Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More

///Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More

Reccomended items for your kitchen

Emile Henry Fish Steamer

The Emile Henry Fish Steamer, made out of high resistance ceramic, steams fillets or whole fishovercooking without the need to add fat or oil. It features bottom ridges that keeps the fish above its own juices preventing overcooking. The lid traps flavors and aromas until serving and fits upside down in the base for compact storage.

PackIt Double Wine Cooler

bonnie_webBonnie: As Bryan and Eric can attest, I’ve always been a stickler about food safety — keeping my cold foods chilled and warm foods warm whether at home or on the go. Their school lunches were always packed with something to keep their meals chilled, either a cold pack or a frozen aseptic juice pack. And I schlepped (and still do) a cooler filled with ice packs whenever food shopping on warm days.

So when I was walking...

Bryan 3aphoto - Version 2Bryan: PackIt claims that over a 30-year professional career, a person will save nearly $100,000 by packing lunch rather than eating out. I don't know exactly how they have come to this particular figure, but they are spot on about a simple fact: You absolutely will save money by bringing your lunch with you rather than eating out or on the go. More importantly, you also will...

Eric (2 sunglasses)Eric: In a society focused on convenience and instant gratification, it's nice to know there are companies helping these causes; just in a practical way. When was the last time you packed a lunch to take to work? Packed a few bottles of wine to take with you to dinner? Packed a lunch bag for a summer hike or winter excursion? Simple, convenient and cost effective are all reasons to bring your own food and drink, and PackIt, a company focused on earth-safe, eco-friendly, reusable...

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By | February 28th, 2012|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More|0 Comments

Ninja Master Prep

Bonnie: “Rule the kitchen with this new Ninja Master Prep,” boasts the makers of this new kitchen appliance.

They claim that this under-$50 Ninja could dice more evenly than my expensive food processor and chop ice better than blenders.

“Skeptical,” is an understatement.

So, when asked, I agreed...

Bryan: Ok, so I’m not going to lie. I definitely felt a little twinge of “infomercial” when first seeing my Ninja Master Prep. I mean, it slices, it dices… Don’t look at it the wrong way or it’ll kick your a$$! I heard the voice of kitchen gadget guru, Ron Popeil echoing in my head: “It’ll solve all your kitchen needs,” he whispered. “But I’ve heard that all before,” I answered.

Could it be true this...

Eric: To explain this in modern written language, OMG this product is not a WTF. The Ninja, or as I like to refer to it, “the little infomercial product that could,” is an appliance designed for the modern kitchen as well as for the fast-paced lifestyle many of us live. Similar to its infomercial nemesis, “The...

You can now follow Bonnie on Twitter: BonnieBOTB

By | September 16th, 2009|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More, xyz misc|930 Comments

Vinturi Wine Aerator

Bonnie: Last week, when in Des Moines, Iowa, I was at the home of Linda Funk, executive director of the Soyfoods Council. She served wine, cheese and chocolates. Soy foods, too.

Before sampling the edibles, I reached for the bottle of Charles Krug (2005) Peter Mondavi Family Generations to pour myself a glass, when there on the counter at the serve-yourself bar, I noticed...

Bryan: You’ve got to love science. Yes, yes. There is always something to be said for doing things the old fashioned way. We all have a romantic view of the way things used to be, but I must say that on more than a few kitchen gadgets, I see no need to turn back the clock. I don’t know anybody who would like to puree anything without the assistance of a food processor nowadays… So why shouldn’t ...

Eric: I’d consider myself more of a beer/bourbon drinker than a wine enthusiast, so when it was time to test the Vinturi aerator, I wasn’t as enthused as my mother and brother to break open a bottle and watch physics in action. With a degree in hospitality, and a few years of banqueting and restaurant service under my belt, I’m more than familiar with how to properly serve wine, as well as the many...

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: @BonnieBOTB

FlameDisk

Bonnie: Who doesn’t love the taste of food cooked on a grill? Because of that, I use my outside gas one all year round — except when the snowdrifts don’t allow me to open the screen door.

I’ve lugged charcoal, a chimney starter, newspaper, boxes of wooden matches and sometimes even a minigrill to tailgates, picnics and other outdoor gatherings. Sure it was a hassle, but there was no other option if we wanted grilled food. Until now.

Note: A chimney starter is a tall metal cylinder used...

Bryan: Cooking over an open flame imparts a different taste, texture and essence to foods that can simply not be duplicated. The love affair with the “open flame” has turned grilling into a staple of American cultural cuisine, with tailgating traditions and backyard BBQs woven through the fabric of our country’s culinary offerings.

If you grill (I do), you likely grill in two places — at home and “on the move.” Many, myself included, have...

Eric: One of my biggest problems is my inability to express what I’m thinking. Although the thoughts are clear to me in my head, when it comes time to verbally express them, I begin to trip over my words. The unfortunate part is that this affliction translates into my writing. Particular in this blog, I tend to put myself in the consumer’s shoes, and write what I would want to read if I were debating over purchasing a product. Here is my reasoning for...

Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan

Bonnie: Most everyone loves brownies as they are easy to make — just combine a couple of ingredients and pour into a pan — and irresistibly decadent. Seriously, who can resist a warm brownie and a cold glass of milk?

Some, like my friend Jan and I, prefer the gooey insides of baked brownies. Others look for the crusty edges, wishing for more. These brownie-edge lovers will take delight in this heavy-gauge, aluminum maze-shaped pan. The Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan holds 11 cups of batter, about one recipe or (heaven-forbid) a box mix of brownies, resulting in chewy edges on each and every brownie.

One of my favorite recipes...

Bryan: Call me crazy, but I like the crust. I didn’t know that this was odd until I got into meals outside of my immediate family (all crust-lovers). I’m not saying I was that kid not peeling the sides off of a PB&J sandwich, but I was surely the kid that was picking up all my friends pizza crusts and unclaimed bread ends. There is something about the doughy end of a baked item, where all the goodness, crispness and chewiness seem to congregate. My aunt is the queen of crust-lovers and has actually given her husband...

Eric: Although I am the baker of the family, I probably eat the least amount of baked goods. One of the main reasons behind their non-appeal, aside from knowing what goes into the butter-laden concoctions, is that most brownies, cookies, etc. are “chewy” and soft, lacking a welcome “crunch.” Just like my brother and my mother who’d probably fight you with the bread knife for the ends of the bread, I also enjoy the part of a baked item where the so-called “crispness and chewiness” congregate. My longing for...

Bodum Chambord Double Wall Coffee Press

Bonnie: My first real memory of French-press made coffee was at the home of my coffee-loving friends Frank and Mary Ellen, as they always served coffee from a French press. A large French press. The coffee they poured after pressing was always full bodied, rich, deliciously satisfying and hot. But my second cup (which I accepted only once) was always lukewarm. I drink my coffee steaming hot. I immediately thought of them as I heard about the double-walled (AKA insulated) French press coffee makers.

Our Bite of the Best team tried two...

Bryan: There are few beverages that are truly revered like coffee; an aroma so intoxicating, a flavor so memorable, a warmth so comforting, a rush so powerful, a relaxation so tangible…. All this and more can be said about this ancient beverage turned modern elixir. And with billions of followers world wide, coffee just might be the world’s biggest religion. What’s not to love about coffee? Well… maybe, making it…. (C’mon, it is annoying sometimes… ahem, success of...

Eric: While I was studying in the Netherlands I would always start my morning (usually around 6 am due to the hospitality curriculum), with a large cup of French-press coffee. I never needed more than one American-sized cup, so I always opted for the simplicity of the Bodum 12-oz Chambord press, a compact unit that allowed for the perfect amount of brew.

I’d wake up early in the morning and start the therapeutic process of boiling water, grinding fresh coffee beans and plunging grinds. The aroma, not...

Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers

Bonnie: As a reader of our Bites, you know that each week we’ve promised to provide “outstanding products we’ve tried and recommend.” This week’s no different, although our selected FeaturedBite is neither food nor something found on your kitchen counter nor in its drawers. Instead it’s a game, one that came to my attention as part of a holiday gift from my friend (and client) Robin Miller (Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals).

Foodie Fight is a fun trivia...

Bryan: This may be the first non-food item (kitchen gadgets aside) I can remember on Bite of the Best, and it’s a particularly exciting product for our family. I can’t say I’m much of a game player. Beyond cards (poker especially), my taste for board games is generally rather bland, the only major exception being Trivial Pursuit. And I must say, if there is one thing in our immediate, and extended, family that will get the passions inflamed and blood boiling, it’s Trivial Pursuit. We have a very competitive...

Eric: If Johnny challenged the devil with a fiddle, my weapon of choice would be “Foodie Fight.”

Whenever I play the board game Trivial Pursuit, I am always anticipating that my next question will be food-related. Food and beverage is not my only area of expertise, but it is the one area in which my knowledge far surpasses that of the omniscient trivia player (or for that matter, any one of......

By | February 4th, 2009|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More|3 Comments

Holiday Food Lovers’ Gifts – 2009

Bonnie: And now we present our second half-dozen or so holiday goodies to give your foodie friends. This week highlights food lovers’ gifts that can be used for cooking, eating or entertaining.

Bryan: Not all foodie gifts need to be edible. Any good kitchen should be stocked with a plethora of gadgets, goodies and gizmos to bring your next Epicurean adventure to new heights. Here are a few Bites of the Best.

Eric: Some of the favorite things that I have in my kitchen aren’t food. The gadgets, gizmos and “widgets” that adorn my cabinets and counter space all have a special place in my heart. This holiday season, we’re highlighting the innovative, the practical and the decorative in food lovers’ gifts to fit a variety of budgets....

By | December 17th, 2008|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More, xyz misc|5 Comments

Tupperware’s Can Opener

Bonnie: When Eric was home visiting recently, we got to chatting about gadgets. Kitchen gadgets, of course. That’s when he raved about this new Tupperware can opener. I had to test it — especially since my electric one had died long ago.

To me, when I think of Tupperware, I think of food-storage containers. And then I smile. I smile as I think of burpable containers. I doubt Bryan, Eric or other young folks would recall — but I certainly do — how we used to “burp” the plastic container to get the excess air out before sealing it. (Anyone else remember doing that?)

Tupperware’s come a long way since that and the...

Bryan: My first experience with the new Tupperware can opener was a bit embarrassing. If you’ve ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, my introduction to this crazy device could be likened to the apes’ naive wonder at tools, though my confusion and fear, thankfully, transitioned to a triumphant celebration of a discovery.

I was excited by the new opener, a radical departure from every other can opener I’ve ever seen. I immediately grabbed...

Eric: What I love about this can opener, aside from the fact that it is the easiest can opener I’ve ever used, was the little detail Tupperware added in making the job of opening a can (seemingly difficult among the elder members of the family) even easier.

Let’s see if I can explain this so the “monkeys” can understand it: What they’ve done is attached a little (and I mean little) triangular piece of metal to each handle of the utensil. When the handles are...

By | September 10th, 2008|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More, xyz misc|9 Comments

Hamilton Beach Toastation Toaster & Oven

Bonnie: No matter how large (or small) the kitchen, all cooks grumble about counter space. We all want more. And we try to make what we do have most efficient. That’s where double-duty appliances come in, freeing up counter space.

When the boys were growing up, my kitchen required both a toaster and a toaster oven. They used the latter more than any other appliance, relying on it to melt the cheese on their tuna melts. But they also needed a toaster for that open-face sandwich’s bagel. Both appliances remained on the counter top and in constant use.

One day, while researching new appliances for Parade magazine, I discovered...

Bryan: Some of the most pleasing and equally dumbfounding moments at Bite of the Best are when we receive products that are as amazing as they are simple. It’s always the quirky gadgets that make me feel this way; I end up falling in love with a device based on how it fundamentally changes my kitchen while simultaneously kicking myself for not thinking of it on my own. Toastation tops the “why didn’t I think of that” scale by skillfully combining the two most common methods of toasting: the stand-up toaster and the toaster oven.

The great toaster debate is one that had ceased to rage in my house long ago. As a self-titled...

Eric: While I was growing-up, the kitchen counter(s) in my mother’s house seemed more like the patent office for kitchen appliances; they were a testing ground for some of the best and the worst. For every food product that’s left you scratching your head in wonder about why a company would bother to produce it (or even think of it in the first place), there is an equally useless kitchen appliance.

I usually don’t depend on many appliances to aid me in cooking. If you’re an avid reader of BOTB then you already understand my disdain for the microwave. I slice, dice and chop with a knife, not a food processor, and I mix, fold....

Microthin’s Magic Slice Non Slip Flexible Cutting Board

Bonnie: Cutting boards are a kitchen essential. Before telling you about this flexible one, I must digress as Eric’s posting about moving into his apartment sparked memories of starting out in my newlywed’s kitchen.

It was a New York City galley kitchen with a window that looked out on a black fire escape. I made the small space workable with a couple of wedding-money-funded splurges: a pegboard I secured to the wall so I could hang my pots, pans and utensils, keeping them an arm-reach away; a portable dishwasher as I loved to entertain and hated...

Bryan: This is truly a “must have” product for anybody who spends time in the kitchen; if you have not already seen Magic Slice’s flexible cutting boards, you are in for a treat today.

Though I’m not sure exactly why, I actually love cutting boards. It might have something to do with my fascination with knives. (Is there anything more useful than a great knife?) Or it might be a reflection of how a simple, understated cutting slab can add such elegance to a common countertop. Either way, there are three main types of board that I always have in my kitchen: the big...

Eric: I recently moved to Providence, RI, but before my move I looked at more than 20 apartments, each with distinct characteristics: low ceilings, small closets, grimy showers and even bullet holes – but none of which had an impact on me more than the apartment kitchen.

“This is the room that I spend most time in, this is where I need to feel comfortable,” I told myself. I analyzed the angles, the cupboards, the stove and most importantly, the counter space. The counter is king in a chef’s kitchen, and space is a necessity ...

Pyrex & Corningware Portables

Bonnie: These Pyrex and CorningWare Portables make the food scientist in me very happy.

You see, I’m a stickler for keeping foods at the proper temperature. In fact, some of my friends refer to me as “the food police.” But I’m sure if they knew what I’d learned in my food-borne bacteriology classes, they too would keep their hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And they wouldn’t leave any food at room temperature for more than two hours.

Seriously, though, people do get sick from food mishandling. That includes...

Bryan: As I look at the Pyrex and CorningWare Portables sitting on my kitchen table, I immediately think back to night ski trips in high school. This may sound like a strange aside when considering baking dishes, but I assure the court that I will come to the point. At that time in my life, skiing was a new sport and, with little money to invest, my gear collection was a motley assortment of reallocated sporting goods; I’d stuff my boots...

Eric: I am a pushover for picnics and relish the opportunity to move away from the kitchen table and venture into a park for the occasional brunch (or dinner). For me, the picnic represents relaxation; it’s a retreat from the monotony of everyday dining, and a change from the daily kitchen-table meals. I can close my eyes now and smell the smoke of the BBQ and the scent of the freshly cut grass.

Although one of my favorite ideas about a picnic is the food preparation (mise en...

GLAD Wrap Press’n Seal

Bonnie: I first tried Press‘n Seal when testing it for consideration in Parade’s March “Live Longer, Better, Wiser™” issue a few years ago. It was love at first press.

Seriously. As a doubting Taylor (Thomas is just too masculine) I didn’t think this plastic wrap would actually stick to paper, Styrofoam or wood. But it did…and still does.

I raved about it to a friend, who of course wanted me to bring her a box the next time I visited her in Brussels, Belgium. That box is still above her stove, not because she doesn’t like it, but because she does. She’s hoarding it as she doesn’t want to run out.

It’s a quirk of hers that I discovered when visiting my friend in South America just after her son was born in the early ‘70s. She had moved there after her wedding, but yearned for foods from home. I know I brought a food-filled suitcase, but what I most recall is lugging a carry-on with good crusty New York bread, pickled...

Upcoming Contest News: Beginning in April, you’ll have a chance to win a case of Press’n Seal Wrap. Be sure to...

Bryan: I was pondering what to write about this product for a while before coming up with the following: It really works. I had seen ads on TV for the Press‘n Seal Wrap, but hadn’t bought it yet. I wasn’t averse to the idea, but have a pretty good Tupperware collection that keeps most of my leftovers fresh. This all changed when I recently got a shipment of fresh meats, far too much to eat in four sittings, let alone one. Freezer, here you come. But I had a problem. My freezer was stuffed and wouldn’t come close to accepting a collection of bulky containers. My solution: Press ‘n Seal, a recent arrival at ...

Eric: In my opinion, this is one of those products that can be thrown into the everlasting debate of “What was the greatest invention of the 20th century?” All right, some people may seem a little confused by a comparison between a simple plastic film and, for example, the airplane or the computer, but let’s be honest: How often have you struggled to save leftover food without the convenience of Tupperware? We’ve all encountered the aggravation that ensues from having to clean up the mess with traditional plastic wraps. And no matter who you are, you’ve most likely spilled the leftovers all over the ...

Chef’sChoice Cordless Electric Teakettle

Bonnie: Since I renovated my home’s lower level, my bridge group plays there instead of in the kitchen/family room. It’s about 13 steps up to refill drinks using my instant boiling-water faucet, then down again with the full cups.

Since this is a thirsty, tea-drinking group — at least when there’s a chill in the air — I began wondering how I could simplify the process of making them fresh tea. I certainly didn’t want to halt the game or to serve them only when I was the dummy (the player whose cards are exposed on the table and sits out the hand).

Chef’sChoice Cordless Electric Teakettle to the...

Upcoming Contest News: Don’t miss a chance to win a Chef'sChoice Cordless Electric Teakettle in the...

Bryan: I am a fan of tea; green, red, herbal and black. Tea can be soothing, calming, invigorating and almost anything else you want it to be. Tea also can be difficult to brew when a kitchen is not at hand. My first experience living on my own (a college dorm room) was the equivalent of a desert island when it came to my culinary capabilities. Like man before Prometheus stole fire from the gods, I sat staring at a cold cup of water, wondering how...

Eric: I am not a fan of tea and although I enjoy the occasional strong mint flavor of a traditional Arabic tea, there is a paltry comparison to the mass-marketed teas of today’s “expectation economy.” I look at the Chef’sChoice kettle and see something more that just a vehicle for boiling water (the standard boiling point of water is 99.61 degrees Celsius), I see an overall useful kitchen tool. Instant hot water was a luxury I lived with while growing-up in ...

Oliso Iron

Bonnie: Yes, yes BiteoftheBest.com is mainly about food. But when designing the site, I included the category of “Just for Fun” in case I tripped over a product that I couldn’t resist telling you about. That’s this iron.

No, I’m not Ms. Susie Homemaker—far from it. In fact, when the boys were younger and visiting friends, they noticed Sharon, their friends’ mom, handling something that they weren’t familiar with.

“What’s that?”

“An iron,” Sharon giggled, as she continued ironing Josh’s undershirts. She ironed almost every piece of her family’s clothing. For me, it was all wash ‘n wear—clothing that I hung still damp to avoid wrinkles.

Fast forward to last January when I attended the International Housewares Association (IHA) Preview in New York City. (It’s a glimpse of what will be showing at their annual convention in Chicago.) I generally attend for Parade magazine, as the deadline for the “Live Longer Better Wiser” issue is before the actual show, and I usually find a couple of items that we could use.

That’s where I discovered the Soda Club Seltzer Maker and other interesting items, including Stixx ...

Bryan: This feature seems so necessary, it’s more of a wonder that we haven’t had a product like this iron offered before. I remember the first time I showed my friend Jon a two-sided belt (brown on one side, black on the other with a reversible clasp.) He was so shocked by the increased functionality ...

Eric: Funny that my mother mentions that “wash & wear” technique from our childhood because it is still what I do today. I have never been one to iron. So, I purchased non-iron dress for most of my suits. For me, the Oliso iron falls into the category of “Why didn’t I think of that?” and will have...

By | December 26th, 2007|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More|2 Comments

KitchenAid® Stand Mixer

Bonnie: We each have some kitchen appliances that stay on the countertop at all times. Others get put away, often never to be seen again.

Did someone say bread machines?

My KitchenAid stand mixer has been on my counter ready for use since I got it. I use it often; as–with all its attachments–it’s versatile (some come with, others you need to buy separately).

Before getting my stand mixer—when I was young, single and living in Manhattan—I used a handheld electric one that I bought at a going-out-of-business sale at a store on 23rd Street. The mixer was cheap. Seriously cheap. The box had been opened and the store owner just wanted to get rid of it. I remember thinking it would be worth the couple of bucks if it held up for a few uses.

That mixer worked well for over 20 years. I gave it away (donating it, as it still worked well), only because I got my KitchenAid and a new fancy...

Bryan: There are few things that will survive us all: cockroaches, Twinkies and KitchenAid Mixers are among a select few. It’s true; these mixers will outlast your car and any other machine...

Eric: I was, and still am, the baker of the family. During my youth I was trained in the “arts” of manual whisking, folding, beating, mixing and whipping. I loved it. I always thought that there was something so special about...

By | October 24th, 2007|Kitchen Counter, Drawer and More, xyz misc|9 Comments

Microplane® Classic Zester

Bonnie: After completing one of my media-relations seminars in Vermont in the late-90s, my friend Jane Kirby picked me up from the Inn at Essex for a visit to her farm in nearby Charlotte. Our friendship dates back to the ‘80s when I was the food editor of the New Haven Register, she was the food editor of Glamour and we both were (and still are) registered dietitians. As I got into her car, we began yakking and didn’t stop until she dropped me off at the airport the next day for my flight home. We covered life, work, divorce, food, nutrition, our kids, her farm, my seminars, her cooking school…

Black & Decker Lids Off® Jar Opener

Bonnie: Opening a jar was always easy with two growing boys in the house. I always did try before calling them. First with the rubber jar openers I’d picked up at many a convention or show where folks gave away imprinted tchotchkes. Next I’d try my niece’s method. I turned the jar upside down, firmly hit its bottom with my hand, or gently hit the top against the counter. That worked … sometimes. I then just called Bryan or Eric to help. “Mom, it’s so easy, I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” they’d say as one of them removed the top with no trouble at all. After my nest [...]

Oxo Pop-Up Dish Rack

Bonnie: Hell for a baker? An oven that required re-tying the door with a rope each time you opened it. That was my kitchen during the writing of my 365 Great Cookies and Brownies cookbook. I knew I’d have to do something, but kept putting it off as I was planning a kitchen renovation. That planning moved to a higher priority at one of my soup parties—a great way, by the way, to entertain, as everything’s done before guests arrive. Slight aside, for those of you interested in this type party: just set out pots of soup (either on the stove or on hot plates at various stations around the [...]