Buy a V-Slicer

So… who is impressed when you see professional cooks on TV go bananas on some vegetables, cutting them really thin with rapid precision? I know I am, I’ve tried, I just can’t compare. But screw it, I don’t have to.

V-slicers and mandolins are two easy to use tools that make cutting thin, uniform, slices of vegetables a snap. You can shred an onion or pepper in seconds. They also have attachments for doing other cuts, such as a french fry or julienne cut.

They aren’t that expensive really, especially when you consider how much use you will get out of it. I use mine all the time. So that means of course that I’ll be referencing it a lot on recipes on this site.

In many ways owning a v-slicer is enabling in that it takes the fear factor away from making a dish that involves precisely sliced vegetables. There is also a serious wow factor involved. Have a girl over for dinner and prepare here a dish with thinly sliced vegetables, she might just think you’re a professional.

Fat Seperator

Fat Seperator
Do you like gravy? I like gravy, meat juice gravy, Thanksgiving gravy. Gravy is awesome! But we’ve been told time and again that gravy is unhealthy. So can we still eat it? You bet!

So what is gravy? Well normally it is meat drippings combined with a thickening agent such as flour or another starch, or sometimes dairy (dairy is another post). You don’t really need much flour to thicken up a gravy so you don’t get a lot of calories there. In the end your calories will come from fat in the meat drippings. But isn’t the meat drippings all fat? No, they’re mostly protein. Collagen is a protein that makes much much of the flesh & bones of mammals, it is water soluble and when heated can join the moisture leaking out of a roast and end up as drippings (a non-soluble protein, elastin, stays in the meat and is what creates all those chewy tough bits). You can usually tell it is protein because if you put it in the fridge it turns into something that looks like jello (probably because it is gelatin, literally).

All the protein aside, there is fat in those drippings, and it adds calories & cholesterol to the equation. The solution is to use a fat seperator. This ingenious little device is just like a measuring cup except with the spout at the bottom. Since fat floats you can pour all your drippings into this pitcher and then slowly poor them back out until only fat is left inside. Nifty huh?

So now you have a delicious, finger licking, protein infused, fat free gravy. Cue Borat, “Very Niiiice.” Sure, there are still calories in it, but mostly they’re protein calories, and protein is good for you. Most people do not get enough protein daily.

Infrared Thermometer

IR ThermometerTemperature is extremely important in cooking, but most thermometers suck. How many do you need too? There are so many different types.

They are just so ungainly, for many that you’d stick in a pot (such as a pot of oil for deep frying) they get in the way of any lids or splatter screens. Also…how do you take the temperature of a millimeter of oil in the bottom of a frying pan? Often when I’m making up a recipe on this site I’ll tell you to put a little oil in a frying pan and wait for it to reach 350, but how do you know when it is 350? It is too shallow to stick a normal thermometer in. There are visual clues if you are an experienced cook, but those are hard to pick up on for the novice. And even for the experienced, nothing beats scientific accuracy.

The solution is to buy an infrared thermometer. It is a flipping laser! That has to appeal to the geek in you right? Also, it is a point and shoot instant read thermometer. Any surface you can point it at it’ll read, instantly. You can use it for far more than cooking (use that to justify the price).

Get one of these and you can throw all your other thermometers away, except for a good probe thermometer since afterall this laser one can’t read inside of meats, only the surface.