I’m kind of a gadget geek when it comes to cooking. Sure, I know that you can do anything with a chef’s knife and a good sauté pan, but I also love all those little tools that help me do boring tasks faster or more efficiently, or help me turn out dishes that look like a chef was in the house, or that are just cute, fun ways to store or serve food. Here are a few that are sure to make it into my shopping basket soon:
Garlic press: Remember that scene in Goodfellas, where Paul Sorvino was slicing garlic razor-thin with an actual razor? For those of us who don’t have such great small-motor skills, a garlic press is the best thing since, well, sliced garlic. A good garlic press can instantly mince garlic into fine, uniform pieces; you don’t even have to peel the cloves. And many cooks prefer the taste of finely pressed garlic over chopped, believing the flavor is more intense and less bitter.
Hutzler pepper saver: I hate throwing away half a bell pepper. But from experience, I know that if I don’t use the whole thing, wrapping the leftovers in plastic just doesn’t keep it fresh for long. This brightly colored plastic container, shaped like a pepper, prolongs the life of cut peppers, and stands out in your fridge so you don’t find a shriveled veggie lingering on a shelf weeks later. Hutzler also makes savers for lemons and limes, onions and tomatoes.
Spiral slicer: This is an inexpensive (under $2!) way to create fancy curls of veggies like carrots, zucchini, even potatoes. (You can use it to make those fried potato spirals you get at the fair.) Maybe not for everyday, but fun to impress guests or kids.
SleekStor collapsible colander: Made of colorful, strong silicone, this colander expands during use, then folds flat for easy storing. These come from Chef’N, which also makes collapsible measuring cups, steamers and other handy items.
Salt pig: This is a cute update on a traditional salt cellar, equipped with a small spoon to grab grains of kosher salt or sea salt. It would be great for tabletop or to keep right by the stove. I may have to get two.