Tool Splurges & Steals
SPLURGE Miele Steam Oven
A device inside distributes pressurized steam, which helps food retain nutritional value and cuts cooking time so almost anything is done in less than 20 minutes (from $1,950; 800-463-0260 or www.steamoven.com).
STEAL Black & Decker Flavor Scenter Steamer
You can fill its reservoir with water, wine or broth (plus herbs and spices). The timer prevents overcooking; the rice cooker yields fluffy grains ($30; 800-231-9786 or www.blackanddeckerappliances.com).
SPLURGE Tulikivi fireplace and oven
A wood-burning fireplace heats the beautiful Finnish-soapstone oven installed above it. The high, even heat makes bread especially crusty, keeps roasts juicy and gives anything baked in it a delicious wood-fired taste (from $7,000; 800-843-3473 or www.tulikivi.com).
The ceramic insert, installed inside an oven, radiates heat like a wood-burning hearth. That means foods can be cooked at high temperatures without burning, so pizzas and roasts form the kind of crispy crust that you get from a brick oven ($200; 800-383-7818 or www.hearthkit.com).
SPLURGE Diva de Provence
This gas rotisserie, custom-made in France from cast iron, stainless steel and brass, can spit-roast even a 15-pound turkey so that it's incomparably tender ($6,950; 888-852-8604 or www.divadeprovence.com).
STEAL Ronco Showtime
Almost as easy to use as inventor Ron Popeil claims in his infomercial, this electric rotisserie isn't much bigger than a toaster oven. A roasted chicken turns out succulent and crispy (from $100; 800-486-1806 or www.ronco.com).
SPLURGE Tilia FoodSavers
This electric gadget seals food in plastic bags, which keeps it fresh longer. Meals can then be boiled in the bag, helping with portion control (from $80; 800-777-5452 or www.foodsaver.com).
This manual pump sucks air out of jars and plastic bags to help the contents stay fresh. You can also use the pump to preserve leftover wine in bottles ($15; 800-323-3965 or www.pump-n-seal.com).
SPLURGE TEC Patio II
TEC invented the infrared gas grill, whose ceramic burners give off such intense heat that the cooking surface reaches a temperature twice that of conventional gas or charcoal grills. Steaks sear quickly yet stay rare (from $1,500; 800-331-0097 or www.tecgasgrills.com).
STEAL George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor BBQ
The nonstick surface of this electric grill heats up quickly, creating a good crust and sear marks on salmon and burgers; the fat flows down a sloping grate, away from the food. Although this grill is larger than most indoor models, it can still sit on a kitchen counter. The appliance also comes with a detachable pedestal, so it's easy to use outdoors ($60; 888-889-0899 or www.esalton.com).