Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mason Cash Bread Baking Set

You know I love bread, right?

So I was pretty sure I'd like the bread baking set from Mason Cash. It includes a large bowl that's used for mixing and rising, and a lid for the bowl that doubles as a baking stone. So it's two pieces with three uses.

Or, depending on how you use the bowl, it might have other functions. Like, you can use it for mixing the dough, then use the bowl to let the bread rise, then shape the dough and put in on the lid for the final rise while the upside-down bowl functions as a lid,

Yes, it's a bowl and a lid, too.

It's also a really nice bowl for other things, like fruit or for serving large quantities of mashed potatoes.

I took it for a test drive with bread (of course) after seasoning the lid/baking stone piece according to the instructions. The bowl doesn't need seasoning, since it's completely glazed. But the lid does need seasoning because it's unglazed clay. I also used cornmeal under the bread to keep it from sticking.

The result? I kind of love this! It's big enough for a big lump of dough, and the fact that the lid doubles as the baking stone makes it even more useful

Speaking of that lid - it's the perfect size for pizza.

Who's it for: People who love baking bread or who have other uses for a large bowl plus a baking stone.

Pros: It works just like it's supposed to, and it looks attractive.

Cons: It's a bit pricey, but good baking stones aren't cheap. Plus you get a bowl.

Wishes: I wish there were little handles on the bowl to make it easier to move when it's upside down on the baking stone lid. But that's a small wish. I was able to lift it, but the handles would just make it easier.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.

Note: I was so anxious to test this, I just threw together a loaf of bread and didn't measure or time it well enough to write up a recipe. I'll do that later, I promise!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chef'n Zipstrip Herb Stripper

I saw this cute little gadget at the Chicago Housewares Show and forgot all about it until I saw it at ... of all places ... a Goodwill store.

Have I mentioned that Goodwill is a good place to buy single plates and other things for blog photos? Yeah, it's almost as good as garage sales for that sort of thing.

So, I was wandering and spotted the herb stripper. At first, I was surprised it was there and that someone hadn't snapped it up already. But then I realized that most folks might not know what it is. Or how it works.

It's really simple. You pull the stem of a fresh herb through one of the holes in the stripper, and the leaves fall off into the bowl. And the bowl isn't just for catching. It also measures the leaves as you strip, so you know when you've gathered enough.

I have a feeling I'll be using this a lot more in the summer than winter, but it's going to be handy to have, for sure.

If you're looking for this gadget, it's called a Zipstrip, by the way.

Who's it for: People who use a lot of fresh herbs.

Pros: Works like it's supposed to.

Cons: Obviously, it only has one job.

Wishes: Can't think of anything at the moment.

Source: I bought this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Salton Frozen Dessert Maker (But wait! It does more!)

When the folks at Salton offered me a frozen dessert maker to test, I almost said no.

And then I waffled.

I've seen the frozen dessert makers where you shove a frozen banana into the maw of the machine and frozen banana "ice cream" comes out the other end. I was vaguely intrigued by them, but not enough to buy one. I like room temperature bananas just fine. And I'm not afraid of regular ice cream.

But when I saw that the Salton machine was not a one-trick pony, I decided to give it a try. You see, it also works as a grater and slicer - there are five grater cones for coarse, fine, and extra-fine grating as well as thick or thin slicing.

I tried the frozen banana dessert a few times and I have to admit that it wasn't bad at all. A banana-peach combo was pretty good. It would be great if you're cutting back on dairy or trying to avoid ice cream. It's a nice cold dessert if you want something light. I think I'm going to buy some strawberries and give them a try if I see some good ones at the store.

But let's talk about this grating. There are times when I need more cheese than I want to grate by hand, but not so much that I want to set up the grater on the food processor. Not that it's a big deal to set up the food processor, but then I have to wash the bowl, the lid, the pusher, the grater thingie...

With this little machine, there's just not that much to wash. And the machine itself is pretty small, so it should store easily, too.

I had a little trouble assembling it the first time - the way the tube fits onto the body of the machine feels like it's off-kilter, but once I figured it out, it wasn't a problem. It's a little noisy when it's running, but that's not a big deal either. This isn't a machine that's going to run for long periods of time - you're going to torment your bananas or shred your cheese, and that's the end of it.

I haven't had this long enough to guess how long it will last, but it seems sturdy enough for what it's meant to do.

Note: In the photo, I've got the mouthpiece of the shredder unit upside-down, but it still worked fine. That piece isn't actually needed, anyway.

Who's it for: Gadget lovers. Or people who want to avoid ice cream but want cold dessert.

Pros: Does what it's supposed to do. Small enough to store easily. Grater!!!

Cons: Not a necessary device in the kitchen.

Wishes: I wish the all the pieces could all store together in one neat package. I'll probably store it in its box to keep it all together.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.