13 May 2017

Weekend Cooking: What's New in My Kitchen

Wine and gadget recommendationsHappy Saturday and welcome to Weekend Cooking. As we head more fully into spring, I'm in the process of transitioning between hearty, warming winter meals to lighter dinners using farm-fresh ingredients.

Our farmers' market opened a couple of weeks ago, which always gets me in the mood for summer. So far, there isn't a lot to buy in terms of vegetables: some early greens, rhubarb, and asparagus. On the other hand, I was happy to see that the flower sellers, cheese and egg booths, meat producers, and local wine and beer makers have all returned for another year at the market.

I haven't talked about new kitchen discoveries in a while, so that's the theme of today's post.


2 recommended winesIn the interests of easy entertaining and saving money, we've been experimenting with boxed wines. Although we normally like variety and enjoy learning about food and wine pairings, sometimes a basic, reliable table wine is all you really need and want, especially if you're hosting an informal gathering of friends. Enter the box: you sure can't beat the price (about $20 for the equivalent of four bottles), and the air-tight bladder means the wine lasts a long time.

After much research and lots of tasting, we have become fans of Bota Box wines. We've tried most of the reds (and none of the whites . . . yet) and found them all drinkable, but we like some more than others. Our hands-down favorite is their red blend called Nighthawk Black, with Red Revolution and Shiraz coming in as close seconds. The Merlot, Malbec, and Pinot Noir are fine, but we weren't crazy about the Cab or Old Vine Zin (two wines we normally like).

As the weather warms, we'll be turning to lighter wines, and one wine that's going on the summer list is Chateau Saint Pierre Tradition Rose. I was lucky enough to get a taste of this last week and found it crisp, light, and refreshing and not at all sweet. I think it will be super for sipping during a warm evening on the deck.


3 recommended kitchen gadgetsThree new items found a home in my kitchen over the last few months. As you may remember, I was in the market for my first electric tea kettle. I did some research, asked some friends, and finally decided on the Cuisinart kettle with different temperature settings. I had no idea how much I would love having this gadget and have not regretted giving it counter space. I use it for all sorts of things besides making tea. For example, instead of boiling a big pot of water to blanch or wilt greens, I just put the veggies in a colander and pour the boiling water from the tea kettle over top. Faster and easier than using the stovetop.

We have tried many different types of salad dressing jars and bottles over the years and have found they all suffer from one or both of these problems: difficult to get clean (we don't have a dishwasher) and/or drips dressing onto the table when in use. Although I usually try to stay away from plastic, I decided to give this salad dressing bottle made by OXO a try (mine is black, not green). What a life-saver! The bottle unscrews at the colored band, which means it's easy to clean the jar. Even better, the hinged stopper top seals well and the spout doesn't drip. Best $10 I've spent in a long time.

Finally, after decades of getting mad when my crackers or cookies fell through the bars of my cooling racks, I finally broke down and bought myself two gridded cooling racks. Um, duh. So now I wonder why I waited so long to make the switch. It's the little things that take away the stress.

What new things -- edible, drinkable, or usable -- have you welcomed into your kitchen?

I bought all these items with my own money; my opinions came free.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


rhapsodyinbooks 5/13/17, 6:21 AM  

I have never tried a box wine! Sounds like they are good enough now!

Tina 5/13/17, 6:58 AM  

Well, I see I spelled Fried incorrectly in my link!

I have tried Black Box wine and liked it ok. It's convenifor when you need a little for cooking or you want one more glass and the bottle is gone :-)
The cooling racks are great! I have a few and use them for bread and cookies and eggplant after it's fried. Love that kettle.

Mae Travels 5/13/17, 7:19 AM  

Your electric kettle looks great -- I use mine so much that it's the third one I have owned: wore out the first two. Like you, I definitely use it not only for coffee and tea but also for pouring over greens and other produce like rhubarb (gets the acid out so it doesn't need so much sugar) and edible pea pods (leaves them bright green with crunch). Also for quicker pasta -- I simultaneously heat some of the pasta water in the kettle and some in the pot where the cooking will take place.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

bermudaonion 5/13/17, 7:46 AM  

I'll have to look for the Bota Box wines for my mom. Have you ever tried Underwood wine in cans? They're all the rage around here in the summer months.

I love my electric tea kettle too.

Jackie McGuinness 5/13/17, 7:52 AM  

I have finally taken my kettle off the stove as I use the Keurig for hot water needs as well as morning coffee.

I agree about salad dressing jars! I am currently using small $ store lidded jars that seem to work.

I am trying to declutter but did buy another set of measuring spoons and cups this week, makes it easier if John is cooking with me!

Trea 5/13/17, 9:05 AM  

I love the kettle you selected! I use a Keurig, but I have a ton of tea bags around and would prefer an electric kettle like you picked out! I'll have to go check it out! Thanks for sharing!

Deb in Hawaii 5/13/17, 10:32 AM  

Fun post--it looks like lots of good things are happening in your kitchen! I have not added anything new for a while but I am coveting your electric kettle. I used to have one and never replaced it. ;-)

Katherine P 5/13/17, 11:08 AM  

Boxed wine has certainly come a long way from that awful Franzia that were all the rage in high school! I've been hearing raves and what a fun way to experiment! I've been thinking about an electric kettle and I love the idea of using it to blanch vegetables. The salad dressing jar looks perfect. I have one but it's such a hassle to clean that I rarely use it. I think I could replace it with that one and actually get some use out of it!

Claudia 5/13/17, 11:27 AM  

I just shake my salad dressing up in a pretty cruet with a glass stopper and boil water in a teakettle. They work. The only really new thing I've gotten lately was a pasta maker at Christmas, but sadly haven't tried yet.

Tea 5/14/17, 10:01 AM  

I'll bet it's fun looking at new kitchen gadgets. I really like that electric tea kettle.

Heidenkind 5/15/17, 12:16 AM  

My favorite ros├ęs this year (so,far) are made by Muga and Aurora. From Spain and Italy, respectively

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/15/17, 3:10 PM  

Since my kitchen is small, I don't have as much room for gadgets as I would like. The last thing I bought was an Instapot, which I use frequently. I love your salad dressing container, I may buy that one.

Stacie 5/15/17, 4:00 PM  

I am intrigued by the wine and have been wanting a tea kettle too. Thanks for the link up!

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