The only ingredients absolutely necessary for Cooking With Friends are a friend, some food, and an idea of what to make. But we also love being efficient in the kitchen—it gives us more time with friends and family. So here is our list of favorite Time-Saving Tools we think you’ll like too.
The Hand Chopper
Place this chopper over your vegetables (it’s particularly great for garlic and onions), hit the plunger with the palm of your hand and in seconds you’ll achieve perfectly chopped vegetables. It will considerably save you and a friend prep time! Kitchen Aid, OXO and Pampered Chef all make good versions.
Prepara ‘Trio’ Tri-Blade Peeler
With three interchangeable blades, the Prepara ‘Trio’ Tri-Blade Peeler is a kitchen multi-tasker. It will peel hard vegetable skins, soft skins like tomatoes, and julienne carrots.
Use this little press to get the most out of your lemons and limes.
This low-tech gadget helps blend butter and flour to make flaky crusts and dough. It can be found for about $10 online and in kitchen stores.
This little time-saver can usually be found for under $5, is made of plastic or metal and lets you quickly press dumplings in a perfect shape.
Although you’ll find many cookie presses on the market, the Wilton Cookie Press Ultra II is our favorite. Simply fill the barrel with dough, drop in the desired disk shape (it comes with 12), press dough down and squeeze out cookies in seconds. Its trigger action works so fast that while one friend operates the press, another can decorate the cookies and a third friend can remove them from the oven. Fill your own cookie jars with these two-bite cookies or make them for friends during the holidays. The press is available online at Amazon.com, or stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, and Linens-N-Things for about $20.
It is usually glass or plastic, has a handle and has a long spout. When you pour your broth or gravy into the pitcher, the fat will rise to the top and only the “fat-free” part of the liquid will pour through the spout. This will enable you and your friend to make lower fat soups in a short amount of time. You can find one for under $10.
Hand Immersion Blender
It’s the perfect tool to use when blending and pureeing soups. Use this hand blender while your soup is still warm in a pot—there’s no need to transfer the soup to a countertop blender. Braun, Cuisinart & Deni all make moderately priced ones in the range of $29.95 – $34.95. Cuisinart also makes a cordless one that can be re-charged.
Pampered Chef Garlic Press
You do not need to peel your garlic first. Simply put a clove of garlic in the press,
squeeze and you will have beautifully minced garlic. You can purchase the garlic press for $15.50 at Pamperedchef.com (item number 2575).
Oxo Vegetable Peeler
The Oxo vegetable peeler is a must-have tool that will save you time when cooking with a friend. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can peel your carrots and potatoes. And, it only costs $6.00.
Fine Porcelain Ginger Grater
It’s shaped like a small dustpan and has little serrated edges on the base. It takes only seconds to grate ginger perfectly. It also works for carrots, cheese, chocolate, citrus and onions. It’s available at Amazon.com for $5.95.
Quick Slice Mandoline
For someone who likes to work fast in the kitchen, this tool is a small miracle. It slices fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, apples, pears, and potatoes in seconds. There are many mandolines to choose from. Williams Sonoma sells two made out of ceramic—one that slices and one that juliennes. They are a bit pricey for $25.00 a piece. The Kuhn Rikon Quick Slice Mandoline is the way to go. It lays flat and can easily be stored in a small kitchen drawer. It’s at Zabars for only $12.99 but you could also find it at tabletools.com for $13.95.
The Vacuvin Instant Marinater
This tool miraculously marinates and tenderizes meat, fish, chicken and vegetables in just minutes by creating a vacuum which opens up the pores and fibers. You can find it at stores like Bed Bath and Beyond or on Amazon.com for $39.99. It gets an average of 4 stars on epinions.
Global Chef Knife
In our opinion, the Global Chef’s knife is hands down, the sharpest, easiest knife to use and then re-sharpen. It cuts through a tomato like butter! It’s always on the list of things to bring to a friend�s house for a cooking date. The incredible efficiency and precision is not surprising when you take a look at the engineering of the knife itself. It is made out of a single piece of stainless steel metal and has a razor sharp blade with an edge that gradually curves. The dimpled handle, a signature of a Global knife, allows for a solid grip.
Soft Skin Peeler
This tool was recommended by Deborah, a fellow CWFC member. It is called a soft skin peeler. It’s pretty cool. We have tried it with tomatoes and peaches and it works great! It can be found at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Three Tiered Oven Rack
If you only have one oven, this product will be especially appealing. This clever rack takes advantage of every inch of space in your oven and allows you to cook more food at one time, especially important when cooking with a friend! Our favorite one is available online at Williams-Sonoma. Bed Bath & Beyond has one as well.