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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Kitchenware/Tabletop

TIP: Christmas Pie Crust Cutters

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Use pie crust cutters for a professional effect. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

 

Make your holiday pies Christmas-special with decorative crust cutters. The cutters make it easy to add seasonal fun to your pies.

Just press them into the dough to form appliqués to go atop the pie, or to create cut-out designs in a pie’s top crust.

You can also use them to garnish soups and salads. Or, cut out cookie dough for a dessert garnish.

This year’s exclusive cutter set from Williams-Sonoma includes a Christmas tree, reindeer, Santa in sleigh and a snowflake.

The shapes change yearly; you can build a collection of festive shapes over time.

The durable spring-loaded cutters are designed for maximum precision, safety and easy of use. The spring mechanism creates delicate shapes embossed with fine detail. Even a child can use them.

 

Get yours at Williams-Sonoma stores or at WilliamsSonoma.com.

Give a set to your favorite pie baker.

 
TIPS FOR USING PIE CRUST CUTTERS

For fun, color the dough red (for Santa), green for leaves, etc.

Here are lots of tips for making pie crust cut-outs from King Arthur Flour, including helpful photos.

 

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A Thanksgiving pie using fall-themed cut-outs. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

 

  

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GADGET: Customizable Cookie Stamp

Thanks to Hannah Kaminsky for tipping us off to this great cookie stamp.

Whether for the experienced baker who’s looking for something new, or the newbie who wants to surprise friends, this little gadget rocks!

Interchangeable letters, numbers, and symbols offer endless possibilities for personalized messages that you create within the frame of the stamp.

Spell out names and messages (Congratulations, Happy Birthday, whatever) to make your next batch of cookies memorable.

The Customizable Cookie Stamp is $15.00 at UncommonGoods.com.

 

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We love the possibilities of messages on cookies. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky.

 

  

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PRODUCT: Zwilling Aurora ~ Dreamy New Cookware

If you appreciate great cookware, you may wish to treat yourself to a set for Christmas; specifically, the new Aurora cookware from Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

This is sexy cookware for a serious cook. First, the looks: a gleaming satin finish 18/10 magnetic stainless steel exterior, mirror finished, with gently curved sides.

But more important is the beauty of the engineering.

  • The weight is distributed in a balanced manner so that even the largest piece does not feel heavy.
  • The ergonomic handles are attached to the base via a wishbone-shaped extension. This enables the handles to stay cool, as heat from the base dissipates between the space in the wishbone. This is a real plus—no more hot handles or potholders!
  • The rims are rolled for dripless pouring.
  •  
    The Sigma Clad five-ply construction both guarantees even heat distribution and makes the cookware stove top-flexible. Three aluminum layers are sandwiched between two stainless steel outer layers, making Aurora compatible with induction stove tops.

     

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    Made in Belgium with great looks and even greater performance. Photo courtesy Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

     
    As I am sure that in less than a decade nearly all cooking will be done on such surfaces, this cookware set is already compatible with the future.

    USING THE COOKWARE

    Although the recommendation from the manufacturer is not to use high heat (if possible), I had no problems using the skillet to sauté the skin side chicken breast at high heat with little more than a light coating of oil.

    On another occasion, I left the oil in a pan heating for too long and a distinct brown stain appeared. It did take some elbow grease to clean afterwards but it was restored to its original pristine condition.

    The only issue for some people desirous of Zwilling’s Aurora cookware set is the price. But you do get what you pay for. For serious cooks and for others willing to take care of their set, the longevity of these pieces will cancel out the cost in the long run. I expect to get full use out of this set for the next 12-15 years. (There’s a lifetime warranty.)

    At CutleryAndMore.com, the price is:

  • 7-Piece Set $599.95 (list $974)
  • 10-Piece Set $799.95 (list $1,414)
  •  
    The 10-piece set includes a 9.5-inch stainless steel skillet, 11-inch stainless steel skillet, 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saute pan with lid and 8-quart stock pot with lid. (If you’re new to buying cookware, lids are counted as separate pieces.)

    To dip a toe in the water, you can buy an individual piece. The 9½-inch skillet is the lowest priced, at $79.95 (list $138).

    Aurora is the Latin word for sunrise, and Roman goddess of dawn. It’s the sunrise of a terrific line of cookware that we can’t recommend highly enough.

    For more information visit ZwillingOnline.com.

    —Kris Prasad

      

    Comments

    GADGET: The New Egg Timer

    There’s a new egg timer on the market, one that’s purely visual.

    We’ve been enjoying the new Taylor Egg Timer.

    Simply place the timer into the water when cooking eggs on the stove top. The colors will change, indicating when you have soft, medium or hard boiled eggs.

    Internal sensors in these 21st century egg timers calculate cooking stages precisely by temperature, not loosely by time. The timers heat up in precise synchronization with the eggs, and make automatic adjustments to accommodate the number of eggs, the amount of water and the altitude.

    For people who make boiled eggs, it’s the new best thing. It takes the guesswork out of cooking eggs and you get perfect results every time.

    And it’s a great stocking stuffer. It’s also a good for New Year’s resolutions: Make protein-rich hard boiled eggs for snacking.

     

    taylor-egg-timer-230

    One of the “21st century egg timers.” The red color moves up as the eggs get cooked. Photo courtesy Taylor.

     

    Versions from three different manufacturers are available now:

  • HIC, $6.79 on Amazon.com.
  • Norpro, $7.49 on Amazon.com.
  • We couldn’t find the Taylor egg timer for sale on line, but head to Target stores. It’s $4.99.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Share A Favorite Gadget

    For an inexpensive holiday gift or stocking stuffer, give one of your favorite kitchen gadgets—one that most people probably don’t have, but you wouldn’t want to be without.

    Last year for us it was a serrated peeler, two years ago a mushroom brush.

    But this year, it’s going to be a Wavy Knife from Crisp Cooking. Just by slicing in a normal fashion, it provides a decorative side to fruits and vegetables, whether cooked (including fries) or for crudités and salads.

    We have an old-fashioned crinkle cutter, but the wavy knife is an improvement, easier to use and potentially safer.

    The ergonomic handle provides a sure, comfortable grip and better cutting control. The offset blade provides plenty of “knuckle room” while cutting.

    At $12.99, it’s pricier than the peeler or mushroom brush, but it’s also a more substantial gift.

     

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    This year’s gift to everyone old enough to cook: a Wavy Knife. Photo courtesy PeanutButterAndPeppers.com

     

    Check it out at CrispCooking.com.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: “Chocolate” Swiss Army Knife

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    A Swiss Army Knife for the chocolate lover. Photo courtesy Victorinox.

     

    Who knew there were so many styles of Swiss Army Knife?

    We’ve seen them in occasional colors beyond black and the signature red.

    But there are 99 different designs, from animal prints and flowers to camouflage and skateboards.

    For the chocolate lover, the Swiss Chocolate Classic SD Swiss Army Knife is the way to go. There’s a scored chocolate bar on one side; on the reverse side shows the chocolate peeled back from its silver foil.

    The Swiss Chocolate Classic SD Swiss Army Knife is $17.25 and your readers can purchase it at SwissKnifeShop.com.

    Engraving and gift bags are also available.

     

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Party Plate Decals For Any Occasion

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    Just a few of the Christmas decal choices. Photo courtesy Create UR Plate.

     

    We absolutely love this line of plate decals, created by party planner Sandy Casey of Create UR Plate.

    Hundreds of choices let you tailor your dishes to any party occasion. The “magic” comes from adhesive decals, which adhere to the base of glass or plastic plates from the underside.

    Made in sizes to fit both dinner plates and dessert plates, they’re $1.99 each and are reusable. The company also sells glass and plastic plates.

    Can you think of a more elegant—and fun—idea for party plates? The many decal themes include:

  • Anniversary
  • Baby Shower
  • Birthday
  • Bridal Shower
  • Easter
  • Graduation
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • New Years
  • Passover
  • Patriotic
  • St. Patrick’s
  • Tailgaiting
  • Thanksgiving
  • Valentine
  • Wedding
  •  

    You can also create your own custom design with your own photos and jpgs. Perhaps some Bark Mitzvah plates for Fido?

    See why we find this product so exciting. Check out the plates for

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  •  
    You can also create plates as gifts, with photos of the kids, pets, team logos and so forth.

    Party on!

     

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    One of many different ways to customize your holiday dishes with reusable decals. Photo courtesy Create UR Plate.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Serrated Peeler

    Every kitchen has a standard vegetable peeler to slice the skin from carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and other veggies.

    But there’s also a serrated peeler, which works better on softer produce like mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums and that toughest of peeling challenges, tomatoes.

    Most home cooks who have both use the word “love,” as in, “I love the serrated peeler!”

    Of course, you can use a serrated peeler where you’d use a conventional peeler, on anything from asparagus to zucchini. But we use both, so we don’t dull the serrated blade on potatoes when we want to keep it sharp for those pesky tomatoes.

    The standard technique to peel thin-skinned produce is to blanch the item in boiling water, then chill it in ice water, then remove the skin with a sharp knife or fingers. A serrated peeler is the better way.

     

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    Peeling tomatoes, bell peppers and mangoes is easy with a serrated peeler. Photo courtesy Crisp.

     

    And instead of charring bell peppers over a flame to remove the skin, just use a serrated peeler.

    How can you resist?

    • The angled-head serrated peeler from Crisp is $8.99 at CrispCooking.com. It also has an “eyer” at the top.
    • The highly regarded Messermeister serrated swivel peeler is $7.95 at Amazon.com.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Perfect Bacon Bowl

    If everything tastes better with bacon—as many Americans would have it—than everything tastes better in a bacon bowl.

    That’s what the manufacturers of Perfect Bacon Bowl say. While we might not want to toss fruit salad or ice cream into one, we do agree that a bowl made of 100% crisp bacon is great for:

  • Eggs and hash browns
  • Fondue
  • Grains, starches and veggies (try mashed potatoes!)
  • Low-carb burgers and cheeseburgers (the bacon bowl replaces the bun)
  • Pasta (try mac & cheese)
  • Salads (with lettuce and tomato, it’s a bread-free BLT!)
  •  
    The dishwasher-safe, bowl-shaped gadget cooks bacon to a perfect bowl shape, in the oven, toaster oven or microwave. Just wrap bacon slices around the form, cook. and you’ve got edible bowls made completely from bacon.

     

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    What do you want in your bacon bowl? Photo courtesy Perfect Bacon Bowl.

     

    You can also use the device to make bread bowls for soups and stews, cornbread bowls for chili, and wherever your imagination takes you.

    See the video.

    Order on Amazon. A box of two bowls is just $5.87, with free shipping on orders over $35.

    That’s easy to reach when you choose Perfect Bacon Bowl as a stocking stuffer for your bacon-loving friends and family!

      

    Comments

    GADGET: Olive Stuffer

    Olive connoisseurs: If you’re disappointed with the quality of commercial stuffed olives—rubbery blue cheese, cheap and fishy anchovies, chewy jalapeños—you can now stuff your own premium ingredients with the Swissmar Olive Stuffer.

    Anchovies, feta, garlic, goat cheese, pecans, plus fresh herbs: Have fun creating your own stuffed olive creations. The spring-loaded olive stuffer lets you fill large pitted olives with anything.

    Simply load the stainless steel device with the stuffing(s) of your choice, place the plunger into the pitted olive, and release.

    Buy it at Williams-Sonona.com for $14.65.

    If you don’t have an olive pitter, you should pick one up, too.

     

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    Become a master olive stuffer. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

      

    Comments

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