7 clever kitchen gadgets

6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)We're not big on New Year's resolutions, but you know what? January is a darn good time to bone up on your cooking techniques, from braising to pan roasting.

Our kitchen equipment philosophy is pretty simple: Less is more. But as the world's best chefs attest, there are a few clever gadgets that deserve a spot in the modern cook's toolbox.













#1: MEAT GRINDER

Whether you're after the freshest burgers or want to get in on the house-made sausage trend, Noah Bernamoff, of New York's Mile End deli, recommends a hand-cranked meat grinder.

"A food processor tends to whip and de-texture proteins," he cautions. "The grinder gives meat a nice, rustic texture."

Tre Spade, $150; williams-sonoma.com


6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Target) #2: DIGITAL SCALE

Portland's bread-and-pizza prince, Ken Forkish, says the case for digital scales is as simple as salt.

"Coarse versus fine salt at equal weight will produce equivalent results," he explains. "But not if measured by volume."

Soon you'll be using one to portion pasta, make uniformly sized meatballs, and, for coffee nerds, weigh beans before brewing.

Oxo Softworks, $33; target.com



(See more:
Top single-serve coffeemakers )




6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Broadway Panhandler) #3: PEPPER MILL

Matthias Merges, chef at Chicago's Yusho, loads different pepper mills with spices and seeds, which he uses to finish dishes.

"In winter, we have cloves for rich stews, as well as coriander, mustard, and fennel seeds," he says.

Unicorn Magnum Plus, $55; broadwaypanhandler.com












6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Baking Steel) #4: PIZZA STEEL

For spot-on pizzas at home, Ideas in Food's Aki Kamozawa uses this ultra-conductive pizza steel instead of ones made of stone or ceramic.

Says Kamozawa: "The pizzas made on it are gorgeous--browned and bubbly with crisp edges."

16x14" baking steel, $72; bakingsteel.com





6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Cuisinart) #5: SPICE GRINDER

Yotam Ottolenghi is known for his Mediterranean-inspired dishes, but for curry pastes or chopping toasted nuts, he turns to a powerful spice grinder.

"I use it for tough ingredients, like fresh lemongrass and dried limes."

The stainless-steel bowl won't absorb odors or flavors.

Spice & nut grinder, $40; cuisinart.com










6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Thermoworks)

#6: DIGITAL THERMOMETER

The lightning-fast Thermapen goes up to 572 degrees and is a staple in the laboratory-like kitchen at Ideas in Food, a blog devoted to culinary innovation.

"When baking a gooey cake, it's hard to check for doneness any other way," says Ideas' H. Alexander Talbot. "We also love it for deep-frying."

Splash-proof super-fast Thermapen, $89; thermoworks.com









6 clever kitchen gadgets(Photo courtesy of Chubo) #7: CHOPSTICKS

These spearlike steel-and-wood chopsticks are designed for cooking.

Says Toronto-based chef Susur Lee,"I use them for flipping foods in the fryer and picking up seaweed.They can be manipulated like fine tweezers."

6.5" Plating Chopsticks, $60; chuboknives.com













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