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You may have started out with an inherited blender or a yard-sale microwave. Maybe your children gave you a bread machine so that your arthritic hands would be spared the kneading process. Perhaps you are newly married and find yourself surrounded by a bewildering sea of shiney white machines sporting plugs, digital readouts, and confusing operating manuals. Today's kitchen has at least one and perhaps as many as ten small electric appliances. Chances are they are underutilized (if they are used at all), when they could be helping you out.
Probably, like all of us, you are pressed for time and looking for a solution to the dinnertime crunch. In my house the answer lies in letting machines do the lion's share of the work. While I wouldn't dream of letting a SaladShooter (yuk!) touch my lettuce and cucumbers, I use the food processor to make coleslaw in seconds, the handheld blender to make perfect vinaigrette, the bread machine to make dough for rolls, the slow cooker to make chicken stew, and the rice cooker to make pilaf. I'll make applesauce in the microwave and then add it and some vanilla yogurt to the ice-cream machine to make frozen yogurt for dessert. For company, I'll use the blender for fresh strawberry daiquiris, the electric water smoker to make my own smoked salmon, and the deep fryer to make sweet potato fries. The machines in this book are kitchen tools in much the way a good knife or measuring cup is. They can be employed in many ways, from helping you turn ingredients into the main part of a dish (the food processor, to make pasta dough) to cooking the entire dish as the slow cooker does. Not only do the following recipes put these machines throughtheir paces in the expected ways, they encourage you to use them in nontraditional ways as wellmaking stock in the rice cooker or a cake in the electric skillet.
Machines will never replace your hands and head in the kitchen. There is no substitute for touch and taste when it comes to good cooking. But by allowing machines to help save time and energy, you gain the freedom to experiment with lots of new dishes or simply to put your feet up and relax.
While I couldn't include each and every electric kitchen appliance on the market, we have amassed a comprehensive list of every one we considered, just to demonstrate the amazing range and choice of small electrics on the market today. That they may not appear in the book (other than in this list) does not mean they are not useful kitchen tools. I own and use many of these appliances (excluding the cotton-candy machine, bagel machine, and hot-dog maker). While I don't use my chocolate-tempering machine (seductively called the Sinsation) or pizzelle iron (a fancy thin-waffle maker) every dayor even every monthmy kitchen would be less fun without them. Obviously some of these gadgets are just plain silly and are probably given as gifts, used once, and put away until they are sold at garage sales. Others, such as a food processor, bread machine, and slow cooker, I wouldn't consider living without.
Copyright ) 1998 by Lora Brody
|Food Processor/Food Processor, Mini||92|
|Skillet & Wok||259|
|Water Smoker, Electric||356|
|Plugged in and On-Line: Computers, the Internet, and the Kitchen||368|