall that I found the product in the ‘bargain bin’ of a food shop down south somewhere and it came with neither an identifying label (other than the logo on the device itself), nor any instructions. This last omission was rather significant as I first misunderstood the basic function of the ‘mold’ and I used it in a way that is not specifically intended…  Continue reading “The ‘Maki Sushi Ki’”