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Kitchen & Cooking

  • Wok cooking can be a fun and exciting experience. There are two main types of woks to choose from: Electric or Traditional. Traditional stove top woks typically have a flat or round bottom. Round bottom woks are generally for pit stoves because the bottom sits in sort of a fire lit hole. Flat bottom woks are for standard or induction cook tops. They also come in electric versions. Woks are made from stainless steel, cast iron or carbon steel and has become very popular as it is a great way to cook quickly. The surface of the woks are nonstick which allows for healthier cooking without the need for extra oil. They heat quickly and maintain that heat throughout the cooking process. The high sides of the wok makes it easy to utilize the entire surface of the wok. Whether you choose an electric or traditional wok, you will be able to enjoy the versatility that comes with owning one. You can also use your wok to braise, steam or deep fry.Woks come in a variety of sizes and you don't have to spend a lot of money to find a good quality one. With so many types on the market, it won't be hard to choose the best wok for your needs. Just a little bit of research goes a long way when selecting the right one for you.
    February 03, 2016
  • If you've ever tried to eye-ball measurements or use soup or dessert spoons in place of measuring spoons, you may have had a baking disaster or made a dinner that didn't quite taste right. That's why measuring spoons are an essential tool for any kitchen. In most cases, spoons come in sets that contain at least a quarter teaspoon, half teaspoon, full teaspoon, and tablespoon measures. Some of them also include eighth teaspoon and half teaspoon measures, which are useful for home cooks that do a lot of baking or want to get their spices just right. Metal or porcelain spoons are preferable to plastic ones because they discolor or pick up odors, which is especially important when you're measuring spices. If you don't want to dig through the drawer to search for a half-dozen different measuring spoons, you might want to consider an adjustable measuring spoon. The size of these spoons can be changed thanks to a simple slider on the handle, making these convenient, one-size-fits-all measuring spoons.
    February 01, 2016
  • The right wine glass can make the difference between a decent wine and a great wine. That's because wine glasses are specially shaped to enhance the aromas and flavors of different types of wines, bringing out the subtleties you might miss if you try to enjoy wine from the wrong type of glass.Sparkling, red, and white wines each have their own style of glassware. For sparkling wines, you'll want to use a deep, narrow glass that encourages tiny bubbles to rise to the top. If you're drinking red wine, a glass with a large bowl that has plenty of room at the top for the bouquet is desirable. White wines also benefit from extra room at the top of the glass, though you'll want your nose a little closer to the wine if you're hoping to pick up on the subtleties.Within these three categories, there are a wide variety of specialized glasses designed to enhance particular varietals. If you tend to drink one type of one, it's a good idea to buy glassware that's ideal for that varietal. No matter what type of wine you enjoy, you'll want to look for glassware that's well-made, easy to clean, and perfectly clear.
    February 01, 2016
  • A set of matching flatware can make any dining room feel well put-together. Flatware usually comes in sets of four, six, eight or 12 and it's always a good idea to buy a few sets more than the number of people in your household so that you can accommodate for any guests that come over. Stainless steel flatware is by far the most popular. These sets are easy to take care of, won't discolor if left overnight in water or exposed to acidic foods and never need to be polished. If you're looking for a set of flatware on a budget, stainless steel is definitely the way to go. Not all stainless steel sets are inexpensive, however, so you'll want to be sure to check the price to make sure that the set you like is in your budget. Silver plated and sterling silver flatware sets range in price from expensive to astronomically expensive. If you want the look of real silver without the incredibly high price tag, silver plated flatware is your only option, and some of these sets can run into the thousands. All sets of real silverware run from the thousands to the tens of thousands of dollars, and should be treated as heirlooms that can be passed down to children and grandchildren. Silver should be washed by hand after use and requires polishing from time to time to remove tarnish that builds up.
    February 01, 2016
  • Many people know the struggles of trying to open a bottle of wine. In many cases, a manual wine opener fails miserably. From wine corks dropping and crumbling into the wine to simply not being able to get the cork out, it is obvious that a good wine opener is essential. There are multiple types of wine openers both manual and electric. I am happy to say that many of the newer versions of manual wine openers are actually very good. They are comfortable to use and do a much better job of extracting the cork. Many of the manual versions have levelers. When you push them down, the leveler lifts the cork out more easily. This allows you to work less to get the cork out. All in all, the new manual wine openers are much better than the old ones that have the wooden handle and the corkscrew on the end. A personal favorite, however, is the electric opener. There are several manufacturers out there that are making them now and they are easy to operate. What I like about the option of the electric opener is that they have the ability to open multiple bottles within minutes. These openers work fast and they are very efficient. They are typically battery operated and some even have adapters. If you plan on having a party or opening more than one or two bottles of wine, electric openers are much more convenient and a lot faster. As with most things, it is all a matter of choice. If you don't drink wine often, maybe investing in an electric opener isn't necessary. A good manual one will do. If you do entertain a lot, then an electric opener will be optimal. One thing is for sure, no matter what your wine opener personality is, there is one on this list to suit everyone.
    January 29, 2016
  • A quality cutting board is an essential tool in every kitchen. Cutting boards provide a safe, sanitary surface for cutting, chopping, slicing, and serving. Both home and professional chefs make use of cutting boards in order to protect counter tops and ensure that knives keep their sharp edges. Most cutting boards are made from either bamboo, hardwood, polypropylene plastic, or glass. Bamboo is popular because it helps to keep knife blades sharp and it's made from a renewable resource. Hardwood boards are prized for their beauty and incredible durability, even under heavy daily use. Plastic boards are some of the most commonly used cutting boards because they are easy to clean and inexpensive. Glass boards are attractive and the most sanitary surface available, though they can wear down knives. No matter what material you prefer, you'll want to choose a cutting board that is durable, well-made, and relatively easy to clean and care for. While you're shopping around, you'll also want to consider whether you need any special features on your board, such as non-slip feet, juice grooves, handles, or reversibility.
    January 29, 2016
  • Many of us can remember watching our grandmothers cooking with these massive, extremely heavy contraptions on the stove. Dutch ovens have always been synonymous with high quality, slow cooked foods. They have been around for decades and have recently undergone a stylish facelift.Crafted by some of the most trusted names in cookware, there are a few different materials you can buy them in. Cast iron, Ceramic, Stainless steel or nonstick are some of the more common types. They also come in a variety of sizes and are typically oval shaped or round. Companies like Le Creuset have been crafting high quality Dutch ovens for more than a century. Being an elite brand, they are very expensive.There are however more affordable choices that don't skimp on quality. With more cookware companies manufacturing excellent quality Dutch ovens, anyone can enjoy the benefits of Dutch oven cooking. Choose from a variety of colors, styles to fit the way you like to cook. Considering your budget and home cooking needs, finding the right Dutch oven for you should be easy.
    January 29, 2016
  • Choosing the right cookware can be a tricky task. It all begins with knowing your needs. If you cook a lot and elaborately, then your cookware requirements will be more ambitious. If you don't cook a lot, then you may require fewer pieces and something more budget friendly. The whole idea is to have cookware that feels comfortable, is easy to use and gives you what you need. Some of the most common cookware types are cast iron, stainless steel, non-stick and anodized. Each type performs differently and can offer a number of uses. Some can go from oven to freezer while others can withstand higher cooking temperatures. Some sets can even be used on outdoor grills. No two sets are the same. They are as diverse as the manufacturer who produces them. For example, a cheaper non-stick pan may pucker and peel at high temperatures. However, a more expensive one or one with a different coating may not. From the novice cook to the super star home chef, each set is unique in its own way. How well each one performs on a variety of cook tops is also something to consider. Quality and performance is essential when selecting the right set. While buying new cookware is a small investment, don't be intimidated about the process. Looking over the details of each type and understanding what is important to you will allow you to make the best decision.
    January 29, 2016
  • Washing the dishes are a part of everyday life, and if you don’t happen to have a dishwasher in your home, you’ll need a great hand wash dish soap that gets the job done. Some dishwashing soaps out there will meet all your expectations and we’ve prepared a list of the best options out there to help you keep your dishes clean and sinks clear. These best dishwashing soaps were chosen based on their ability to effectively combat grime, grease, and food debris with equal efficiency. Additionally, all of these soaps are safe to have in contact with bare hands, so you won’t need to worry about having any issues with skin irritation. Lastly, these picks are formulated to be safe for use on all types of dishwares.
    December 04, 2015
  • Great cooking starts with proper prep tools. Investing in a set of knives is one of the first and most important purchases you can make. While really high end knife block sets can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, don't let that discourage you. I like Knife Block Sets because you get a great variety of knives and a place to store them. There are a number of affordable sets out there that can give you quality when you are on a budget. I love a good deal so I decided to seek out the best, affordable knife sets on the market. The five sets on this list were chosen because they are all affordable, durable and come in a set of at least three. A quality knife set is a necessary asset to any kitchen whether you're a pro or not.
    November 24, 2015
  • Who can resist the comforting smell of home cooked food. Walking into your home to the smells of a crock pot meal that has been simmering all day is irresistible. Foods that are slow cooked have more time to develop flavor and tenderize meats. Autumn is here and this is the perfect time to check out these picks and explore the joys of crock pot cooking. The crock pots on this list were chosen because they have multiple, programmable temperature settings and have at least a six quart capacity.
    October 28, 2015
  • Finding a strong paper towel to deal with spills can be difficult and, at times, frustrating. Too often substandard towels shred apart or leak everywhere. However, this list delivers five options that are certain to alleviate any concerns over cleaning with paper towels. These best paper towels were chosen because of their strength which allows each pick to clean up liquids and food debris with ease. They’re also extremely absorbent, leaving little behind while using the fewest number of paper towel sheets. The next time you have a spill, look no further than one of these options.
    May 29, 2015
  • If you’re a fan of making pizza at home, owning a pizza cutter is essential. Use a knife for the job and it will make a mess of the pizza you’ve worked so hard to craft. The right cutter will allow you to easily slice through the pizzas thick end crust while keeping the cheese and toppings intact. In my search for the best pizza cutters, each of these selections needed to be able to cut clean slices, have a comfortable and sturdy grip, as well as being dishwasher safe since washing pizza cutters by hand is time consuming and slightly dangerous.
    March 11, 2015
  • Home cooks who'd like to make pizza at home should definitely consider getting a specialized pizza pan or stone. With one of these pans and a great pizza crust recipe, it's easy to make thin crust, thick crust, or Chicago style pizzas that taste better than the ones you order out. In Italy, pizzas are made in stone ovens that get up to 800 or 900 degrees. Though a home kitchen can take that kind of heat, it's still possible to make authentic pizzas at around 500 degrees if you use a pizza stone. These stones are made from ceramic or soapstone, both of which are materials that don't transfer heat easily. This means that pizza stones heat up slowly and stay hot for a long time, cooking your pizza quickly and giving it a crispy crust. It's also possible to make pizzas in metal pans which may have solid bottoms or holes that keep the crust from getting soggy. Though you can make a good pizza in a metal pan, the crust usually turns out slightly soft and it can get soggy if you don't cook it quickly. Most metal plans can't be used in an oven that's hotter than 400 degrees, so you may need to adjust cooking time accordingly.
    November 21, 2014
  • Whether you own a set of high-quality knives or a discount set you picked up for cheap, chances are that your knives are probably due for a sharpening. Sharpening your knives regularly cuts down on the amount of time it takes to prep your food. It also keeps your fingers safer because you don't have to apply as much pressure when you're cutting. Remember: a sharp knife is a safe knife. There are two main types of knife sharpeners — electric and manual. Electric knife sharpeners work much faster but they do cost a lot more than their manual counterparts. In terms of ease of use, these two types of sharpeners are about the same. Before you buy a sharpener, take a look at the type of knives you own because not all sharpeners are appropriate for all types of knives. European style blades are sharpened at a different angle than Asian style blades. If you try to sharpen a knife at the wrong angle, you can seriously damage the blade. Serrated knives must also be sharpened with sharpeners that are specially designed to accommodate them.
    October 29, 2014
  • Who can deny the superb flavor of fresh pepper? Growing up, I don't know many people who actually used a pepper mill. I knew dozens of people who had them and simply left them on the table as decoration. Well, these days with the burst of the foodie culture, fresh reigns supreme. There is definitely a better appreciation for fresh pepper, hence the heightened interest in fresh pepper. There a various pepper mills out there. They all do the same thing, crush fresh pepper, but they can differ. The two main types are manual twist and the electric mills. The manual twist comes in a variety of sleek designs as well as those that visually lean more toward the old school pepper mill (the ones that I call the chess piece design). Electric pepper mills are becoming more common and they are simple to use. Some have regular batteries, others are rechargeable. Both types allow you to adjust the coarseness according to your personal taste. It really doesn't matter which you choose. What's important is getting that freshness. Boxes of store-bought ground pepper might be OK in a pinch, but for optimal flavor and freshness, nothing compares to grinding your own. These lists will help you decipher which are best for you.
    October 29, 2014
  • A saute pan is one of the most important cook's tools in the kitchen. A good quality saute pan can be used for a variety of dishes. A chef, could get maximum usage for one by using it in the oven, for shallow frying and sometimes baking. The saute pans on this list were chosen because they are oven safe, medium to large sized and very sturdy. These five pans will make you wonder how you ever lived without a good saute pan.
    September 13, 2014
  • No matter if you’re just starting to cook or a seasoned professional, a meat thermometer can take your cooking to culinary greatness. The ability to accurately know the temperature of your meat is a huge plus in getting that perfect meal every time. It can also keep you safe as well because undercooking of meat and seafood can lead to serious food borne illnesses.There are a few thermometers to gauge the temperature of your food. The probe type is left in your meat and the temperature is recorded to a separate device, the instant read which is the common spike you see in most kitchens and lastly the infrared which uses an infrared laser to gauge temperature.For our list of best meat thermometers, we’re going to focus on instant reads for their versatility; probes being pretty specialized to mainly low and slow cooking and infrared is handy for surface temperature only. We also took a look at how easy the temperature gauge is to read because what’s the point of using a cooking thermometer if you can't tell what it says? Finally we took into consideration if the gauge was waterproof and easy to clean because the last thing you want is your thermometer transferring food borne contaminants.
    August 12, 2014
  • Most of home cooks can't afford to have a stone pizza oven at home, but that doesn't mean they can't bake delicious, authentic pizza. A pizza stone is widely considered to be the best piece of bakeware for making pizza in a standard oven. These stones are often made from ceramic or soapstone, materials that don't transfer heat easily, which means that pizza stones heat up slowly and stay hot for a long time. When selecting the best pizza stones, we looked for stones that are durable, relatively easy to care for, and capable of producing a perfectly crispy crust every time. You'll want to be sure to follow the care instructions for your particular pizza stone, but most cannot be put directly in a hot oven. Instead, stones should be placed in the oven before it's turned on and heated as the oven heats up.
    June 17, 2014
  • Finding the best dishwasher detergent is important because none of us have time to deal with the hassle of getting rid of tough food stains and grease. Though a cleaner may get rid of the food, it is important for it to leave a flawless finish to dishes. Dishwashers are very popular today since it's a non-hassle way to do the dishes, but the dishwasher detergent used will determine just how effective that non-hassle dishwasher is. Finding the right dishwasher detergent is not easy since all dishwashers are different and some may want a tougher clean while others are looking for environmentally safe detergent. Dishwashers do use a lot of energy and water, so many like to consider both the tough fighting power of a detergent as well as its effect on the environment. Based on price and value, here are my top picks for Best Dishwasher Detergent.
    April 14, 2014
  • Whiskey or wine, a good decanter can increase the enjoyment you get out of a bottle of your favorite beverage. Whatever type of decanter you're on the market for, you'll want one that's made from strong crystal or glass and one that makes an attractive vessel that complements your decor. Whiskey decanters and wine decanters serve two very different functions. Whiskey decanters are elegant vessels that close tightly between uses so that the whiskey stored inside doesn't oxidize. Wine decanters, on the other hand, are made to quickly expose a bottle of wine to oxygen so that it loses some of its harsh tannin. Wine decanters are also made to help remove some of the sediment from aged wines so that you don't end up with unattractive dregs at the bottom of your glass.
    January 06, 2014
  • Grating cheese or other ingredients doesn't really sound like a difficult task but try grating a large amount with a grater with weak blades. The grater has undergone an amazing transformation. The main types are Flat Graters, Box Graters & Rotary Graters. The flat grater has a flat design with a handle on one end. You can grate cheese or vegetables by standing them up or lying them over a bowl. While they do a good job of grating, they are tedious to use. You can grate soft and sometimes hard cheeses and vegetables easily, depending on how sturdy your grater is. They often have a middle section for slicing. That usually works better for vegetables. Cheese is difficult to slice with that feature. The Box grater however answered the call of those of us who got tired of cramping our hands to support the flat grater. Box graters are designed to stand and often have 3 to 4 sides that offer a different grind for each.  I like the variety these graters have and the handle at the top along with the standing construction makes grating a lot easier. These work well for most cheeses and vegetables. The coarse grate side is only good for hard cheese however. The grater is hollow inside which is a great way to contain your ingredients while grating. Some newer styles even have storage cups. Finally you have the Rotary grater. Most of these have hand cranks but there are a select few that are electric. These graters usually have interchangeable grating drums that fit in the body of the grater. These are good for cheese but really stellar for vegetables like cabbage and zucchini.  You typically feed the ingredients through the top opening and crank with the other hand. The only issue with these graters is they can tend to clog if you are not careful due to the constant turning action. You should be checking the drums after each grating session to make sure it isn't getting full of leftover ingredients. The Rotary grater however is less work than the other previous methods. The grating drums can then be removed for washing. At the end of the day, choosing the right grater has more to do with your personality. If you are always in a hurry or like short cuts, then the Rotary grater would be best. If you don't mind manual labor but want ease of use, you're probably going to prefer the Box grater. If you don't mind manual labor and don't cook much, the Flat grater is fine. Heck, you hardly cook anyway and when you do, it isn't high volume. This list was comprised to show you all of the various types of graters and what they can do. From grating or slicing cheese and vegetables, the graters on this list are some of the best you can buy.
    December 27, 2013
  • Long gone are the days when you had to take your lunch in a paper or plastic bag. Those rusty old tin boxes or those easily scuffed plastic ones are also near extinction. The more modern lunch boxes are designed to store foods more efficiently. Some common types are insulated lunch boxes for adults and children as well as Bento Lunch Boxes. The insulated boxes have taken over as the preferred way to transport lunch and keep the food fresher. The Insulated boxes for adults have a more sleek design. They look more like purses, mini brief cases or totes than lunch boxes. They come in a number of sizes. This new look is perfect for work or any to go meal. The insulated boxes for children are awesome. They showcase lots of colorful designs as well as ones with their favorite characters. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The boxes guard well against leaks and are unbreakable. The lunch box right now that rising in popularity is the Bento Lunch Box. These lunch boxes were inspired by Japanese lunch boxes of the same name. They come in a variety of shapes and are made from plastic, wood or stainless steel. They can be round, square or rectangular and some come with inserts. The single layer Bento lunch boxes usually hold anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of food. You store food directly in the box making it less of hassle. For double layers, you will get two stack-able boxes that can each have food stored inside each layer and then stacked for transport. Some of these boxes come with utensils, dividers or removable compartments. They are a unique way to store on the go foods and are made for children and adults. These lists cover the best that each type has to offer. Looking over these lists will give you a re-introduction to sack lunches and how far they have come. There is a lunch box on these lists to suit everyone.
    December 27, 2013
  • Having a safe to eat lunch is oft times dependent on whether or not your foods have been kept at the right temperature. Insulated lunch bags are an excellent way to maintain the freshness of your foods for lunch, picnics or any outing. There are dozens of styles and sizes now available for insulated lunch bags. The lunch bags below were selected because they are easy to clean, sturdy, have separate areas for utensils and are stylish. Browse these hip bags and take your brown bagging to the next level.
    December 19, 2013
  • Whether you're cooking up a turkey for a holiday meal or a roast for a family dinner, a specialized roasting pan will help you get the job done. These pans are deeper than most other baking pans and some of them can be moved from the oven to the stovetop in case you're making gravy. Some pans are lidless, giving plenty of vertical space, while others come with high domed lids that trap the juices inside and prevent meats from drying out. Baking pans come in a number of different materials. Steel pans are sturdy, inexpensive, and lightweight, though they may require some extra care because most have non-stick coatings that can be damaged by metal utensils. Ceramic, stoneware, and porcelain pans are heavy duty, incredibly strong, and usually safe to use with metal utensils, but some of them can be a hassle to clean. Foil pans are designed for one use only and, while they are cheap, aren't the most sturdy pans out there, which means you'll have to be extra careful taking your meal out of the oven.
    December 18, 2013
  • Wine aerator's gained popularity in 2007. They are typically attachments with a hole in it that provides aeration to open bottles of wine. For some wine drinkers, aeration isn't necessary. To those who are wine aficionados, it is a great way to drink it. The aeration process is simply exposing the wine to air with the expectation of allowing the complex and intricate flavors of the wine to be more pronounced. With these picks you will discover more about the benefits of wine aeration. These aerators were selected because they could be easily attached to the wine bottle neck or have a separate pour through feature, have an attractive design and are durable.
    December 17, 2013
  • Kitchen wrap is as important as anything else you will use in the kitchen. If you want to keep your food fresh than you want a good quality plastic wrap. Although you may have storage containers as an option, there are simply times when it is more convenient to simply wrap something in plastic wrap. For people who don't have a lot of space, plastic wrap works just fine for wrapping up leftovers or storing food in. For these picks, I chose plastic wrap that cling well and was sturdy. Check out my picks for plastic wrap that will keep your foods in tip top freshness.
    December 13, 2013
  • Whether you're baking a cake or measuring ingredients for a meal, you can't get far in many recipes without a set of measuring cups. There are two main types of measuring cups, large cups with measurements printed on the sides that are designed for measuring liquids, and small, individually-sized cups that are designed for dry ingredients. For this list, we chose a cups of both styles, all of which can be used for either dry and liquid ingredients. We also chose cups with innovative designs that set them apart from the competition. Finally, we looked for measuring cups that are popular with home cooks, both for their aesthetic appeal and their functionality.
    December 12, 2013
  • Remember the process of serving ice cream that typically consisted of a hot glass of water? The glass of water was used to dip the freakishly large spoon or ice cream scoop in to make it easier to scoop out ice cream. While this may have been the best idea at the time, it was certainly not optimal. Ice cream scoops have come a long way. They come with a variety of features and various styles. Some have a hinge attachment to the handle that when pushed has a blade that sweeps underneath the ice cream to release it into your serving dish. The perk to this type of scoop is that it often doubles as a way to portion foods as well. This one is considered a more classic scoop. In recent years, ice cream scoops have gotten quite innovative. Some contain a non-toxic, anti-freeze liquid that is inside the ice cream scoop. It creates and external temperature that allows it to penetrate the ice cream without much work. Another similar type has a liquid inside that is activated by the heat in your hands. This also makes it easy to scoop hard ice cream without strain. Lastly, there are the scoops that have been designed with a unique, pointed tip. These ice cream scoops pierce and dig easily into hard ice cream and even yield a fancier presentation. For those of us who are looking for maximum reward with little to no work, these new age ice cream scoops are the best way to go. For the purists, the old school ice cream scoops are just fine or any large spoon that will dish it up. Now that you have had your ice cream scoop IQ updated, the choice should be easy.
    December 11, 2013
  • Everyone loves the smell of freshly baked cookies. We have all had the experience of chilling dough, rolling it with our hands or using spoons to scoop in onto the sheet. The problem with using spoons, is it takes longer and can be messy. Fortunately, there are a few cookie scoops on the market that make it much easier. The cookie scoops on this list will yield you perfectly uniformed cookies every time. What I looked for with these scoops was durability and ones that were made from stainless steel. Browse through these picks and simplify your cooking and baking experience.
    December 11, 2013