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Tramontina Gourmet Cast Iron Covered Casseroles – My Favorite Kitchen Item #2
Apr 19th, 2011 by sovicki

Tramontina Gourmet Cast Iron Covered Casseroles

I love Le Creuset design and color, however not the price. So I started search online for a similar but more reasonable priced replacement. This casserole is made of porcelain-enameled cast iron.

Cast iron retains heat very well, and its heavy secure-fitting lid also keeps the heat, moisture in the pot. It also claims to keep in the nutrients. There is no way for me to verify that so I guess I’ll just take their word for it. I like to use this for stews, soups, etc. It cuts the cooking by half at least.

It is only oven safe up to 450 degrees F which means, yes, you can try that famous Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe with this. The only downside to this wonderful kitchen additional is inevitable given its weight(almost 20 pounds). It had to be hand washed.

Also word of caution: this pot is rather wide, 14inches at its base means you can’t use another full size pan or pot next to it on the stove.

Purchased from amazon.com at $45

OXO Salad Spinner
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

OXO Salad SpinnerTwo things are needed for a good stir fry vegetable dish.

First, you need to have a very good heating source. If your kitchen has the flat top stove instead of the gas range, then a cast iron wok is a must.

Second requirement would be dry vegetable. So we don’t end up boiling the vegetables instead of stir-fry them. Now this salad spinner will help you accomplish that.

Priced at $19.99 from amazon.com

I purchased the large size.

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator

I first saw this at my napa winery tour. Our pourer used this for the red wine, and had us taste the before and after effect of it.

It supposed to “enhance the flavor, bouquet, and finish of any wine”.  That’s a lot of fanny talk, but does it work? Well, yes sorta.

It speeds up the breathing process by aerate while you pour. Since I normally don’t purchase wine that’s more than $10, this does make a difference (or at least that I want to believe that it does) it has become my favorite gifting item.

Listed price at $39.95, but you can usually find it a little cheaper on amazon.com

Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer, Stainless Steel
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Zojirushi CV-DSC40 VE Hybrid Water Boiler and Warmer, Stainless SteelThis is one of my favorite item in the kitchen. Something that I use everyday for sure.

It boils and keeps water warm with a 4-liter capacity. It has 4 temperature settings: 175 (green and white tea), 195(Oolong tea), 208 (black and flower tea), and vacuum-insulated.  4-liter capacity works great for me, since I also use the hot water to clean my cast iron wok after cooking. It also makes quick ramen meal even quicker 😀

I bought it at $165 on amazon.com

Cast-Iron Wok – My Favorite Kitchen Items #1
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Lodge Pro-Logic 14-Inch Cast-Iron Wok with Loop HandlesFor the past several years, I’ve been looking for a non-stick wok. Some had worked well, but they all had one problem in the end. The non-stick coating peels off after a while. Also you cannot run them very hot. My mom had this very old (must be over 15 years old) iron wok that she bought in New York City China town. It is still very solid. Sadly, I’ve been to all of the Asian supermarket around Seattle, and wouldn’t find anything close to hers.  So I started to look online. I read lots of posts and comments from Chinese forums, and decided on cast-iron.

Cast-iron’s got several benefits:

it retains heat well which is very handy when stir-fry vegetable
it doesn’t have any coating
it suppose to last a very long time

I found couple options, one was from this Chinese Importer website based in California. Even though from the picture, the woks there would look more like what my mother has, the shipping totally kills it. And the fact that there wasn’t any reviews on the website, I wasn’t sure if I can trust the picture that much without important information like the weight and the handle of the wok.

After much research, I ended up purchase this Lodge Pro-Logic 14-Inch Cast-Iron Wok with Loop Handles from amazon.com $45 with free shipping

The cast-iron wok came pre-seasoned, so that saved some trouble. Or here is a video that I found very informational that teaches you How to Season a Wok

I’ve been using this wok for quiet some time now. It is great. I didn’t realize that before this wok, I actually never stir-fried vegetable. Instead, I was boiling them. I had never been able to make stir-fried shredded potato at home until now.

Bamboo Wok Brush

With this wok, I had to pre-heat it for a while, but once it is heated, it retains the heat very well. Although be careful the loops get very hot as well. The only compliant that I have about it is that it is really heavy, which makes plating a bit hard after stir-frying. Normally I would hold the wok with one hand, and pour the food out, and using a wok utensils in the other hand to sweep the food on to the plate. But with this one it is impossible. Since there is

no way that I could possibly hold it with one hand. Also, cleaning could be tricky. After get the food out, I pour in a cup or two of hot water and scrub with a bamboo wok brush (any  stiff, non-nylon kitchen brush or a grill brush would work just as well). Pour out the dirty water, put it back on the heat to boil off any excess moisture, and wipe it with an oiled paper towel and let cool.

Shun Knives
May 17th, 2010 by sovicki

 Shun 7-3/4-Inch Stainless Steel Chinese Chef's Knife
Shun is a brand that my chef teacher used when I was taking a course at the AI (The Art Institute of Seattle). I bought this Chinese Cleaver when it was on sale on Amazon for around $90 with tax, a little less than $100. It is very light and sharpest knife that I own. It is very sharp right out of the box, so be careful! I’ve had couple incidents where let’s just say good thing that I have long finger nails. I had fear to purchase this all metal cleaver without the traditional handle, that it might be slippery with water or grease, however, i had no problem with it. It is very ergonomically designed.


I like it so much, that I bought this Alton Brown Shun Steel Angled 6-Inch Utility Knife It is the best prep knife that I’ve got. The tilted angle make cutting vegetable so much easier and so effortless. It really is a must have in the kitchen.

 

盆栽香草
Mar 15th, 2010 by sovicki

盆栽香草

编辑手记:
香草的英文名为vanilla,这个单词发源于西班牙词汇“vanilla”,在西班牙语中意为“小豆荚”。香草可以美化环境,在欧洲园艺中占有很重要的地位。香草也可以食用,它在西餐中同样发挥着举足轻重的作用。
如今,香草已经走进越来越多中国家庭,装点我们的居家环境,给我们的餐桌带来别致的惊喜。

香草棍(Vanille):又名香子兰,通常人们称它为香草,有香草棍和香草精2种制品,首自欧洲,长约12—15cm,有强烈的香味,在西餐中多用于甜点菜式。

百里香(Thyme):传说百里香是维纳斯的眼泪幻化而来的。百里香含有丰富的麝香成分,但其味并不非常刺激,有“调和者”之称,它可以把各种食材的味道很好地融合在一起。烹调时所用的百里香是它的枝叶部分,适合与海鲜类材料一同烹饪,可以起到去腥提鲜的作用。同时百里香还具有提振精神、消除疲劳、促进消化、治疗感冒等功效。值得注意的是,孕妇和高血压的人群需要避免接触百里香。

迷迭香(rosemary):别名“海洋之露”,罗马人称其为“神圣之草”,它有着许多与宗教有关的传说,所以经常被使用在宗教仪式中,被基督教徒称为“圣母玛利亚的玫瑰”。迷迭香是制作西餐的重要材料,它的芳香气味可以用来化解牛羊肉的腥膻之气,所以多用于西餐牛羊肉类菜肴中。

胡椒薄荷(Pepper mint):长而尖的叶子,香味扑鼻,有胡椒和薄荷香味,含有挥发油、薄荷精及单宁等物质,其味清凉爽快,有助于平抚情绪。薄荷还具有治感冒头痛、疏风发汗、散热解毒、健胃消腹胀、防腐去腥、杀菌的作用。餐后饮用薄荷茶可以消除体内多余油脂。薄荷常被用来制作饮料、果酱或沙拉等食品,它可以增添清爽的风味。

香蜂草(Monarda didyma):别名柠檬香蜂草,叶片呈椭圆形,鲜嫩,有浓浓的柠檬香味。摘下新鲜叶片,洗净擦干后,用微波炉小火加热后,放一小撮薄荷茶,几片新鲜柠檬,再添加一些蜂蜜。夏季时冰镇饮用,是很好的消暑饮品。也可以拌沙拉吃,口感清新,香气怡人。

龙蒿(Tarragon):其味略似茴香。干叶和花头用于食品烹调,特别是鱼、鸡、炖菜、炒蛋、奶酪、蔬菜和腌制食品的调味,也有将鲜叶用于色拉的。用鲜龙蒿浸醋别有风味。

罗勒(basil):又称紫苏、九层塔,原产印度,被古希腊人视为香草之王,在烹饪中应用极为广泛,包括很多亚洲菜也会用罗勒来调味。罗勒有很强烈而独特的香甜气味,非常适合制作比萨、意大利面和鱼类菜肴,它与番茄、马苏里拉芝士搭配制作的沙拉是一道经典西餐前菜。

芝麻菜(Arugula):原产于地中海地区。叶片大而平滑,边缘呈锯齿状,气味浓烈并带有特殊的辛辣味,叶片常用于拌制沙拉。

熊葱(Allium ursinum ):原产自欧洲的一种野生韭菜,又名野韭菜,味道类似于蒜,可以代替蒜使用。

莳萝(dill):也称小茴香、洋茴香,在地中海沿岸和亚热带地区饮食中经常被用作调味料。它的种子也就是我们常见的小茴香籽。

法香(Parsley):又称欧芹、荷兰芹,在西餐中被广泛应用在香肠、肉类、面包等食品的烹调中。新鲜的欧芹气味淡雅,剁碎后可以闻到比较浓烈的香草气味,它可以掩盖食物的特殊味道,同时又烘托出食材天然的味道,和桂皮一起使用还可以去掉强烈的臭味。

香茅草(Lemongrass):又称柠檬草,有清香的柠檬气味,外表与小葱有些接近,但质地密实坚硬得多。香茅草在烹调时通常需剥去外层老皮,取靠近根部30cm左右较嫩的部分切碎入菜。香茅草还可以用来泡茶。

鼠尾草(sage):原产于地中海,被当地居民视为可以延长生命之草。它具有新鲜木材的冷冽味道,又有淡淡的樟脑和青草的气味。鼠尾草含有类似雌激素的物质,对女性生殖系统很有帮助,并且它还具有杀菌、预防感冒、活化细胞、增强记忆力的功效。哺乳期的妇女不适合使用,因为它会减少乳汁的分泌。在制作菜肴时,鼠尾草最好与肉类食材配伍,可以激发肉的醇香。

奥里根努(Oregano):牛至(Origanum)的一种,又名比萨草、花薄荷,长久以来是地中海菜肴的基本成分。其干燥的叶和开花的的顶枝用于调味,有浓烈的芳香和辛辣味,意大利人称之为蘑菇草。也常作用于混合香草、杂菜汤、意大利面、酿馅、沙拉等。奥里根努是意大利菜式中最具有代表性的香草,Pizza中更是不可或缺。

马郁兰(Marjoram):牛至(Origanum)的一种,芳香的薄荷类香草。西餐烹调中的常用香料,多用于色拉与汤羹的调味。

来源:贝太美食推荐