Thoughts & Tips

My Favorite Kitchen Toys, Part 2

It has been so long since I last posted. I’m at my family’s home in Massachusetts prepping for my wedding (under 2 weeks away, yikes!) and time is just flying. I’ve been so busy it’s been hard to keep up, but I decided I needed to take a break, relax and write a little. So it’s time for the second installment of my favorite kitchen toys

Today it’s two totally different gadgets. One is big, messy and only for special occasions and the other is small, simple and used often in my house. It’s the deep fryer and the spiralizer!

Let’s start small with the spiralizer. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about healthy pasta alternatives and also posted a recipe, both featuring zucchini noodles. That’s definitely what I use this tool for the most. I also love it for making fresh slaw, cutting veggies uniformly for salads and stir frys, and for potatoes… I’ll get back to the potatoes.

The spiralizer I have is plastic and retails for about $25. It’s kind of a pain in the butt to clean because it has to be done by hand, but it does come with three blade options, and so far, it’s done its job well.

Someday I’d like to invest in the Kitchenaid attachment for my mixer, but that retails for around $100. The advantage would be it having more blade options, it would take up less cabinet space and it’s metal, so dishwasher safe. Not to hate on the one I bought. It’s still fun to use and I pull it out about once a week for one thing or another.

Next is the deep fryer. I got this for Christmas a few years ago, and have to say, it’s a lot of fun. We pull this out only a few times a year, because it can be kind of a mess and a hassle to clean up. Mine retails for around $60, which isn’t too bad considering this is not an every day tool.

Usually this gadget comes out because I love to make fried chicken. You can always pan fry on the stove top, but with a fryer like this you can actually cook a whole chicken (broken down) at one time. Here’s some legs and wings from last time:

Oil tempature is a key factor and it’s a lot easier to monitor on a digital fryer than using a thermometer in a pan. Remember to always use canola, vegetable or peanut oil because of the high smoking point. Don’t waste your olive oil on this.

Speaking of oil, you can always reuse. It takes a lot to fill up the fryer, so you don’t want to just dump it right away. My fryer has an airtight cover, so sometimes I just leave it for a few days and have some more fun with it. It’s important to strain in after each use though, you don’t want food particles left behind to burn. You can also store used, strained oil in the fridge to use later.

After fried chicken night, I plan for a couple more ways to use my fryer over the next week or so. Usually I go for snacks or sides, because unfortunately eating fried chicken three times a week isn’t the best meal plan. Since it has a generous basket, I love making things like onion rings or fries that would be harder to do in a pan. Which leads me to my last couple deep frying experiments…

I’m sitting around one day and I have oil, and I have potatoes, and then I see my spiralizer. The wheels start turning. Normally for fries, I just hand cut them into large wedges. But I decided to try making curly fries. It didn’t exactly work.

I used the thick spiral, the green one in the middle, but they still came out very thin a delicate. But I soaked them (always soak cut potatoes in water for at least 30 minutes before frying), let them dry thoroughly, and fried them anyway. I tossed them in some Cajun seasoning right after they came out and what I got was really more of a topping than a side dish. They were these crispy little potato straws what would be amazing on a burger, a piece of chicken or even on a salad for some crunch. Not what I intended, but definitely something to keep in mind for a dish down the road.

So then I tried putting another potato through the spiralizer, this time using the orange piece, the straight blade. I got this long, wide, thin ribbon and I realized this would be great as a potato chip.

I ripped it into (for lack of a better measurement) chip sized pieces. Soaked, dried, fried. Then I drizzled them with some truffle oil, garlic and Parmesan. WOW. Here’s a shot of the finished chips and the potato strings.

Not a bad little afternoon snack, huh? I love playing around in the kitchen and ending up with something delicious. I just wish my deep fryer was ready to go all the time. I do plan on trying the chip recipe baked in the oven to see how it goes for a more weeknight friendly side. I’ll let you know how that goes when I get back to California and my toys.

I’ll try to get back to a weekly schedule of blog posts again. I knew getting ready for a wedding was going to be a busy time, but I really underestimated the amount of downtime I would get. Between planning and catching up with old friends (and hitting up my favorite restaurants from my old stomping grounds), it’s a miracle I got this done!

Do any of you use these tools? What can you not live without in the kitchen? I’d love to hear. Until next time, happy cooking!

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