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Vacation Rental Essentials

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  1. Ad Hoc

    AdHoc "Tutto" Pump Oil / Vinegar Sprayer

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    Regular Price: $24.99

    Special Price: $15.00

    Why It's Cool: Beautiful European design, sprays a beautiful fine mist

    Occasionally life hands you lemonade when you thought you only had lemons … right?

    When we started testing oil pump spray bottles, we looked at several and, after testing, made our choices … you’ve seen those we’ve recommended and have bought many ….  but there was one other pump sprayer out there that we wanted to recommend, but it was too expensive: the “Quality/Value/Price” algorithm just wasn’t right … until now ….

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  2. blomus

    blomus "Knik" Trivet

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    $13.99

    Why It's Cool: Great trivet that folds up to take up very little space

    Trivets are essential tools for handling or serving any hot dish, to protect your countertops or your dining table. If you have ever forgotten to use one, then you’ve never forgotten the damage a hot dish can do, especially to wood. Everybody has some sort of trivet, or maybe a few trivets, or maybe even a collection …but simple is better: “X” marks the spot, with the blomus® Knik™ Trivet.

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  3. Camerons Non-Stick Grilling Mesh Baske

    Camerons Non-Stick Grilling Mesh

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    $12.99

    Why It's Cool: Keeps your food from dropping through or sticking to your grill

    There are many dishes that can benefit from some grill-time - right? But either they’re too messy to put directly onto the grill - think anything with a saucy marinade - or the ingredients are too small and will fall through the grill - like scallops or vegetables - or they need to be cooked quickly but will stick to the grill - think fish or chicken breasts .…

    But using aluminum foil isn’t a good solution for several reasons: it doesn’t let the flame through to impart flavor or grill marks, it doesn’t let liquid evaporate and can lead to steaming instead of grilling, our turner or tongs are just as likely to cut the foil as to lift the protein cleanly when done, and all that fussing takes time, which can lead to burned or overcooked food.

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  4. Camerons Tortilla Warmer

    Camerons Tortilla Warmer

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    $10.00

    Why It's Cool: Warms tortillas in the microwave in 45 seconds...keeps them warm and soft for an hour

    With the recent rush away from glutens, we have been looking for appetizing alternatives to wrap our food for easy eating.  We love a nice warm corn tortilla; our favorite filling is Carnitas topped with Pico de Gallo and other traditional accompaniments, but there are so many choices: both traditional and adventurous. This does, however, present a couple of challenges. First, how do you warm the tortillas? And then how do you keep them warm, especially for a crowd? Many approaches to these issues have been less than satisfactory, until now.

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  5. Carré Olive Wood Spoons

    Carré Olive Wood Spoons

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    $15.00

    Why It's Cool: Easy to hold, sturdy and beautiful to use / Pointed Spoon gets in the corners of pots

    The plethora of non-stick surfaces in all our kitchens require a variety of non-metal utensils. Wood is the traditional go-to material, and there are many choices, from bamboo, to oak and cherry. But for beauty and durability, olive is the choice. And as many old olive groves around the Mediterranean go out of production, local artisans are discovering that making olive wood utensils also is the sustainable choice. These are being executed in both traditional and innovative designs, with exceptional functionality … Cool Tools, each and every one!

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  6. Charles Viancin Double Boiler Insert

    Charles Viancin Double Boiler Insert

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    $9.99

    Why It's Cool: Easy to store, easy to empty, can be used in microwave, oven or on stovetop

    There are certain times when you really need a double boiler--any time when what you’re cooking is too delicate for direct heat. Melting chocolate or butter are only two examples; my super easy zabaglione from my single days (for each person use 1 egg yolk, ½ egg shell full of sugar, and ½ egg shell full of marsala, and whisk for a long time--until doubled in volume--in a double boiler over simmering water; serve over fresh strawberries) is another.

    The function of a double boiler is necessary in any well-equipped kitchen, but the downsides are that it takes up a lot of space, it can be used only on a cooktop and the shape usually makes it difficult to get all of whatever you’re cooking in it, out of it … even with the best spatula skills. Well, not anymore….

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  7. Charles Viancin Silicone Coasters

    Charles Viancin Silicone Coasters

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    $3.75

    Why It's Cool: Protects your furniture from glass marks and drips, designed not to stick to your glass, prevents sliding if used between your glass and a tray... and they're beautiful!

    Coasters are an interesting subject. What, exactly, are they supposed to do? Are they supposed to be absorbent, like the bar napkin that always accompanies your drink? Are they also intended to be protective (which bar napkins surely are not!) against liquids and watermarks on your furniture or countertop? If so, then how protective? Is merely lifting the glass off the surface enough? Or should they also contain, or absorb, the condensation from the glass? And finally, in the midst of all these functional questions lies the question of beauty … should the functional winners be merely plain and simple? Or does beauty deserve extra credit in your selection criteria?

    We think that it does, and that’s why we’re so excited about these Silicone Coasters from Charles Viancin.

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  8. Charles Viancin Silicone Measuring Cups

    Charles Viancin Silicone Measuring Cups

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    $8.00

    Why It's Cool: Space-saving, flexible and eye-catching measuring cups that are easy to use.

    Measuring ingredients is just a necessary fact of life in the kitchen and there are a lot of different measuring vessels that you can use. What you want in a good measuring vessel is something that is easy to hold, easy to read, easy to pour, easy to clean, and accurate. That’s a minimum set of requirements.

    Added functionality might include: metric measurements (for those wonderful European recipes), space saving design (so it takes up very little storage space, which is always at a premium), and an easy release interior (so that whatever you’re measuring falls easily into your mixing bowl, pot or pan).

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  9. Charles Viancin Sippers (Set of 4)

    Charles Viancin Sippers (Set of 4)

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Protect your drink from bugs and debris while having easy access to drink it

    The latest issue of Cooks’ Illustrated has a reader’s tip about using a paper muffin pan liner with a straw poked through to protect your drinks from bugs. While you’ve got to admire the McGyver creativity of this, we don’t always have muffin liners and straws lying around, I’ve never been able to successfully poke a straw through paper without bending the straw and tearing the paper, and it’s a single use, throw it away solution, which I try to avoid.

    However, this does highlight a summer problem: bugs are as attracted to your drinks as you are. And debris just floats through the air, looking for someplace to land. So while we’re spending more time outside and enjoying beverages (adult or otherwise), there is a need for an elegant solution to keeping the bugs and debris out of your drink, while still allowing you to enjoy it easily. And we have one for you…

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  10. Cherry Blossom

    Charles Viancin Value Sets

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    $30.99

    Why It's Cool: Use instead of plastic wrap for a better seal and greener kitchen...and it's oven safe...and now at an outstanding price!

    We all love Charles Viancin silicone lids: they’re beautiful, they’re useful, they’re effective, and they’re wonderful to own and to give as gifts. In addition, they’re “green” (reusable, recyclable, etc.) and take up very little space. And now (drum roll) for a limited time (drum roll again) they are even more reasonably priced!

    Those lovely folks at Charles Viancin have put together Value Sets in a few of the most popular designs and in the most popular sizes. Each set contains ... 1 large (11”/28cm), 1 medium (9”/23cm), 1 medium small (8”/20cm), and 2 x-small (4”/10cm) lids (drink covers) in one design; all beautifully packaged. Buy several: at least one for you, and several more as gifts; these prices won’t last forever!

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  11. Charles Viancin Wine Bottle Stopper

    Charles Viancin Wine Bottle Stopper

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    $3.00

    Why It's Cool: Whimsical, beautiful wine bottle stopper that works with the Wine Preserver to keep your wine fresh for days

    One of the most often-asked questions is: “how can I most effectively preserve that open bottle of wine?” After much testing, and if you're not willing to buy one of these big deal expensive, big deal preserving systems, then our answer is an inert gas blanket to keep your wine and the air that could ruin it separate. And, if your gas preserver is going to be effective, then you should not be letting air seep into your open bottle by stoppering with the cork that you just drove the corkscrew through! Of course there are those cutesy cork-wrapped stoppers with the grapes on top, or their O-ringed cousins topped with art glass or golf balls or … all very nice as novelty gifts, but not very effective at sealing your open bottle of wine. So what are the alternatives?

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  12. Chef'n Large Juicester

    Chef'n Large Juicester (Citrus Juicer)

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    $14.99

    Why It's Cool: Reams citrus to extract maximum juice, measures juice, strains out seeds, non-slip base

    There are so many recipes that require just a little citrus to brighten the dish, and many of them require a specific measurement. While we love the Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer, using this to juice into a measuring cup is often too awkward. So we’ve tested a lot of small citrus juicers with measurements and good reamers, and we finally found one that we think is great.

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  13. Chef'n StemGem Strawberry Stemmer

    Chef'n StemGem Strawberry Stemmer

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    $7.99

    Why It's Cool: Grabs and removes strawberry stem and hull easily...fun and safe for kids to use

    It's summer... and we're surrounded by wonderful strawberries! And if you have strawberries, and if you’re going to serve them over a dessert like Guilt-Free Panna Cotta or strawberry shortcake, or with champagne (or anything else you can imagine), you will want to hull them (remove the stem and core). You can do this with a knife, if you’re brave and have good knife skills, but you risk both your fingers and a lot of the strawberry...and it’s pretty tedious.  And there are lots of gadgets out there to stem strawberries, but none of them have risen to the level of a Cool Tool...until now...

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  14. Colbrook Kitchen QuickMix

    Colbrook Kitchen QuickMix

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    $12.50

    Why It's Cool: Great for beating one or two eggs or mixing cornstarch and water--it truly is a quick mix!

    So how can an inexpensive piece of plastic be a Cool Tool?  I have to tell you...I love this thing.  It’s called a QuickMix, and that’s exactly what is does.  I use it at least 4 or 5 times a week, and if it’s in the dishwasher that hasn’t been run yet, I take it out and wash it by hand so I can use it immediately.  You may well ask “what does it do? ...And how does it work?”

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  15. Cookina Baking Mats-Set of 3 Sheets ~ Colbrook Kitchen Exclusive

    Cookina Baking Mats-Set of 3 Sheets ~ Colbrook Kitchen Exclusive

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Non-stick baking pan liners that are dishwasher safe and wash up clean and fresh every time.

    One of the best things to happen to cooking are the reusable non-stick baking sheets that you can use to line pans. Of course the number one benefit of non-stick anything, is that things don’t stick; that means that your food comes out (and off) the way you intended, you can use less fat, and clean-up is so much easier. And the benefit of a reusable non-stick sheet is that It’s greener than using single-use parchment paper. But not all non-stick sheets are created equal.

    For years we used the various silicone-based sheets, but found a number of problems with them: they can’t be used at very high heat, they shouldn’t be washed in the dishwasher, so they never really feel clean, and they retain odors. We wondered if there was a better alternative. We found that there is…

    COOKINA®, a small family company out of Montreal, set out to solve all those problems...and they did!

    They offer a great line of products that turn your grill, oven and baking pans into non-stick. But we are very excited to introduce our first ever (drum roll…!) Colbrook Kitchen Exclusive!

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  16. Burgers on BBQ Xtra

    COOKINA BBQ and Oven Sheets

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    $19.99

    Why It's Cool: Non-stick sheet for your grill, baking pans and ovens

    Anyone who has ever cooked knows that cooking can be messy. Food can stick to your grill or roasting pan, or spill over to the floor of your oven. And all of that requires elbow grease to clean. In addition, when food sticks to the cooking surface, you often lose portions of it, and the results are not nearly as attractive as you would like.

    COOKINA®, a small family company out of Montreal, set out to solve all those problems...and they did!

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  17. Cooks Innovations SimmerMat

    Cooks Innovations SimmerMat

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    $16.95

    Why It's Cool: Light weight and effective for taming heat or making your induction burner even more useful with all your cooking pots

    Today’s modern ranges are great at cooking on high heat, but they’re a little challenged when it comes to to keeping it low and slow: no matter how low you set the heat, it always seems to cook hotter and harder than you want. And there are so many dishes that really benefit from a long slow simmer, like soups and stews and sauces. The only thing that really seems to control the heat is one of those heat diffusers (and we’ve owned several), but most of them are so heavy that you almost strain your wrist lifting them, so you don’t use them very often.

    And do you have an induction burner? We installed one when we remodeled our kitchen and we love it, but it works with only certain cookware (our test is, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pot, the pot will work on an induction burner). But we have some cookware that we’d love to use on the induction burner - glass or ceramic, and some older metal pots - but the magnet won’t stick and they don’t work.

    Two kitchen problems, and one very cool solution…

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  18. Cuisipro 4-sided Box Grater

    Cuisipro 4-sided Box Grater

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    $39.99

    Why It's Cool: Glide technology makes grating smoother and easier

    So, you ask, how can a Box Grater be a ‘Cool Tool’? Is anything more mundane? or basic? And the answer is ‘it’s a Cool Tool when it’s based on new, patent pending technology, that prepares a better component for your dishes!’ The problem with most box graters is that they are now-dull pieces of stamped below-average steel that ‘cut’ the food badly, on ragged edges: these are stamped metal that do not produce the sharp clean cuts we associate with using a honed knife or mandolin. Enter the Cuisipro 4-sided Box Grater with patent pending Surface Glide Technology™ ...the solution to the issue of less-than adequate box graters.
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  19. Swivel

    Cuisipro Peelers

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    $17.99

    Why It's Cool: Ergonomic handle and balanced weight, along with wicked sharp blades make peeling chores easy

    Every kitchen needs a peeler … or two. This most basic kitchen tool performs so many functions: from peeling potatoes, carrots or beets, to cleaning knobs or ginger or jerusalem artichokes, to making long slices of zucchini and other squashes for “vegetarian lasagna” … these are essential tools, for every kitchen. And whether you were taught as a youth to use the classic swivel peeler, or learned (later, in my case!) the efficiencies of the “Y” peeler, you know that you need these tools in your kitchen.

    But so many of the peelers we’ve used are simply lightweight, pot-metal junk … they quickly get dull and inefficient, and they rust or otherwise deteriorate, but you don’t discard them quickly enough because, after all, they’re just peelers ...right? ...well, WRONG!

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  20. Cuisipro Silicone Spoon

    Cuisipro Silicone Spoon

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    $16.49

    Why It's Cool: Flat bottom and sturdy spoon cup make this a great stirring tool, especially for non-stick cookware

    There are a number of recipes, my gougères recipe among them, that ask you to stir pretty continuously (for a short time) so the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or risk burning.  If what you’re stirring is thick, you need something more sturdy than a spatula, but spoons have a rounded point and just don’t quite do the job to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    Those clever folks at Cuisipro came up with a great alternative.  Their silicone flat bottom spoon is sturdy, easy to hold, and scrapes the bottom of the pan in a much more effective manner.  I find myself reaching for this spoon every time I need to stir something in a pot.

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