Thursday, March 26, 2009

Completely Frivolous Kitchen Gadgets That I Completely Covet

Brushed Stainless Steel Gourmet Whipped Cream DispenserThere are a couple kitchen stores in town that I love browsing. If I'm in the area and don't have anywhere to go I'm very happy just strolling the aisles, checking out the interesting things that I'd really love to have but that would never fit in my cupboards.

I suppose it's a good thing that I have limited cabinet space because if I didn't I'm such a sucker for all sorts of kitchen gadgets I'd be like the James Bond of the kitchen with a gadget for each occasion and every possible kitchen emergency.

Here are a few of my most recent covets.

1. European Drinking Chocolate Machine
Retails for--are you sitting down??--$1,169. Who says the economy isn't on its feet and kicking?

But get a load of the description: "Designed for mixing and dispensing espresso-like shots of drinking chocolate" and oh how lovely it looks. I can just imagine it sitting on my counter and then I can imagine myself putting my little cup under the spout and a rich velvety river of chocolate flowing. Wait--make that my giant MUG under the spout and a rich velvety blah blah blah . . .

Apparently they justify the price by claiming it does a couple other things such as dispensing "cream sauces, drawn butter for seafood, cheese sauces or gravy" because darn it if I didn't always wish I could get me a big ol' mug o' gravy in the morning. What a pick-me-up.

Maybe at a buffet? I hope?

European Drinking Chocolate Machine2. A Stainless Steel Whipped Cream Dispenser
"What's wrong with the plain old Reddi Whip containers?" you ask. Nothing at all my fine friend except these look 50,000 times cooler!

Look at the sleek design, the luscious curving handle, it all just speaks of total aerosolic power.

Is aerosolic a word? At any rate, you can put your whipping cream into the canister, squeeze the trigger and have whipped cream in seconds. I think it must come with some kind of an air tank or way to pressurize the cream--though for $79.00 you'd think they could at least include something as simple as the extra air, right?

Looking this sexy do you think anyone would dare sneak a squirt in their mouths when no one's looking? Never mind, dumb question.

Nordicware Aluminum Bug Pan3. Nordicware Aluminum Bug Pan
Why does it appeal to me to picture myself making chocolate cake shaped like a dragonfly? I don't even like dragonflies but this pan (price: $31.95) is really too adorable.

I even like the way they've shaped the whole thing like a leaf--how cute is that?

Of course if I bought this pan I'd use it once or twice before my kids were too old to appreciate the finer things: like ladybug-shaped jello cubes and blueberry muffin bumblebees.

Darn it all but it's cute. And they even make one for little tiny castles. Now tell me you're not getting all mushy too.

La Cloche Bread Pan4. La Cloche Bread Pan
Now this may be a little silly but I've been dying to try it out to see if it really makes a difference in how good homemade bread tastes.

It's stone wear and supposedly you soak it in water and let it heat up with your oven before using it to bake in but it's supposed to mimic the effects of a brick oven.

Do you think it works? For $44.99 it seems a little pricey to gamble with but it's so very very tempting. I had a pizza stone and while it worked alright it was always pretty tricky to get that pizza onto the stone without dumping my pizza all over the bottom of my oven. Not pretty.

French Bread Pan5. Aluminum French Bread Pan
No this seems like more of my style. A long loaf pan for making baguettes. And you know if I had this pan it'd be all baguettes all the time around here. Nothing but baguettes in the morning, baguettes in the evening.

For at least a day or two before I decided it was tiring. Though at $6.49 it's certainly a better investment than the brick oven dome thingy. I don't think I have a cabinet that would comfortably fit this pan in even if I did break down and buy it.

Silicone Butter Mold6. Blue Silicone Butter Mold
Did you know that for all this time you've been suffering with butter that comes in cubes??

Well the pain is over because you can get this gorgeous little tray and shape your butter into beautiful seashells. Good for a party I'd imagine.

And while I'm making fun there's this side of me that really, really wants one. It's only $8 but I'm kind of wondering if the cost would even begin to cover the mockery I would have to endure around here if I served a meal where the butter was placed out in pretty little seashells. I can just see the guys' faces now.

So for now I remain butter mold-less. And I wait.

Iced Tea and Lemonade Dispenser7. Iced Tea and Lemonade Dispenser
Tell me this wouldn't be fun to have--you'd be your very own 7-11! I don't do iced tea but I can picture one of these on the counter filled with raspberry lemonade and me strolling by for a glass whenever the whim would hit. Probably about every 13 minutes.

I wonder if you can get the kind that plug in and throw up the punch in a spray all over the inside of the container like a real convenience store thing? That would probably elevate me to World's Coolest Mom. I suppose one of those would cost more than the $38.99 this one does.

BlinQ Donut Maker8. Electric Donut Maker
Answering the question: What do you get when you cross George Foreman with Dunkin Donuts? An electronic donut maker that makes "six delectable rings in under three minutes." Hmmm . . . I'm very tempted because I could eat six deletable rings in under three minutes and this sounds like the machine to keep pace with my appetite but I'm suspicious that they taste like real donuts. They're probably way to healthy to taste good.

As I recall my mother had one of these gadgets when I was a kid. Seems like she got it for Christmas the same year as I got a long-playing record of Disney's The Rescuers and The Jungle Book because I vaguely recall eating tiny muffins shaped like donuts while listening to those stories over and over again.

I'd really like to try this and see if they're good but it's $39.99 to find out. Anyone else with mouths-on experience for this?

Four-Tiered Mini Cake Pan9. 4-Tiered Mini Cake Pan
You see here at the right a cake pan made to produce the cutest, the most brilliant, the tiniest little mini wedding cakes.

Forget the obvious question about why I'd need a bunch of miniature wedding cakes in my life this really this isn't about need is it? Yes it's $29.99 (gasp) of pure consumerism and it makes no apologies.

And before you condemn me for wanting a pan that makes mini wedding cakes let me just mention that dessert's at my place.

Chef's Torch10. A Chef's Blow Torch
This one really does serve a purpose--really. You may think a blow torch is rather out of place in a kitchen but I'm determined that one day I actually will get one of these beauties.

You see if you love creme brulee you'll know that you really can't get that burnt sugar shell on top by merely broiling the custards. Oh the recipes will try to claim that you can but they're just leading you on because you cannot get the same even thickness and perfectly sweet-yet-caramelized topping with a regular old oven.

You need a butane blow torch like this one listed at $34.43--and really, that's a pretty good price because I've seen them for much more. Maybe it's the butane that's expensive. You know, the torch is $15 but the butane to make the flame is another $70? Maybe that's what their game is.

I suppose if I think about it $34.43 is a lot cheaper than going over to Southside Bistro for their raspberry creme brulees twenty times a year. I'd be saving money by buying this. Yea.

Electric Tortilla Maker11. An Electric Tortilla Maker
Sure you can buy your tortillas at the grocery store, sure you can roll them by hand but that's how the silly people who don't have electric tortilla makers do it.

I have torn feelings over this--I've been itching to try to make my own tortillas. I buy the take-and-bake ones they have at Costco and love them but what if I could take it up a notch and make my own? Would they be even that much better?

But then I came across this $79.99 little showstopper and had to laugh. I mean isn't the tortilla kind of the embodiment of earthy, basic, humble food? It doesn't get any more down to earth than tortillas folks and then the good people at Saachi appliances find a way to take that staff of life and turn it into a kitchen status symbol that so tempts me. It seems too ironic.

I doubt I'll get one of these--where on earth would I put it anyway? Unless I decided to open up some competition for the local Taco Bell people, then it would make sense, but nonetheless I find myself desiring it.

mini tagines12. Mini Tagines
I've been wanting a tagine for quite a while and I'm pretty sure I'll eventually break down and splurge for one. Or maybe I'll ask for it for my birthday or Christmas though if I do I'm pretty much guaranteed to get it--for some reason anytime I ask for a gift item that in any way contributes to the food consumption around here it seems to appear like magic under the tree but I'm not sure I want to use up a birthday wish like that. It has to be some-thing to make me use up a birthday wish on it.

Anyway, I've wanted a tagine which is used for baking Moroccan-style dishes but they're terribly expensive here and will run upwards of $70.

Then I saw the minis. Tiny little itty bitty tagines that are so small I'm not sure that they're big enough for a full serving, they're better for roasting a head of garlic if you ask me, but darn it they're so cute who cares? Who cares that they're running $20 a piece here in town (i.e. $120 for a set of six to feed this crew) I want them, I love them, I need them. That is all I have to say.

Bread Bowl Maker13. Bread Bowl Makers
I nearly bought this pan a couple years ago I was so intrigued by the idea of being able to pour in batter or bread dough and have it come out shaped like a little bowl suitable for filling with whatever my heart desires--fruit, chili, pudding--the sky's the limit. Or actually my kids are the limit, I doubt they'd allow a bread bowl filled with cream of asparagus soup for example.

At $16.95 they're not a bad price but I keep looking at the design and thinking "I can do that without buying a fancy pan" though have I got my fanny up out of the chair and done it yet? Nope. One of these days.

Apple Baker14. Apple Bakers
I saw these at Christmas time a year ago and thought they looked so homey and sweet--anyone tried one before? You're supposed to put an apple on the shaft and it bakes it perfectly. At least that's the sales pitch.

You can sprinkle stuff in there while it bakes and I've read you can use them for potatoes and squash as well. I think I can smell the cinnamon-apple smell right now if I close my eyes. At under $10 on this site they're cheap enough to test drive without breaking the bank and I think I may get one some time.

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Serena said...

I'm coveting now, too. Especially that tiered cake pan, and I don't even particularly like cake!

The whip cream dispenser--it's worth it. I have one. You can get them for $45. It's the easiest way to make the most perfect whip cream ever. I highly recommend a whip cream bottle, if you intend to splurge on something.

And homemade tortillas? Best. thing. ever. I have never liked tortillas. Now I crave them. They're worth every last bit of hand-rolling they take.

miriama said...

OMG. This is JUST the type of things I love. I tell my husband I want one of those giant farm kitchens and pantries so I could have all these should see me in one of those kitchen stores. My family has to drag me out.

I am still eyeing the donut maker..or maybe the whip cream, wait, the apple baker...

One Mom said...

I'm with you...there's nothing I like better than a stroll through WS....even if I don't buy anything...although you can sometimes find great deals on their clearance tables!

I actually have the baguette pans and although I don't often make french bread, they are perfect for the job when I do get in the mood!

Jennifer said...

Here are my thoughts:
1 - Have you ever tried drinking chocolate? You really can't drink more than a very tiny mug of it at once. It is amazingly rich and delicious.

2 - Starbucks has these, and they do look so cool! Do they really have gas in them though?

3 - Aww... how adorable. You could make crayons in a pan like this. They'd make cute party favors.

4 - Visit your local hardware store and buy some bricks. You can get the same affect for pennies!

5 - I had something similar, it was a tube you closed up on both ends. Could never quite get it to bake the bread evenly though... I'll stick with my stones.

6, 7, & 8 - Definitely frivilous

9 - Frivilous, but would probably go over great at a bake sale.

10 - If only I liked creme brulee.

11 - Really? This machine is the most ironic of the bunch!

12 - Only had Morrocan food once, with mint tea. It was goooooood.

13 - Bread bowls must be hollowed out. You need the inside of the bread to eat with your soup. Plus, if the inside of the bowl is baked, the bread wouldn't absorb the soup as well.

14 - Always wondered if these really worked better than just coring an apple.

gretchen from lifenut said...

The kitchen gadget my kids are dying for is the Big City Sliders-maker. They have visions of eating tiny little hamburgers, morning, noon, and night.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Forget #3, but you definitely have to get those baguette molds! My friend has them and they are fantastic.

illahee said...

what a lot of neat gadgets!

Blog O' Beth said...

Let me ease your mind here. I own a kitchen blow torch and I have yet to use it. Oh, I keep saying I'm going to make creme brulee, but I never have. I've had it for probably 5 years and it is still in the package. I have never owned a Tortilla maker, but I used to work at a Williams-Sonoma store, where I used one all the time. They make REALLY small tortillas. Seriously, you can do the same thing at home. Totally no value-add there. Finally, the whipped creme maker. I own one of these too. These, are totally worth it. My mom has one too. It makes the best whipped creme EVER and so easy to use. That one you should buy.

Edi said...

You know if space (or money) wasn't an issue - I think we'd all have a lot more of those fun gadgets that are pretty impractical but cool!

I do have the French Bread pan - actually two of them. I found them quite a few yrs ago in a thrift store but still in the original wrap and with instructions. Funny thing is they were probably from the 70s or something b/c the instructions looked like they were typed on an ancient typewriter. I love making French Bread and these shape the bread really nicely - problem is the bottoms don't brown very well so sometimes I take them out of the pan after they are mostly cooked and just set them on the rack.

Neas Nuttiness said...

I want:
#'s 2

You can buy them and send them to me. I'll try them out and let you know if you wasted your money!

Average Jane said...

I had to build a pantry in my guest room closet just for the all of the extra kitchen gadgets I already have, and yet I would take ALL of the items in this post!

Randy, Ally, and Wes said...

I own the french bread pans. . . and I do love them. But once I tried a complicated recipe for baguettes, and ended up with what Melanie (my roommate at the time) lovingly called "Chinese fighting bread." You'll have to ask her about it sometime :o)

Karen said...

my friend bought the wipped cream dispenser for $40 Canadian at Canadian tire!! I have one my mom gave me it is great!! The wipped cream is real, you control the sugar, It would be a great gift to recieve for any occation. I highly recommend adding it your wish list.
And I am looking for a Torttila press home made tortillas are amazing and nothing like sore bought ones.

Babystepper said...

I'm drooling just thinking about fresh homemade tortillas. Not good for the keyboard, really.

We used to think a rice cooker was completely frivolous, and maybe it is, but we've loved it. They're very cheap at Wally world, but they're so very easy and you just can't beat if if your family likes rice.

Kathy G said...

I went to an open house for a friend's son's graduation and she had an iced tea dispenser. It was GREAT; much easier to use than pitchers would have been.

She said I could borrow it if I needed it, so I won't have to find a place to store it in my kitchen!

Amber M. said...

Before today I thought I'd be happy with a KitchenAide.

Thanks for opening my eyes.


Janelle said...

My mom has a blowtorch. She only ever uses it for creme brulee, which she makes maybe once a year.

TJ said...

if you got the whole family involved, making tortillas is pretty easy. we would do it on my mission (france doesn't exactly have a lot of tortillas in their grocery stores) and four or six of us would go at it. we would also make our own beans (still from a can, but we would mush them and season them ourselves) and then have what we call a burrito fete. they aren't perfectly round, but they are awesome. and really, not that hard.

Anonymous said...

Yes I love them all. The problem is I would get them and remember that I usually have no desire to bake anything, ever!! We are still on the same costco pack of butter we brought when we moved to Ohio in July. Yes there is basically no baking at my house.

melinda said...

the bug pan. i want it. now!! haha. though i do love dragonflies!!

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Michelle, I love your sense of humor--a big old mug of gravy! ha!

I have 3 clay cookers made by Romertopf (that's German for Roman Pot) since cooking with clay goes back that far. Even though they're mostly used for roasts, they can also be used for bread, just like that bread dome, only more multi-purpose.

Marcy said...

I really want the whip cream dispenser. That's number 1 on my list. The next one I want is the blow torch.

Incidentally, I have the French bread pans but have never used them (and I bake bread every week). Maybe I'll break them out this week...

Janet said...

I totally want that butter mold thing. Mockery be damned.
The apple bakers really do work. I don't own one, but I've had an apple baked in one.
I have a set of little pans for making tiered cakes, but they're separate. I'm pretty sure I'd never get the cakes out of that pan intact. And I love that bug pan.
I love love love creme brulee, but I'm pretty sure that me with a blow torch would not be a good combination.

april~living the sweet life said...

Wouldn't you just make time to use each one of these wonderful tools? I know I would have to find an excuse to make those mini cakes with freshly whipped cream on top.

Headless Mom said...

I don't know if you intended this to be funny but I found myself chuckling all the way through!

flip flop mama said...

My RS pres has the whip cream thing and it is SO fun! I wondered how much it cost. You put little CO2 cartridges in them to make them pressurized. It's much faster than whipping it up in the Kitchen Aid!

SarahHub said...

I have the bug pan, the la cloche for bread, and the mini cake pans. I really need that whipped cream dispenser.

jacjewelry said...

I have none of these, and would love all or any. :) Especially that drinking chocolate machine - any chance the maker will offer a 90% discount to Scribbit readers?!

fortyb4forty said...

Now I feel the need for a shopping trip. The bug pan is so cute and my boys would love it. The tiered cake pan is adorable,too.
I don't even want to think about owning a blow torch with 3 sons and a husband who thinks he can cook. Although it could help with the issue of me wanting a new house because I don't think ours would be standing for long if we had a blow torch in the kitchen.

Madeline said...

Nice round up! The whipped cream dispenser is so on my list. And, the french bread pans, those actually come in handy. My dad bakes bread in his brick oven, and he loves those. Those apple bakers are so cute!

Naomi said...

My mom gave me the bug pan and it is pretty stinking adorable. And bulky to store...

CountessLaurie said...

What a great list. You had me laughing all the way through. I love those Nordicware people although they are waaaaay out of my price range. They have a castle bundt cake pan I covet and now the bugs!

Thanks! Great post!

Anonymous said...

I love the bug pan! I think you should get it, because nobody will ever tire of it or outgrow it.

Hey, are you getting any ash from Mount Redoubt? My class is really fascinated by it. We watch the TV every day, and sleep well at night knowing there are no volcanos in Ontario.

Mrs. Organic said...

I may just break down and buy myself a #2. They are sexy!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I have #5. I would love #1, and maybe someday I will have #2. Not only does it look nicer, but it tastes so much better :) !!

cndymkr / jean said...

Hey, are you getting any of that volcanic activity?

Maddy said...

Good grief! That's quite a collection. I have the french bread double mould. I use it daily. We eat both loaves!

Very tempted by that bug cake mould. I'm a sucker for anything cakey, but that's quite a steep price.


Anonymous said...

Oooh...Apple Bakers!! Here is a link to the Winterlake Lodge's Chef's recipes and experience with apple bakers. It will make you want to splurge on for each family member for sure!

Owlhaven said...

When I wanted to make that no-knead artisan style bread recipe espoused by the New York Times, I went and bought a big $30 cast iron dutch oven. it fits a double recipe, which is a BIG loaf, and makes fabulous artisan-looking bread. My 6yo can make it, except for putting the pan into the oven.

Works great, and can be used for stew too.

Mary, mom to many

Hazel said...

Frivolous? There is nothing, absolutely nothing, frivolous about a tagine. Doesn't matter what else I have to do without I would not be without my tagine. Price seems a bit high compared to what I paid but then UK prices are often at wild variance with yours (electrical goods being much more expensive here).

Michemily said...

I made tortillas last week. It was really fun and surprisingly easy! I love that apple cooker!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

French bread tube pan and mini tiered cake pan... great, now I'm coveting. ;)

Mimi said...

I love those mini three tiered cakes! ADORABLE! And I have a great article about making doughnuts in the April issue of Bangor Metro...I'll send it to you once it goes online....doughnuts are really really easy to make!

kadusey said...

One of my Sunday School teachers had an electric doughnut baker. She brought it in to class a couple of times. She had a really nice cake-doughnut batter that she brought in and baked us doughnuts during class, and I thought they were absolutely delicious (even with no frosting or glaze or powdered sugar, etc.). Of course, I was also 14 at the time.

Anyway, I always thought it was a great idea, and have been wanting an electric doughnut baker ever since.

Organizing Mommy said...

I'm embarrassed to admit how many of things that you've listed that I've "almost" purchased. I think I stopped myself just short of the ordering process. The torch and whipped cream thing were on the top of the list. Once again, another thoughtful post.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I love these!! I had the tortilla maker and apple bakers and all I can say is I still have the apple bakers LOL. There are a few these I'll have to add to my Wednesday wish list though!

ArtisticInkspirations said...

Love them all.. didn't know they made such "extravagant" gadgets!! Would love the tangines!!

Lisa Knight said...

Ooooo I have the baguette pan, picked it up at a yard sale, woot! I don't use is nearly as much as I thought I would though. It stores nicely with my other baking sheets & muffin tins.

I have used cheap-o candy molds for making shaped butter. I'm sure the silicone is easier to use, but mine came out of the freezer great.

Want the bread bowl pan, every time I've tried to do this myself it fails miserably ;(

Abby said...

My son is graduating next year and that lemonade dispenser would be awesome for the grad open house!

Also I love those Wilton cake pans too so cute! I have had my eye on two of them. One is shaped like a football stadium. How fun for a super bowl party? The other is shaped like a HUGE cupcake. $30 or more a pan eeeek! Have you tried the silicone pans? I haven't. . .

Mother of Four said...

Chris makes the yummiest tortilla's right in a frying pan. He bakes them from scratch, but it does take some work. OXOXOXO

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

oh - all the GOOD stuff I covet as well!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

LOL - You're hilarious as usual. =)

I stopped grinning when I saw the tortilla maker though - I REALLY want one.

I've been making my own tortillas for a while now, probly going on a year. Sometimes twice in a week. They're really easy, you should try - they're just time consuming. And it's not the rising and it's not the cooking - it's the ROLLING. To cook them, you just cook them on a hot griddle for a few seconds on each side. Easy peasy. I often have my nearly nine year old daughter come in and heat the griddle and start cooking them while I'm still rolling. Even then, it takes a total of an hour from start to finish to get 12-14 6-8 inch flour tortillas. (I haven't tried the corn yet.) ;)

I have a tried and true recipe if you ever decide you want to give it a try. :)

ames said...

My dad, who is definitely NOT an amateur bread baker, absolutely and totally swears by his cloche to get a really crackly crust. I've been using the pour-water-in-a-hot-pan method to make the steam to crisp my crusts, and it seems like the cloche is not only easier (less steps) but more effective (no worrying about closing the oven quickly to prevent steam loss).