As the Holidays are coming up and you’ll be putting your cooking into high gear, these are ones to keep on your radar. I’ve tested all of the gear below and give them my stamp of approval.
The T-Fal Opti Grill
I often meet people who live in a Metro area in an apt or condo and can’t have a grill. If you can’t have a grill, the closest thing to get some fabulous char marks is going to be a grill pan or an electric grill as its multi-colored temperature dial will light up as it is heating up/cooking to the preferred temp. The T-Fal Opti grill is like cooking out of an episode of the Jetsons. It’s a pretty neat indoor grill- it will automatically cook different types of meat based on sensors and thickness of meat. There are 6 predefined settings, with the option to defrost meat, as well as a manual cooking mode for your own unique recipes or grilled fruit/veggies. The fat easily drips out and the grill pans are removable and dishwasher safe to make clean up easy-peasy. If you can’t have a grill- this is a great option and pretty enjoyable to use too. While a grill pan will be less expensive, this indoor grill has a large cooking surface and makes cooking to correct temp very easy. It is also very easy to clean. Price – $179.99, can be purchased at getoptigrill.com
The Chef Alarm
A good thermometer is a must come Holiday time. Even if you have an instant read thermometer such as Thermoworks instant read Thermapen (which is SUPER AWESOME BTW) there are going to be those cooking moments when you need to monitor temp for the duration of the entire cook. This will come in handy when monitoring this years Thanksgiving Turkey, or in times when monitoring the temp is crucial such as when smoking a brisket or a Pork Butt. Here are some of the cool features of the commercial grade Chef Alarm:
- Probe and cable that will withstand the high steam oven environment. The cables also withstand higher temperatures than consumer-grade oven probes (to 700°F).
- Optional Needle Probe designed for Sous-Vide, slow cookers, small portions, complete immersion, and is Super-Fast (5 seconds or less).
- Low Alarm! The first product of its kind that permits a temperature alarm on the way down! Useful in yogurt making and other chilled foods. used by commercial customers to keep food inside a safe zone.
- Constant display of Min and Max are a ready reference of your starting temp and the temperature reached during resting of roasts and turkeys.
- User calibration permits fine-tuning the accuracy so ChefAlarm is great for cooking sugars.
- Adjustable alarm volume.
- Splash proof.
- Timer includes a count-up feature.
- Nine colors that match the Thermapen.
- $59 List Price.
The Pig of the Month Club
I recently discovered the Pig of the Month club on a neat social networking/shopping site called OpenSky. It is like a fusion of social networking and etsy, 2 of my favorite things. You can interact and discover artisanal shops, such as the “Pig of the Month club”. This club will send you your favorite cuts of pork- whether its bacon, sausage, or ….. Signing up for the Pig of the Month club is like having Santa (aka the UPS man) deliver tasty bacon or sausage to your house once a month. This is a neat idea for the foodie/cook/bacon lover who is hard to shop for!
Meat Grinding Attachment for the Kitchen Aid Mixer
The KitchenAid stand mixer is like the power tool every woman aspires to own. Except you can do so many more cool things with it than just mixing stuff. This is a serious tool! The meat grinding attachment is one of the coolest things about the mixer- harnessing all that power to grind meat (or veggies, bread crumbs, etc) is a really neat experience. I got this for my birthday (it was on my list!) and using it was a truly satisfying kitchen experience for me. I bought organic chuck (85/15 lean to fat ratio) and added two slices of thick center cut bacon. Next I ground 2 garlic cloves- this made the juiciest, yummiest burger I have had in a long time. You can add on to this attachment with the sausage making piece – this one is on my Christmas list!
Those in the BBQ world know about meat rakes, but maybe not the general public. In addition to pulling pork, the meat rake can be used for poultry, brisket- wherever you need to tear/shred (hot out of the oven) meat.
I’m not sure what I drank out of before I discovered Tervis Tumblers. Perhaps it’s indicative of my Florida lifestyle, but I truly don’t leave home without them. Why are they so great? They don’t sweat and they keep cold beverages cold and hot beverages hot. They have a lifetime guarantee- so if anything happens they will replace it for you. I couldn’t imagine going out on the boat or to a tailgate without a tervis tumbler. I have an assortment, but for tailgating season the way to go is with your favorite team! No one wants a dilluted, watered down cocktail and a Tervis will keep your tailgating cocktail nice and cold!
I hope you guys enjoy these products as much as I do! Do you have a product you can’t live without- let me know and I’ll check it out! Happy Tailgating and Holiday season!