Sticking it out

by Gia26. January 2014 10:01

I've never been very good at New Years Resolutions. Apparently, I'm in good company. Only 8% of resolution-makers hold out. We're here today to talk about sticking it out.

The top 5 New Years resolutions are to:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Look familiar? Fear not! We have the perfect sanctuary for you to achieve your goals:

Your Kitchen!

You probably already know that home-cooked meals are healthier and cheaper than meals cooked outside of the home. Still throwing around some lame excuse for not cooking at home? Let's go through these huh?

I can't cook.

At a certain point in your life you couldn't read or type or speak more than 6 intelligible words. But, you learned. No one is born with the ability to slow-braise a perfect pork shoulder. As long as you're willing to eat your failures (or stock a few emergency frozen burritos) you can learn to cook anything.

  • Ask: your butcher, your grocer, your mom, your best friend. Everyone has an opinion on how to cook something and most people love to talk about food. Its also a great way to pick up cute chicks in the pasta aisle.

  • Use the internet: you can access the entirety of human knowledge from a screen in your pocket. Stop scrolling through top-10 lists and look up something of value. Youtube is chock full of how-to videos, and there are probably more cooking blogs than chefs in the world at this point. Benefit from someone else's mistakes.

  • Call Kitchenworks. Didn't think you could do that huh? Loving food is pretty much a pre-requisite for working here and we've helped customers through many a kitchen nightmare. Chances are, we have a good idea why your biscuits taste like glue

I don't have the right equipment.

You don't need fancy equipment to cook for yourself. When you find yourself coveting that new gadget on tv, remember that your ancestors got by with little more than a skillet and a stick and we're still passing down those recipes. 

All you need are:

I don't have time

Let's return to our ancestors, shall we? On average, they had more children, less electricity/running water, and far more diseases. You have time, you're just not spending it wisely. Here are some things that might help:

  • Plan your meals. You'll save time and money by pre-answering the much-resented 'what's for dinner' conversation. Go through your cookbooks or browse your grocery store serials for inspiration.

  • Involve the kids – picky eaters are much more likely to eat something that they had a hand in choosing and preparing.
  • Prep ahead of time. Only using half an onion for that breakfast omelet? Chop all of it anyway and save the rest for the sauce you're making for dinner. Having tacos for lunch? Cook all of the ground beef in the package and save the remainder for tomorrow's sloppy joes.

Vendor Spotlight: Brushtech

by Gia7. July 2013 19:33

 

Brushtech is one of those companies that makes products you never knew you always needed (until you discover them in your local kitchen/hardware store, let out a very audible yelp, and find excuses to bring it up in conversation for weeks). If you garner any kind of satisfaction from getting your kitchen tools really clean, then you're about to be just as obsessed with them as we are.

Brushtech makes highly durable, insanely specific, kitchen and tool cleaning brushes. If you've ever attempted to wedge your sponge/dish brush into a bottle, straw, tea kettle spout, decanter, percolator, etc. (I could go on for the whole post) and still couldn't get that bit of caked on grime out of there, you need a Brushtech brush. All of their brushes are made in Plattsburg, NY (since 1976) by the Gujian family. 

Here are some reasons we love Brushtech brushes:

They go where other brushes can't.
Finally get between the holes in your strainer's mesh screen, or inside your reusable drinking straws (your drink will taste much better), percolator (no more bitter coffee), muffin tins (improves heat distribution) and hummingbird feeder (those things can get grimy). Even save yourself a call to the plumber with a hair catching drain brush.

They won't scratch delicate glass and crystal.
Reinforced foam brushes won't scratch glass or crystal and don't absorb water and bacteria, so they'll last much longer than conventional sponges. You also won't get your hand stuck when you create a vacuum attempting to reach the sponge to the bottom of your drinking glasses (maybe that's just me...).

They are super durable and super affordable
The bristles on a Brushtech brush are woven through the wire, not glued into a plastic head like most cheap cleaning brushes. This makes them more durable because there is no glue (which degrades over time). Also, the brushes are engineered to withstand the repetitive motions of everyday cleaning (they also manufacture industrial cleaning brushes), which means that your brushes won't end up flat and misshapen. If that wasn't enough, they're all less than $10, so you can show them to all your friends!

I have used my little V-shaped grill brush through three summers and it is still truckin! None of the bristles are bent or worn, it gets between (not just on top of) the grates, and it even works when the grill is cold. Plus, its made of brass, so it won't scratch the enamel coating on my cast iron grill top.

Check out our whole collection of Brushtech brushes:

Visit them them on youtube for informational videos and more brushes you never knew you always needed!

See a Brushtech brush you wish we carried? Shoot us an email at orders@kitchenworksinc.com and we'll put in a special order for you.

 

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Made in America | Products | Vendor Spotlight

How to Grill like a Boss

by Gia1. July 2013 16:22

Confession: I'm obsessed with my grill. Summer in North Carolina can be described as tropical at best, so between May and October, we grill anything and everything we can. During college, I used a cheap hand-me-down grill with uneven burners, a warped stainless steel grate, and more rusted parts than I care to admit. Now that I've upgraded (I have a CharBroil Gourmet 2-burner Tru-Infrared, and yes I realize that some of you will think that gas is cheating, but I've always got my trusty Weber for a 'true' grilling experience), I've become a bit fanatical about it.

Here are my top 5 tips for getting the most out of your grill:

Start off clean

As the old adage goes, where there's smoke there's fire. However, the opposite shouldn't be true when you're grilling (unless you're using your grill as a smoker). If you see smoke coming out of your grill, there is something burning inside of it and that smoke will infuse into your food and make it taste like whatever is smoking (and I'm guessing it isn't hickory chips...).

  1. WHILE YOUR GRILL IS OFF, remove the grill grate and clean out any debris that has fallen onto or near the burners. This will also help maintain your burners and keep everything cooking evenly.

  2. Replace the grill grate and turn your grill on to its highest setting. Close the cover and let the grill heat up for about 5-10 min. This will loosen anything stuck on your grate. Open the cover and use a grill brush* to scrape the grate clean. Close the cover and allow the grill to heat up again for another 5-10 min (or until whatever you scraped off of the grate has stopped smoking) to burn off what you've just cleaned.

  3. Lower the heat and allow the grill to cool to the heat level at which you intend to cook your food.

  4. Repeat step 2 after you have finished cooking, then turn off the gas and let your grill cool completely before covering with a grill cover (to prevent rust/nesting animals).

*Not all grill brushes are created equal. Most cheap stainless steel grill brushes are completely useless because they are held together with glue that can't withstand the heat of a grill and loosen over time, allowing the steel fibers to dislodge and stick to your grate (and then your food - gross.). Look for a grill brush with fibers that are woven into a metal handle. If you have a porcelain or enamel-coated grill grate, you'll need a brass brush, which is the only type that won't scratch the coating.

Wide Heavy Duty Grill Brush

Heavy Duty V-shaped Grill Brush

 

Oil the food, not the grill

Keep the tacky off the grill.

Since cooking on the stove generally starts with oil in the pan, the next logical step may be to oil your grill grate. DO NOT OIL YOUR GRILL GRATE. This will actually make your food stick to the grill because your grill is much hotter than your stovetop and in the time it takes for you to turn around and grab the food you were going to put on it, the oil has burned and your entire grill grate is tacky and smoking.

Use a silicone basting brush to oil any side of the food that will touch the grill. I promise it will come off (even fish skin). I like silicone because it doesn't absorb the flavors of any seasonings you may have added to the oil.

Extra Long Blue Silicone Brush Stainless Steel Handle

Red Silicone Angled BBQ Brush


Use tongs to flip your food and check the doneness

Grilling forks are big and ominous looking (and isn't that element of danger part of the thrill of grilling?) but poking holes in your food will only allow moisture to escape and leave you with dried out steaks and hockey puck burgers. Flip your food with tongs and use them as a burn-proof stand-in for your hand when attempting to discern the temperature of a piece of meat.

9" Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads 

18" Stainless Steel BBQ Tongs

 

Resist the urge to open the cover to just 'check' on the food

Without the reassuring presence of a window (like your oven) it can be really tempting to constantly open your grill to check on how your food is cooking. This prevents your grill from maintaining a constant temperature, and the frequent rush of cool air dries out your food. Use a timer to keep track of your cooking time (I lose things easily, so I prefer a magnetic one or one on a string) and use a grill thermometer to gauge the temperature of your grill (the built-in ones can degrade and lose their accuracy over time). 

Magnetic Timers: Small and Large

Digital Timer on a String

Grill Thermometer

 

Keep small foods together

 

 Otters hold hands so they don't drift away from each other while sleeping. 

(I am not suggesting that you grill an otter)

Veggies are my favorite thing to grill - the quick, high, heating brings out crisp flavors in a way similar to a wok. But, small cut vegetables can easily fall through a grill grate and turn into smoke bombs. Flexible FireWire skewers will keep your veggies locked in place (and don't need any pre-soaking). Use a grill wok for small, quick jobs (we use ours to heat up freezer bag curly fries - works just as well as the oven) or a grill basket for delicate items like fish fillets. 

FireWire Flexible Skewers

12" Enameled Grill Wok Topper

Nonstick Flexible Grill Basket

 

Do you have any grill tips that we've missed? Tell us in the comments!

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Products | Tips and Tricks

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