All posts filed under: Gadgets

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Kitchen Fodder – Testing the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker

Just to set the record straight… No, I wasn’t given one of these units to test and make nice about… No, I wasn’t contacted by QVC or Cooks Essentials to test their cooker… No, Left to my own devices, I probably would not  have ever considered buying one of these things… It all started as an innocent text message from a friend in Taiwan; thinking he could use it to make braised pork belly. “What can you tell me about these things… have you tried it?” Not only had I never heard of it, the whole idea of nuclear cooking and highly pressurized impact plastic frightened me ….  more than a little. But, being the gadget whore that I am, I decided to buy one and see what it would do. The Basics Considering a decent stove top cooker will run you $45.00 to $65.00, the $50.00 price tag (including tax, shipping, and that worrisome “handling”) for the CooksEssentials thing will hit you right at fifty bucks. It comes in a variety of colors. I bought a …

Sliced & Diced – Product Reviews

My best friend grew up in Brazil where his father had a very successful business designing, manufacturing and distributing kitchen gadgetry. He had a little factory where he would put the things together and Luc’s mom would travel the countryside hawking his creations at every home show and technology convention they could find. There was a Whack-A-Chopper (you know, those chopping contraptions that you slap with the palm of your hand.)…  a Pineapple Corer, and a Burger Press. Not particularly sophisticated tools – except for the chopper thingy (the interior blade would rotate at each chop to produce super fine umm.. chopped up things.. I still use it to this day.) It is, in short – fabulous. My only complaint to his products was there really wasn’t much marketing thought put into them… they were all  that fleshy pink, hospital bed pan color. Really, truly ugly things to have in the kitchen.I love bad kitchen gadgets. I love anything that has that little red box and those awe producing words “As Seen on TV” plastered …