4 Useful Kitchen Gadgets to Try for Hands-Off Cooking
These smart tools take the stress out of weeknight meals.
In the age of machines that talk back, it’s no surprise that kitchen appliances have become better, faster, and easier to use. From smart ovens to smart mugs, it seems like everything around us has become more intelligent.
On this week’s episode of Mad Genius Live, Food & Wine Culinary Director Justin Chapple and Test Kitchen Manager Kelsey Youngman set out to make us a little more intelligent, too, by demonstrating how to cook with their favorite smart kitchen tools. Here’s what this tech takeover included:
According to Andrew Shearer, the CEO of Farmshelf and a guest on this week’s Mad Genius Live, the purpose of these indoor farms is to give people an opportunity to grow their own food — no matter where they live. Essentially, Farmshelf is a hydroponic system that is also automated. It’s built to give the plants exactly what they need exactly when they need it, whether that’s light, nutrients, or water.
Since the Food & Wine test kitchen has scored its very own Farmshelf, Chapple and Youngman have been experimenting with it for the past several months, growing everything from thyme to basil. Aside from test kitchens, the Brooklyn-based company is working with chefs like José Andrés and Marcus Samuelsson to help them grow ingredients that are otherwise difficult to come by (like marigold). Yet Farmshelf wants to extend its reach into home kitchens by making a product that’s smaller, mountable, easy-to-use, and beautiful. If you’re in the market for a hydroponic plant shelf, stay tuned.
This induction burner is large in size, which Chapple likes because it can hold bigger pots. While it works like a standard induction burner, The Control Freak has a digital display, showing both the set temperature as well as the moment-to-moment temperature of the pan. What’s more, this appliance comes with a probe thermometer that can be inserted right into meat or vegetables. It displays the internal temperature and helps prevent overcooking.
This induction cooktop doesn’t only come with a pan, it also comes with an iPhone application. That’s right, this is more than just a smart appliance — this is smart cooking, folks. How does it work? The smart induction burner speaks to the smart skillet and both of them communicate with the app. The interactive app is preloaded with tons of recipes, which — no surprise — are also looped in on the whole thing, so it actually knows to tell you when to continue on to the next step. That’s some seriously futuristic cooking.
The ultimate appliance for hands-off cooking, all you need to do with an in-home sous vide cooker is choose a temperature, enter an amount of time, press go, and wait. There’s so little work required that Chapple says this device is “the future of slow cooking.” For great sous vide recipes, including a bounty of vegetable-centric ones, check out Lisa Fetterman’s cookbook Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals.
Get even more bang for your buck with the Food & Wine sous vide cooker, since it’s also a wine chiller. Simply place the sous vide cooker into an ice bath, along with a bottle of wine, and push the “chill” button. The sous vide circulates the water, which chills wine three times faster than a standard ice bath.
What's your favorite smart kitchen tool? Tell us by tagging us at @foodandwine.