Category Archives: Gadget

Gadget Talk: Food Processors vs. Blenders

Cuisinart Smart Portable Blender

Six, count ’em six, different carafes. If you’ve got lots of blending to do, this machine is for you.

This week, we’ll be featuring an in-store demo of the Cuisinart Smart Portable Blender, a neat, multi-unit blender system that basically allows you to move from one blending project to another, and another, and another… without cleaning or rinsing your blender to start fresh each time. The quick pivot time between blends makes this a fantastic piece of machinery for families, for parties, or for people on the move – one of the best things about it is that the small blending jars double as to-go cups. There’s even a sixth cup that you can use as a mini chopper, adding even more functionality.

In short, there’s a lot to love about this blender – but this sort of multipurpose machine got us thinking about an important question that we hear all the time: What exactly is the difference between what a blender does and what a  food processor does? And which one do I need?

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Whisks: 101

Bedspring Coil Whisk

Bedspring Coil Whisk

With the new year, we’ve started bringing in new kitchen toys; namely, molecular gastronomy tools. Food shows like Top Chef have brought previously foreign techniques and tricks into our home kitchens at a staggering rate. Molecular gastronomy is a branch of food science where chefs use practical chemistry to plate wildly imaginative dishes, driven by presentations that are equal parts playful and artful. It’s a kind of cooking that makes us think and forces us to use different senses each time. What do whisks have to do with this? Glad you asked…

Plenty of molecular gastronomy is coaxing foods into forms through different means than we are used to. Take Maltozoon for example, which is a texturizer used as a bulking agent and to disperse dry ingredients. Its chief (and only) ingredient is Maltodextrin, a poly-saccharide used to (you guessed it) thicken foods. It’s also found in plenty of other sneaky places, such as commercial sweeteners like Splenda. There will be plenty of time down the road to detail molecular gastronomy. Today, we’ve also got other, more manual tools used to coax food into new and different forms. We’re talking about whisks…

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Talking Turkey (Temperature)

Time and temperature are two critical components to any recipe, especially as we enter the biggest cooking season of the year. A few minutes on either side could mean the difference between a flawless dish and a result that is either undercooked or… extra crispy. Best case? Your oven works like a dream and your turkey comes out succulent and juicy. Worst case? Your bird looks like the one from A Christmas Story. And, unless you have your oven re-calibrated on a regular basis (we don’t either), it’s very likely that your oven temperature is inaccurate. With Thanksgiving around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better time to talk temperature… specifically, thermometers.

Thermometers can fall into any number of categories. Today, we’ll review two options that would serve your Turkey Day menu well: oven thermometers and meat thermometers for use in the oven.

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