6 Ways to Spring Forward Your Coffee Habits

by Kitchenworks10. March 2015 08:22

As we lose an hour of sleep from Daylight Savings this week, you may want a stronger cup of joe to keep some spring in your step! Luckily there are a variety of ways to get your coffee fix -- here are the perks of each: 



Ever craved espresso but balk at losing counterspace to a giant machine? Bialetti has your answer: Made in Italy, this is the original manual stovetop espresso maker. An excellent option for folks who love the craft of espresso, Bialetti’s products allow you to fine tune your brew just how you like it. It’s fast, easy, and available in sizes from 1 to 12 cups.

 

 

If you believe vintage never truly goes out of style, a percolator may be up your alley. First introduced in the early 20th century, percolators maintained popularity until the early 1970’s when electric coffeemakers first hit the market. They’re still common among camping and outdoors enthusiasts for their simplicity and usability without electricity. 

 

 

Pourovers offer a lot of control, both in the strength of the coffee you brew and the temperature of the water used, and produce a cup of joe similar in consistency and flavor to an electric coffeemaker. Like the title suggests, this method entails pouring hot water over your coffee grounds via a reusable filter cone. Filter cones come in ceramic and plastic, as well as an array of sizes.  


Chemex 8 Cup Glass Coffeemaker

 

The most widely known style of pourover is the Chemex, which have spiked in popularity recently. While pourover filter cones vary in filtration, Chemex touts an optimized flow rate to maximize flavor and quality. A Chemex also offers similar user control as standard pourovers, just with fewer moving parts! 


  

Bonjour 3 Cup French Press

 

Another option for manual coffee brewing is the French press. Slightly more involved than a pourover, a French press requires more maintenance in both use and cleanup; however, many feel the quality of coffee you’ll get more than makes up for it! Operating without a filter, french presses allow the natural oils in your coffee beans to produce a richer brew.  New to the French press? This blog post offers a great step-by-step guide to get you started.

 

 

Finally, the most conventional of options, the electric coffeemaker. This mechanized system removes almost all preparation from your plate, some even allowing you to set your machine in sync with your morning alarm. Some folks feel electric coffeemakers offer a limited depth of flavor in comparison to other brewing methods, but it’ll certainly still get the job done.

 

 

One wonderful thing about coffee is that no two cups are the same: in both preparation and the beans themselves, there’s enough variation for everyone to find their style.

 

Join us on Pinterest for more coffee tidbits, recipes, and more!

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General | Products | Tips and Tricks

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.

Staff Picks: Gia

by Gia19. September 2013 14:59

Gia is our Web Store Manager. She is a proud Yankee with an insatiable sweet tooth and a weak spot for cute dogs with funny girls. Check out her favorites below!

Name: Gia

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

My grandmother's Penne with Sauce, Breaded Chicken Cutlets and Eggplant Parmesan + my mother's Roasted Cauliflower and a fresh Mixed Salad with 18-year aged Balsamic Vinegar and fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aged Parmesan Cheese and Crusty Sourdough Bread.

What are your favorite meals to prepare?

What are your favorite restaurants?

This was like choosing my favorite child...I went a little overboard...

What are your essential cooking tools?

What are your essential kitchen tools?

What 5 products would you like to receive as gifts?

Staff Picks: Martha

by Gia19. September 2013 11:08

We're kicking off our birthday week with our first staff picks post by our fearless leader - Martha! Click here to see all of Martha's favorite products.

Click here to see all of our staff favorites - on sale for our birthday month!

Name:

Martha

What are your favorite meals to prepare?

  • Sundried Tomato and Cayenne Pepper Angel Hair Pasta with Herbed Lemon Mustard Grilled Chicken
  • Colerain (Eastern NC) Barbeque Chicken with Homemade Vinegar Slaw and Corbread
  • Chicken Marbella - from Silver Palate Cookbook
  • Pickled Shrimp with Onions on Crackers
  • Psari Plaki - Greek Baked Fish with Fresh Tomatoes, Onions, Lemon Juice and Dill

What are your favorite restaurants?

What are your essential cooking tools?

What are your essential kitchen tools?

What 5 products would you like to receive as gifts?

After 40+ years in the business, I have all of the small kitchen tools I could want, so here's a wishlist:

  • A Butcherblock Countertop
  • A Screen Porch - to be able to eat outside without mosquitos
  • A Double Set of Ovens
  • A Case of Veuve Clicquot Champagne
  • Champagne Glasses - exactly like my Govino plastic ones but in elegant glass.

Staff Picks: Banshion

by Gia11. September 2013 14:25

Banshion is our Operations Manager and something of a superhero around the store (hence his chosen image). He is a musical theater geek and a non-so-secret ninja who enjoys happy hour and entertaining small children.

Name: Banshion

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

Lasagna

What are your three favorite meals to prepare?

  • Beef Stew
  • Cheesecake
  • Raw Gumbo

What are your three favorite bars/restaurants?

What are your top 5 essential cooking tools?

What 5 items would you like to receive as a gift?

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Products | Staff Favorites

Fridge Pickles

by Gia18. July 2013 15:17

 

I have never been known for my patience. Most of my NC friends think its because I'm a yankee but, really, I just hate to wait. Until I moved south, I had no idea you even could pickle something without the whole canning process (which is still pretty intimidating to me - baby steps folks...). I love this recipe because its so darn simple and changeable, goes well with pretty much anything, and is a majorly impressive thing to bring to a cookout.

Fridge Pickles

3-4 Fresh Medium Cucumbers
1 Medium Onion
1 cup White Vinegar
1/2 - 1 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
Optional additions: celery salt, mustard seeds, whole peppercorns, garlic cloves, sliced green, hot or banana peppers, really whatever you please...

  1. Slice cucumbers and onion (and peppers if you are using them) into thin slices (see below for my review of the Oxo Hand-Held Mandoline). Drop into a large-ish container with a lid.
  2. Warm vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and salt until they both dissolve.
  3. Remove vinegar mixture from heat. Add spices of your choice (I used celery salt, mustard seeds, whole peppercorns and dehydrated garlic slices).
  4. Pour mixture over sliced vegetables. Toss to cover.
  5. Chill in refrigerator at least 12 hours.

Notes:

Oxo Slicer with Onions

  • It may seem like this is not enough liquid to cover the cucumbers, but they will reduce and sweat while they sit in the fridge.
  • The first time I made this recipe, I used 1 cup of sugar, and it was a bit too sweet for me (I'm not so into sweet pickles), but my partner loved it so go figure. You can totally omit the sugar, or you can use some other kind of sweetener if you're not into sugar (stevia works nicely). Since the cucumbers sweat as they sit, you may also find that the added liquid makes the pickles less sweet over time.
  • If you add garlic, it may turn blue after a day or two in the solution. This is a perfectly normal enzymatic reaction and the garlic and pickles are still safe to eat.

 

I've been eyeing the Oxo Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer for a few months now and finally decided to bring it home and give it a spin. It is the cheapest hand-held mandoline that we carry (with a finger guard) and so I figured it would be a good introduction to the tool.

I am officially enamored! It was super easy to use, super sharp (do not be too proud for the finger guard people!) and stayed put in my hand or on the edge of the bowl, even though both were slippery with cuke juice. I sliced 4 large cucumbers and an onion into thin, even, strips in about 1 minute. I foresee this coming in really handy come casserole season (is there anything worse than one undercooked potato slice in a creamy bite of au gratin?). Move over Santuko, there's a new slicer in town...

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Recipes

Secret Weapon: Grapefruit Spoon

by Gia16. July 2013 12:56

Secret Weapon is our series on products that can be used for purposes outside of their intended use.

At first glance, a grapefruit spoon is one of those extraneous tools that makes one task much easier, but I rarely eat halved grapefruits and I use a grapefruit spoon almost daily.

Here's 5 more tasks for your grapefruit spoon: 

  1. Core soft or hard fruits and vegetables
  2. Create decorative lines on cake icing or cookies
  3. Remove strawberry stems
  4. Scrape ice for granita or piragüa
  5. Use as a tiny side-of-bowl style strainer

Have more secret uses for your grapefruit spoon? Tell us in the comments!

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Products | Secret Weapon | Tips and Tricks

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

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