What is more annoying then walking into a dollar store and finding a Microwave Egg Cooker? It happened. I saw one. When I go to dollar stores, I always check the Kitchen Equipment shelf. I’ve found a wooden spatula with a curved lip that helps for saute. I’ve found a 4-pack of tongs, made of good quality metal (minus the silicon tip), the package included 2 short and 2 long tongs. I’ve picked up a funnel strainer, and one or two other cool things.But a Microwave egg cooker? Come on folks. What happened to the old fashioned boil-the-egg-on-the-stove? Are people really afraid to use their stove-tops? Does a microwave use less electricity than a stove? I don’t even have a microwave in my house. I am adverse to them, and short of a quick way to heat butter, or chocolate (double-boiler any one?), I find them useless.
I don’t eat frozen meals, and once I got the Partner used to flavorful cooking, she too has discovered that food sans the microwave is a beautifully flavored thing.
Kitchen gadgets are based off professional cooking ware, adapted for the home cook. Usually they are made cheaply, out of low quality plastic, and metal that ends up bending or breaking. Which is why you can find them in abundance in dollar stores.
I’m not going to debunk the new silicone movement. Anything that will help me not get burned is a good invention. Still, I don’t see those silly gloves that you can pick up in your local grocery store making their way to the Professional kitchen.
When I was looking for a new wood cutting board, it took me five stores, and almost $30.00 to find one that had the quality I wanted. This was a few years ago, before the food craze really hit the market, and higher quality product started showing up at the Grocers. I was at Safeway the other day (a regional grocery chain), and they had a comparable board for a little less than what I paid for mine.
So, who invents all these gadgets, and why do they think they’ll “help the home-maker?”
Not all gadgets are bad, per se. I like my funnels, and my baby strainer (good for hand-juicing lemons and limes). But how many are out there that people are buying and then just throwing into a junk drawer because it doesn’t hold to its promise of making cooking easier?
An internet search yielded over 3 million hits for Kitchen Gadgets. By narrowing the field, that number lowered to 114,000. It’s a world full of gadgets, and the kitchen has it’s share.
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Here’s tonight’s dinner. Stuffed Zucchini with quinoa and roasted asparagus with a yellow pepper sauce.
The stuffed zucchini has sauted peppers, zucchini middles, and bits of tofu. I used pulverized almonds for the “glue.” This provides a gluten-free alternative to using bread crumbs.
The quinoa has sauteed peppers, onions and garlic, with turmeric, cardamon and mace added for flavor. The roasted red pepper sauce is yellow and green peppers and onions broiled then peeled. I pureed them in a blender, adding a bit of chili oil I had on hand, lemon juice and salt. I used olive oil to blend it together (not much though). If I had some veg stock on hand, I would have added that instead.
I’m waiting for the Partner to come home from work to serve it up!
There was more going on in the show, but to keep up with this blog review, I was taking notes, and typing during commercials. One of the curious factors was the lack of presenters. They brought in two sports personalities to present awards, and the rest? The top Food Network TV personalities. Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, Sandra Lee, Giada De Laurentis, and Alton Brown. All on rotation. They introduced a few others on the red carpet, but we didn’t’ see them in the edited version.
It would have been interesting to see what Cat Cora, the first Woman Iron Chef was going to present. And Dan and Steve, the first winners of “The next Food Network Star.” Alas, we did not see them, except for the introduction.
All in all, it was an exciting television event, especially for a culinarian who pays attention to how food is advertised.
Will I watch it again? Probably. Will there be another one? Most definitely.
The rest of the show brought on awards that included Best Super Market, Better Burger, Play with Your food, and Delicious Destinations. And a catagory called Tasty Technology
A store called Wegman’s beat out Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which I thought was cool. A regional store took the award over a chain.
The Better Burger was won by Burgerville, that focuses on sustainability and going green. They use windmills for their power.
Play with Your food went to a Gelatin Artist by the name of Liz Hitcock. I was rooting for the Tortilla artist, but alas, my tastes vary from the producers.
Destination for Food? Portland, Oregon. The feel-good hallmark video had the chefs talking about how every one gets along. I’ve heard good things about Portland. Some day I’ll be there in the RV and checking it out.
Tasty Technology went to a company called PolyScience, and a guy that invented something called the Anti-griddle, and I’m still not sure what it does, but it looks like it would be fun to cook on.
Honor categories included a Humanitarian Award, given to Floyd Cardoz, who found a way to help the Fishermen of New Orleans to move and sell their product after Hurricane Katrina.
And the Hall of Fame Award went to none other then the Original, the first, and America’s favorite TV Chef, Julia Child. Yeah, that one made me cry, just because she was the first. She came to cooking late in life, and didn’t get famous until she was 50. In today’s Culinary World if your not famous by the time your 30, your probably not going to make the big time.
There were several Viewer Choice awards. Here are the winners
- Favorite Childhood Read: Green Eggs and Ham (who can resist Dr. Seuss?)
- Favorite Ball Park Eats: Citizens Bank Park in Philidelphia
- Favorite Comfort Food Combo: Burger and Fries–I would have voted for Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup, but that’s me.
- Professional Grade Appliance you can’t live without: Viewer’s choice: Microwave.
I live without a microwave, but I can’t live without my food processor. But hey, I’m a chef.
Paula and Bobby again, presenting Delectable Delivery; winner: Z-club, bringing delicious foods to your door.
Then, we get a little preview of “No Reservations” staring Erin Eckhart and Kathrine Zeta-Jones, who helped present the Culinary Institute of the Arts Scholarship. The winner got to sit there believing there were other finalists. After a Hallmarkish video of Matthew Finkel and his life, he received the Scholarship, crying mom included.
During the video, they showed Matthew using a knife, and I just wanted to yell out, “Curl your fingers! Use the claw baby, use the claw!”
More accidents happen by people not tucking in their fingers and thumbs. I’ve encountered this bad habit throughout my career, and I still remember learning how to cut properly. It isn’t easy, but it saves your fingers, and keeps the blood-letting to a minimum.
Presenting the “Hot Chocolate” Award: Rachel Ray and Giada Di Laurentis. Hey Rachel, Polka dots? On television? Really.
But the award went to the best Chocolataire. Winner: Garrisions Confections. Hand crafted seasonal chocolates. I want some!
Presenting Edible Entrepreneurs: Paula and Bobby Dean. Winner: Khaya Cookie Company, based in South Africa, the owner, Alicia Polak gives jobs, and teaches people how to run a business. In a poverty stricken area, these are essential skills.
Presenting Icy Innovations: Alton Brown and Nigella Lawson. The award for the best innovative ice cream. Winners: Moobella; an ice cream dispensing unit that gives out freshly made ice cream. Exciting…yes.
Over 10 years of cable-casting, the little network that could has finally produced an awards show.
Hosting? Emeril Lagasse. Chef Extraordinaire, and TV personality, who also helped with Food relief after the Katrina Disaster. Lagasse helped launch FN with a show called “How to boil water. The rest is food history.
Just a historical mention: Alton Brown started as a public access show in NY, I believe. He sent in an unsolicited (No agents, please) video tape of “Good Eats.” Now he hosts “Iron Chef America.”
For a Chef this is an exciting event to watch. The unveiling of food secrets, and kitchen mayhem, through the Food Network has brought on a food revolution in the general populace…
So, on with the show.
I haven’t had a chance to photograph some of my culinary creations. Here’s tonight’s dish. I wish I could say that I made the bbq sauce and the seitan, but I didn’t. Whole Foods has a store brand called 365, and their bbq sauce doesn’t have anything to do with high fructose corn syrup. It is a yummy chipotle citrus sauce that has quite a nice bite. I marinate the seitan for awhile, then in a good size sauce pan, I saute a few onion slices, and add the bbq. I give this a nice slow cook with a cover on it.
In the mean time there are potatoes roasting in the oven, with a little olive oil and s & p. I have made a quick balsamic vinaigrette, a 3-1 olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with salt, pepper, minced onions, a bit of mustard for cohesion. I whisk this thoroughly and pour it lovingly onto the asparagus.
Once the potatoes are out of the oven, I add chopped chives and parsley, gathered fresh from the garden (the neighbor’s because I have a black thumb), and then set them aside. Then the asparagus and pita bread are put in the oven. I roast the asparagus on broil, until firm, but tender, (al dente) and rescue the pita bread while it is still warm and soft.
By this time the seitan is ready. And I put it all together for a great taste sensation for my partner to enjoy.