A well-designed mandoline
A mandoline is a terrific kitchen tool. Used safely it makes perfect and even slices faster than most of us could ever do it with a knife. Recently we tested UrbanTrend’s Mistral Mini Mandoline Slicer. The thing we liked the most is that it slices on both the forward and backward motion, so you cut your fruits and vegetables in half the time. Another nice feature is that choosing the thickness of your slices is made with an easy built-in adjuster. Just slide it in and out, nothing to unscrew or move. You’re never near the blade. There’s a built-in julienne blade so if you want to move from slices to julienne, you just adjust a small knob. We paid a lot of attention to this because safety is a key issue with mandolines since the blades are so sharp. The safety food holder is also really nicely designed with a plunger that pushes the food down so you waste almost nothing. Where I sometimes think I have to hold the food by hand in order to slice right down to the end using other mandolines, with the Mistral, that’s a thing of the past. If you have room in your cabinet for a tool that doesn’t fold flat, this is a great option. $35. Available at Sur la Table stores. https://urbantrend.com/product/mistral-mini-mandoline/
Steam clean your grill
Just when you thought you knew every possible way to clean your grill, a new one shows up. Grill Daddy is offering SAFETY-CLEAN, their new grill brush that uses steam to clean your grill. No chemicals, just plain old water. The easy-to-grip handle is made from PVC plastic and makes a reservoir for tap water. The bristles are a combination of stainless steel and brass and are locked in place with the company’s “bristle lock” technology. Fill the reservoir with water and then use the brush on your hot grill. Push the button to spray water on the hot grates and it immediately turns into steam and multiplies your scrubbing effort. Done? Throw it in the dishwasher. You need this for all that tailgating you're doing this fall. $15.99. Available through Amazon and at Target, Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond. http://buygrilldaddy.com
Spiralize for one
Glass canning jars have been a part of my life since my college days. I have dozens in all sizes from gallon jars down to half pints. They’re my go-to storage option. No plastic containers for me. And I love all the ways people are using these jars these days - as lanterns, vases, soap dispensers and so much more. Kilner, based in the United Kingdom, has dreamed up even more uses. Recently we tried their spiralizer jar set: quart jar, spiralizer blade, safety band and storage lid. The spiralizer blade sits on top of the jar, then the well-designed safety band screws on top of that. The spiralizer blade has a razor sharp set of prongs that cleverly shred whatever your cutting, then feed it to a slicing blade. Out come long spiralized strips of carrot, summer squash, butternut squash, beets, potatoes or whatever you’d like to cut. You do one vegetable at a time, turning the vegetable or jar by hand. It’s not speedy and would be tiring if you were trying to cut enough hard vegetables for a family of four. But we thought it was perfect for making an individual spiralized salad. Just shred your vegetables directly into the jar, then put on the storage lid. A little dressing in another container, and you’ve got a portable healthy lunch. Throw it all in the dishwasher when you’re done. $14.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond. http://kilnerjar.co.uk.