Gadgets for the gourmet Cook
New electrics and gadgets to make kitchen tasks easier were among the items shown at the recent National Housewares Show. Many of them are just coming on the market.
They range from the Kabbo-It, a portable electric hot hors d'oeuvre-meal maker, by WearEver, to the Straidle, a utensil for ledeling soup and straining out vegetables, pasta and other items cooked with it.
There's a Cream Maid, for making whipped cream instantly and very much like that local ice cream parlor uses.
The Gravy-Strain is a 1 1/2 cup fat separator which works easily to remove unwanted fat from pan gravies and sauces. A companion to it is the Souper-Strain which makes it simple to pour off fat from the top of soups.
For those who like to grow their own bean and alfalfa sprouts, Corning has introduced the Sprout Farm kit. And those who have admired ice carvings by famous chefs, can now produce their own -- with molds and tap water frozen for special occasions.
Artichoke cookers and asparagus cookers to hold vegetables upright while steaming were presented by International Corporation. And when it comes to cleaning up, the Postcrubber has put electricity in the hands of the homemaker to whirl away built-up cooking residue on pans and pots. Different pads are offered for use with cast iron or sensitive Teflon or other non-stick coatings.
Children will appreciate Salton's Mixtir, a drink mixer which whips cream, chocolate malteds, scrambles eggs and mixes pancake batter much like the fountain mixers. They'll also like the new cookie cutters which come in the shapes of the 50 states.
Panasonic offered a self-cleaning juice extractor, and Rubbermaid presented a quick release ice cube tray and a mix'n measure covered shaker with metric and cup measurements.
Efforts to expand the food processor and combine it with other appliances are seen in Sunbeam's Food Preparation Center, which offers a mixer, food processor and blender in one. The base of the unit is a powerful 450 watt energy efficient heavy-duty motor console. Like Waring's Super Bowl and saves space as a result.
La Machine III offers beaters an an accesory which also make their processor more versatile. And Kenwood's Chefette System combines the best features of a stand mixer, blender, food processor and portable hand mixer. It has beaters ad dough-hooks as well as five stainless steel cutting plates.
Other improvements in food processors themselves include the food pusher which doubles as a measuring cup for La Machine II; Cousances de France Generation II which has six easy-to-store drop-in blades but only one spindle disc; and General Electric's Versa-Disc which provides for four inseers into a single disc.
They can be stored easily and include one for French Fry cutting, thick slicing, thin, ripple slicing and one for course shredding. Hamilton Beach also is using inserts into a single disc for its newest food processor.
Cuisinart has added a dough kneading blade as well as an accessory for peeling potatoes and a larger feed tube which will accomodate a potato or tomato.
Different gadgets designed to make egg preparation easier include a device to assure soft and hard boiled egg timing and one which makes peeling a hard boiled egg a snap.
Designed by a chef with a catering firm to help restaurants cut down on the time it takes to prepare deviled eggs in quantity, the "Chef Ray's Professional Egg Peeler," by Flambeau Plastics Co., has been made available to consumers.
The egg is first tapped on one end to break the shell, then the other end is hit against a small spike on the peeler itself. The egg is then set on the plastic stand, and an accordian-like piece is placed over it, which when depressed creates a vacuum and sends the peeled egg below the stand, leaving the shell behind. It's a real time saver especially when quantities of eggs need to be peeled.
William Wahl, president of Wahl Instruments, makers of Eggrite, says that an egg shouldn't be dropped into boiling water, but it should be placed in a pan of cool water, then heated to boiling. The timing device he invented changes color as the temperature of the egg rises and shows the softness or hardness of the eggs while they're boiling. The eggtimer turns from red to brown, as the egg changes from soft-boiled to hard-boiled.
Scrambling an egg right in its shell is possible with the Electric Egg Scrambler by Vision 2000. The egg is brought down on a tiny electrically operated needle to make a small whole and then homogenize the egg while it's still in its shell. The result is an egg ready for omelets. French toast, breaded meats and vegetables, and a new kind of hard boiled egg.
There are all sorts of new possibilities for making pasta at home with a number of electric machines to knead the dough for all kinds of spaghetti and noodle shapes and some that also make bagels and pretzels. A number of the units were introduced from Italy.
Most of them, including Macchina per pasta "Candia," distributed by Pietro Cora, Chicago, and Tuttopasta by Bialetti, from Coffee Imports International, San Francisco, are from overseas.
Osrow, however, presented one made in America called the International Pasta and Dough Machine. It makes bagels, egg rolls, French loaves, pretzels, as well as tacos and hollow shapes ranging from a small macaroni to a large manicotti and 10 flat shapes which run from small fetuccini to a pizza.
All over the show floor were those demonstrating how simple it is to take eggs and flour and turn them into pasta automatically. Simac Appliances Corp. showed the Pastamatic, while Continental Gourmet Corporation offered Pronto Pasta with five disc attachments to form spaghetti, linguiuni, fettucini, lasagna, or macaroni noodles.
Some of the pasta making machines have kneading fingers which are motor operated, and then the dough is transferred to another part of the machine for extrusion. Others are designed so that the extrusion follows kneading in a continuous operation.
Though many of the machines are electrically operated, Himark Enterprises, Inc., offers a line of hand operated rollers. These are made with all steel rollers and chrome finish and are designed with clamps to hold the machines in place while the dough is being rolled.
Then there's the 32-inch long grained beechwood rolling pin made especially for hand rolling pasta items offered by The George Burke Company. It's called, naturally, "La Pasta Rola."
And Rowoco offers both a pasta machine with a removable head and a small folding pasta dry rack with removable dowels for each cleaning. This company also shared a basic recipe for pasta: Basic Pasta 1 pound flour 4 eggs salt
Place flour in doughnut shape on pastry board, break eggs in middle and work lightly with fingers or fork to draw in all the flour, gradually. Knead more throughly, adding a pinch of salt. When smooth and elastic, let rest for a few minutes, then roll in your pasta machine and cut the desired width. Dry pasta on a pasta rack.