Showing posts with label Kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kitchen. Show all posts

Friday, July 12, 2024

Tall Domed Glass Cake Plate Reviewed

Tall Dome Cake Plate
I bake a homemade 3 layer German Chocolate cake several times each year.  It is my husband's favorite cake, so it is most often the cake of choice for special occasions, like his birthday or our anniversary.

For years, I have complained that my domed cake plate is not quite tall enough to cover the 3 tiered frosted cake.  It easily covers 2 tier cakes, but not 3 tiers.  

I have casually looked around for a taller domed cake plate.  I have found a few at antique stores, but until recently I had not found one that was inexpensive.  Surprisingly enough, I found it on Amazon.com.  I used the tall domed cake plate on his birthday for the first time this year and I am thrilled with the height of the dome.  What I did not anticipate is that the dome is more narrow and will not accommodate the removable separate cake plate that I normally use.  Until I can find a smaller removable cake plate, I will simply put the cake directly on the pedestal cake plate under the dome. 

As you can see in the photo, the taller dome is perfect for the taller cake. 

cake plates
My 2 Cake Plates Together -
The Shorter Original Beside the New Taller Dome Cake Plate

 

Glass Cake Stand with Dome Lid 

The cake stand and dome are sold together. I really love the ball grip on the top of the dome that matches the ball on the base of the pedestal.  They make a very elegant display and presentation for a delicious dessert without being overpowering.

Because it is glass, it is heavier than my acrylic cake plate, but that weight also gives it more stability when sitting on a table.  It isn't as likely to slide if someone bumps the table.

I measured the interior side of the tall dome and it is 5.25" tall.  The width of the dome is 10.25".  By comparison, my original dome is 4.25" tall and 11" wide.  It is amazing how much difference an inch can make for cake top clearance, especially if the cake is decorated.







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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, May 13, 2024

DASH Everyday Stand Mixer Review

Ready to downsize? Has the stand mixer become a counter hog? A kitchen tool that can be decorated but is too heavy to move? Looking for a smaller or mini stand mixer? The Everyday Stand Mixer by DASH is a mini mixer with six speeds and a 3 quart bowl with a retro look. 

The Dash Everyday includes a set of beaters and a set of dough hooks along with a book of directions and recipes. Six colors are available: black, aqua, cream, pink, red and white accented with silver trim.

standmixer


Weight

The weight or lack of is one of my favorite features of the mixer. So easy to move on the counter. So easy to store under the counter. The power the mixer generates with such a light weight is quite unexpected!

Convenience

The light weight of the Everyday stand mixer was a major factor in my consideration of a mini stand mixer. The prior stand mixer was heavy and needed alot of space on the counter. The space the Everyday stand mixer needs is minimal.

Measuring in at 1.93 pounds for the DASH Everyday compared to 25 pounds for the well known brand 5 QT stand mixer, the Everyday is so easy to move and store whether on the counter or in a kitchen cabinet. The low weight is my favorite feature of the Everyday mixer,

Sound

The DASH is very loud. The reviews mentioned the unit is loud. It is. Not so loud to need earplugs, but definitely loud enough to prevent conversation.

Again, no comparison between the big name brands. My five quart model was not whisper quiet; but a conversation could be held in close proximity while the mixer was working. 

Construction

The look of the mixer is pleasant to the eye. Sleek and minimal. The exterior and buttons are plastic; the buttons are push buttons which do require a bit of labor to push.

Cost 

Apples to oranges stereotype comparison. $449 for the 5 qt namebrand stand mixer vs $49 for the Everyday mixer.

Performance

I have been experimenting with recipes I have made for years in the higher priced stand mixers; so does the Everyday get the job done. It has and it does. Is the process as streamlined or as quiet as the name brand stand mixers? No. 

The speed of the mixer is very very fast! At times the mixer does seem a bit out of control with the speed, but the stability has been solid thus far.

Reviews

The reviewers were correct. As a consumer the information is easily accessible so I was not surprised regarding the features. I highly recommend sifting through the reviews particularly if you are downsizing from the larger capacity big name brand to this mixer. 

I purchased the Everyday with the hopes it would feel a void between the large steel stand mixers and hand mixersf. The Everyday did mix dough and recipes which require a long mixing time such as meringue with ease.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, January 29, 2024

Reviewing My Love of Polish Pottery and Where I Shop

Polish Pottery is a type of folk art stoneware that originated in the early 1800s and was believed to be inspired by a peacock feather. It is made of the clay that is unique to that region in Boleslawiec and hand-painted using brushes and sponges. The firing temperatures result in a stoneware that is durable and resistant to chipping, cracking, and fading. I absolutely love Polish Pottery.

hand-painted Polish Pottery bowl
my new soup bowl #C38

My desire to collect Polish Pottery began decades ago.  I first saw the stoneware at a festival; I believe at the National Apple Harvest Festival in Pennsylvania. I fell in love with the bright colors instantly. The pieces are pricey (especially related to my budget back then) but I was able to purchase a small blue, white, and yellow bowl that I thought I would use for trinkets on my dresser top.  I treated that little ceramic bowl with care as I did not yet understand how incredibly durable polish pottery is. Over the years that bowl has stored trinkets, served dipping sauces, and has been a water bowl for my little quail in the winter time when it is so cold that their regular water bottles have frozen and they need a drink while I'm defrosting their bottles. The shine and paint on this first bowl is as bright and beautiful as the day I purchased it all those years ago.

hand-painted polish pottery small bowls
two of my small ice cream bowls

Previously, I thought the only way that I could buy my annual piece of Polish Pottery was to either attend festivals that included handcrafted items booths and Polish Pottery vendors. This past year at the National Apple Harvest Festival I sought out that booth, Gettysburg Polish Pottery, and was thrilled to be able to buy a large bowl. I believe it is listed as a cereal bowl but I feel that it is larger than what I usually think of as cereal bowls. To me, it is a large pasta bowl. Or a bowl for a large serving of chili on a cold winter day.

I was planning to buy another bowl of that size soon. So I reached out to Gettysburg Polish Pottery on their social media sites. I did not know how to determine the correct number or name of my bowl. I received an immediate answer and help finding the item number of my bowl. My bowl is a "C38". I was equipped to order another bowl that is the same size. 

The wonderful thing about Polish Pottery is that you can order all of your items in the same paint style. You can build an entire serving set that matches. OR you can do as I do, and order single pieces in the colors and prints that appeal to you in any given moment. 

I believe that Gettysburg Polish Pottery does mail orders. But I had planned to drive up to their store or mail order my next piece. Then one day, while randomly browsing Amazon, I found a Polish Pottery C38 bowl in the same design as that very first bowl I purchased. 

Honestly, I was a bit concerned with ordering a popular, handcrafted item from Amazon. I once thought I was ordering two boxes of authentic Mason Jars and instead received two single jars, of thin glass, from China. But even with that adventure in the back of my mind, I ordered a Polish Pottery bowl from the Polish Pottery Gallery Amazon Store

I am THRILLED with my purchase. The bowl was packed (stuffed with paper to pad it - not styrofoam) and boxed in a way that prevented breaking. It is (as far as I can tell) an authentic Polish Pottery item.  They advertise their pieces as "certified Quality 1". And best of all, it is hand-painted in that design that I first fell in love with. 

Searching the Polish Pottery Gallery on Amazon

If you know the number of the piece you are looking for, you can search for that on the Polish Pottery Gallery Amazon store. When I searched for my bowl, using just it's number "C38", this is the variety of  my bowls they currently have available

package insert from Polish Pottery Gallery
insert included with my order





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, January 5, 2024

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener Review

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener
Many years ago, I discovered a hand-held safe cut can opener.  The ability to open can lids without sharp edges has been fabulous!

Sadly, during the holidays this year, I misplaced my beloved safe-cut can opener.  I have no idea what happened to it.  After weeks of looking, I fear it must have been accidentally thrown out with all of the trash generated over Christmas.  

I felt tremendously distressed when I discovered that my original hand-held safe cut can opener was no longer available, anywhere!  I have had that can opener for almost 20 years.  I spent a good bit of time looking at the different hand-held can openers that are now available and trying to select a new one.  There is simply not a comparable "4 in 1" replacement.  However, I did find an electric smooth-cut can opener.  I decided that having an electric can opener again would be nice, so I ordered it immediately.  

I love my new electric smooth touch can opener!  Just like my hand-held safe-cut can opener, there are no sharp edges on the can or lids.  Therefore, there are no hands or fingers cut by sharp lids when removing the lids or when they are "floating" around in the kitchen trash can.

Of course, I still hope my hand-held opener will be found, but for now, I will enjoy my new electric smooth edge, safe cut can opener.

 

Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener

This sleek design electric can opener is rather attractive sitting on the countertop.  It matches my other kitchen appliances, which are all black, including my coffee maker, my toaster and my stand mixer.  Having it out on the counter does make it very convenient to use. 

The push down activation lever is almost effortless.  The cutting mechanism easily locks into place on the can lid and holds it while separating the lid from the can, creating that smooth edge on the lid and on the can.

The can opener does not automatically stop or lift the lid off when the can is opened.  The motor sound shifts to a higher pitch when the can lid is completely separated. (You can hear it in the video below when the demonstrator opens the large can of Cento Peeled Tomatoes) Then, you lift the lever with one hand while holding the can with the other and physically remove it yourself.  That prevents cans from falling off the opener and making a mess.

There is also an area in the back of the unit for cord storage which is awesome.  Thus far, I have not left my electric can opener plugged in.  I only plug it in when I am using it, so I do use the cord storage in the back.

To clean it, you simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. 

I searched YouTube and found the video below so you can see the can opener being used and hear the pitch change when the lid is separated.



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Friday, December 15, 2023

Presto GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer Review

Granpappy Deep Fryer
When my husband requested beignets this past week, I realized it was time to purchase a new Fry Daddy.  After all, my original Fry Daddy was over 40 years old.  It served me well for decades, but the time had arrived to retire it.  The last few times that I have made beignets, I fried them in my electric skillet.  Of course, that works just fine, but I prefer the deep fryer that a Fry Daddy offers for beignets or french fries.

My husband's parents were born in Louisiana and we still have relatives living in Louisiana, including my own sister.  Beignets have always been a part of our lives.  After all, one cannot hail from New Orleans and not be familiar with the fabulous Cafe Du Monde and their delicious beignets.  In fact, you cannot visit New Orleans without visiting Cafe Du Monde.  It is just not done!

Since we reside 400 miles away from New Orleans and Cafe Du Monde, we must settle for the next best thing.  A box of Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix and a deep fryer!  

Preparing to replace my beloved Fry Daddy, I ventured over to Amazon where I discovered the GranPappy!  Oh, yeah!  Now we're talking!!!  

This larger version of the original Fry Daddy is awesome!  I can cook approximately 10 beignets at a time in the GranPappy, which means I am eating them much sooner.  Okay, well, it really means I am sitting down to eat them much sooner.  I always "snack" on them as I am cooking.  They are simply too hard to resist!

By comparison, the Fry Daddy holds 4 cups of oil and the GranPappy holds 6 cups of oil.  The GranPappy deep fryer is taller and wider as shown in the photo below.

 

deep fryers

 

Presto GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer

I love the larger size!  It makes me wish I had purchased a GranPappy years ago.

I cook in my electric skillets a few times each month, but when it comes to deep frying smaller items like french fries, beignets, hush puppies, fried okra, etc, I prefer the FryDaddy or my new GranPappy deep fryer.  Because of the taller, more narrow designs, they simply do not pop or splatter oil out as much as the shorter sides of an electric skillet will.  I don't enjoy being popped by hot oil, but we do love our fried foods.  Therefore, I consider the GranPappy deep fryer an essential appliance in my kitchen. 

It takes 15 minutes for the oil too heat in the GranPappy deep fryer.  Keep in mind, you are cooking with hot oil.  I highly recommend using the slotted spoon that comes with the GranPappy to lower your food into the oil.  "Dropping" food into hot oil causes the hot oil to splash back on you and trust me, it burns.

When you are finished cooking, be sure to allow your oil to completely cool (I allow a few hours) before you remove the oil and clean the deep fryer.  

Since the GranPappy has a detachable electric cord, I wash the deep fryer after each use.  I have a separate pot with a strainer for storing the oil for reuse.  The lip design allows you to easily pour the oil from the unit without making a mess.  Alternately, you can store cooled oil in the GranPappy itself.  It comes with a plastic lid just for that reason.  Just be sure to wait for the oil and unit to completely cool before you put the lid on.

The GranPappy has only one temperature, therefore there are no controls to adjust.  It maintains the proper frying temperature automatically. 

It comes with a frying timetable to help you determine how long you need to cook food.  For instance, fresh cut french fries take 6 to 10 minutes, but raw, battered shrimp only takes 3 to 5 minutes.  Chicken will take longer (up to 18 minutes) depending on the size of the piece.  Personally, I cook fried chicken in my electric skillet since I am cooking 8 to 10 pieces at a time, but I wouldn't hesitate to cook chicken in this deep fryer if I was only cooking a few wings or legs. 

The beignets only take a few minutes to fry to perfection!

beignets




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Friday, November 24, 2023

304 Stainless Steel Colander Set with Catch Mixing Bowl, 5QT Reviewed

stainless steel colander set
When my brother was in town for the holidays last year, he watched me drain the grease off fried ground beef into paper towels in the sink.  When he asked if I didn't have a colander bowl set, I had to admit that I had no idea what he was talking about.  He promptly looked them up on Amazon and showed me.  I was amazed!  I had never even seen them.  Since neither my mother nor myself had one, he promptly bought each of us a set and had them shipped to our homes.  

Now that I have the set, it makes practical sense to have a colander that perfectly seats into a slightly taller solid bowl.  This allows the grease, or water, to drain through the colander and be caught in the bowl below.  After the grease is drained, I can pour it off into the trash, never risking any grease going down the sink drain.

I wipe the residual grease out of the bowls and put them in the dishwasher.  

Now, how cool is that!  I can't believe I didn't know about this colander set long before my brother's visit.

 

304 Stainless Steel Strainer with Bowl Set

The set includes a 304 stainless steel colander strainer and matching stainless steel bowl.  304 stainless is important because it is food safe.  It is also corrosion resistant. 

The colander set comes in a variety of sizes.  My brother sent me the 5 quart size which is large enough to soak, wash or rinse beans, cabbage, lettuce, rice, or vegetables.  It is really nice to be able to simply lift the filled colander directly from the bowl of water without risking any kind of spills.  You don't realize just how convenient it is until you actually start using it.  Well, at least I didn't realize how convenient the set could be until I started using it.

The solid bowl can also be used as a mixing bowl.  The strainer can also be used separately to strain boiling water off pasta and more.

This made the perfect gift for me and my kitchen and I truly appreciate my brother's consideration and thoughtfulness.  Frankly, I think everyone should have one.




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Friday, November 3, 2023

Extreme Heat Resistant Gloves for Baking, Cooking or Grilling Reviewed

heat resistant oven grill gloves
My son recently gave me a pair of extreme heat resistant gloves to use when I am baking or cooking in the oven.  I immediately loved them for the exact same reason I prefer gloves over mitts in outdoor wear.  I have the use of my fingers which means I can get a better grip on ovenware.

Plus, the gloves come far enough up my arm that they prevent burns to my wrists.  Previously, that was not a problem.  However, when we were forced to purchase a new oven a few years back, I quickly realized the racks inside the oven were set in slightly different places then they were in my old oven.  I found that out when I burned my wrist on the center rack, twice, because it sits a little higher.  Of course, I know that now, but it is nice to have the added protection provided by these new oven gloves. 

He gave me the blue gloves because my favorite color is blue. I also like the "flowing water" design on the gloves.  They are also available in orange or red, which resemble fire.

The gloves are one size which means the glove fingers are longer than my fingers, but that is okay.  It actually offers room for my long finger nails.

The construction of these gloves is impressive!  The black fabric is aramid fiber, which is better known as Kevlar, the trademarked name of the same fiber made by Dupont.  The blue design is made of silicone and the gloves have a cotton lining on the inside for comfort.

The makers do give the warning that the gloves are made for heat resistance, not flame or hot liquid.   

 

Extreme Heat Resistant Gloves for Cooks

I would recommend these gloves to anyone who cooks.  I have used oven mitts my entire life, but I much prefer the freedom of dexterity offered by gloves.  I also like the non-slip silicone design that allows me to get a better grip on bakeware. 

  • Extreme Heat Resistant up to 1472°F/800°C 
  • Grill or Oven Use
  • Non-slip, 2 Sided Silicone Coverage 
  • Made of Aramid Fiber
  • Cotton Liner
  • Long Sleeve Length for Added Protection
  • Loop for Hanging
  • Washable:  Machine or Hand 
  • Hang to Dry 

 


heat resistant gloves for baking, cooking or grilling



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Friday, October 20, 2023

How to Easily Cut a Cake into Layers Reviewed

layered cake
My husband bakes a delicious lemon cake for my birthday each year.  Last year, he commented that he would like to put more frosting on the cake and we discussed cutting the cake into layers the next time he made one.  In preparation for the event, I purchased a set of Layer Cake Slicer & Leveler Clamp Guides for Cutting Cakes into Layers.  When he baked the cakes this year, we put the guides to the test.

We clamped a guide on each end of our Dexter-Russell 12" Scalloped Slicer Knife, placed the knife halfway up the cake layer and started cutting.  The guides worked great!

I have been cutting cakes into layers for years by simply using my long chef's knife.  I would be the first to admit that my cut may not always be level, but it allows me to add more frosting in the cake. 

In the future, I will be using the cake slicer guides.  They certainly make a very level cut through the cake.

 

Recommended Cake Layer Cutting Knife Guides

I am amazed by how much difference these inexpensive knife guides make when cutting a cake into layers.  Without them, my cake layers have often been a little slanted.  That never really mattered to me, or at least I didn't think it mattered to me, because I was covering the cake with frosting.  After seeing how perfect my husband's cake layers looked, I will no longer be satisfied to have a slanting cake layer.

Because the kitchen counter is level, we placed a piece of wax paper on it, then set the cake on the wax paper.  We placed a piece of folded wax paper on the top of the cake so we could put a hand on the cake to hold it in place while cutting it.  Then, we clamped the guides on each end of the knife and started cutting.

Because the knife guides have 5 positions, you could cut at different levels, or perhaps cut a cake layer into several layers.  We simply wanted to cut ours in half. 

 

Wow!  It really is awesome to have this beautiful, level cake layer.

cut cake layer





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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

How to Clean and Season a Cast Iron Skillet

 I love cooking with my cast iron skillets. Lodge cast iron skillets are the only brand I buy. I have three cast iron skillets, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch. When you buy a Lodge cast iron skillet, it is already seasoned and ready to use. But over time and use, you must re-season your cast iron skillet.

Last week I was making some hash brown potatoes in my 10-inch skillet, and they stuck to the bottom of the skillet. I knew it was time to re-season my skillet.

How to Clean and Season a Cast Iron Skillet
My 8, and 10-inch skillets are seasoned and ready to cook again

You can search YouTube, and you will find many videos on how to season a cast iron skillet. Today, I'm reviewing the method that I use and that has worked well for me over the years.

Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet


The first thing that I do is clean my skillets. I use mild dish soap, warm water, and this copper scrub pad.

 I want to make sure that I get any food particles left behind. 

Next, I dry them with a soft towel. Then, I put them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

This ensures my skillets are completely dry.

Season cast iron skillet


Now that my pans are dried, I added a thin layer of olive oil. Then, I pre-heated my oven to 400 degrees. 

Olive oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees, so you want to be at least 20 degrees higher than the smoke point.

When the oil hits the smoke point and above a chemical reaction occurs called polymerization. 

This chemical reaction bonds the oil to the pan, creating a layer of natural seasoning.

Cooking with cast iron frequently using oils also helps build up a layer of seasoning in your pan.


I set the pans in the 400-degree oven upside down and baked them for 1 hour. You can add a cookie sheet or tin foil under the pans to catch any oil that may drip. Then, I turned the oven off and let them cool while still in the oven. After 1 hour if you need to use your oven remove the pans with an oven mitt and set them on a cooling rack.

You can repeat this process as many times as needed to develop a layer of natural seasoning. With proper care, your cast iron skillets will give you years of cooking delicious food. 

These are three Lodge cast iron skillets I own and use:

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 3 Skillet Bundle. 12 inches and 10.25 inches with 8 inch Set of 3 Cast Iron Frying PansLodge Seasoned Cast Iron 3 Skillet Bundle. 12 inches and 10.25 inches with 8 inch Set of 3 Cast Iron Frying PansLodge Seasoned Cast Iron 3 Skillet Bundle. 12 inches and 10.25 inches with 8 inch Set of 3 Cast Iron Frying Pans


 




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