Do you have a portable induction cooktop? If not, you should know what a useful tool it can be in (and out of) the kitchen. I use mine as an extra burner for holidays or parties, to keep things warm on a buffet, or to take to potlucks or for cooking demos. I know people who use them on RVs and boats or even at campsites that have electricity. If you're curious about induction cooking (but don't want to invest in a new and expensive cooktop, a single-burner cooktop is a great way to test the waters. A good, affordable option is the Max Burton Portable Induction Cooktop. Max Burton is the consumer electrics brand name for Aervoe Industries, which makes paints, coatings and other industrial products, but also has a line of 12-volt portable products, such as for automobiles and RVs, plus induction cooktops.
The company's basic, single-burner induction cooktop sells for around $80, and is efficient and easy to use. Read the review of the Max Burton Portable Induction Cooktop to learn more.Image courtesy of Aervoe/PriceGrabber.
It always amazes me how just a jar of the right sauce or seasoning can make the simplest dish seem totally authentic and impressive. Case in point: this recipe for Korean Beef and Broccoli with Fried Egg. Cooking the beef and broccoli was as easy as combining them with a jar of Korean barbecue sauce I picked up at an Asian market, and throwing them in the slow cooker for the afternoon. Best of all was how easy it was, and how my slow cooker and rice cooker did all the work all afternoon, while I popped into the kitchen 10 minutes before dinner to mix up an easy slaw and to fry a few eggs to perch on top. Thank goodness for time-saving appliances!
I've just posted a review of the Hemisphere Control Blender by Breville. This blender can be found for as little as $150, and it's a great option for people who aren't ready to spend the money on a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec. Read the review to learn about its great design and effective performance.
Breville Hemisphere Control blender image courtesy PriceGrabber.
When I got my portable induction cooktop, I filled my favorite pan with water, put it on the cooktop, and turned it on. Nothing happened. It was then that I realized that not all cookware is compatible with induction cooktops, even some of the biggest brands (this particular pan was All-Clad, in fact). Whether you have an induction range, or you're thinking of adding a little more cooking space to your kitchen with a portable cooktop (which I highly recommend, especially for parties and holidays!), be sure to invest in induction-compatible cookware. This roundup of 7 Induction Compatible Cookware Lines includes options at all styles and prices.
Photo of Circulon Genesis cookware courtesy of PriceGrabber.
This winter, I have used my Dutch oven pretty much every week, to make various stews, chili, soups and stocks. Last week, when we were housebound thanks to an ice storm, was no exception. I made Chicken Posole Stew, loosely based on a traditional stew my New Mexican mother makes. I know that when the weather is warm, my big, heavy Dutch oven will once again gather dust in its drawer. But for now, I am grateful for its copious size (enough to feed a crowd and then some), the even way it heats, and how pretty it is - there's no shame in taking the entire pot right to the table for serving. What is your favorite thing to make in a Dutch oven?
Nothing gets the day off on the right note like a hot, nourishing breakfast... but who has the time? That's why taking a few minutes before bedtime to set up your slow cooker to make Steel Cut Oats is such a good idea - it's pure luxury to wake up to the sweet smell of oatmeal and to know that all you need to do is scoop out a bowlful and drizzle it with milk or maple syrup. See, waking up isn't so bad now, is it?
I'll never forget the first time I tasted farro. It was in an Italian restaurant in my Brooklyn neighborhood, and I distinctly remember the texture: firm, yet with the same al dente give as perfectly cooked pasta. I've tried cooking farro since then but had never achieved that toothsome texture, it usually turned out way too chewy. But recently I discovered Trader Joe's 10-Minute Farro. The grain, a relative to wheat, has been parcooked so that it cooks in only 10 minutes, and the result is that same perfection I tasted long ago in Brooklyn. This recipe for Lemony Farro PIlaf with Spinach is a great showcase for this grain. It's great with roast chicken or a pork chop.
I'm getting so excited for the Winter Olympics! This year, I plan to serve up a Russian feast while we're watching the opening ceremonies. Even though Russian food isn't very prevalent in the United States, most Russian dishes are made with easy-to-find ingredients, using equipment that you might already have in your kitchen. Check out the roundup of food ideas fit for a Russian Feast; it'll tell you everything you need to have on hand to prepare your own Russian foods in honor of the Winter Olympics.
World Cuisine caviar server image courtesy PriceGrabber.