Fasta Pasta - 4+ Stars

​I was shopping at one of my favorite stores in Indian Wells, CA – Kitchen, Kitchen – and the owner, Jan, suggested I buy this gadget.  I was incredibly skeptical.  A microwave pasta cooker?  Ridiculous.  But I trusted her judgment.  For my first use, I decided to make rotelli pasta for a salad.  The instructions seemed simple.  Place the pasta in the plastic base.  Fill with water to the designated line.  Place in the microwave on high for 13 minutes.  How would this thing not boil over?  Would the pasta be over or under cooked?  When the timer dinged, I opened the microwave door and took out the container.  I used the specially designed lid to drain the pasta.  Much to my surprise it was perfect evenly cooked al dente pasta!!  No mess.  No waiting for water to boil.  Crazy.  I’ve used it numerous times now and each batch of pasta has been a perfect success.  Who knew?  I’m actually likely to cook pasta more often now!

Vegetti Gadget Review

Okay. So I was sold on the infomercial hype.  Veggetti seemed like a cool tool to spiral your way to oodles of vegetable “noodles.”  Just twist a zucchini into this little gadget and you have ribbons of fresh veggie strips for a quick stir fry.  I’ve been doing this myself for years with an old fashioned vegetable peeler but this seemed so much easier I had to give it a go.  Since I didn’t want to wait a few days for the TV offer, I went online and discovered that Bed, Bath, & Beyond and them in stock so I rushed out to the store and, $14.99 later, I had my Veggetti in hand. I decided to test a zucchini, just like on TV.  What I quickly realized is that, unlike with the traditional peeler, you needed your veg to be just the right size for the twisting tube.  Too big and it won’t fit and too small and you run the risk of slipping and grating off a fingertip.  Ouch.  I almost actually did this. So, with the perfect sized legume, I quickly grated a nice little bowl of noodles.  However, there is a lot of waste involved as you can’t twist the entire veg in the grater.  You lose an inch or so.  I also tried a carrot.  Not quite the right size and not quite as effective.  Bottom line.  It’s a fun idea but other kitchen tools do the trick more easily and veg-effectively.  I hate to waste food.  Only 2 Golden Spoons for the Veggetti.  Nice try, but really more of a gimmick than a must-have tool.

Graviti Pepper Mill

I’m always on the look-out for a great pepper mill. I must own a dozen or so, from old-fashioned manual twist-tops to fancy rechargeable push-button models.  However, a couple of months ago I bought a Graviti battery powered pepper mill from Trudeau. What a find.  The Graviti has no button to push.  You simply flip it over and it starts grinding.  If you’re like me, you often have your hands full in the kitchen, especially when seasoning meat and poultry. With the Graviti’s one-hand easy operation, you can easily pepper any dish.  It’s also adjustable from fine to coarse grind and it comes in a variety of colors. I love this kitchen gadget and use it almost every day.  I would have given it 5 Golden Spoons, but it does require 6AAA batteries and they tend to wear out every month or so with a lot of use.  This grinder clearly has a lot of power, so that is completely understandable, but I feel a bit “un-green” wasting so many batteries!  You can find the Graviti Pepper Mill easily online or at your favorite gourmet store. Price is around $24.95, batteries not included!

Turbo Whisk

So I bought this odd little device at a street fair. You know, one of those booths where a chef is doing a demo of the next “revolutionary” kitchen tool. When I walked up, the Turbo Whisk was being used to whip non-fat milk. Seemed impossible, but this high-velocity rotary tool has a handle that, when continuously pushed down, rotates a stainless-steel whisk at incredible speeds. It did, indeed whip non-fat milk into a light fluffy froth that could be spooned on deserts or coffee. Further demonstrations showed the whisk in action scrambling eggs, making homemade mayonnaise, and creating quick oil and vinegar salad dressings. I was skeptical, but shelled out $15 and took the Turbo Whisk home. After toying with a few recipes of my own, I was surprised that my new kitchen addition lived up to expectations. I use it regularly for a variety of whisking tasks and it is dishwasher safe too. I’ve since bought quite a few for friends and family. I even used it as an extravagant dinner party place-card, writing the names of guests on each box. Another fun find that is easily purchased online by searching Turbo Whisk! Basic kitchen tool performed perfectly with eggs, CHEFS turbo rotary whisk has high-powered velocity, without electricity. Press handle continuously and this 18/8 stainless-steel whisk rotates at high-volume speed to whip eggs, cream or light batter. Loops within loops lift and incorporate air quickly and effortlessly. Whisk and lift at once to add volume for exceptionally-light meringues. Reaches edges of bowl to thoroughly incorporate ingredients. Pump-action whisk efficiently whisks eggs for fluffy omelets or scrambled eggs. Blends healthy homemade mayonnaise, salad dressings and smoothies. Quickly froths hot milk for cappuccino, latte or creamy hot chocolate. Nonreactive to dairy or acidic ingredients. Ergonomic barrel-grip handle. 18/8 stainless-steel. Dishwasher-safe.

The Rice Cube

My local gourmet store had a demonstration of this handy device that takes plain sushi rice and presses it into spectacular little gourmet squares. The apparatus is simple and really just involves a sliding panel that fits into a cube base. You join the two pieces together, lift the hinged top and pack rice and chosen fillings into a well that is formed in the base. A simple squeeze and you can cube just about anything; risotto, polenta, potato, cheese, etc. The trick is to have a mixture that has enough starch or stickiness to hold your other ingredients together. I steamed some plain jasmine rice, let it cool, filled half of the well with rice and then followed with a couple of bits of pickled beets for color. I put a bit more rice on top and engaged the press to create a beautiful white and pink cube that slid easily out of the device once pressing was complete. I placed the cube on an Asian spoon and topped it with a touch of kumquat. Dinner party guests were amazed by the surprise pre-dinner muse bouche which had a delightful sweet and sour taste. It took a bit of work to create the little brilliant bite-size bits, but it was well worth the oohs and ahhs. I’ve also experimented with brownies, fudge, and dried fruit. For once, it’s hip to be square. If your local shop doesn’t stock the Rice Cube, you can easily find it online thru a simple search. Suggested retail is $19.95. ​

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 jim@foodtodish.com
888-942-4274 ext. 701

Palm Springs, California

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