Tools & Utensils

Mini Paper Cups

Mini Paper Cups

You know how sometimes, you’ll be reading a cookbook or a cooking magazine, and a recipe will call for a specific piece of equipment? And all of a sudden you just have to have that thing, right that minute? Even though this is the first recipe you’ve ever laid eyes on that mentioned it? Because you can just feel, deep inside of you, that it will make your life better?

Well, this is exactly the story of my mini paper cups.

In no way can I be held responsible, of course. The culprit, in this instance, was Pierre Hermé, by way of his cookbook Mes Desserts Préférés. Among all the gorgeous tempting if-I-had-three-days-to-devote-to-it-I’d-definitely-make-this recipes, he offers a simple recipe for Moelleux aux Amandes. These are bite-size almond cakes, on which he encourages you to plop anything you fancy, a pinenut or a piece of pineapple for instance, and he instructs you to bake them in caissettes en papier. “Mini paper cups?”, thought I, “But I don’t have mini paper cups! I can’t go on living like this!”

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The Potato Brush’s Grand Debut

The Potato Shaped Potato Brush

Due to overwhelming popular demand, I hereby present, drumroll please… the unbelievable, the phenomenal, the incredible… Potato Shaped Potato Brush! [Loud applause]

It is small and it is cute! It’s a she and she is shy! Please reserve The Brush your warmest welcome! [Roaring applause]

An amazing con artist, she was discovered by our talent scout, hidden in a basket of confusingly similar brushes!

Shaped like a potato, she’ll scrub your potato! She’ll entertain you and dazzle you with her favorite trick, in which she hides in the sink among all the other potatoes, waiting for you to pick it up by mistake, ready to peel it! Your kitchen will resound with her infectious and bubbling laughter! Your life will be transfigured! Talent and beauty will be yours! You will never have a bad hair day again! Or bang your little toe on the table leg!

And then you’ll realize how badly you need a break! And you’ll fly off to Madrid for a couple of days! To visit friends and buy Spanish food! And you’ll wish your readers a lovely week-end! And leave it at that!

[The ringmaster somersaults and disappears in a puff of smoke.]

Chocolate Dipping Fork

Chocolate Dipping Fork

I keep a running list of tools I absolutely need and must acquire at all costs. I’ll admit that this list tends to be much longer than reasonable, and completely out of proportion with the capacity of our kitchen or the actual utility of said tools.

But hey, some girls buy shoes, I buy kitchen toys! (Well, shoes too, but I’m trying to make a point, here.)

This “fourchette à tremper” is an item I recently crossed off my list. It is what chocolate makers use to make chocolate-dipped things : you melt some chocolate in a wide and not too shallow pan, you balance whatever it is you’d like to dip onto the tines of the fork, lower the fork into the chocolate, take it out, and deposit the coated bite on a special non-stick plastic sheet (“feuille guitare”) for it to dry and harden.

The fork is also used to form the little ribbed lines you can sometimes see on chocolate bites. Just after depositing the coated confection on the sheet, while the chocolate is still soft, you gently apply the fork tines on top of the chocolate, then lift it up and towards you : the chocolate coating will sort of follow the fork’s movement, and will keep the imprint of the tines.

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Meine Wunderschöne Gebäck-Presse

Meine Wunderschöne Gebäck-Presse

Please meet my new beautiful friend, the cookie press! Personally imported from Germany by my sister, and an awesome Christmas present for the kitchen toy addict that I am. You should have heard me squealing with joy, kneeling at the foot of the tree!

It comes complete with a full set of cute little cookie shapes and an instructions booklet – hilarious in its French translation – that includes recipes. There is even a special attachment to fill Berliners, those little jelly donuts JFK identified himself so well with! What more could I want?

The process is this : you roll the cookie dough into a log, put the log inside the cylinder, pick the shape you like best, and start cranking away above an ungreased cookie sheet, dropping little blobs of dough that will bake into the chosen shape. You can even use two colors of dough for beautiful effects.

Needless to say, this will be put to good use soon, very soon. Stay tuned!

Garlic Press R.I.P.

Garlic Press R.I.P.

I broke our garlic press yesterday, and now I can’t help but wonder… Is this a sign of the Gods? Do I use too much garlic? Do I *eat* too much garlic? Have I pressed too much of it? Or too hard? Is this the first spasm of the Worldwide Garlic Mutiny? Some people are violently against garlic presses, so was this affirmative action from a commando of those guys? Sabotage?

I think I will hold off buying a new one for now, see what happens… But if you hear anything, do let me know, okay?

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