Every year as Christmas approaches, the Toy Testing Council of Canada releases its best bets for kids’ toys to help you with your gift giving suggestions. But who tests the latest kitchen gadgets for foodies? I do, that’s who. This week on All Points West I chimed in with my annual look at tools guaranteed not to clutter up your junk drawer because you will use them all the time.
My secret weapon in this venture is Fontaine Wong of Ming Wo Cookware, who I think leads the way throughout the province in staying on top of the trends. This year she guided me towards some really simple yet spectacular stuff.
First up is one of those things that is so simple looking and inexpensive you figure it can’t possibly work. It’s called the cremafacile, made in Italy, as you can tell from the name, and this little gadget will make milky foam for your cappuccino in seconds, or you can foam your milk and coffee that’s already been mixed together for a latte, and you can even whip egg whites with it. All you do to clean it is twist it apart and give it a rinse. At Ming Wo this costs just $8, but I’ve seen it for over $20 on e-commerce sites, so why not order it from Ming Wo?
For easy clean-up, use some soapy foam from the Cuisipro Foam Pump. I love foaming soap pumps, but you have to buy disposable pumps or special soaps made to refill the foamers. This thing you put just any kind of liquid soap into, and add water. Just one part soap to four parts water, so think of how long this will last. Gets you clean, saves money, and even has a broad suction cup at the bottom to stick it to your kitchen counter. Retails for about 16 dollars.
Also from Cuisipro is a new fat separator for $18 at Ming Wo, $40 at Amazon.ca. It holds one litre, it’s plastic, but BPA-free, heat-resistant and see-through, with a valve on the bottom. You can easily see when all the fat has risen to the top, you just push the button and all the good stuff drains into your pot and leaves the fat behind to cut down on your Christmas turkey calories.
For me, poaching eggs has always been a bit of a mess. Put the vinegar in the water, swirl it around, try to fish it out without breaking. Now, if you want perfect poached eggs, you can buy package of ‘egg poachies’. The name is silly but they work. They look like a small coffee filter, but more pouch-shaped. Spread it open in a cup, crack in your egg, but the whole thing gently into simmering water and six minutes later you have the perfect poached egg. You just fish it out with a slotted spoon, let the hot water drain, peel it apart and the egg pops out wherever you want it. Made from recycled paper and it’s biodegradable. Suggested retail, 8 dollars for 20 bags…
Gadgets are supposed to be all about making things easier for you. A new pepper mill really does make freshly ground pepper without batteries, and without having to hurt your hand or wrist if you have an injury or something like arthritis. This is part of a new line of kitchen utensils from Trudeau, a well-known gadget maker, and the line is called Stress-Less. These gadgets have all been ergonomically redesigned to make them easier to use. So along with the pepper mill there is a can opener, garlic press, rotary cheese grater, pizza cutter and even a corkscrew.
Even though we are approaching winter, keeping mixed drinks or white wine cold is always important. There’s something called a Chill and Pour. It kind of looks like a magic wand. Clear, non-toxic plastic with the same stuff inside as freezer ice packs. You put it in the freezer. When you have a bottle of white wine you want to chill or even keep cold, you open it, slide the wand into the bottle, it sticks in place in the neck and had a spout built in, so you just pour the wine with the wand still in it.
For cocktails, you want to look for Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays. These are silicon trays that make very precise cubes that look great in drinks when you are entertaining, and you can even get a really large size, a two inch cube, that are great for drinks you don’t want to water down too much, because those big cubes will take longer to melt. There are even molds now to make ice balls, instead of cubes…those are really cool, and would look great in a punch bowl.
To listen to my chat with Jo-Ann about these gadgets, click here to go to the CBC page of my archived chats. I finally figured out how to get the video off of my iPhone, so below is the video of Fontaine Wong taking me through these gadgets and more! Next week, Food Matters comes to you from a tropical location…don’t miss it!