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Jessica Harlan

Jessica's Cooking Equipment Blog


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Forged vs. Stamped Cutlery - What's the Difference?

Saturday May 31, 2014
If you've ever been shopping for kitchen cutlery, you've probably seen better-quality knives referred to as forged. What does it mean? And what's the alternative? The two main types of knife construction are forged and stamped - learn the difference between the two.

Toaster Buying Guide

Saturday May 31, 2014
Dualit Toaster

I was at a trend seminar last winter and the speaker, a trend forecaster, claimed that toast was one of the hottest food trends. Huh? You mean, a piece of hot bread with butter on it? That was exactly what she meant, and apparently restaurants and coffeeshops were charging big bucks for the perfect slice of toast. You don't need to pay for toast, though, if you have a great toaster. Read the Toaster Buying Guide to learn about some of the features to look for in a toaster, and to discover some great toaster options at all prices. Would YOU pay $300 for a beautifully designed toaster?

Image courtesy PriceGrabber.

Salad Days!

Saturday May 31, 2014
I just love this time of year - my tomato plants are going crazy, and my lettuce is also still yielding crisp, tender leaves. We're having salad several times a week. Salads are super-easy to make if you have the right tools: read up on Essential Tools for Salads, and take a look at the review of OXO's Good Grips Salad Spinner (if you have an older version of this iconic tool, you might notice a few differences). Then whip up some homemade dressing, which requires nothing more than a whisk and a bowl. Two to try: Buttermilk Ranch and Honey Lime Vinaigrette. Salad days never seemed so good!

It's Ice Cream Time!

Friday May 30, 2014
Ice Cream Photo It's that time of year... time to make creamy, delicious ice cream! Making ice cream from scratch is not difficult if you have the right equipment and you learn a few basics. Read up on how to make ice cream in an ice cream maker and then get creative with one of the recipes for Interesting Ice Cream Flavors.

Nicholas Eveleigh/Getty Images

Dinner Tonight: Cheeseburger Pasta

Friday May 30, 2014
Cheeseburger Pasta

Use pasta pot and a skillet to make quick and delicious Cheeseburger Pasta. It's an easy recipe that incorporates all the delicious flavors of a juicy burger: the ground beef, tomatoes, cheese and even a handful of crisp lettuce on top to add contrast and freshness.

Looking for other pasta recipes? Try one of these:

The Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe Ever

Sunday May 18, 2014
Mac and cheese

One pot. Four ingredients (more if you want to fancy it up!). About 15 minutes start to finish. This recipe is as easy as making one of those packaged mac and cheese boxes, the kind with the bright-orange powder. But infinitely better. Make Easy One-Pot Mac and Cheese tonight.

Image courtesy Getty/Digital Vision.

Shopping for Liquid Measuring Cups

Monday May 12, 2014
Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup

A liquid measuring cup has far more uses than just measuring your wet ingredients. I'm partial to my Pyrex glass 2-cup measure, and I use it for everything from warming milk for cafe au lait or hot chocolate (I'll froth it with an immersion blender right in the cup) to melting butter to whisking up some salad dressing. I even use it on occasion to water my house plants! The Liquid Measuring Cups Buying Guide tells you all you need to know about these versatile tools, and gives you an idea on some good options to buy. I can't wait to hear what creative uses you find for your liquid measuring cup!

Recipe: Pesto and Mozzarella Flatbread Pizza

Wednesday April 30, 2014
The recipe for Pesto and Mozzarella Flatbread Pizza can be as easy or as involved as you want to make it. Pick up store-bought pizza dough (even the Pillsbury stuff in a can will do in a pinch!) and a jar of prepared pesto, and you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes. Or make your own pizza dough in your stand mixer or bread machine and use your food processor to whip up a batch of homemade pesto with basil from your garden, and you've got a rewarding afternoon in the kitchen. This recipe makes for a fine dinner, or if you cut the flatbread into small squares or diamonds, it's great as an appetizer at a party.

Review: Architec's Gripper Flex Cutting Board

Sunday April 27, 2014
Architec Gripper Flex Cutting Board

A cutting board seems so deceptively simple: just a square of wood (or plastic), a cutting surface for your knife work, right? So it never ceases to impress me that companies are still reinventing this most basic of kitchen tools. The latest is from Architec Housewares, a company known for its colorful products and fun, trendy designs. Read a review of the Gripper Flex cutting board, which aims to solve not one, but two, problems.

Quick Tip: Getting those burned-on bits off the pan

Friday April 25, 2014
Usually I use a rice cooker to make rice (my favorite!) but the other day I made it on the stove and ended up with a stuck-on mess in my pan! (I will admit, though, i do like those little crunchy pieces of overcooked rice) I didn't want to leave the dirty pan to overcook, so I used this solution to clean the burned-on bits from the pan. Easy-peasy!

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