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About Induction Burners

November 2, 2009 by · Comments Off on About Induction Burners 

Excerpted from Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen—the New Green Basics Way by Kate Heyhoe

 

These make me jump for joy. Electromagnetic energy drives these burners, though you need pans made of ferrous materials (like cast iron or stainless steel). They consume less than half the energy of standard coil burners, and they’re superior in cooking performance to gas or electric burners. Single induction burners make handy portable appliances, and some conventional cooktops add a separate induction burner. Details on Portable Induction Burners follow.

Induction Burner

Portable Induction Burners:
Energy-Efficiency in a Box

Full induction cooktops, with fully-loaded price tags, are creeping into the marketplace. But a single induction burner can supplement your existing gas or electric cooktop more affordably.

Induction cooking works by sending a magnetic field through ferrous metal (as in cookware made of iron, steel, or a combination). The reaction creates heat, and it’s this heat that cooks the food. The heat is created from within the pan’s own material; think friction and fast-moving, excited molecules (like the heat generated between your hands when you rub your palms together).

The result: a near instant transfer of energy, with efficient absorption of over 90 percent of this energy (compared to around 40 percent efficiency with gas burners, and 74 percent of conventional electric burners). Plus, the cooker’s surface stays cool, very little heat is released into the kitchen, and the food can actually cook quicker. Since the cooker surface stays cool, absorbing heat only from the cooking vessel, it’s easy to clean (no stuck muck). Plus, with a nifty portable unit, I can cook anywhere there’s a plug. Like out on our wide country deck, in fresh air, with grazing deer and wild turkeys watching.

The first time I boiled pasta or fried steaks on the induction element, I noticed the differences from conventional electric or gas cooking right off the bat. The water boiled sooner, and the fry pan reached perfect searing heat in a flash. Plus, I had instant control; when I turned the dial from high to low, the unit powered down to the lower setting immediately (essentially adjusting the strength of the magnetic field). No waiting for a hot gas or electric element to slug down in speed. And you can maintain constant simmering and very low temperatures (good for melting chocolate) better with induction.

With induction, there’s no learning curve to get the cook up to speed (unlike microwave ovens or speed ovens). You do need to check your cookware: only ferrous metals are induction-compatible, but fortunately this includes everyday iron and steel based cookware. Basic rule: If a magnet sticks to the pan, it will work with induction. (This eliminates glass, copper, and purely aluminum pans.) Most portable units run between 1400 and 2000 watts, on a standard 120 volt power outlet.

For more info or to buy one, visit Fissler Cookstar Induction Pro.

Reusable Net Produce Bags

July 21, 2009 by · Comments Off on Reusable Net Produce Bags 

Quicktip

Produce Bag

Ever find you’ve accumulated way too many flimsy plastic produce bags? Stop the insanity! As I point out in Cooking Green, recycling is good, and bringing your own bags for produce as well as groceries is even better. Now, 3B Bags offers hip and practical bags for both vegetables and groceries. They make reusable, washable produce bags from fine, see-through netting. Cool!

They feature a drawstring, weigh next to nothing, and come three to a pack ($7.50). Bring them to the store in the 3B Paisley Tote ($6.00), which is made of polypropylene so it can be wiped clean, and features a clear pocket on the interior side (drop in garlic heads or a grocery list). According to the manufacturer, using three of their reusable produce bags once a week can save as many as 150 plastic bags per year. Check them out at 3BBags.com.

LEDs

June 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on LEDs 

 

Getting the LEDs In and Out

By Kate Heyhoe

 

LEDs are “in” and it’s time to get the word out about their energy-saving profile. Unlike compact fluorescent bulbs, they don’t contain mercury and they’re even more energy efficient. And if you use a MacBook Air (like me), you’re seeing this by the light of an LED screen.

LEDs

LED stands for light emitting diode, and everything from traffic lights, billboards, automotive running lights, laptop computers and TVs are increasingly beaming with LEDs. So are countries and municipalities, including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Technology advancements mean consumers will soon be using LEDs even more routinely.

Sapphire, it seems, is the secret behind 90 percent of LEDs, though these sapphires don’t look quite like the gemstone on your finger. One company, Rubicon Technology, provides most of the world’s sapphire substrates used in the LED chips, and recently announced its process for manufacturing the “super boule,” a 400-pound sapphire crystal that can produce large volumes of LEDs. Their improvements in sapphire wafer size, brightness and yield mean LEDs will become more widespread in residential lighting, laptop screens, smart phones, and other applications.

LED Advantages:

  • Low energy consumption – residential LED lighting uses 75% less energy
  • Long life—LED lighting lasts 25 times longer than incandescents
  • No infrared or ultraviolet radiation—excellent for outdoor use because UV light attracts bugs and LEDs don’t
  • Environmentally sound—LEDs contain no mercury and remain cool to the touch
  • Versatile—Fully dimmable (most CFLs are not), with directional light distribution

 

Laptop and Lighting Facts:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 22 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. powers lighting. And 9% of a household’s energy costs are related to lighting
  • The typical American home has 40 sockets for light bulbs
  • Notebooks typically require around 65 LED chips. Dell is currently transitioning all laptop LCDs to LED backlights. Apple already uses LED backlights for MacBook Air. Industry analysts predict market penetration will reach 50 percent by 2010.
  • LED television sales are predicted to reach 32 million screens in 2015, up from estimates of 2 million in 2009 and 7 million in 2010, according to Samsung.

So keep LEDs on your radar. They’re coming soon to a screen (or a lamp) near you.

 

Stevia

May 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

 

How Super-Sweet It Is!

By Kate Heyhoe

 

A food’s color makes an impact on consumer acceptance, and the normal color isn’t always the preferred one. Food coloring, for instance, is added to some farmed salmon to make it look bright rosy-red (not the dull, pastel pink it would be otherwise). Even so-called “natural” foods can be processed, bleached or dyed to enhance their appeal, which is somewhat oxymoronic.

Stevia

I recently received a bag of Navitas Naturals Organic Stevia Powder. The bag is printed with a pleasant graphic design on all sides, obscuring the contents, which I didn’t notice until I looked inside. The stevia was green! Not what I was expecting, but not bad at all, as it turns out.

We all know that green is good, yet when a food we’re used to seeing as white arrives green, it can be jolting. But this stevia’s green color also makes it greener in a cookprint-shrinking way.

A few years ago, stevia was barely known; today, white stevia is sold in major supermarkets under various brand names as a sugar substitute, and it’s a widespread ingredient in beverages, baked goods and other products.

What’s the appeal of stevia? Zero-calorie, zero-carb and no spikes in blood-sugar levels. It’s made from a South American herb with a sweetening power a hundred times that of sugar. As one person said, “Stevia is God’s gift to diabetics.”

Wes Crain of Navitas Naturals explained why they sell green stevia. “Most Stevia is white as it is highly processed and usually an extract or an isolated chemical of the plant. Ours is the whole leaf milled to a fine powder,” he explains. But what about using it on baked goods, will they turn green? “The color should not affect recipes as the amount you use is quite small.” Also, stevia does not brown or crystallize as sugar does, so don’t use it for meringues or caramelizing.

Indeed, a little stevia goes a long way. Add a few grains too much to tea, for instance, and a sweet surge is palpable. Navitas Naturals recommends very small amounts at a time—start out with a pinch—and gradually increase to avoid over-sweetening a dish. As a sugar replacement, one teaspoon green stevia equals the sweetness of approximately 1/4 cup cane sugar (and for reference sake, 1/4 cup = 12 teaspoons). Green stevia is not as potent as the more processed liquid or white stevia versions, and it’s best used to enhance other sweeteners, to lower the sugar content in recipes. It’s also good in beverages like teas and smoothies.

Even white stevia has a bit of an herby, licorice-like undertone, which is even more pronounced in green stevia. With coffee, I found green stevia’s aftertaste a tad too noticeable, but it’s perfect for offsetting the bitterness of some greens and vegetables. (My husband blends up our daily afternoon green drink using spinach, cucumber, celery, ginger and such, and a little sweet stevia balances the flavors in lieu of apple or fruit juice.) A little green stevia can enhance a salad dressing, where the herby flavor blends in well, or to bring out the sweetness of tomatoes.

Navitas Naturals Organic Stevia Powder is 100% organic, vegan, and kosher, and comes in an 8-ounce resealable pouch (which could last for years, given its potent sweetening power). It’s sold at natural food stores and online. MSRP: $11.99

 

Buy Navitas Naturals Organic Stevia Powder

 

Author Interview

April 26, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Kate Heyhoe answers questions about her new book…

Cooking Green
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
the New Green Basics Way

What do you mean by “shrink your cookprint”?

Your “cookprint” measures the entire environmental impact you make on the planet when you cook or eat—whether you cook the meal or someone else prepares it for you. In other words, your “cookprint” is the entire chain of resources used to prepare meals, and the waste produced in the process. So essentially, Cooking Green is a lifestyle manual for shrinking your “cookprint.”

The cookprint starts with food, in your garden or at the farm; it travels to your kitchen (or a restaurant kitchen) and takes residence in the fridge, freezer or pantry. The cookprint also includes the food’s packaging, transportation and refrigeration demands along the way. Then, the cookprint grows larger every time heat or fuel is added, from a cooktop, oven, or small appliance. Discarded resources, whether they’re organic produce trimmings, plastic packaging, or water down the drain, further color the cookprint. As do the implements you cook with and the way you store leftovers. Understanding your cookprint helps put the cook squarely in charge of just how big, or how green, that cookprint will be—in ways that include yet extend beyond buying organic or local, or eating meat or not.

 

Is this book just for cooks?

Cooking Green is for any one who eats. President Obama has committed to a green economy, and on every level, being “green” has established itself as a national priority. Adopting greener lifestyles doesn’t have to be tough, and this book focuses on ways to be green without feeling deprived. Chapters highlight which types of foods are lower-impact, and tips address water heaters, garbage disposals, barbecuing, shopping, restaurants and each link in the food chain, so it’s of value to every one who eats, even if you don’t cook.

And if you do cook, you’ll discover that the kitchen is ripe with opportunities for going greener. It’s the place where people can make real choices, and take direct control of their impact—without letting the family feel deprived, hungry, or stressed. In fact, everyone will feel better just knowing they’re helping the planet. With the book’s step-by-step model recipes, they can do it one bite at a time.

 

What inspired you to write this book?

Buying organic is a great green practice, and as a cook, I knew we could do more to combat climate change. Lots more. The result: A treasury of eating, cooking and shopping habits that are as simple as changing light bulbs, and integrate just as easily into daily life. Collectively, they’re a whole new approach to cooking the basics. They include fuel and water conservation, and the strategies go from farm, to food, to fuel, to fork. They push the concept of “green cooking” into how we cook, including cooking methods and cookware, appliances, and water usage.

 

What makes this book different from the rest?

Many green living books require such a major commitment to lifestyle change, I think they push mainstreamers away. They provide great advice on green construction and buying composting worms, but often they don’t address common day-to-day tasks, like cooking and eating.

My book connects the gap between buying greener foods and greener ways to cook them. What really sets this book apart from other culinary or green living books is that my message includes, but goes far beyond, organics, composting, and recycling—because it also scrutinizes the physical ways we cook. My book asks (and answers) such questions as:

  • Can the way I cook my favorite meatloaf truly make a green difference?
  • How can I be more fuel-efficient when it comes to baking, broiling, or doing dishes?
  • Why is grilling with hardwood less polluting than using charcoal briquettes?
  • Is it really so easy to be greener when I shop, cook, and clean? (Yes, it really is.)

So my book is about every aspect of energy-efficiency—shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning up. In ways not instantly thought of as “green.”

  • …Like certain benefits of small appliances (including rice cookers and electic tea kettles, not just toaster ovens or slow cookers)
  • …It’s about foregoing the bigger-is-better mentality (do you really need a double-wall oven in your next house? A toaster oven is a better second choice)
  • …And making better use of the tools you already now (did you know convection ovens produce 30% less greenhouse gases than conventional ovens? Maybe it’s time to figure out how that convection setting works.)
  • …It’s carrying an ice chest with freezer packs in the car so you can do a full day of errands at once, without the food going bad, thus saving on mileage, gasoline, and time.
  • …Or neat tricks to keep lettuce and other perishables fresh an extra three days, so you can eat better and shop less frequently.

 

And it’s realistic: Baking and roasting in winter naturally make more sense, but sometimes a cook just needs to use her oven, no matter what time of year. So this book tackles summer baking with green options that avoid ratcheting up the AC. Eating lower on the food chain is also important, and the book recommends consuming less meat, but it also suggests greener meaty options, like stretching out portions of grass-fed beef, for die-hard committed carnivores.

 

What’s an “ecovore”?

Our planet’s food resources can shift in abundance amazingly quickly. A fish species that thrived last winter may be in short supply this year, or a plentiful crop (like corn) can inadvertently increase global hunger when it becomes a biofuel. Ongoing drought can limit what’s available and increase the prices we pay. I believe it’s important to be mindful of our food supply even as it changes. Food is impacted by climate, and also by our own actions, which can have both good and unintended consequences. An ecovore watches, reads, and pays attention to global food conditions, and makes choices based on what’s happening now. It’s conscious eating with a “to-the-moment” awareness.

 

You say this book speaks to short attention spans. What do you mean?

The opening chapters detail the concept of “New Green Basics” and preview the strategies. But overall, chapter-by-chapter reading of this book is optional—it’s meant to be absorbed in snippets, sidebars, and quick hits, ideal for new-media-minds. Flip through it whenever you have time, and you’ll find something handy to absorb. For instance, there are sidebars and tactics presented in lists, tips for water conservation, and a “Green Meter” introduces each recipe with bullet points on the basic green strategies being used, when the dish is most seasonal to make the most of local ingredients, estimated prep and cooking times, and special conveniences for the cook.

 

What exactly are the “New Green Basics”?

They’re the basic rules of everyday cooking, but updated with the planet in mind. How you cook is as important as what you cook. Without abandoning your favorite recipes, you can bake, roast, broil, grill, and fry in vastly greener ways, saving fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gases, and shrinking your carbon footprint. Cooking Green (the book) shows you how, and you’ll find more recipes and strategies here at NewGreenBasics.com.

 

For other interviews with Kate Heyhoe about Cooking Green, check out Celebrity Chef Chat at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online and, in print, It’s Easy Being Green in the April issue of Austin Monthly (Austin, TX).

 

Buy Cooking Green

 

Cooking Green:
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
the New Green Basics Way

Alter Eco Chocolates

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Alter Eco Chocolates 

Neat Sweets

Alter Eco Chocolate

Green Star Review Green Star

This Mother’s Day (and every day) keep Mother Earth in mind, with Alter Eco Organic Chocolate Bars. We’ve been impressed with all nine flavors, from Moka Milk to Dark Mint. Rich and imminently satisfying, these chocolate bars easily stand out among their competitors. Which is not surprising, since they’re made in Switzerland by a master chocolatier using some of the world’s best quality cacao beans from Bolivia and Ghana.

But it’s their good green profile that jumps them ahead of the conventional pack. Alter Eco’s not the sexiest brand name for foods, but it’s accurate. For besides being organic, Alter Eco bars are fair trade certified, vegan, GMO-free, and contain no artificial flavors, chemical additives, or emulsifiers. The brand specializes in fair trade foods cultivated by small-scale farmers in developing countries. The farmers and their cooperatives are paid decent wages, and Alter Eco adds a premium for investing into community projects, like wells for clean water, computers, scholarships, and even micro-credit loans. Besides the chocolate bars, Alter Eco products include coffee, tea, unrefined sugar, jasmine rice, quinoa and hearts of palm.

Our favorite chocolate flavors? Tough question, as they’re all so good, but the Dark Velvet with a touch of organic milk has dark chocolate’s intensity mellowed by a silky texture. As I say in Cooking Green, one way to shrink your cookprint is to shop with your dollar: buy products with good global impact, which in this case is easy, since these chocolates are tasty winners all the way around.

 

Wild Albacore Tuna

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Wild Albacore Tuna 

Albacore Tuna

Green Star Review Green Star

Two microcannery brands of wild albacore tuna floated across our desks recently: Wild Planet and Wild Pacific Albacore brands have similar names, and both are small but unrelated canneries in the Pacific Northwest.

Albacore Tuna

These days, knowing which fish species to eat can be confusing, even for the most informed good green citizen. Before your inner tuna alarms go off, rest assured these two brands get green stars from NewGreenBasics.com, and here’s why.

  • Catch Method: Troll-caught, an environmentally friendly method (unlike longline fishing, whose bycatch-method destroys sea turtles, dolphins and endangered species)
  • Sustainability: Albacore from U.S. waters is a Best Choice at Seafood Watch, provided they’re troll- or pole-caught. These populations are healthy and sustainable.
  • Health: Low-mercury, high Omega 3 oils, good source of selenium (an antioxidant). These brands select smaller tuna; the smaller the fish the lower the mercury accumulation. They’re higher in Omega 3 oils than major commercial brands.
  • Canning Process: Both brands cook their tuna only once, in the can, which retains flavor and texture. (Major commercial canneries cook the fish whole, then strip the meat, pack it in a can, and cook the can yet again, often adding water, broth or vegetable oil; nutrients, firmness, natural oils, and flavor are lost in the process.)
  • Why we like them: Tastes like real food. Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna consists of hand-cut steaks, sashimi-grade, packed in the tuna’s natural oil with no liquid added (don’t drain the oil!). Wild Pacific Albacore packs theirs in tasty organic olive oil and sea salt.
  • AND: Both brands use certified BPA-free cans, a rarity today and an action that helps earn them a New Green Basics Green Star.

Wild Planet tuna is available at Whole Foods, Targets, Ralph’s, Peyton’s, Kroger’s, Earth Fare, Coburg’s, Heinen’s, Wakefern’s, Andronico’s, and many smaller regional chains as well as many upscale specialty and natural stores around the country.

All US troll-caught albacore earn a green rating (best choice) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide.

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

CDN Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

April 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on CDN Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer 

CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

Thermometer

Other than the heater and AC, the biggest energy-guzzling appliance in your house is your refrigerator. To keep fridge and freezer, and the food that’s in them, at their optimum temperatures, use a thermometer. Ideal temperatures extend the life of perishables without burning excess energy or risking contamination.

I’ve been using the CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer (model RFT1). It’s got several features that make it a winner: an easy to read dial (no squinting at thin red bars), at-a-glance indicators to show the ideal range, and mounting options for hanging or sitting wherever you want (no suction cups). It comes with a 5-year warranty but looks sturdy enough to last a lifetime. By using it, you can save energy and prevent food waste. At $7.99 or less, this CDN thermometer is money well spent.

Buy CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

Holiday Gifts: Go Green, Pick Practical

November 7, 2008 by · Comments Off on Holiday Gifts: Go Green, Pick Practical 

by Kate Heyhoe

This year I’ve picked gifts with either a green sheen or a very practical profile—from stocking stuffers to big family gifts, including handy tools for Thanksgiving and holiday parties. For more ideas: The Global Gourmet Store and the New Green Shopper are filled with tasty treats, great tools and green gifts. Cookbook Profiles and I Love Desserts feature sample recipes from the year’s best books. And come back for more new picks in December, including sweet treats and dessert tools (our past holiday picks may also include products that are just as perfect today, but somehow Santa skipped).

Happy holidays, part one!
Kate Heyhoe

cutlery

 

Calphalon LX Series 15-piece Knife Set

Sometimes labels help. I know I’m not the first cook to pluck the wrong knife out of the block, then fish around until I got the right one. Calphalon’s LX set was made with me in mind: the bottom of the handles identify the knife, with handy but unobtrusive etchings like 8″ Chef” or 3″ Paring. But user-friendly ID’s would be meaningless if the knives didn’t perform. I’m not saying you need to break out the band-aids for this set, but cooks who appreciate sharp knives will find these babies do the job right. Use these knives with care: they’re sharp! And according to Calphalon, they hold their edge longer than stainless because they’re made of German high-steel carbon with Molybdenum and Vanadium, forged in a single piece (blade, bolster and tang). The ergonomic handles feel good, with enough weight to aid chopping but without causing fatigue. The snazzy black block holds the full set of an 8″ chef’s knife, 5″ santoku, 3.5″ parer, 8″ bread knife, 4.5″ tomato (serrated), 6″ utility knife, and a sharpening steel, shears and 6 steak knives.

Buy a Calphalon LX Series 15-piece Knife Set

thermometer

 

Dual Thermometer Tests Food and Oven Temp

CDN’s Dual-Sensing Probe Thermometer/Timer (DSP1) measures both the temperature of the oven and the internal temperature of the food being cooked. My book Cooking Green (March 2009) contains oven-fuel saving tips, including cooking several items at the same time, or skipping preheating. This dual-sensing device tells you if the oven’s cranking at the proper heat, especially handy whenever you cook simultaneously, or after you’ve opened the door to take one dish out, or shut the oven off early so foods cook passively. Instant read-outs of both the internal food temperature and ambient oven temperature help you adjust your oven as needed. You can also program desired settings for both the food and the oven temperature: it chimes one sound when the oven temperature is reached, and another sound when the food is done. It also features a digital timer, and an overtime alert signals when food is left in the oven too long.

Other Features: A 39-inch high-heat resistant sensor cable. The stainless steel probe is 6-3/4 inches long. Registers from 32 to 573 degrees F (0 to 300 degrees C). USDA recommended temperatures for food safety are printed on the thermometer. Can be mounted by magnet or stand. The timer counts in minutes and seconds up to 10 hours. Once the set time has been reached, the timer counts up from zero to indicate how much additional time passes. It runs on one AAA battery (included). Visit www.cdn-timeandtemp.com for where to buy, and information on How to Recalibrate Your Thermometer, Thermometer Technology and 25 Tips for Food Safety.

Buy a CDN Dual-Sensing Probe Thermometer/Timer

mortar and pestle

Designer Porcelain-Bamboo Mortar & Pestle Set

You really connect with your ingredients when you grind or crush them by hand. A mortar and pestle is the most effective tool for releasing the oils and essences of herbs and spices, and it also comes in handy for times when you need to grind medicines for people or pets. The Kuhn Rikon Mortar & Pestle set has details that make this functional, low-tech tool even better. Besides the porcelain pestle, it features two mortars: a porcelain one that nests inside an earth-friendly bamboo mortar and stand. Designed by award-winning Swiss designer, Philipp Beyeler, the set is featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s catalog, and features added functionality in clean, crisp design, including:

  • A pouring spout on the coarse porcelain bowl, handy for grinding fresh herbs and spices with wet ingredients as pastes for dressings or marinating.
  • A 6×6-inch bamboo base for grinding dry spices such as peppercorns, cardamom and mustard seed, or for homemade curry blends.
  • A porcelain pestle with a small hole in the handle to strip leaves off herb stems, and which stores compactly inside the porcelain bowl.

Suggested retail price $50; at specialty and online retailers including Museum of Modern Art catalog (www.momastore.org) or factorydirect2you.com.

serving knife

 

2-in-1 Serving Knife Acts as Spatula

Multitasking meets kitchen tool. Kuhn Rikon’s Serving Knife slices like a serrated knife and serves like a spatula. I like to serve at table, but two tools can be awkward and messy; either the knife or the server falls into the casserole or onto the table. Not so with this handy tool; simply slice, twist the wrist, slide it under the food and serve. It’s not as complete as a Swiss Army knife, but it’s got that same Swiss logic. For instance, it features nonstick coating and an offset handle to make slicing and serving even easier, and prevents slipping back into the pan. A protective sheath keeps the knife secure for safe storage and transport, so you can take it to potlucks or tailgate parties. In Red or Metallic Silver, in two sizes: 10-inch knife at $14 msrp, and 12-inch knife at $16 msrp. At specialty and online retailers including factorydirect2you.com.

potato ricer

Versatile Potato Ricer Delivers Two Textures

Never mash potatoes with a food processor: they’ll get gummy. Hand mashing’s okay, but you’ll get the fluffiest results with a potato ricer, especially the Kuhn Rikon Potato Ricer. It’s a handy low-tech tool for all sorts of vegetables and even baby food. The ergonomic design eases leverage, so with a simple squeeze of the handle, light strands of potatoes extrude through the ricer. You can rice one large or two medium sized potatoes at a time, and a handy pull-out clip lets the ricer rest on the rim of a pot or bowl. It comes with two stainless steel disks: larger holes for mashed spuds, and smaller holes for making puree. (Store the extra disk in the ricer’s built-in compartment.) Go beyond the standard mash to create potato pancakes, gnocchi, lefse and spaetzle. What else can it rice or puree? Berry sauce for desserts, tomato puree, parsnips, carrots, baby food and blanched greens. Dishwasher safe, in black or white.

Buy a Kuhn Rikon Potato Ricer

water kettle

 

Capresso H2O Plus Water Kettle

This electric tea kettle always makes my list of functional green appliances: It boils water with less fuel than a cooktop, shuts off automatically, and you can use the hot water for more than just tea. This model boils water faster than on a stove, keeps the kitchen cooler, and it’s handy when you want to rehydrate dried mushrooms, dried tomatoes, and powdered soups; or to jumpstart a pot of water for pasta, steamed vegetables, or potatoes. The Capresso H2O sports a glass carafe, so you can see the progress without lifting the lid (and it’s fun to watch the bubbles: like an aquarium without the fish). It holds a manageable amount, letting you boil from 2 to 6 cups. It’s one of my handiest kitchen appliances, in its snazzy black and silver design, and makes a great gift for almost everyone, even non-cooks.

Buy a Capresso H2O Plus Water Kettle

 

More New Green Basics product reviews include:

Don’t Forget Green Food Wraps

August 28, 2008 by · Comments Off on Don’t Forget Green Food Wraps 

(and affordable organics and pet food, too)

sponge

Brown bag lunches, wrapping up turkey leftovers, fall potlucks and festive tailgatings ramp up our use of plastic wrap, storage bags, trash bags, and paper products—all of which have greener options these days. But some can be pricey. Natural Value makes a full line of planet-friendly products at affordable prices, including plastic wrap and storage bags with no plasticizers or PVCs, unbleached recycled lunch bags, unbleached waxed paper bags, recycled paper products, home-compostable plates, and a full line of detergents, scrubbers, baby wipes, and trash bags with eco-positive aspects. They even make unbleached parchment paper (gourmet cooks listen up!). The Natural Value brand sells organic foods ranging from coconut milk from pasta to popcorn; some are also kosher. Got cats? Their cat food contains no preservatives, byproducts or coloring. Check out these products:

Buy Natural Value Plastic Wrap

Buy Natural Value Cat Food

Buy Natural Value Walnut Scrubber Sponge

Natural Value website

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