Category Archives: Kitchen Products Gadgets

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

The Sansaire Sous Vide Machine uses the newest craze of water bath cooking at home using exact temperatures to cook foods like steaks, chops and fish.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 4/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine
Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

I have the second in my sous vide cooking reviews with another handy way to cook that has been a standard in high end restaurants. Sous Vide cooking is taking food in a plastic bag and slowly bringing it up to the temperature you need.

This water bath cooking keeps food at the right temperature so that you can keep it there for easy final prepping just before serving. A restaurant can keep dozens of steaks, chops and other foods at a medium rare state and simply toss it on a grill or pan for that final sear just before serving.

This is how a restaurant can have food out to diners quickly without having to wait for their food to fully cook after ordering. Sous Vide is cooking at a specific temperature like 122 for medium rare with that perfect sear finalized in a pan.

Sous Vide Beef Roast
Sous Vide Beef Roast

I have gotten pretty good at salmon steaks and my family is really enjoying the fresh fish we have been getting from our local store using the sous vide method. I have also tried a few new things using this second machine like pulled pork and vegetables.

A popular vegetable lately in stores is seasoned or sauced vegetables cooked in a microwave and ready to serve in minutes. Take these bags and simply toss in a Ziploc bag to dunk in with your meat for a half hour and you have a full meal in the same pot.

Green Giant and Birdseye have come up with a wide variety of vegetables and vegetables with beans or rice that make a great side dish for your main meats. The convenience of being able to cook both in the same pot and only having to wash up one pan that you use to sear you meat makes for an easy to clean up meal.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Veggies
Pulled Pork Sandwich with Veggies

The pulled pork is another that has quickly become a favorite in my home and will continue to be a welcome addition to our growing favorites. Take a pork roast or chicken and sous vide at 140 degrees for a couple days and you will have tender pull apart meat.

Yes, I did say a couple of days, you need to ensure the pot has water because after 12 hours some of it will evaporate but you get tender fall apart meat that is perfect for barbeque sandwiches. A quick sear and some rub before cooking and some sauce right before serving gives you an excellent dinner or lunch that was easy to make as well as delicious.

The Sansaire Sous Vide Machine has a bottom heating element with a hole on the side for water circulation and the top dial adjustment for easy control. The power cord comes out and uses a common removable wall cord for easy storage but the top buttons make this setup very easy to use.

Sous Vide Meal
Sous Vide Meal

The blue light up display shows either the current temperature or the temperature your trying to cook at with the simple press of the top temperature button to switch between them. The Sansaire Sous Vide Machine has a safety reset switch to prevent you from burning out the element so you don’t have to worry if you do use it and the water gets too low.

The Sous Vide Machine works well without any problems but the clip that you use to position the appliance on the side of your pot only has two positions. Unlike the previous sous vide appliance that has an adjustable clamp this one is a simple spring loaded clip but was not a deal breaker for me at all.

I much prefer the simple use of the clip over having to tighten down the clamp on the other sous vide cooker that worked well but took just a few seconds more to set up. Between the two machines that only real difference I saw was in cost with the Sansaire actually being about $20 more.

Typical Sous Vide Cooking
Typical Sous Vide Cooking

The Sansaire Sous Vide Machine worked well and I really enjoyed using it with a new but simple way to cook foods like steaks, chops and fish easily. Cook like a chef with the Sansaire Sous Vide machine which costs about $200 and is available at Amazon or directly from the Sansaire website.

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide @ Amazon

Pros
Simple and easy to cook foods
Keeps foods at the perfect temp for hours
No exact timing required
Creates chef quality steaks, chops and fish

Cons
Takes longer to cook

Anova Precision Cooker

Anova Precision Cooker

The Anova Precision Cooker brings accurate water bath cooking called sous vide to the common kitchen for tasty and perfectly cooked foods.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Anova Precision Cooker
Anova Precision Cooker

I became interested, intrigued really, by sous vide cooking when watching shows like Master Chef and Chopped but the real twist was when my son bought a sous vide cooker. I had to have one so I contacted three companies and was lucky enough to score a sous vide cooker from Anova.

The Anova Precision Cooker is a simple water heater and circulator that heats water to a specific temperature so you can cook food to that temperature. Sous Vide cooking is an easy way for professionals to keep food at a set temperature and be ready to kiss the food with seasonings or grill it to crispy perfection and serve.

One huge advantage of sous vide cooking for restaurants is being able to keep food like steaks at that perfect temperature for an hour or more without the meat getting dried out or overcooking. A water bath at the exact temperature for medium will keep that meat at that temperature for more than an hour without drying it out.

Sous Vide
Sous Vide

The meat sits at the precise temperature without losing any juices because it sits in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out to keep all its flavor right in. The meat can be seared for a few seconds to add that final touch or can be grilled for an extra bit of flavor.

The Anova Precision Cooker is a simple device that has a control on top and adjustable clamp near the middle with indicators for low and high water levels. The business end on the bottom has a circulator and heater that is submerged in a pot or other container but you do have a minimum level for water.

The Anova cooker has a touch screen control with temperature settings as well as a timer along with an app but the smartphone app does leave something to be desired. The app is not very intuitive nor does it range well for the Bluetooth capability so the app may not be the trick that takes this to new heights.

Perfectly Cooked Pork Roast
Perfectly Cooked Pork Roast

What does make this utterly fantastic and an excellent way to cook a wide variety of foods is the precise temperature you can cook foods to. One great example is steak, chops or fillets cooked to exactly a medium or medium rare, then flame kissed for a perfect steak or fish.

Pop a whole pork or beef roast in a large bag and let it sit for an hour or two then toss it on the grill and rotate every thirty seconds for an absolute fantastic meal. Add some smoky apple or mesquite chips to the grill and your guests or family will think you are an accomplished chef just hiding your real skill from them.

You can cook using the Anova Precision Cooker for a variety of foods but the best I have come across so far is fresh salmon and nothing beats perfectly cooked flaky yet moist fish. I do like to toss the fish in a heated skillet to get that nice crispy sear for a half minute on each side so I do cook the fillets to a very rare temperature.

Sous Vide Gnocchi w/ Carmelized Onions and Peas
Sous Vide Gnocchi w/ Carmelized Onions and Peas

I was actually surprised at how easy both cooking and cleanup is with a sous vide circulator, simply put your food in a zip lock bag with some seasonings and oil if desired and place into the water bath. Times and temperatures are readily available from internet sites but are usually around an hour and there are plenty of fancy recipes to try like a few I have.

The app for the Anova Precision Cooker is easy to use and has a time and temperature setting on the bottom with a readout telling the current temperature at the top of the screen. You can also use recipes to set your time and temperatures but the easy to use settings make this simply and additional bonus of you want to use it.

Salmon Perfectly Cooked
Salmon Perfectly Cooked

The app is more of a bonus in my mind as the main feature of cooking with precision is the main benefit and I really do enjoy the Anova Precision Cooker. I highly recommend the Anova Precision Cooker for an easy to use way to perfectly cook foods using a water bath.

Anova Precision Cooker Website

Anova Precision Cooker at Amazon

Pros
Cooks meats to a precise temperature
Keeps food moist
Keeps food at temperature

Cons
Takes longer to cook food

The Great Scrape Woody Paddle BBQ Tool Review

The Great Scrape Woody Paddle BBQ Tool Review

The Woody Paddle Great Scrape is a barbeque cleaning tool that keeps your grill clean safely and can also be used to handle food on and off the grill.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

My wife saw a barbeque tool at a local craft market that intrigued her and just made my wallet itch with its high price tag. $35 for a piece of wood to scrape my grill clean seemed like a lot of money and boy was I shown the error of my ways.

I received the Woody Paddle from The Great Scrape for reviewing and am switched to the benefits of all natural wood grill scrapers. A wooden grill scraper is a paddle like piece of wood that tapers to a fine chiseled point touse on a hot grill to clean off the burnt food.

The fine point of the paddle is grooved after the first use and you use these grooves to clean in between the bars of your grill. The Woody Paddle can be used on any type of grill whether its round wire type grills or porcelain coated cast iron grills.

The Woody Paddle by The Great Scrape
The Woody Paddle by The Great Scrape

Simply put you are burning the grooves into the paddle the first time you use it and it’s these grooves that get in between the grill pieces to clean off the grill. The grooves are made from both pressure and burning so you will notice that the end does get burned on your scraper.

I just hate the idea of a wire brush and getting bits of metal in my food or scraping loose bits of grill with a metal blade and eating them. The Woody Paddle will not leave harmful bits behind and by the time you put food on the grill after cleaning anything left behind should be burned off.

The Woody Paddle and other Great Scrape tools are natural hardwood and only oiled to preserve the tool and keep it ready for use. You can use a good cutting board oil to treat your Woody Paddle the same as you oil cutting boards to preserve the tool but usually just cleaning will suffice.

The Great Scrape after some use
The Great Scrape after some use

The Woody Paddle is 20 inches long and 4 3/4 inches wide with a one inch thickness after the front taper which goes from an inch to the tip in two inches. The Woody Paddle is long enough for most grills and I really had no problems with my hands too close to the fire when using it on my Coleman portable grill.

If you have a larger grill the Big Woody is an extra fur inches and if you only need a smaller scraper the Woody is 12 inches long. I have really enjoyed using the Woody Paddle for cooking and even found you can flip burgers and fish with it much better than using a spatula.

The grooves of the p[addle after it has been grooved fit nicely between the grill bars and lift the food out much better than other tools. I found especially with salmon fillets that the Woody Paddle is a great all around BBQ tool instead of just a scraper for cleaning.

Great Scrape Grooves
Great Scrape Grooves

The Woody Paddle costs about $35 from the Great Scrape website with an additional $10 for shipping but can be found for a bit less on other sites. I highly recommend the Woody Paddle for the ultimate barbeque tool that makes an excellent grill scraper and a handy tool for flipping and moving foods on the grill as well.

The Woody Paddle @ The Great Scrape

The Woody Paddle @ The Grommet

Pros

Easy to use grill scraper
Does not wear down fast
Can be used to flip burgers and fish
Easy to clean and maintain

Cons
None

Fagor Cayenne 6 Quart Pressure Cooker Review

Fagor Cayenne 6 Quart Pressure Cooker Review

The Fagor Cayenne is a 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker for faster cooking using liquid to build pressure which infuses food and keeps them flavorful as well as looking good.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

Pressure cooking has been a way to both cook foods faster since the late 1600’s while the more modern method of using glass jars to preserve has become popular once again. Canning can be done in some of the pressure cooker varieties but the design of the Fagor Cayenne allows you to both pressure cook and can in them.

The Cayenne pressure cooker from Fagor is a handy piece of cookware which uses pressure from boiling liquid to cook foods faster. The Cayenne comes with the cooking pot, lid with safety release valve, a steamer basket and rack along with a user’s manual and 50 recipe cookbook.

Fagor Cayenne Pressure Cooker
Fagor Cayenne Pressure Cooker

I received the smaller 6 quart pressure cooker which ca      n only fit 4 and 8 ounce jars for canning which works well for canning jams and jellies. The pressure cooker is also used for cooking foods using pressure created from steam in a closed container which forces liquid into the food for faster cooking.

Pressure cooking helps to retain the color of fruits and vegetables while foods cooked under pressure also retain more of their vitamins and nutritional value. Pressure cooking using the Cayenne is as easy as filling the cooker with the desired food and some liquid like water or broth and closing the lid.

parts of pressure cooker
Parts of Pressure Cooker

Heating the cooker till the liquid boils usually takes less time than boiling in an open container and once up to pressure you can turn down the heat. Time for cooking used for recipes starts when the cooker is blowing steam out of the pressure regulator on the lid.

Once the steam is coming out at a steady but lower amount you can start timing your recipe and when it is done you simply turn the dial to the steam release mark. The steam will take a minute or so to come out and you can check your food for doneness.

searing a roast
Searing a Roast

If you need to cook some more you go through the process of bringing the cooker up to pressure and then turning it down to a steady release temperature. I have cooked beef roasts, chicken, pork chops and a turkey breast in the pressure cooker with great results.

Meat comes out juicy and tender while the browning you should do first ensures a good looking entrée that also tastes great. I have not canned in the Cayenne but have cooked several meals and side dishes including a delicious French onion soup and a fennel potato soup.

pot roast with mushrooms
Pot Roast w/ Mushrooms

The Cayenne includes the larger bottom that is an encapsulated copper or aluminum disc for even heating of the bottom. The lid has the rubber seal that is easily removed for cleaning which you should do after each use to prolong its life.

The safety release valve comes out for simple cleaning of the lid and the entire cooker should be washed by hand so you don’t ruin the cookware. The manual states for stubborn stains you can boil some lemon juice and water under pressure which will remove the stains.

steamer basket
Steamer Basket

I tried this and it really does work well especially if you use the pressure cooker to sear meats a lot and end up with stains in the bottom. Pressure cooking has become one of my favorites with the Cayenne and it really does keep flavor locked into foods as well as making meats tender.

The Cayenne has the enamel outside which helps to keep stains off the outer surface and makes the pressure cooker a more attractive piece of cookware. The Fagor Cayenne in the 6 quart size costs about $120 and can be found at the Fagor website, Amazon and other kitchen suppliers.

I highly recommend the Fagor Cayenne as a fantastic addition to any kitchen and a great way to cook meals and meats.

Cayenne @ Fagor

Cayenne @ Amazon

Pros

Quick and easy cooking of meats and meals
Canning safely using pressure
Easy to open and safety locked
Easy to clean and removable seal

Cons
None

Kyocera 8” Professional Chef’s Knife Review

Kyocera 8” Professional Chef’s Knife Review

The Kyocera 8 Inch Professional Chef’s Knife is a ceramic knife for clean cuts and a sharp edge that lasts far longer than conventional steel knives.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

I’ve had the Kyocera paring knife for a few years and recently noticed it could use a little sharpening but has stayed sharp far longer than my steel knives. I routinely sharpen my kitchen knives to keep them cutting and slicing easily and quickly but my ceramic knives don’t need it nearly as often.

Kyocera has sent me another tool for cooking that fits right in with my vacant spot with their 8 Inch Professional Chef’s Knife. Kyocera Advanced Ceramics has been making ceramic knives for a few years now and are a leader in ceramic cutlery.

The Kyocera Professional Chef’s Knife is a full sized kitchen knife for general cutting and slicing of fruit, vegetables and meat along with other foods. Bread dough is one thing my wife and I have been dealing with a lot lately with our farmers market and steel cuts but the dough sticks a lot to the blade.

Kyocera 8 Inch Chef's Knife
Kyocera 8 Inch Chef’s Knife

A ceramic knife does not stick nearly as much to bread dough so that is only one of the advantages of a ceramic knife. Staying sharp, does not rust or transfer bad taste to foods are some of the other features ceramic knives are known for.

The main advantage I have seen with ceramic knives is the sharp blade that keeps its edge for much longer than a steel blade. Food like lettuce and bananas are also affected by steel blades and will start to oxidize quicker from the steel ions getting on the vegetables and fruit.

Ceramic does not affect food in any way other than the cut because the material is chemically inert and will not affect food. There is a trade off with using ceramic knives with the care needed to keep your knife in top condition by not dropping the knife and not using it on hard foods like bone or frozen foods.

slicing meat
Slicing Meat

The Kyocera chef’s knife has a contoured grip made from a hard plastic and the blade right in front of this is flat for protection. The blade is sharpened from the grip all the way around the tip so you can use the tip to cut with like I do in my video to peel a banana.

The blade is sharp and will cut both delicate items like tomatoes and skin fish as well as cut tough things like pineapple. I have used the knife to cut fresh bread which is does fairly well mainly because it is sharp but you should really use a serrated bread knife for bread.

I did cut fish and other meats and the blade does not pick up the smell from foods like steel can that requires a good cleaning after. I have used it for the delicate work of cutting up herbs for dehydrating like fennel fronds and it does very well to cut all the way through on a single stroke.

bowls of onions
Bowls of Onions

The Kyocera ceramic chef’s knife is a great knife for kitchen work and does not require a professional chef to admire its fine qualities. I truly enjoy a good nkife when working in the kitchen and have come to like ceramic knives once I got over the fear of dropping it.

I highly recommend the Kyocera 8 Inch Professional Chef’s Knife as a great everyday kitchen tool that will remain sharp much longer than traditional steel knives. The Kyocera ceramic 8 inch chef’s knife is available at the Kyocera Advanced Ceramics website and kitchen supply stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $80.

slices peppers easily
Slices Peppers Easily

Kyocera 8 inch chefs knife @ Kyocera advanced ceramics

Kyocera 8 inch chefs knife @ bed bath & beyond

Pros
Stays sharp longer than steel
Does not impart flavor or alter taste of food
Wont rust
Light weight

Cons
Blade may chip and break if misused or dropped

Ronco Ready Grill Review

Ronco Ready Grill Review

The Ronco Ready Grill is a fantastic kitchen appliance for cooking meats, vegetables and small meals with a stand up grill basket and 1300 watt heating elements.

Ease of Use/Performance: 3/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Total: 4/5

The first time I pulled the Ronco Ready Grill from its box the same thought of a toaster without the popup mechanism again came to mind. The Ronco Ready Grill seams so much like a toaster the resemblance is uncanny but this works much the same way.

The Ready Grill is a simple appliance with four heating elements inside, they may be one elements simply wrapped around the inside as well. Food is inserted into a basket and grilled inside the grill for meals or one part of a meal.

ronco ready grill
Ronco Ready Grill

The Ronco Ready Grill has four side pieces and a bottom tray to contain drips and spatter to keep the inside clean as well as a wire basket. All the parts of the grill are stainless steel except the bottom of the tray that is a heat resistant plastic.

The basket holds your food and has three clamps on the bottom that hold the two sides together and has heat proof handles. The basket slides into the grill and is held shut by the spring steel clamps on the side pieces to keep it closed while in the grill.

ready grill vs pan
Ready Grill vs Pan

The 1300 watt heating element has a timer control to shut it off and can go from zero to 30 minutes so you can time you’re cooking. The timer also ensures you don’t forget your cooking and cause a disaster because it will shut off after the timer runs out.

I have cooked chicken, fish, beef and pork in the grill with great success while vegetables are not as good but they do cook without adding fat or oil. Potatoes and other slices vegetables work well but some vegetables like carrots are just too odd shaped.

hamburgers
Hamburgers

One secret to even cooking is a little experimentation and common sense to understand that meat will cook at a different rate than vegetables. You need to balance the cooking times or make sure the vegetables are sliced the proper thickness when cooking with meats at the same time.

Meats alone are where the Ronco Ready Grill really stands out and this is my main recommendation as meats are excellent in the grill. The juices drain to the bottom for easy collection but the searing does lock in the juices for tender meat.

easy brats
Easy Brats

I was very surprised not to see more drippings from hamburgers when I cooked them in the Ronco Ready Grill as there was very little during cooking. When I cooked some hamburgers alongside the ready grill in a press grill there were less juices coming out of the Ronco Ready Grill.

The Ronco Ready Grill is not perfect and it does an excellent job of cooing meats alone but for meals you need to practice. The grill does a great job for smaller meals or single items but does fall short for larger families trying to prepare whole meals.

ready to wash
Ready to Wash

I highly recommend the Ronco Ready Grill for a great appliance for cooking smaller meals but especially meats like fresh salmon.

Ronco Ready Grill Website

Ronco Ready Grill @ HSN

Pros
Cooks easily in small space
Excellent for fish and other meats
Easy to clean removable parts

Cons
Not so great at cooking meals
Smaller size may not cook meals for larger families

Imprint CumulusPRO Comfort Mat

Imprint CumulusPRO Comfort Mat

The Imprint CumulusPRO is a fantastic comfort mat for preventing foot and back pain while having to stand for hours on end at a counter or standing desk.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

imprint cumuluspro comfort mat
CumulusPRO by Imprint

Quality comes first in my mind when spending money and I have come to appreciate spending the extra money to get top quality products. Spending a few extra dollars to get a mat to stand on hours at a time is money well spent because pain and fatigue are no fun.

When researching comfort mats which are also called anti-fatigue mats many of the top contenders are under $100 but there are several over this price. I just hate to think about spending more than a hundred dollars for a mat that sits on my kitchen floor.

I asked several companies and only got one to respond with a product sample and this company has me sold on buying from them in the future. I need some more mats for my kitchen and the CumulusPRO is going to be that comfort mat for several reasons.

Imprint CumulusPRO
Imprint CumulusPRO

The CumulusPRO has a ten year warranty which is the highest I could find for these mats and they are made from a single material. Polyurethane foam is used in the construction and Imprint uses the term Cushion Core Technology to describe their process.

The side view of one of these comfort mats shows the outer edges of the mat are a denser material than the center which gives it a resilient bounce back property. This also means a tougher outer shell while still maintaining that soft comfort for hours of standing.

The home version called Cumulus9 is made from different pieces of materials and glued together which in my eyes is a bad thing. Glues age over time and lose their binding properties so a one piece technology is the best for having a product for years of wear.

top and bottom of comfort mat
Top and Bottom

The CumulusPRO comes in four colors and two different patterns or simply plain with all models having a beveled edge that reduces the tripping hazard. The design prevents curling at the edges and the mats material makes it naturally no slip on top and bottom.

The comfort mat will not move once you place it and the top remains nonskid even with liquids and ingredients like flour spilled on it. I have been using my CumulusPRO for a few weeks while baking and cooking and the mat has remained unscarred.

I have dropped utensils on the mat and there are no marks to show but the real test is the two cats and dog that also reside with us. I have witnessed the animals tearing through the kitchen and have found no holes or scratches in the mat that they routinely careen over.

cumuluspro anti-fatigue mat in my kitchen
CumulusPRO Comfort Mat in my kitchen

The cats especially have not used the mat for a scratching post for whatever reason which was my major concern when looking at comfort mats. We already have a bed and couch that are routinely used for sharpening claws along with the ones we want them to use and I don’t need another one.

The major test for an anti-fatigue mat is the use and I had no problems baking and cooking while using the mat for hours on end. In the past few months I have had increasing leg pains and I realized it was because of the hours in the kitchen that I had not been doing before my leg pains started.

The CumulusPRO has proven itself as an effective comfort mat and has reduced the pain in my legs from standing at the counter a couple days a week. I have really enjoyed reviewing the CumulusPRO comfort mat and will be buying another one to use in front of my sink.

The most comprehensive review I could find on anti-fatigue mats was from another site and they have had these mats forsix months without problems. They recommend the CumulusPRO as much as I do and without hesitation because they perform so well while simply lying on the floor.

I highly recommend the CumulusPRO comfort mat from Imprint as a fantastic comfort or anti-fatigue mat that will last for years guaranteed.

CumulusPRO @ Imprint

CumulusPRO @ Amazon

Pros
Soft yet resilient
Beveled edges prevent tripping
Resists cuts and claws
Decent price
10 Year Warranty

Cons
None

ThermoWorks Splash Proof Super-Fast Thermapen

ThermoWorks Splash Proof Super-Fast Thermapen

The ThermoWorks Thermapen is the perfect way to make sure your food is at the right temperature for roasting, grilling, baking and especially when cooking candy.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

The kitchen thermometer has evolved over the years from a finger to the most modern electronics with the instant read thermometer now being a must have kitchen device. The ThermoWorks Thermapen is a must have kitchen utensil for both professionals and home cooks.

The Thermapen is a simple to use instant read thermometer that simply turns on when you swing out the probe and you just insert into your food to check the temperature. The Thermapen works using a thermocouple that is in the very tip of the probe.

The thermocouple is a more accurate way to measure temperature than the usual thermistor which is a much cheaper device commonly used in kitchen thermometers. The thermocouple is more accurate, sensing changes in temperature faster and has a wider range than thermistors.

thermoworks thermapen
ThermoWorks Thermapen

ThermoWorks has been making thermometers for kitchen use for years and their Thermapen is now their most popular model with both professionals and home cooks praising its features. I even found a computer website, PCMag.com, that reviewed the Thermapen including it in their digital home category.

The Thermapen has a range from -58 degrees to 572 degrees Fahrenheit which is the widest I have seen for kitchen thermometers. The Thermapen comes with a certificate of calibration and is accurate to .7 degrees which is more common in scientific measuring devices instead of home cooking utensils.

Others have praised the ease of use, small probe tip and fast reading but now it’s my turn and the Thermapen really does make a fantastic kitchen thermometer. The Thermapen has a very small tip for the first ½ inch so it is easy to insert and leaves a smaller hole than other thermometers.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

The probe allows you to easily measure the temperature of thinner foods like hamburgers easily even when they’re in a grill or something like the Ronco Ready Grill. The Thermapen reads very quickly and allows you to get a reading on your food so you don’t waste heat from your oven or grill.

This instant read is also very important for cooking candy where an exact temperature means the difference between gummy brown stuff and peanut brittle. The meat is also an area of cooking where the instant read is a must have for getting the proper temperature and how well done your steaks, chops and roasts are.

The Thermapen also has a switch under the rear battery cover that changes the thermometer from Fahrenheit to Celsius and turns off the auto off feature. You can also change the reading from no decimal point to adding a decimal and tenths to the reading.

battery compartment
Battery Compartment

The fourth switch under the cover is to adjust the thermometer by as much as 3.6 degrees if you find it is reading off for a quick at home adjustment. You can find out if your Thermapen is working correctly by testing it in a cold water bath of ice cubes and enough water to fill the spaces between them.

Ice water very near the cubes will be 32 degrees Fahrenheit exactly so just set the probe in a glass of ice water to check your thermometer. You can also compare your current temperature devices at home to see how they are working for you and how accurate they are using this method.

The Thermapen really makes taking your foods temperature a breeze and helps to make your cooking more professional and enjoyable. No bothering with probes at the ends of cables or waiting with your hand and face near the oven as the heat wafts out into your kitchen.

Perfect Chicken with the Thermapen
Perfect Chicken with the Thermapen

The Thermapen works well and I had no problems using it at all with cooking in the stove and on it as well as grilling. The only down side to the Thermapen is the price at about $100 but for such an accurate device that reads so quickly this will easily pay for itself in enjoyable and well cooked meals and treats.

I highly recommend the ThermoWorks Thermapen as the perfect temperature gauge for all types of cooking at home and professionally.

Thermapen @ ThermoWorks

Thermapen @ Amazon

Pros
Instant read in 3 seconds
Fold out probe stores and is easy to use
Automatic on off using probe
Auto shut off after ten minutes
Adjustable

Cons
Costs about $100

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven Review

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven Review

The Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven is a great oven much like a toaster oven with the added feature of pressure cooking for a faster cooking option.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4/5

The Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven is a small kitchen appliance much like a toaster oven but has the added feature of pressure cooking. The pressure oven uses Flavor Infusion Technology to create a low pressure inside the oven.

Don’t ask me how this is done mechanically but the oven creates a low pressure and the door seals when you lock the lever. You can also use the oven to cook much like a conventional oven or toaster oven with the two heating elements.

The oven has three controls on the front and two indicators along with the push button door release and door lever for use with pressure. The top knob is for temperature from 150 to 450 degrees while the second knob is the function knob for Bake, Toast, Roast, Broil and Warm.

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven
Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven

The third knob is a timer that goes up to 120 minutes and has an on setting for always on for longer cooking but I do like the timer for the lower cooking times. My conventional oven has a timer but it does not control the oven on off function like the Wolfgang Puck Oven does.

The Wolfgang Puck Oven can toast, roast, bake, broil and warm using the two internal heating elements that are 1700 watts. The different functions use the two elements or just one for each function like broil using the top and bake using both.

The rotisserie version of the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven has a third element but the less expensive version without the rotisserie only has the two. According to the instructions the bake, roast and toast function would all be the same with the elements all being on.

Whats in the Box
Whats in the Box 

The only difference with the three would be the position you put your food inside the oven because according to what the manual and my observations say the elements are all on for all three settings. The broil function works just like a conventional oven with the top element the only one on to allow foods to cook from the top only.

Your conventional oven does not however allow you to change the temperature of broil so the Wolfgang Puck oven does a couple things a regular oven cannot. The pressure cooking is a way to infuse your items with flavor due to forcing liquids to stay in foods while cooking.

Foods cooked in a lower pressure space will retain the liquids instead of forcing them out with a higher pressure so it makes sense to use low pressure. The lever is the only control to turn the low pressure on and is easy to use for faster cooking.

Inside the Pressure Oven
Inside the Pressure Oven

Some foods will cook faster using the pressure cooking while others will not change as much like the difference between beef and chicken. While beef will cook approximately 50 percent faster chicken will cook as much as 70 percent faster.

I found my chicken cooking time did lower when roasting a whole bird and it did come out well but with a little black on the top and legs. The chicken was moist and tender and well worth eating every bit but the potatoes were also good that I cooked.

You can use the Wolfgang Puck oven in stages and let things like the chicken rest while you cook the other parts of your meal. You can also use the Wolfgang Puck oven to bake and the oven does not heat up a room nearly as much as a larger conventional oven.

A Quick Egg Bake
A Quick Egg Bake

We have been selling foods at a local farmers market and the additional cooking space is really nice for quick breads and such. The Wolfgang Puck Oven cooks my banana bread about ten minutes faster on pressure and is excellent.

The smaller size simply means less heating and preheating so the pressure oven can save some money and time when using it for daily meals. I did find that the oven does get hot on all sides so you need to be careful about touching it and what type of surface you put it on.

I simply put mine on some ceramic tiles I had lying around from some home improvement projects as I did not want to set it directly on the wooden top of the counter. The oven does have two feet on the back that ensures you don’t push it snug against the wall which is a fantastic idea.

Chicken & Potatoes
Chicken & Potatoes

When using the pressure cooking you do have to equalize the pressure which is done with a device on the top of the stove but this is all metal and does get hot. You simply push the lever toward the area marked Vent and the air will hiss in allowing you to safely open the door.

The Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven comes with a wire rack, crumb tray, a short pan with wire rack and handle as well as a taller baking pan. You get a quick instruction sheet that has a cooking guide for temperatures and a manual for the oven along with a recipe book with Wolfgang Puck recipes.

I really like the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven and can easily recommend it for a nice cooking appliance that has its own specific uses. This would not replace a regular oven but actually it does compliment it and makes an excellent addition to my kitchen appliances.

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven Website

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven @ Amazon

Pros
Faster cooking using low pressure
Faster preheat times than conventional oven
Adjustable Broil temperature
Timer setting or always on

Cons
Outside does get hot

Nuwave PIC 2 Review

Nuwave PIC 2 Review

The Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop 2 or PIC 2 is an excellent cooktop for an extra cooking surface or if you need one in places like dorms or break rooms.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

A little over two years ago I reviewed the Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop and found the product delivered extremely well but the company had problems. In researching the Nuwave PIC I found people did not like the shipping and handling charges the company used for an extra PIC or the accessories like pans.

Nuwave now sells the Precision Induction Cooktop at local stores but has gone one better and really did listen to some complaints about the product and improved it. The Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop 2(PIC 2) is available at local stores like Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop 2
Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop 2

The Precision Induction Cooktop 2 is an induction cooktop that uses magnetism to heat pans and cook your food but the features are what make this a great cooktop. The induction cooktop has a precise control for temperature and has a glass surface that does not heat up as much as other cooking surfaces.

The glass top will heat up but cools quickly and only heats because of the pan or pot sitting on it that heats up during cooking. You need to press the start button and the temperature you want to start cooking and it will stop if you lift the pan.

Chicken on the PIC 2
Chicken on the PIC 2

The PIC 2 now has your choice of Farenheit and Celsius display of the cooking temperature as well as the larger internal induction coil for better cooking on larger pans. The Nuwave PIC 2 has six heat settings as well as an up and down feature that changes the current temperature by ten degrees.

This exact heat setting allows you to precisely cook foods for better control which is the best feature of the cooktop. We have been working with chocolate which needs a precise temperature to make sure you don’t overcook it for the best taste and look to your confections.

Melting Chocolate
Melting Chocolate

The Precision Induction Cooktop 2 has a timer so you can cook at one temperature then switch to another at a preset time. This allows for precise cooking on all kinds of foods and makes another great feature but there are some drawbacks of induction cooking.

An induction cooktop uses magnetism to heat the metal of a pan so you need a pan that is a metal that is very susceptible to magnetism. Some steel and stainless steel works well and cast iron is usually great but aluminum will not work with an induction cooktop without some help.

Polenta on the PIC 2
Polenta on the PIC 2

I wanted to try something I found on the internet and rushed off to my local hardware store for a plate of metal that worked well. I made sure the plate would attract a magnet well and bought a quarter inch plate about four inches wide.

I placed the plate on the induction cooktop and used my Moka pot which is solid aluminum to brew some coffee and it worked just great. You can buy larger plates and use pans that are not attracted by magnets to cook with the PIC 2 using just about any pan.

Making Candy
Making Candy

The plate will get hot and will be hot for a while after using it so be careful and use protection if you pick it up and warn others not to touch it. I have been using the PIC 2 and am very impressed with the Precision Induction Cooktop 2.

The PIC 2 works well for just about any cooktop cooking and does make an excellent way to cook foods at a precise temperature. I can easily recommend the Nuwave Precision Induction Cooktop 2 for a great extra cooktop or for a main cooking surface for rooms that don’t have a regular stove.

PIC 2 @ Nuwave.com

PIC 2 @ Bed, Bath & Beyond

Pros
Precise cooking temperature
Portable Cooktop
Easy storage
Timer for shutoff & changing temps
Shuts off when pan is removed

Cons
None