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Jessica Harlan

Jessica's Cooking Equipment Blog


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Latest Review: MiTutto Hand Blender

Sunday April 20, 2014
I've been cheating on my cappuccino maker. My paramour: The MiTutto Hand Blender. This handheld blender has interchangeable blades, one of which is a frothing blade that makes absolutely perfect frothed milk, which I add to a cup of strong coffee to make a coffeeshop-worthy cafe au lait. The MiTutto has other tricks, too: Read my review of the MiTutto Hand Blender for the full scoop.

Dinner Tonight: Asparagus and Shrimp Pasta

Friday April 11, 2014
Asparagus and Shrimp Pasta

In the time it takes to cook a pot of pasta, you can have this delicious, springtime dish on the table... and cleanup is easy since it requires just the pasta pot and a skillet to prepare. Asparagus and Shrimp Pasta makes good use of a favorite seasonal veggie, paired with delicate shrimp and a generous sprinkling of asiago cheese before serving.

A New Way to Enjoy Strawberries

Monday April 7, 2014
Strawberry Salsa

When I was asked to come up with a recipe to make for a market demo featuring strawberries, at first I thought of strawberry shortcake, smoothies, or strawberry puree over cheesecake bites. But then I decided to feature strawberries in a totally different way than the sweet treats we're used to. I ended up with Strawberry Cucumber Salsa, a totally unexpected and delicious way to eat this favorite springtime fruit. Try it with chips, as a condiment for tacos, or drizzled over grilled chicken or fish.

The consensus with my demo audience? A resounding thumbs-up!

The Latest from IMUSA

Monday March 31, 2014

Up-and-coming IMUSA is a company known for its products geared towards Hispanic cooking. But judging from the products highlighted at the recent International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, it is branching out to other ethnicities, including Asian, Caribbean and Mediterranean. Read up on the newest products from IMUSA and learn about its plan to globalize its kitchenware offerings.

Interested in mastering an international cuisine? Take a look at some of the must-have cooking equipment for a variety of ethnic cuisines.

Image courtesy IMUSA.

Baking Sheet Pans and Liners

Monday March 31, 2014
Cookina Cooking Sheets

A new product just crossed my desk - the Cookina line of reusable cooking sheets. It's an innovative product: a thin fabric base that's encapsulated in a nonstick coating. It's flexible, can be cut to fit your pans, and can be used again and again. As one who uses a ton of parchment paper when baking, I'm excited about this product. Take a first look at the Cookina line of cooking sheets (which includes a sheet developed specifically for grilling and will even give you grill marks, and an oven liner that my clean-freak mom would love).

While we're on the topic, take a look at the Baking Sheets Buying Guide if you've been considering upgrading or replacing your collection of baking sheets. With a couple of Cookina cooking sheets, you can keep those new baking sheets in mint condition for years to come.

Image courtesy Cookina

Learning About Dinnerware

Monday March 31, 2014
I remember when I was a bride setting up my registry, the china department simply flummoxed me. What was bone china, and how was it different from regular china? What was stoneware? How did I take care of delicate china? I wish I knew then, what I know now... perhaps I wouldn't have a set of very fancy Wedgwood bone china dinnerware gathering dust in the back of my closet. Whether you are a young bride or simply thinking of upgrading your dinnerware, read my Guide to Dinnerware Materials to learn about the wide variety of dinnerware options, and how each one can be used and cared for.

Breakfast, Sweet or Savory?

Sunday March 30, 2014
Oatmeal Pancakes

When it comes to breakfast, do you prefer sweet breakfast like pancakes or French toast, or savory, egg-based breakfasts? For me, it's split 50-50; in fact, on weekends we have a tradition of having a sweet breakfast one morning and a savory one the other. Your trusty nonstick skillet can satisfy your breakfast fix, whatever craving you have. Two to try: Oatmeal Pancakes or Breakfast Taquitos.

Guide to Metal Serveware and Flatware

Monday March 24, 2014
How well do you know your sterling from your silver plate? Your aluminum from your pewter? The difference between 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel. This guide to metal serveware and flatware outlines the properties of the metals most used to create flatware and serving pieces, some brands to watch for, and how each should be cared for.

Shopping Guide to Pastry and Basting Brushes

Thursday March 13, 2014
I recently replaced all my old, gunky pastry brushes with an assortment of new brushes, including a few natural-bristled versions for pastries and some silicone brushes specifically for basting meats. Culinary brushes have an important role in the kitchen - they can be used for coating pastries with glaze or egg wash, for dusting crumbs off a cake before frosting, or for coating meat with pan juices or barbecue sauce as it cooks. Read up on pastry and basting brushes to learn which brushes are best for each use, and to see some well-designed options that will make you want to replace your own brushes.

How do you store your kitchen knives?

Friday February 28, 2014
When I was childless, and a recent graduate of culinary school, my row of Wusthof Trident knives was proudly displayed on a magnetic strip on my kitchen wall. But the minute my first kid was big enough to toddle into the kitchen, I knew I needed another solution. After deciding that blocks took up too much space, the knives went into a cutlery tray in a drawer, where they are easy to reach for me, but out of sight for the little ones. Read up on some of the different ways to store kitchen knives; they each have their advantages and drawbacks, but one will work best for you. And while you're thinking of knives, now is a good time to think about expanding your collection... ever though of getting a specialty knife like a bird beak knife, or a mezzaluna? After all, now you'll have a great place to put all your new acquisitions!

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