Posted in Kitchen Appliance

Absolutely love this Hamilton Beach toaster

Hands down the best toaster for any amount of money…So it may not be stainless steel or some fancy name but why hasn’t anyone else been able to top what this one can do?
Not only does it make the perfect toast slices–and I mean from crust to crumb, perfect–but you have no idea that you NEED the warmer feature until you have it.

Slide in the dial to activate the “warmer” feature and even when your toast is done, if you are side tracked or still getting your sandwich fixings or the rest of your breakfast ready, it doesn’t keep toasting your toast–it just keeps it WARM. So no matter what your timing as a cook, your toast is ALWAYS perfect.

best toaster

That may sound simple–until you taste it.

Cold toast just isn’t the same, let’s face it. This waits until YOU are ready for your toast.

On top of that it also has a defrost setting so you can pop a slice of frozen bread in it

And it has a bagel setting, to do your bagel just right as well–and keep that warm too.

In love. Great find.

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Posted in Kitchen Appliance

Tips on cleaning your frying basket

If the frying basket in your deep fryer is dirty, you will need to clean it. While it is easy to label this task as too big to handle easily, and therefore put it off, the truth is that cleaning your deep fryer’s basket can be done without that much trouble. If you know how to clean the basket properly, you can do so in one try, with no wasted effort whatsoever. The following instructions should help you to do exactly that, keeping your deep fryer cleaner and in better working order from now on. (Information:

Step 1 – Setting Up

Before you start to clean anything whatsoever, unplug your deep fryer. If you have used it recently, allow it to cool down completely. Once you are satisfied that your deep fryer has cooled down to room temperature and is perfectly safe to touch, remove your frying basket. Set it aside and gather your materials.

Step 2 – Cleaning the Basket

You can perform a preliminary cleaning of your basket with the following steps. Start by mixing a solution that is 9/10 vinegar and 1/10 water. Dip your cloth in this mixture and wipe down the basket. You should be able to get it relatively clean with only a few wipes, but do not worry about getting every single particle of grime off just yet. Once you feel you have done a good job, rinse off the basket.

If you have a large sink or tub available that you can wash your fryer in, you can do it there. Otherwise, you will probably have to take it outside, unless you can improvise a solution with materials on hand. If you end up taking the basket outside, you should probably rinse it off with your hose.

Step 3 – Making a Degreaser

While it is possible to buy a commercial degreasing product, the truth is that there is almost never a need to do this. Chances are good that you already have all of the ingredients you need to make your own in your home. First, you will need a bowl. Put baking soda in the bowl. The exact amount is not very important. Next, gradually add water to the baking soda, mixing as you go. Stop adding water when the baking soda has the consistency of toothpaste. Stir thoroughly to make sure no pockets of pure water or baking soda have snuck by. (Related article: How to make a natural degreaser)

Step 4 – Applying the Degreaser

You can apply your grease removing mixture with a clean cloth. Scrubbing is fine, but you will be letting the mixture sit and do the work for you, so focus on simply covering the entire basket with the mixture. Allow it to sit, then wipe it off, taking this opportunity to give the basket a good scrubbing. Rinse the basket again to wash away the remainder of the grease removing mixture.

You will have to clean your deep fryer separately if it is dirty. However, after your basket dries, you can put it back and use it again.

Posted in Kitchen Appliance

Absolutely Love This Rice Cooker!

Received this Zojirushi 3-cup Micom rice cooker as a self-holiday gift a week ago. Since then, I’ve made sushi rice, basmati, brown & wild medley, along with various types of dal (basmati and red/yellow lentils with curry) and mujadarah (basmati and green lentils with carmelized onions). I’ve also used the warming part of things to gently steam scallops on top of rice for a New Year’s treat. Yum! Soon I’ll try veggies and flavored broths.


I first put in too much water, since the directions didn’t make it clear that the water measures on the cooking bowl include rice at the bottom. But after I got this right, the results were perfect each time. The rice is as good or better than from a restaurant (plus fresher), and much, much cheaper to make at home, particularly if you purchase rice by the pound. I’m working on my sushi technique, but it’s already tasting good if looking funky. I do advise rinsing, rinsing, rinsing the rice before cooking. Soaking the grains doesn’t really seem necessary, unless you’re using the timer, in which case there is no way around it.

Speaking of which, the timer works great. It was wonderful to wake up to the aroma of fresh rice. I fixed dal a few times and then left for the gym. When I came home, it was ready, steaming hot, perfectly cooked and the house smelled divine. I think it gently steams, then cooks just at or below a boil, and then steams again. So it really is terrific with beans, such as lentils, that easily fall apart with too much rough treatment, but that benefit from a long slow simmer. And, of course, that’s the way to go for rice too.

The Zojirushi is easy to use, doesn’t take up much countertop space, is attractive and easy to carry around. I took it over to a friend’s house for my contribution to a holiday meal. During the car ride, the rice stayed warm in the bowl and helped keep some bread wrapped in foil warm. Actually the warm function keeps rice warm for hours with no diminishment of the quality. The Zojirushi makes cute sounds when it starts up and finishes cooking. Also it’s a snap to clean! No nasty white residue and boiled over starch, or scalding steam or water. It truly cleans up in a minute, which is amazing in itself. Find out other models from Zojirushi here.

What’s not to like? Well, the price! But Amazon was offering $25 off with a kitchen purchase of over $125. So, although I also considered the 3.5 cup Sanyo (which costs $99) — which perhaps has a better, thicker bowl — there wasn’t really any savings. Since this is a newer model rice cooker, probably manufactured to compete with the Sanyo, the Zojirushi is what I went with. It’s perfect for me. If you make bigger batches of rice at one time, though, I suppose a larger size would be better. Amazon offered the best deal, BTW, including eBay, shopping locally, etc, since there was no tax or S/H.

I considered American rice cookers, hot pot styles, etc. They all looked like junk, and I wasn’t convinced that they wouldn’t turn out messy, glue-like rice. I’m glad I went ahead and got the best for my uses. The quality of rice and beans has been outstanding. Plus I can’t get over how much money I’m saving by not buying take-out, and I get to season the food to my liking. There is hardly any food that is cheaper, more comforting or nutritious than rice and beans, and you can keep the oil and butter to a minimum to keep the calories low while not feeling deprived. I’m going to use it to pack lunches too, which means the Zojirushi will pay for itself in one month. Since it arrived, I’ve hardly used the microwave and hardly have eaten any meat. And, boy, does food taste better! Totally highly recommended. By Sphinx Yoga

Posted in Kitchen Appliance

What to know before choosing your deep fryer

Whether it’s serving up crispy golden fries, juicy chicken fingers or decadent deep-fried Oreos, a deep fryer is a food-preparation workhorse in most restaurant kitchens.

A wide range of fryer models is available to meet the needs of diverse food service environments — from concession stands to high-volume fast-food restaurants to upscale dining establishments.


Ask yourself these six questions before you choose which fryer to buy.

1. What’s on the Menu?

The type of food you plan to prepare is the most important consideration.

“Understanding what you fry now and what you may fry in the future is critical for designing a fryer station,” says Ed Doyle, founder and president of Real Food Consulting, a foodservice consulting business in Cambridge, MA.

If heavily breaded or battered foods are on your menu, a tube-style gas fryer is an ideal option, as it has a large sediment zone (or cold zone) below the burner tubes that allows crumbs and small pieces of food to accumulate as they fall off during cooking.

And if you’re serving up a large variety of food, you probably need to invest in more than one unit. “Segregating fries, proteins and seafood is key to addressing flavor transfer and the ever-increasing allergy issues every operator is facing,” Doyle says.

2. How Much Food Will You Prepare?

The volume of food you plan to serve determines how large and powerful your fryer needs to be.

“Choosing the right size for your needs is important,” says Alan Lake, a chef and restaurant consultant from Chicago. “Overcrowding equals inferior product. Anything that overlaps in the oil leads to an uneven fry.”

A fryer’s tank capacity not only determines how much food can be placed into baskets, but also affects recovery time, or how quickly the oil returns to the proper cooking temperature after food is submerged in it.

“If a restaurant is slammed from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, a smaller fryer may not be able to recover quickly enough and will end up cooking at a lower temperature,” says Jan Spence, owner of Jan Spence & Associates, a Jacksonville, FL–based business consulting firm. “Food will end up absorbing more oil and coming out greasy.”

Gas fryers typically heat up more quickly and to a higher cooking temperature than electric fryers, but electric models have a faster recovery time between frying cycles.

3. Do You Have Space Constraints?

If your establishment is small or floor space is limited, an electric countertop model may be your best option. “Tabletop electric fryers are ideal for a corporate café, deli or location with only a few fried menu items,” Spence says.

4. How Will You Maintain the Equipment?

Freshly battered products, such as fish filets or chicken wings, require the oil to be filtered and changed more frequently than frozen products, such as French fries and pre-breaded chicken nuggets. Investing in a fryer with a built-in filtering system or hiring an external filtering service minimizes the hassle of frequent draining and oil replacement.

Spence says restaurants can prolong the life of oil by turning down the fryer temperature during slow periods, covering the fryer at night to minimize oxygenation and using a skimmer to clear particulates between frying cycles.

“Most restaurants will get into a pattern and set a policy for when the oil needs to be changed,” she says. “This ensures that it happens on a regular basis and staff can’t defer the task, because it’s generally considered the nastiest job in the kitchen.” – Staples

Source: Tips for choosing a deep fryer