Monday, February 23, 2009

Week in Review via Kitchen Tools

I have realized today that my little kitchen utensil experiment updates are actually quite revealing! As I was going through my kitchen drawers looking at the utensils I've used this past week, lots of little insights popped up about what's been going on in our home lately.

Silicone baster brush - you know, it kind of looks like a paint brush, with the "bristles" made out of brightly colored (in my case, blue) silicone. I used this for brushing bacon fat from a pan from my oven onto the griddle for pancakes. My in-laws left yesterday and I made some apple pancakes for breakfast. My father-in-law loves bacon (the real deal, not the faux turkey bacon I keep around in our freezer). He ran out to Whole Foods and got some of the good stuff. We baked it in the oven and it left quite a bit of scrumptious bacon fat on the baking pan. I saw it sitting there on the stove next to my pancake griddle and thought, "Why the hell not?!". It really did the trick. It reminded me of the little can of bacon fat that my Nanny (my mother's mother) kept on her stove top at all times.

Meat thermometer - I used this to check the temp of the pork tenderloin I made with my favorite "rub", a recipe from Central Market in Austin that I've had for years. Cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Mmmm.

Melon ballers #1 and #2 - Mimi was helping me with a cantaloupe the other morning. We tried the fancy melon baller with the little spring action "scooper" but that was a little too hard for her five-year old hands. We then went to the plain, old scoop and she did great.

Whisk for pudding - Made a batch of instant chocolate pudding the other night and dutifully used the wire whisk it called for in the instructions.

12" long metal skewers - I cringed a little but Mimi used these to make strawberry and banana kabobs for all of us on Saturday night.

Metal steam rack for okra - I found some incredible okra at the Indian market (Aditi Spice Market on Maple Avenue) a few days ago. This being Northern Virginia, you can't really get okra at the regular supermarket. Oh they might have a little basket of some pitiful, over-priced okra but Aditi Spice had a huge basket of really nice okra. Of course, my favorite way to eat okra is to batter it and fry it up but I wanted to try something a little different. I found a recipe for steaming it. Apparently there is a trick to preventing the dreaded okra "slime". Just trim the ends and leave the pointy "tips" intact. Steam for about five to seven minutes then toss with butter, fresh lime juice, salt and cracked pepper. Deeee-licious!

String - My little pork tenderloin needed to be tied together as it was actually two small pieces.

Teeny, tiny funnels - Mimi was in one of her frequent water/liquid experimenting moods. She wanted a couple of the tiny funnels I use to fill up spice containers. She had a really good time pouring water through the funnels into little paper cups. Then she wanted to add food coloring to several small cups of water. Then she wanted to make marshmallow "kabobs" using miniature marshmallows and toothpicks and dip them into the food colored water. Lesson learned: marshmallows aren't really that absorbent. And they actually look pretty disgusting when they're wet. But Mimi claimed to love them and she had a good time with the process!

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