after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Archive for the ‘Odes to Accessories’ Category

Meet Serena

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t says:  After about 9 months of waiting, I finally procured a new chef’s knife.  It sure is purty.  Coming in at 270mm in length (~260mm cutting edge), this Konosuke features a custom bakelite-horn-metal handle and a spine thickness <2.25 mm.  Translation: the vegetables in our fridge should be very afraid.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

15 July 2011 at 1:41pm

An Ode to Microplane Rasp-Style Zesters/Graters

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t says: Flabbergasted?  Could it be that something as simple as a grater/zester could hold the title as most interesting/important piece of equipment?  Well, to be honest, this is our most used piece of equipment in the kitchen.  More than pans.  More than knives.  More than our fire extinguisher (which, for the record, has never been called into duty).  But how can that be?  It’s because of all the lemons, limes, oranges, and cheese (but mostly cheese)!  We just can’t help but finish a lot of our meals (meats and pastas) with a quick grating of parmesan or pecorino cheese – and this includes meals where we simply re-heat a dish or don’t really have to do any prep work for (e.g. kimchi pizza) (which is why it edged out knives in terms of utility).

I realize that a lot of people already know about Microplane graters – but because there is a possibility that there is at least one person who does not, we needed to make sure it got the attention it so rightfully deserves.  We got ours through a kitchen gadget of the month club (thanks to g’s tofu-hating sis!).  Ever since it arrived in the mail, we’ve all but thrown away our rotary grater (it’s in storage just in case our microplane brakes due to overuse).

But what makes it “interesting”?  There’s something about the feel of grating that’s kind of addictive.  This wand of perforated metal effortlessly pulls the cheese in as you grate – it’s so smooth and actually seems like it wants to grate for you!  And it makes super-thin shavings of cheese that look so pretty on food.

If only this cheese knew the fate that awaits it ...

Are there any drawbacks?  I can think of one.  Sometimes, I get so “in the zone” that I start grating as fast as I can (it really is a lot of fun).  But, when this happens, I become a little more careless.  The result?  Well, if you thought it’s good at grating cheese … imagine what it does to thumbs …  Moral of the story: grate with caution.  Microplane makes a safer version of their graters … probably for people like me.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

24 March 2010 at 8:02am

An Ode to [Sharp] Knives

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t says: I like kitchen knives. I like sharp kitchen knives. I like cutting tomatoes without squishing them. I like dicing onions without shedding a tear. I like to see how thinly I can slice garlic and lemons … for no apparent reason. It’s an illness – and it’s contagious (more on that later).  It’s also number 3 on our list!

I’d be willing to bet that 9 out of every 10 times that g and I cook, we need to cut some food product before cooking it (it’s been a long time since we’ve had frozen dinners or boxed mac-and-cheese). I think that the only courses that commonly evade our knives are desserts (although I recently had to cut bacon for chocolate chip cookies, so there are exceptions). Consequently, I think sharp knives deserve a spot on the list of interesting equipment in our kitchen; we use them a ton and they’re not normal people’s knives …

It all started two and a half years ago, when g and I made our wedding registry. I got her permission to add a knife to the list. There were these really cool looking knives by the manufacturer Shun; the blades had these really fancy wavy patterns. It was like having knife-bling! And it was called a “Santoku” – a Japanese name! That makes it at least 7 times cooler! Well, in the end, no one bought it for us (I was told later that knives are perceived by many as awful gifts, and, in some cultures, even have very negative meanings if given as gifts), but that was a blessing in disguise. Now that we had to afford cutlery on our own, I had to hit the internet and figure out what was good and what was not-as-good (e.g. Santokus are not as useful as you think – no matter how often you see Rachel Ray wielding one – but we do have one). Of course, all of that information is viewed by many as incredibly boring, so I made up a separate shopping-for-knives primer. Long story short – we have a stable of sharp knives that I sharpen regularly (that’s right, knives dull over time!). Here’s one of ’em:

This is my go-to knife: Zoe

But are sharp knives actually important? Well – let’s just say that if I somehow convinced g that sharper is better, then it must be real, ‘cuz she is not fooled easily (e.g. she does not believe that faster cars are better than slower ones, no matter how much I try to convince her). It’s progressed to the point that nowadays, I sometimes feel guilty because I know that every time she picks up a blunt knife (e.g. at our parents’ houses – no offense moms and dads), she’s thinking of her knife, Sammy (yes, they have names – what? is that not “normal”?). As a result – when traveling to our folks’ homes during the holidays, when we anticipate helping with cooking, we bring a knife with us (what? is that not “normal”, either?).

Written by afterdinnersneeze

19 March 2010 at 8:33am

An Ode to Gravity-Activated Salt and Pepper Shakers

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t says: On to #4 on the interesting/awesome/useful kitchen equipment list.  We have salt and pepper shakers.  Actually, we have several salt and pepper shakers (l gave us some pretty rad shakers – thanks!).  You [likely] have salt and pepper shakers, too.  But … do you have gravity-activated salt and pepper shakers?  We do.  Check it (sorry, it’s a little out-of-focus):

It don't matter if you're black or white - you're both fun to use!

But wait!  Aren’t all shakers “gravity-activated”?  Doesn’t salt and pepper fall out of all shakers when you invert them?  Yes … but you have to shake the shakers!!  Pfft – that’s so 20th century.  Each of these bad boys have a little electric motor (powered by 6 AAA batteries) that turns on when the shaker is inverted.  Upon inversion, without having to press a button or twist something, the shaker starts grinding the salt/pepper so it falls out.  That’s right!  No shaking required!  And that little loop at the top is a  knob that you can turn so you can dial in how coarse/fine you want the motors to grind.

Is this feature actually useful?  Kinda.  Is it fair to consider these “shakers” and not “grinders”?  Probably not.  Is it borderline ridiculous?  Maybe.  Is it super-cool?  Absolutely.  Here’s an example of just how cool … Soon after we first acquired these, a bunch of friends visited us.  While I was moving food to the table, I hear a wwhhiirrrr noise from the kitchen, followed by giggling and a “whoa, do it again!”.  I turned around to find a bunch of very manly men huddled around the sink – they were “testing” the shakers.  With giddy smiles on their faces, they passed them around so they could all try.  I asked, “pretty cool, eh?”.  One of them responded, “Dude – I’d get married if it gets me one of these.”  And there you have it.  These salt and pepper shakers are so cool that men in their mid-20’s will strongly consider long-term commitments to own them.  Need I say more?

Written by afterdinnersneeze

13 March 2010 at 12:36am