The amazing power of the combi oven has won over star chefs like Daniel Bouloud, but the price has shut most home cooks out—until now. Read more >
Courtesy of Rachel Swaby
F&W's April issue spotlights tech toys for foodies. Here, writer Rachel Swaby shares her wired culinary wish list from an intelligent fridge to appliances that talk.
F&W's April issue spotlights tech toys for foodies. Here are a few ways that hotels are getting in on the trend.
Courtesy of Peninsula Tokyo
Citizen M, Amsterdam
Each room at this boutique budget hotel comes equipped with a Moodpad, a tablet that lets guests control music, blinds and even the color of the lights. Doubles from $77; citizenm.com.
Eccleston Square, London
This 39-room hotel has 3-D TVs in every suite, plus iPads that can be used to book spa treatments and order room service. Doubles from $292; ecclestonsquare.com.
Peninsula, Tokyo (photo)
Japanese hotels are famously tech-savvy; rooms in this luxury tower feature Internet radio, digital panels showing the weather forecast and automated espresso machines. Doubles from $784; peninsula.com.
© Leslie Tiano
Wine bottle tumblers from BottleHood.
The other day at the beach, I came across a supercool beer bottle neck that had been so polished down by the waves and sand that it could be worn as a ring. It got me thinking about the many other neat ways to repurpose wine and beer bottles that I've seen lately. Atlanta-based Kathleen Plate transforms recycled glass into jewelry with clean, sleek lines—her new pale-blue chandelier necklace looks like the summer sky to me. The fire escape gardener in me appreciates the compact Grow Bottle, an indoor herb planter crafted from reclaimed restaurant wine bottles. And colored wine bottles look great on the tabletop even long after the last drop has been poured: In San Diego, BottleHood recrafts wine, beer and spirit bottles into unique glassware, from frat-house-ready Red Stripe glasses to funky-elegant green glass tumblers. Its glassware would be perfect on a casual summer table—along with a chilled summer bottle that's still full, of course.
© Rodale/design by Jessi Rymill
It’s hard not to geek out on beer this summer with the explosion of beer gardens and radical new micro (and nano) brews. Beer expert Christian DeBenedetti urges beer enthusiasts to take things to the next level and start brewing at home.
“Give a person a six pack, they'll drink for a day," says DeBenedetti. "Teach them to brew…" OK, you know the rest. These days, what was once a messy affair has gotten simpler and way more fun with the advent of smarter books and equipment. Suffice it to say that the joy of tasting your first successful home brew isn't easily put into words. If you can follow a recipe, you can make your own beer, and it's cheaper in the long run, too. If you get really good, you might even show off your skills in cool New York City bars like The Diamond, where, in addition to a Shuffleboard Biathlon, there is the Brew 'n’ Chew, a home-brew and home-cooking competition.
Start with the new book Beer Craft: Six Packs From Scratch by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. "Home brewing is easy—you probably already have most of the equipment at home," says Bostwick. "But it's also something you can geek out over and get a gallon of great beer in the process (and mess up the kitchen a little)." The genius of this book is that it takes an incredibly complex topic and boils it down to quaffable parts without dumbing down the key points of becoming a serious homebrew honcho. You've got everything from basic definitions of beer ingredients to detailed yeast strain recommendations and an incredibly helpful primer on off flavors and insights into genre-bending sour beers.
Once you have the book, find a local home-brew shop (some Whole Foods stores carry equipment) or order a home-brew kit and you're ready to go.
© Michael Graham
I know basic meat-speak: prosciutto, soppressata, mortadella. But I couldn’t tell you the difference between zampone modena (an Italian salami stuffed inside a boned-out pig trotter) or lonza stagionata (a dried, cured pork tenderloin). I recently discovered a smart new app developed by Michael Graham, the co-owner of C’est Cheese in Santa Barbara, California. “The cured-meats section of the shop is my little baby,” says Graham. “And I noticed that there were cheese apps on the market, but nothing devoted to navigating the sometimes-confusing world of charcuterie. I wanted to create something to help people understand the style of meat, the flavor and substitutions. For instance, if a recipe calls for pancetta, the app tells them they can use bacon instead.” The app includes information for more than 100 cured meats and other cured foods, such as anchovies and foie gras. Graham says he’ll release an updated version with more photos and information in just a few weeks. Download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/salumi/id398103550?mt=8.
© Justin Chapple
Bob Kramer sharpening his knife.
I would hardly consider myself a knife connoisseur, but when I see a shiny new blade, I can’t help but want to take it for a test slice. When I learned that Bob Kramer, master bladesmith and knife designer, was partnering with Zwilling J.A. Henckels to create a top-of-the line series of chef knives made with straight carbon steel (a material that produces a hard, thin and ultimatelysupersharp blade), I had to experience it for myself.
I recently joined our fantastic editorial assistant Maggie Mariolis at a preview party. We watched in awe as Kramer cut through a two-inch-thick rope with one swipe and then proceeded to slice a tomato with sheer perfection. Perhaps the most fascinating portion of the demonstration was witnessing him seemingly destroy his knife’s edge by roughly scraping it across a honing steel—as I clenched my teeth in pain—and bringing it back to life with a few swift strokes on his sharpening stone. It was magic!
Prices range from $139.95 to $349.95. The knives will be available at Sur La Table next month and in the rest of the US market in September.
© The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (Austrian, 1897-2000). Frankfurt Kitchen from the Ginnheim-Höhenblick Housing Estate, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (reconstruction).
© Deborah Jones
By far my favorite tool for preserving is the food mill. In years past, when making fruit jams or tomato sauce, I would simmer fruit, mash it, then strain it through a fine-meshed sieve—entirely too much work for me nowadays. With a food mill, though, I can combine the mashing and straining into one step. The resulting puree is silky smooth and free of skins and seeds.
In "The Primary Pantry" in our August issue, I preserve a whole bunch of summery things—beans, garlic, tomatoes, corn, chiles, herbs and berries—and recommended a food mill for preparing the tomato sauce and fruit butters.
At a recent All-Clad press event, I was super impressed by their brand-new food mill and wished it had been available when I was developing these recipes (in the dead of winter). The discs have tiny raised teeth to catch the skin and seeds as the handle is spun, allowing more of the puree to be passed through. The legs are rubberized for better stability and the knob feels great in my hands. Luckily, with summer in full swing, there’s no lack of fruit and tomatoes to pass through my new food mill. (I got a prototype, but you can get yours in just a few weeks—it lauches in early September, peak tomato and peach month!)
I'm very lucky to be married to a builder for so many reasons: From major renovations to minor repairs, he's always ready to help. He even customizes kitchen tools for me. My most recent request was for him to cut me an eight-inch length of three-quarter-inch PVC pipe from his scrap pile, so I could roll out dough for Asian dumplings.
Standard rolling pins are too long and heavy. I've made dumplings using wooden dowels, but we don't seem to have many lying around. Broom handles are great, but then you have to cannibalize your broom. PVC (polyvinyl chloride pipe-a combination of plastic and vinyl) is perfect: smooth, lightweight and easy to customize.