Gadget Post – Waffle Maker

DSC_7714 (1600x1060)I’ve had this for a little while now and have made three or four batches with it.  It’s a well regarded Presto Belgian waffle maker.  I don’t have them perfected yet but I have been turning out some very tasty waffles nonetheless.DSC_7715 (1600x1060)

DSC_7716 (1600x1060)You heat it up, the light goes out when it’s ready, and pour in the batter.  Close the lid and rotate the thing to its other side to help settle the batter.  There is a timer, three minutes has been just about right but it doesn’t hurt to open it to check.  We had some older batter mix we used at first but found the stuff we ordered with the machine to be much better.DSC_7721 (1600x1060)The hardest part is getting the mix just right, not too thick or too thin.  That’s the part I’m still working on.  If you over fill the platter it will run out the side, underfills mean that the waffle will not be perfectly formed.  It’ll still be mighty tasty.DSC_7717 (1600x1060)I made these today with batter a tad thick, they are not quite filled to the edge.DSC_7648 (1600x1060)These were an earlier batch.  The one on top was from the bowl scrapings and is way short of being filled out.

Gadget Post – Food Dehydrator

DSC_3993 [1600x1200]This wasn’t a huge priority for me but I did want to try a few things.  This one got good reviews on Amazon.  A bumper crop of cayenne peppers prompted the purchase.DSC_3992 [1600x1200]These seemed an easy intro to food drying as they didn’t need any prep to ready them for the trays in the device.  I just tried to keep them from crowding.DSC_3995 [1600x1200]This is the result of about 24 hours in the dehydrator at the recommended temperature setting of 135 degrees.  They are still pliable, no crumbling when handled.  They could be used as is in various recipes but I wanted to put them through the blender to make my own red pepper flakes.DSC_3997 [1600x1200]These look pretty good but the sizes of the flakes vary quite a bit.  Perhaps if they were just a tad drier before the spin they would have broken down better.  I suspect commercially available flakes are sieved for size before they are packaged.  I will note that the usual precautions for handling hot peppers should be followed.  Wash your hands and don’t rub your eyes &etc.  I have some habaneros coming ready shortly, and the next picking of cayennes is not far off.

Blog needs moar Katie!

20130527_125343 [1600x1200]This gives me a good excuse to mention my new smartphone.  It has a pretty decent camera and all the latest bells and whistles. This photo is from the S4.  I was hoping Verizon would announce they would offer the HTC One last week at their expo but no such luck.  I “settled” for the Galaxy S4 and I am liking it a  lot.  It’s my first smart phone so I can’t really compare it but it has gotten a lot of good press.  Built by Samsung, the same folks who made my TV, so it has some nice features for showing photos on the big TV screen straight out of the camera via Wifi over my home network.  I think the maker of the set isn’t as important as the capabilities of the set itself.  There is an industry standard called DLNA that is in play here and the TV and the S4 are both compliant.

Gadget Post – French Fry Cutter

DSC_3540 [1600x1200]I’ve dithered around for years wanting something like this.  I cruised the web looking for reviews of the various possibilities and ruled out most everything that wasn’t hell for stout.  We used to have one that was strictly manual, a grid of blades with a pair of handles that you would set over a potato and then practically stand on the thing to cut through so I knew the kind of force needed.  This model from Weston was my pick and it came today.  Build quality is excellent and the jumbo potatoes I used it on needed all the leverage that long handle provided.DSC_5442 [1600x1200]This is one of our favorite things:  Cheesesteak fries.  I used two pans, one for the beef and the other for the peppers and onions.  I will go back to the single pan method in the future, the beef dried out too much and needs the extra flavors  the onions provide.  I had my meat slicer machine out because I was slicing pastrami yesterday so I went ahead and used it on the semi-frozen flat iron steak for the dinner today:DSC_5433 [1600x1200]

Gadget Post – Presto Deep Fryer

DSC_5203 [1600x1200]I’m a little tardy with this post.  I teased it a while back and took this photo sometime after that.  This is the Presto ProFry™, it also comes in a smaller single basket model.  These have good reviews on Amazon although there are a few bad reviews mixed in.  So far I like it although the build screams “made as cheaply as possible “.  All the metal is thin, the outer stainless shell and the enameled inner tub are very lightweight.  The temps do reach high enough to do proper frying, my digital thermometer was showing 380 degrees when the indicator light blinked out with the dial set all the way up.  (The index mark at the max limit reads 375.)

It is fairly easy to clean, all the parts just lift out and the inner basin comes out so that the oil can be poured out of it through a filter.  It holds in the neighborhood of 5 quarts.  I poured in a gallon and that took it to a level midway between the min/max markings embossed into the side.  There is a lid that fits over the top although they warn not to use it when frying high moisture foods.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it will not stand up to a lot of steam.  I give it 3 stars out of 5 overall, works fine so far, not happy with the build quality.  I would gladly pay more for a more substantial appliance.

Gadget Post: Kitchen Scales

DSC_4606 [1600x1200]I just got this in yesterday after gifting it to myself for my birthday.  It’s battery powered, unlike the clunker I’ve been using till now.  At least should have been using more than I have.  It was a PITA to set up and store away.  This one is a snap to use, I may just keep it atop the fridge, back out of the way.

It does everything I need it to do, has the tare feature to subtract the container weight, and reads in either lbs. and ozs., or grams.  This model will accommodate up to 17 lbs, including the container weight.DSC_4605 [1600x1200]Here it is with 1 ounce of red beans.  The units are changed with just a touch on the appropriate spot, the “button” on the right is the power button, and doubles as the tare button.  Put an empty container on the scale, touch the tare button and that weight is zeroed out.DSC_4607 [1600x1200]It also weighs in milliliters and fluid ounces!  Fun Fact:  A pint’s a pound the world around!DSC_4608 [1600x1200]I’m actually trusting the scale more than the measuring cup with these last two.  I think a milliliter of water weighs 1 gram in the same way that 1 fluid ounce of water weighs 1 ounce.  Note that fluid ounces and milliliters are what are called volume measures as opposed to measures of weight which are ounces and grams, respectively.  (Because water occupies different volumes as the temperature varies most references will stipulate “@ 39.2 degrees”, but the difference is negligible in the kitchen.)