Gad­gets: New uses

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By ED­I­TORS

Ad­mit it: Stashed deep inside your kitchen cup­boards is an old mango pit­ter, a pasta maker and a pile of other gad­gets you’ve used ... maybe once. It’s tough to re­sist cool-look­ing, spe­cial­ized kitchen tools.

But it turns out that some of those onet­rick giz­mos clut­ter­ing your draw­ers and cab­i­nets can ac­tu­ally do more than you think. ShopS­mart, the shop­ping mag­a­zine from the pub­lisher of Con­sumer Re­ports, asked a panel of cook­ing ex­perts for ideas, plus tips on what to buy if you don’t al­ready own th­ese kitchen gad­gets.

-- Egg slicer. An egg slicer can do a lot more than slice eggs. Use it to slice straw­ber­ries, ki­wis, mush­rooms, olives and cooked pota­toes for sal­ads. It can also cut semisoft cheeses such as moz­zarella or Muen­ster into uni­formly thin slices to top a pizza or burger. Steer clear of hard cheeses that may cause the wires to bend.

Shop­ping tip: Strong and durable stain­lesssteel cut­ting wires are a must.

-- Rolling pin. Beyond rolling out dough, use a rolling pin to soften but­ter fast. Cover the but­ter in plas­tic wrap, and then roll over it un­til it’s flat. Also, use it to flat­ten bone­less chicken breasts into quick-cook­ing cut­lets. Place chicken in a plas­tic bag and gen­tly pound, start­ing at the mid­dle and work­ing to­ward the edge, un­til the meat is 1/4-inch thick.

Shop­ping tip: Wood pins are lighter and eas­ier to han­dle than mar­ble and stain­less ones.

-- Tongs. Beyond flip­ping meat and toss­ing sal­ads, use tongs to juice cit­rus fruits. Cut fruit in half and place a piece be­tween the arms of the tong, close to the hinge. Grab the open end for lever­age and squeeze shut, keep­ing the fruit over a bowl to catch its juice. Tongs can also be used to snatch hard-to-reach boxes and cans from high pantry shelves.

Shop­ping tip: ShopS­mart ad­vises choos­ing sturdy stain­less-steel tongs over alu­minum ones. Sil­i­cone-coated tips won’t dam­age non­stick pans and will give you bet­ter grip.

-- Veg­gie peeler. To make desserts look spe­cial, use your veg­gie peeler to make choco­late curls. The key is to have a large block of choco­late (at least 4 ounces) at the right tem­per­a­ture. If it’s too hard, it will shat­ter; too warm, the curls won’t form. Place the block on a pa­per towel and zap it in the mi­crowave on high power in 5se­cond in­cre­ments, test­ing be­tween each round. To make the curls, draw the grater to­ward you along the flat sur­face of the choco­late.

Shop­ping tip: Look for a comfy rub­ber grip and a head that swivels eas­ily to bet­ter nav­i­gate ir­reg­u­larly shaped foods.

--Ice cream scoop. An ice cream scoop holds about a half-cup -- the per­fect-sized serv­ing. Use it to scoop out diet-friendly help­ings of mashed pota­toes, mac and cheese and any kind of casse­role, as well as to make just the right-sized meat­balls.

Shop­ping tip: A stain­less steel, springload­ed model makes for eas­ier scoop­ing and re­leas­ing.

-- Muf­fin tins. Muf­fin tins are not just for bak­ing. Use them to make gi­ant ice cubes for punches and to

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