Monday, August 3, 2020

Around the Kitchen Table: What's Your Most Used Appliance + #Book #GIVEAWAY



PEG: Let’s talk cooking appliances that are supposed to make our lives (cooking-wise at least) easier!  Which ones do you have—and which ones do you use the most or not at all?



I have quite a few—a slow cooker, an Instant Pot and an Air Fryer.  I use the slow cooker the most in the winter when I’m making dishes like stews or soups.  In the summer, I’m generally grilling everything that doesn’t get up and run away!



I was really excited to try it my new Instant Pot.  I’ve used it a number of times but I don’t think it saves all that much time.  You have to wait for the pressure to build and then for it to release.  It depends, I suppose, on what you’re cooking.



I love my air fryer!  Breaded meats like chicken or pork chops, French fries and other dishes become really crisp with virtually no extra fat.  I also use it when I’m cooking something just for hubby and me.  It heats up more quickly than the oven and cooks more quickly, too.  There’s plenty of room for two chicken breasts, chops, two servings of French fries, etc. You can find my air fryer pork tenderloin recipe here.



My daughter has a sous vide but I haven’t gotten on that bandwagon yet.  How about you?  What appliances do you have that you love?


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MADDIE: I have to say I use my cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer the most. It's always on the counter, and mixes up cake batter (like this Carrot Cake) and cookie dough regularly, for example, this recipe for Mocha-Kahlua Valentine's Cookies. It beats a mean whipped cream or egg whites, too. I love kneading bread by hand, but my thumb's bone spur was acting up recently so I attached the dough hook.

I guess the toaster oven comes in second, but it's rarely used for making a recipe. It's perfect for toast, heating up leftover pizza, or baking two potatoes. Well, and the coffee grinder and maker are used a couple times a day, but those don't count here.

Otherwise I don't use many appliances. I do mix pie dough in the food processor, which I learned from Julia Child, of all people. and I have a mini food processor that's perfect for a batch of pesto or for grinding almonds into flour for a flourless chocolate cake. But the blender rarely makes an appearance, nor does the julienne machine. 

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LESLIE KARST: I've never been much of a gadget person in the kitchen (or anywhere, for that matter). Though I do love my coffee machine, toaster, and hand-crank citrus juicer! I guess one of the reasons is because I detest having to wash all the components of a food processor when you can simply use one single knife instead (of course, it probably takes longer to chop everything with that knife than to simply pulse the food and wash all the food processor parts--but we're not talking about logic here). 

One recently purchased gadget that I do adore, however, is my Soda Stream machine, which inserts fizz into still water. I love soda water, and add it to most of the drinks I make for cocktail hour. And since I merely swap out the CO2 canister when it's empty for a full one, I don't have to continually buy cans of soda--which go flat once opened, unlike the bottles I now make myself. Yay for fizz!

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DARYL:   I'm big on my Cuisinart food processor. I love it. It's easy. It's super easy to clean. It really helps when I'm making gluten-free dough or chopping zucchini or carrots for my baked goods.  I also love my Cuisnart ice cream maker. I adore ice cream, and this machine is so reliable and easy to assemble. The other tool I love I bought at a house party for Pampered Chef years ago -- it's a hand chopper and works wonders on onions and all veggies when chopping for a soup or any stir fry. It's a little beaten up because I've had it so often, but I love it. No kitchen machine has to be pretty for me. Just useful. PS I just found out they sell the PC Chopper on Amazon!!  So if mine ever bites the dust....


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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Fun question! The day-in/day-out winner is our Breville espresso maker. We first used one a couple of years ago when we spent a week at a friend's Malibu beach house, and got so hooked, we came home and bought one for ourselves. In soup season, the immersion blender gets a work-out. It comes with both the blender and a whisk attachment, so it's great for salad dressings, too. And while I love my mixer and my full-sized food processor, the 2-cup mini food processor Mr. Right brought to the household punches well above its weight. On the increasingly-rare occasion that we need a wedding gift for a younger couple just setting up house, it's our go-to gift! 


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MAYA CORRIGAN: Thank you for asking, Peg. My favorite device, which I use three times a day without fail, is my Ember temperature-controlled mug. I set how hot I want my tea (138 degrees in case you're interested), and this device keeps my tea at that exact temperature until the last drop. The mug charges atop a little disk, but it doesn't need to stay there. Once it's charged, you can carry the cup around. It holds the charge and the temperature for well over an hour. I brew tea when the water is just off the boil, but by the time it steeps and I've added milk, the tea loses a lot of heat. Before Ember, I took the time to preheat my cup to minimize heat loss. Even so, most of the time I had to pop the cup in the microwave and reheat the tea after I'd drunk only half of it. Now it's a one-step process, but I do need to wash the cup and put it back on its charger so it's ready for my next tea time. You did need an app to set the temperature.    

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DENISE: I'm not one for too many gadgets. I like my counters clear so try to keep my appliances to the minimum. I have a combo toaster oven and air fryer which I love. In the summer, it's so nice not to have to heat up the whole kitchen with my regular oven.


I have a small food processor that doesn't get too much use. Although, last week, I did shred a ton of zucchini to freeze.

I also have a stand mixer, which gets lugged out of the pantry when I bake.


However, by far, is my Belgium waffle maker. I use it nearly every Sunday to make waffles for our brunch. Neither my husband nor I are big pancake eaters and French toast is soooo messy to make so we almost always fall back to waffles. 


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LUCY: When my cuisinart food processor bit the dust, I did a lot of research and ended up with a Breville. It was expensive but I planned to use it a lot and for a long time. The other drawback was its weight (heavy!) For now, I keep it in the closet and haul it out to cook. When my muscles can no longer handle that, I'll either cook in the closet or leave it on the counter:). It does everything--chops, slices, whisks, beats, and I love it.


VICKI: I use my slow cooker a lot, which is probably obvious by the recipes I post here. I live alone so I cook for one, and I make things like curries and stews in the slow cooker in large portions that I can freeze for later meals. I use it all year round. In the summer it's great in that it doesn't heat up the kitchen. I'm not interested in getting something like an InstaPot, as the slow cooker I have suits me just fine. it's not even a fancy one, and has only three settings. high, low and warm. What else would I ever need? Of course I can't use the slow cooker much for baking, and I do like to bake. So my KitchenAid stand mixer is brought into service regularly.  Here's a picture of the slow cooker in action



KRISTA: I admit to being a kitchen gadget addict. Like Maddie, the one I love the most is my KitchenAid mixer. I went through a lot of other mixers before the KitchenAid and there's just no comparison. 

While it's not an appliance, I love, love, love my Thermapen. No more overcooked meat. I never did understand pressing the meat to tell if it was done. The Thermapen is dead on every time. No undercooked chicken, no tough as a shoe sole beef!

My Cuisinart also gets a workout. So handy for shredding, and surprisingly also for mixing dough. Lastly, I do have to mention my immersion blender. It comes with a whisk as well, so no more getting out the big mixer just to whip cream! 



CLEO COYLE: This is an easy one for us. Our most used appliance is our auto-drip coffee maker. Marc and I use it every single day, usually several times a day! We have been happy with this stainless steel Cuisinart model, which does a good job for a reasonable price and has some nice features (like selecting "regular" or "bold" brew and adjusting the carafe temperature). When it comes to brewing the best cup of coffee, we always suggest grinding whole beans just before brewing. That's why our 2nd most used appliance is this burr grinder. Again, it does a good job for the price. FYI, for serious coffee drinkers, burr grinders are worth the investment. These grinders produce a much higher quality and uniform grind than the blade grinder models. Drink with joy, everyone, and have a delicious week! ~ Cleo, author of (no surprise:)) The Coffeehouse Mysteries.




Giveaway:

Leave a comment to enter to win these books from some of our authors. Remember to include your email (cryptic is okay) so we can contact you if you win.


Murder at the Taffy Shop, Maddie Day
A Sprinkling of Murder, Daryl Wood Gerber
Murder, She Reported, Peg Cochran (ebook version)
The Key Lime Crime, Lucy Burdette
Dying for a Taste, Leslie Karst



132 comments:

  1. Fantastic bundle of books. Food looks tasty. Thanks.

    positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com

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  2. Great selection of books! My most used is the oven/stove top and the coffee pot. I do use the crock pot in the wintertime more.

    jdzchaotickittie (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  3. Coffee maker, followed by electric kettle, and toaster oven.
    patdupuy@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Coffee maker! That is the one I use every day.

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  4. Rice cooker
    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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  5. Like Vicki, I cook for one, so my toaster oven is my rock star appliance. My electric kettle also gets a workout. My blender is gathering cobwebs. My house was built in 1960, and not updated at all, so I have a shelf in my stove-side cabinet that lifts up and out to counter height, intended for a Kitchen Aid mixer. Sadly, I don't bake enough to warrant a Kitchen Aid, but the shelf sure is handy for bags of cat food.

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    1. I have an English friend and one time we were both volunteering at the school fair and around 3:00 pm she whipped out her electric tea kettle and made us all tea!

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    2. Wore out several of them in college and law school! When we remodeled our kitchen 10 years ago, we installed instant hot water in the sink, and boy, is that a great thing!

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  6. Good-looking books with good stories inside! I am reading so much more these days! My favorite gadget is my Hamilton Beach single-serve coffee maker that I use every day with ground coffee or k-cups (rarely used). We live in an RV so space and weight is limiting. I also love using our convection oven/microwave and find myself using it for making baked goodies and meals when we can’t use the Blackstone outside. I am intrigued by the Ember temperature-controlled mug - may have to buy that. I don’t use my Instant Pot as much as I thought I would. I am considering the purchase of an air fryer to take its (storage) place. Great topic - I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

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  7. My most used appliance is a toaster and I use that twice a week.

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  8. We use our toaster every day. Our air fryer gets used about once a week and during the winter use my stick blender a lot to make soup.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  9. Since we don't have a microwave we use the oven almost daily to heat up food (the oven counts as a large appliance, right?!?) Although in the Summer we do try to eat more salads, fruit, and other foods we don't have to heat up.

    And I use the slow cooker about once a week, sometimes more. In the summer I put all the ingredients in and then turn it on down in the basement so I heat up the house even less.

    kimheniadis at gmail dot com

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    1. Yes, summer salads are the best! (Especially since the produce is so wonderful now!_

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  10. My most used appliance is my Keurig machine. Thanks for the chance! Jess
    maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. I love my Breville Smart Oven Pro convection oven and use it for everything! Haven't used a stove oven in ages. I use it for toasting, baking, broiling, roasting, reheating, and slow cooking. It's without a doubt one of the most efficient, effective and reliable items I’ve ever had in my kitchen! I can't live without it!
    toporski@gmail.com

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  12. Amazing selections of books and the food looks delicious.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

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  13. Definitely my Cuisinart food processor. I was able to buy a first generation one at cost in the early 90s, and it finally bit the dust a few months ago. A few weeks without homemade pimento cheese, and my husband brought home a replacement. Thanks for the chance to win books!

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    1. Oops! Mrs.mergner@gmail.com

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    2. I got my first Cuisinart food processor in the 70s and it last for 25 years!

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  14. We use the Keurig coffee maker and our slow cooker the most.
    valleyreader (at) gmail (dot) com

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  15. What a great selection of books! I use my coffee maker everyday. I couldn’t do without my slow cooker and stand mixer both are used frequently.

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    1. Coffee maker! I forgot about that. That is the one thing I use every day.

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  16. I actually have something in my crockpot now! I'm making chicken and gravy, then I can freeze it for other meals as I also live alone. I'd really love an air fryer, though!
    sticklerba (at) gmail (dot) com

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  17. I use my toaster oven all summer since it is so practical and doesn't heat up the kitchen. I use it to heat up foods, toast and bake small meals and goodies. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Ellicia<