What kind of fun stuff can we do in the kitchen now? We really have some great things that technology has brought to us in the kitchen. The most awesome thing has been my iGrille. I wore out my first one. The new one has some great features such as multiple probes, magnetic base to stick to the side of the grill and advanced option for different types of meats. It really makes sure that you make a perfect steak every time. The only downside is that it does not work well with thin meats such as fish filets, but you should be able to handle those without the iGrille.
We also love our rice cooker. We got a Zojirushi electronic rice cooker over 10 years ago and it finally died (mostly). It started overcooking the rice and we could not get it completely cleaned out any more. As an anniversary gift to ourselves (romantic, huh?), I got us a new one that has better cleaning of parts (the top comes fully apart now) and it is a steamer and cooks cake (who knew?). We have really enjoyed it and we cook rice usually twice a week. My wife made a cheesecake in it the first week and it was really pretty good…and incredibly easy.
One of our most used appliances is our toaster oven. Another anniversary gift to ourselves years ago, it is used daily. These devices have improved immensely over the ones our parents had or the one I had in college. We went for a nice Krups one at the time. We cook bagels, pizza, wings, french fries and all sorts of things in it. Things cook much faster and do not heat up the whole kitchen like the main oven. It is probably our most used tool in the kitchen. The next most used may be the coffee maker and we are pretty old school there with a traditional drip coffee maker. But it is well loved and religiously used every day.
Most of those items are pretty traditional. What about the latest, neatest stuff? I got a molecular gastronomy kit for Christmas and I hate to say that I have not worked with it yet. I keep picking it up and realizing the commitment of time to get into it and then put it down again for another day. I definitely want to play with it so I will update my post once I get a chance to mess with it. I do have the tools for sous-vide cooking. I have the temperature gauge and the pots and such. We tried a few steaks and chicken breasts with the slow cooking techniques. It turned out very good but again, it takes a good bit of time. In my fast paced life, it is hard to commit the time to it.
Along those lines, the FoodSaver has become a well loved device. Anything (for the most part) can be vacuum sealed. The most obvious are the meats and cheeses. The last longer and stay fresh. I vacuum seal my hamburgers that I get from the grocery store and they are much better than if I leave them in a plastic or zip-lock bag. Vegetables are great when stored this way either in the frig or freezer. I use it for sauces and leftovers. We are not good with leftovers and they typically go bad. So if I realize it is not going to be eaten soon, I will freeze it and bring it back in a few weeks or the next month. I just reheated a frozen cooked brisket from about a month ago and it was great.
There are so many great gadgets for cooking these days. I just touched on a small number of things that can be used and what we have tried as a family. I think the gadgetry and creativity really adds an edge of experimentation and science into the mix, so to speak. I look forward to continuing the adventures in cooking and sharing my finding here with everyone.