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December 18, 2017

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The Small Appliances and Equipment You Need, and Which Ones You Can Do Without

November 7, 2017

 

Unless you have endless storage and budget options, it is best to prioritize your purchases based on your needs.  The right tool for the job makes things not only easier but more pleasurable as well.

 

Stand Mixers

Deciding what kind of mixer to buy can be confusing. How often you use a mixer and what you use it for will determine what you need.   If you are baking a couple of batches of cookies or cupcakes per month, you don't need a big and powerful mixer.  It doesn’t take much effort for the mixer to mix all those ingredients or whip some egg whites or whipping cream.  If you are mixing pizza, pasta, or bread dough, this takes bowl capacity and power.  To build the gluten in dough, it’s essential to knead and it requires power or you will blow out the motor.  The gluten is what gives the light, airy, and chewy consistency in your bread or pizza dough. 

 

Kitchenaid is the gold standard to choose because of it’s long standing commitment to quality and functionality.  Kitchenaid offers a vast range of attachments from pasta rollers to meat grinders.  

 

KITCHENAID PROFESSIONAL 600 6-QUART

Power: 575 watts

Size: Cookie yield - 13 dozen

Fits All Attachments: Yes

Warranty: 1 year hassle free

From size to power to build quality, this is a superior machine that meets demanding dough kneading requirements.

 

KITCHENAID ARTISAN TILT-HEAD

5-Quart

 

Power: 325 watts

Size: Cookie yield - 9 dozen

Fits All Attachments: Yes

Warranty: 1 year hassle free

An excellent appliance to handle your Christmas cookie baking marathon sessions.

 

 

 

KITCHENAID CLASSIC

4.5-Quart

 

Power: 250 watts

Size: Cookie yield - 6.75 dozen

Fits All Attachments: Yes

Warranty: 1 year hassle free

If budget is your biggest concern, this is your best bet.

 

Food Processor

If you are cooking and baking a lot, then a powerful food processor is essential. A machine that can shred pounds of cabbage and carrots or make a small amount of almond butter makes cooking possibilities limitless.  There’s nothing like shredding or chopping large amounts of veggies or cheese in a food processor.  You only have to shred carrots once for homemade carrot cake to quickly realize how  much easierit is on your hands and arms to use a machine. 

 

Breville Sous Chef

Designed for power, efficiency, and user satisfaction it’s the best.

 

Professional-grade appliance. Large feed chute. Handy accessory box.

Not as much speed flexibility as some other models, but a wide array of blades compensates for this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuisinart 14-Cup

A fabulous Cuisinart product that upholds the company's good name. The best value for your money.

Enormous food chute. Comes with a variety of user-friendly blades and accessories. Very generous warranty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Mixer

 

A hand mixer is a great tool for smaller mixing jobs such as making whipped cream or mayonnaise. A stand mixer on the counter can take the place of a hand mixer if you are looking to minimize the appliances you need.

 

Cuisinart

Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer

With the attachments and power required by most cooks, this quality mixer is the best available.

Easy to hold and handle. Soft-touch speed buttons minimize slip-ups.

No "boost" button. "Slow start" is faster than some anticipate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamilton

Power Deluxe Hand Mixer

Budget friendly but solid, this six-speed mixer is the best solution for those who want a value option.

Inexpensive and easy to use. Six speeds and a boost button.

Does not have any dough hooks.

 

 

 

 

KitchenAid

9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer

A powerful, inexpensive hand mixer that may be prone to age-related wear and durability problems.

Budget friendly. Available in five colors. Stainless steel "turbo" accessories.

Problems with imperfect attachments and stripping of the plastic gears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Powder Blender

I have bought many blenders over the years from inexpensive to expensive that were burned out or did not function properly. About 7 years ago, a friend who owned a smoothie shop suggested I purchase a Vitamix.  With a pretty large price tag, I was reluctant to do so.  Eventually when I realized how much money I threw away on previous products that didn’t do the job properly and seeing the superior results that a Vitamix produced, I bought one. 

 

Now I would not buy anything else.  The Vitamix will produce a perfectly smooth frozen margarita and daiquiri every time.  No more chunks of ice. 

 

If the Vitamix is out of your budget, the NutriNinja is a good alternative at a more budget friendly price.

 

Vitamix Professional Series 750

 

 

A high-performance machine 

Two-horsepower motor. Variable speed system. Excellent work horse and results.

Not dishwasher safe. Expensive, but you are paying for power and performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NutriNinja Pro Deluxe

 

An entry-level blender with impressive reference point functioning.  

Includes two BPA-free containers with "sip and seal" lids. Safe for the dishwasher.

Occasional owner complaints of flaking plastic and lids leaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry Air and Steam Combi Oven

 

There has been a new trend in kitchen equipment, the Combi Oven fwhich is a mix of the hot, dry air of an oven and the wet heat of a steamer. Combi ovens can cook with ambient air (as an ordinary convection oven does), with injected steam, or with a combination of both. A combi oven is an oven with three functions: convection, steam and combination cooking. 

 

Cuisinart Convection and Steam Oven-CSO-300N

 

It's a countertop convection oven with full steaming capability. Steam heat will cut cooking time by as much as 40%. You can steam or poach any type of vegetable, fish, poultry or rice… or use steam in combination with Broil or Bake functions to create roasts that are browned on the outside, yet moist and juicy on the inside. Special settings allow you to proof breads, rolls – even homemade pretzels and donuts. Bake them faster, with bakery-quality results. The oven contains a container on the side which hold the water bath.

 

Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

 

I feared my traditional stovetop pressure cookers for years.  I used to watch my mother braise meats at least once a week.  It hissed and spit and it was scary.  I knew it was one of the quickest ways to cook food, but I was intimidated even as a seasoned cook. 

 

I read about today’s stovetop pressure cookers and saw it being used on all the cooking shows.  I decided to pull mine out and dive in.  I was excited to try my first real pressure cooker recipe, Braised Short Ribs.  It literally took a fraction of the time.  The one thing you do have to remember in braised dishes, sear the meat first, otherwise, just put it into a pot and start. 

 

If you were like me and intimidated with stove top pressure cookers, there are electric multi-use options that can do many different modes too. 

 

Electric Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker,Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer 9-in-1

​​

By far the best pressure cooker on the market due to its features, durability, and quality construction.

 

15 programmable settings make it easy to prepare a variety of meals w/the touch of a button.  It can even bake a cake and cook rice perfectly, making a rice cooker unnecessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stovetop T-fal p25107 Pressure Cooker

 

 

 

The variable control valve cooks at 10 or 15 PSI for different meals.

With a durable stainless steel body, and riveted, durable handles for secure grip, it provide safe transport and easy handling.

 

Pressure Cooker comes with a secure locking lid making it safe and easy-to-use

The steam release valve controls steam release for added safety. Another great safety feature is that the pressure cooker will not open when already in use and under pressure

 

 

 

Rice Cooker

 

With a rice cooker, you can set it and forget it.  It does double duty and can be used as a slow cooker too.

 

Zojirushi NS-TSC18 Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer – 1.8 Liters

 

 

For heavy rice consumers, this product is a must-have. Delectable, delicious rice every time. The very best rice cooker money can buy.

Has all the preset functions you could ask for, so it makes perfect rice -- any kind of rice -- without you having to worry about the details of preparation.

 

 

 

Waffle Maker

 

You would be surprised what you can create from a waffle maker besides waffles.  Sweet or savory options are possible.  Just add stuffing and top with turkey and gravy and it turns the stuffing crusty and delicious.  Add some thawed frozen hash browns and top with bacon and eggs and it turns it into a crispy treat for breakfast.

 

All-Clad 99011GT Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker 2-Square

 

A stellar waffle maker from a reputable company. 

Steam-release system prevents condensation inside the machine, leading to a crispier waffle.

Priced a bit higher than budget models (although not the most expensive on the market.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Waffle Maker

 

A highly affordable, simplistic model with great results. The best price you'll find for a quality waffle maker of this caliber.

Produces evenly cooked waffles. Five levels of browning control.

Lacks the fancier functionality of some pricier models.

 

 

 

 

Deep Fryer

 

I don’t usually use a deep fryer much because of health reasons and the amount of oil and mess.  Now having said that, you can’t make fresh homemade fish and chips or corn dogs without one.  There’s no comparison on what a deep fryer can do compared to an air fryer. 

 

The T-Fal FR8000 Immersion Deep Fryer has a filtration system that allows for easy draining and storing the large amount of oil you need.  Because of that, this is the only one for me. Without question the best electric deep fryer on the market.

 

 

Air Fryers

 

Air fryers cook using a mechanical fan that circulates hot air around the food at high speed, cooking the food and producing a crispy layer.

 

By doing this, the appliance is able to fry foods like potato chips, chicken, fish or pastries while using between 70% and 80% less oil than a traditional deep-fryer, and therefore a fabulous alternative when health-conscious options are a priority.

 

It won't handle frying as well as a deep fryer in some applications. Think of it like a small turbo charged convection oven.  

 

Philips XL Airfryer

The very best air fryer on the market. 

An extremely high quality machine that cooks fast and uses very little oil. Features a double-layer rack that maximizes the cooking surface area and auto shut-off.

Be aware, it is big and will takes up a lot of counter space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SimpleTaste 1400W Multi-function Electric Air Fryer 

-same functionality without the bigger

 price tag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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