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Equipment & Gear
Recently, I received a wireless thermometer from Thermoworks to try out. Their newest product is called Smoke and is specifically designed to help people barbecue and smoke food at home. Smoke has two parts - a base unit (which takes two of Thermoworks standardized Pro-Series probes) and a wireless receiver unit - which lets the user track the air temperature and the food temperature without going outside to the smoker.
Thermoworks is selling the Smoke at $99 and this would definitely welcome tool for anyone who likes to slow cook food outside.
These days when I reach for a spatula to turn food in a pan, I've been finding myself grabbing the GastroMax Slotted Turner more often than not. Tina bought this spatula for me after months (or maybe years) of listening to me complain about our various spatulas. After buying the GastroMax Turner, my complaining has stopped.
Equipment & Gear
The smoke point of various fats is important to note because a fat is no longer good for consumption after it has exceeded its smoke point and has begun to break down. Once a fat starts to smoke, it usually will emit a harsh smell and fill the air with smoke. In addition it is believed that fats that have gone past their smoke points contain a large quantity of free radicals which contibute to risk of cancer. Refining oils (taking out impurities) tends to increase the smoke point. The table below lists some ballpark values for smoke points of various common fats. I like cooking with extra light olive oil and butter. This is mainly because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (73%) while being low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (less than 10%). The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil. Butter, although high in saturated fat (66%), is low in polyunsaturated (4%) and contains a host of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and acids that are antimicrobial and antitumorigenic. Also, it tastes good.
I love my Krups Fast Touch Coffee Grinder, but not for grinding coffee (I get my caffeine through sodas). I use this handheld grinder for grinding spices quickly and efficiently. The metal blades spin at very fast speeds on this grinder and chop spices anywhere from a coarse to a powder fine grind depending on how long you push the button. The design is safe (a momentary switch on lid ensures the unit can't be activated when open) and convenient (the lid doubles as a carrying vessel for the ground spices). Cleaning the device could be easier, but using a small paint brush to brush out the grinding bowl and then wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel does the job. The lid can be rinsed and washed with warm soapy water easily. Best of all, this grinder takes up less than 3-1/2 in. (9 cm) round of space in my cupboard.
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