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This Week's Cool Tools

Pick one recipe for each item you buy, add it to your cart, and we'll include it in your package as our gift to you.

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  1. Butterflied (Spatchcock) Roasted Chicken With Quick Jus Recipe

    Butterflied (Spatchcock) Roasted Chicken With Quick Jus Recipe


    Why It's Cool:

    Roast Chicken is my comfort food, my last meal and my benchmark for a great French bistro. But I always had a problem getting the thighs and legs fully cooked without the breast meat becmong the Shara Desert of chicken. It was then that I consulted the website of the person I consider the kitchen god:  Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. This is our version of his terrific recipe--and it almost magically (and scientifically) solves the problem of roasting chicken to perfection.

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  2. Watermelon

    Charles Viancin All Silicone Cutting Boards


    Why It's Cool: Flexible to deliver cut food to pan or bowl, doesn't move on counter as you cut, dishwasher safe

    When we reviewed the original Charles Viancin Lilypad Cutting Board, we talked about the many choices of cutting boards, including the fact that we all probably have several, in various sizes and materials, in our kitchen. Everybody has to face these choices. Piper has written a Cool Tip on this subject and, in prior first cutting board reviews, we summarized the basic criteria for making these choices:

    • Size: it should big enough that the cut food doesn’t fall off, but small enough that moving it doesn’t constitute exercise;
    • Sturdy: it shouldn’t move or curl while in use;
    • Durable: it should be firm enough that cutting on it won’t gouge it to shreds, but not so hard as to damage your knives;
    • Convenient: it should be the right size - or sizes - and it should be dishwasher safe, so that we can be sure it’s really clean the next time we use it; and, finally,
    • Beauty: it should be beautiful in your kitchen - or wherever you use it - because, as  William Morris said, you should “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

    Alas, a couple of years ago the Charles Viancin Silicone Cutting Board was discontinued--it was just too expensive to make. We, and many of our customers were devastated, because it really was one of the best cutting boards on the market. Well folks...IT's cool designs...and at an even better price!

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  3. Sea Collection

    Charles Viancin Sea Collection Silicone Lids


    Why It's Cool: Use instead of plastic wrap for a better seal and greener kitchen...and it's a universal lid on the stove or in the oven or microwave.

    We do love the creativity that Charles Viancin exhibits in his new designs every year. (And, yes, unlike Betty Crocker, Charles VIancin is a real person... a very handsome tall Frenchman who is inspired by nature!) But when we saw this year's designs at the show in January, we were literally blown away. With the Sea Collection Charles has gone from recreating the beauty of nature to capturing its intangible qualities as well. Whether you have a house at the beach (or you're visiting someone who does: these make great gifts!) or just want to bring the calm beauty of the sea into your home, this collection is truly, mind-blowingly beautiful!

    Can't decide which size you like best? Join the crowd! Order one of our Bundles, and get a nice assortment at a savings!

    Money saving bundles:

    • Bundle 1: 1 large, 1 medium, 1 medium/small, and 1 small (~$46 value) = $43.99
    • Bundle 2: 1 large, 1 medium, 1 medium/small, and 2 x-small (~$46 value) = $43.99
    • Big Bundle: 1 large (Coral), 1 medium (Sea Shell), 1 medium/small (Starfish), 1 small (anemone), and 2 x-small (~$55 value) = $51.99
    • And you can add a beautiful Seashore Towel from Michel Designs for just $8.49 when you buy any of the Sea Collection Bundles.
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  4. Plastic Wrap



    Why It's Cool: Takes the frustration out of using kitchen wraps: plastic wrap, foil and parchment.

    OK, I’ve already admitted that I’m a klutz when it comes to plastic wrap; that’s one of the reasons that we love the Charles Viancin Lids. But there are times when plastic wrap can be the best solution. And there are fewer alternatives to foil and parchment, both of which have a hallowed, if frustrating, place in our kitchen. But these always have been hate-love-hate relationships because, try as I might, the grocery store dispensers of all the various products in this category get messy, don’t tear evenly or well, start breaking down the moment you start to use them, and are generally unsatisfactory kitchen “helpers”. In short, most are badly designed and function poorly: the very opposite of Cool Tools!

    That’s why we were so excited to discover ChicWrap...

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  5. Evo Oil or Vinegar Sprayer

    Evo Oil or Vinegar Sprayer


    Why It's Cool: Sprays a fine fan-shaped mist of oil or vinegar without propellants or pumping

    How do you get just the right amount of olive oil on...everything? Olive oil is one of those tough things to spray because it can clog ordinary sprayers. And cookware manufacturers warn against using aerosols on cookware because the propellants are flammable and can leave an almost permanent film on the surface (and if does that to cookware, what is it doing to your stomach?)

    But the idea of spraying a thin film of oil is very appealing, because it cuts down the amount of fat in your diet while providing great even coverage. So there are two basic types of sprayers, and we like them both. One is the Ad Hoc Tutto, which is a beautiful pump-style sprayer. But sometimes you want more coverage than the pump sprayer will give you without an arm workout. In that case you want the award winning Evo Trigger Sprayer, designed by Michael Graves and winner of the 2014 International Housewares Association Innovation Award.

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  6. Norpro Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer

    Norpro Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer


    Why It's Cool: Squeezes the maximum amount of juice out of the citrus

    Every kitchen needs a hand juicer: to extract as much juice as possible from each half of a piece of citrus, to carefully add that last drop of juicy flavor to any dish, and above all to do all of this without leaving behind those annoying pits, with their flavor-distorting tannins and crunch.

    And we all have them, sometimes in base metals, and others in specially-sized fruit-color codes. But all of these have their deficiencies: from chipping paint - who knows what’s in that? - to acid-induced stains that never seem to wash away. And can you really bear-down on that larger piece of fruit? What to do?

    It’s time for Stainless Steel ...the Norpro 18/10 Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer one size only. A very Cool Tool.

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  7. Novac RoastEasy Chain Mail Roasting Cover from Cuisipro

    Novac RoastEasy Chain Mail Roasting Cover from Cuisipro


    Why It's Cool: Keeps the moisture in while allowing the outside to get crisp.

    Roasting is a simple, straightforward method of cooking many dishes but, as with any cooking, there can be many ‘slips twixt the cup and the lip’ … and one of the great features of any roast dish - from beef to chicken to vegetables - is retaining natural juices, while achieving a crisp exterior. There can be nothing better than a crisp-skinned roast chicken, or crisp roasted potatoes, or … conversely, nothing worse than a soggy chicken skin, or mushy potatoes.

    The Novac RoastEasy Chain Mail Roasting Cover is a perfect tool to assure that you stay on the crisp and delicious side of these dishes, simply and efficiently, producing great results every time!

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  8. Oxo Chef's Precision Digital Leave-in Thermometer

    Oxo Chef's Precision Digital Leave-in Thermometer


    Why It's Cool: Takes both the guesswork and the constant surveillance out of making a perfect roast...

    Have you ever noticed that there are certain tools that can give you precision and improved results, without making you seem obsessive-compulsive.  A leave-in thermometer is one of our favorite Cool Tools.

    Sometimes, even when you’ve weighed your ingredients and timed your results, “your results at home may vary”!  Every oven is different, and every roast has its own best cooking time.  When you’re cooking a piece of meat, poultry or even fish, internal temperature is the surest way to make sure that the roast is done to your liking.  Instant read thermometers can be good for this (there are some of these that we really like, but that’s for another newsletter), but if you really want to know the exact minute when your roast reaches the internal temperature you’ve targeted, there is nothing better than a probe leave-in thermometer with an alert.  It takes the guesswork out of picking the moment of perfect doneness and will more than pay for itself by protecting your meals from being over-cooked.

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  9. OXO Poultry Shears

    OXO Poultry Shears


    Why It's Cool: Micro-serrated blades cut equally well through skin and bones, and the blades come apart for easy cleaning.

    Poultry shears have two basic functions: be strong enough to cut through joints and bones, and be sharp enough to cut through slippery chicken skin. It is surprising how few poultry shears are good at both. Extra points are given for being:

    • Easy to grip (raw poultry is slippery, and that transfers to your hands when you’re taking it apart),
    • Easy to clean (we’re talking raw poultry here--salmonella...hello!), and
    • Compactly designed, to be as small and safe as possible, both in use and while stored in your drawer.

    And then there are the little extra details that close the deal:

    • Tapered blades to get into tight places on your poultry,
    • Spring-loaded handles that provide extra leverage for ease of cutting,
    • Blade notch to secure bones while you’re squeezing the handles to cut them, and
    • Handles shaped to prevent your hand from slipping forward.

    We’ve tested and used a lot, and these Poultry Shears from OXO have it all.

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  10. Oxo Silicone Roasting Rack - Set of 2

    Oxo Silicone Roasting Rack - Set of 2


    Why It's Cool: Flexible and convenient solution to elevate your food.

    A roasting rack is an essential component to good cooking of so many delicious dishes … usually these racks ‘come with’ your roasting pan, but often those that ‘come with’ are either too thin grade - slightly flimsy wire racks that  won’t hold the weight of your proteins - or too thick - and overwhelm your food. Neither grade will easily release the cooked surface of your protein, without extra oil that ruins the evenness of your cooked food, as well as the beauty of your intended presentation. And both grades can be highly variable: to assure the even cooking you want, and - most problematically - both are a real pain to clean: I’ve never been able to thoroughly clean in/around the corners around those small wires, where last week’s fat gets further - and further - baked on, with each succeeding use, into a hard black mass. After awhile, they become just old, overused, disgusting pieces that need to be tossed.

    So look in your drawer and make a decision: we think we’ve found a solution to these issues, from OXO.

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  11. RSVP Endurance All-Purpose Shaker

    RSVP Endurance All-Purpose Shaker


    Why It's Cool: Large holes, perfect to evenly distribute rubs and other seasonings

    For that wonderfully complex grilled food flavor, you want to layer on the flavor. The first or second layer (depending on whether you start with a brine or a wet marinade) is a dry rub. Your dry rub can be any combination of herbs and spices that appeal to you--experiment! One of our favorites for pork tenderloin is equal parts of kosher salt, cumin powder, chipotle powder, and ginger powder.

    We’ve found that the best way to deliver that rub to your meat is to shake it out of a simple shaker with holes that are large enough to accommodate the kosher salt, but not so large that it delivers the rub so quickly that you wind up with big blotches of rub in some places and not enough in others. The perfect sized holes will give you an even covering of the rub, so that all you have to do is just pat it in and you’re ready to go.

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