Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

From the Ground Up: Cleaning the kitchen cupboard — ponder before you toss

By
From page A5 | January 02, 2013 |

Gretchen Coyle, assistant housewares buyer at Davis Ace, notes "this is fondue season. December and January are when we sell most of our fondue pots." Courtesy photo

Remember Jell-O salad and salmon mousse molds? Crock pots? How about fondue pots or manual meat grinders? Tabletop ice cream and bread makers?

As home cooks, we have some specialty equipment that is used once a year, and others that haven’t been used in years, if ever. Instead of tossing it out this year as you clean your kitchen cupboards, think about why you bought it, and what fun it might be to use it again.

One of our 2013 food resolutions is to toss what should be tossed, and keep the rest. For example, we’re taking a hard look at those spices. Dried herbs and spices over six months to a year old get tossed out. Ann, who canned cherry chutney with a friend this past June, recalls using black mustard seeds and cardamom pods from the back of the spice cabinet which turned out to be so old, they ruined the chutney. Discerning it was the old spice, and not the recipe, caused much laughter and embarrassment!

We all give away equipment we later regret. We recently heard a story about a woman who long ago gave away her cast-iron skillet. She thought it was too old-fashioned. It had been around forever. She wishes she had that skillet now, knowing it was well-seasoned with cooking and memories and of a sturdy quality.

The same goes for her old General Electric toaster that she gave away. She told us it never broke once in 30 years, but that in the past year and a half, she’s had five toasters made in China. Whether it is the punch bowl, the mince tart tins or the fondue pot, sometimes judicious storing for another year feels better.

Specialty kitchen equipment is part of our essential cooking repertoire that we couldn’t do without, and it varies from person to person. Georgeanne loves and uses her Atlas hand-cranked pasta machine, and stainless steel restaurant-grade Chinoise. Ann relies on her Cuisinart and French food mill.

We both use our sausage grinders and stuffers, our Kitchen Aid standing mixers (and, well, some of the attachments), and mortars and pestles, but in the recesses of our pantries and kitchen cabinets we have so much that goes unused. This year, instead of giving them away during the year-end effort to clean out the cupboards, we’ve resolved to bring them back to life — at least for one more chance.

Here is our top 10 list of unused equipment:

* Fish steamer: Ann found this at a garage sale years ago. You know the kind. Long, narrow stainless steel with its own tight-fitting lid and the rack inside. Perfect for steaming fish, which she once did — a whole salmon for New Year’s Day a decade ago for a special guest from England.

* Gnocchi maker: Georgeanne actually purchased this for her son as a Christmas stocking gift, because he loved gnocchi so much. As he moved on in life, he left the gnocchi maker behind.

* Grain grinder: Ann never gave hers away, and used it in college once a week to make bread. The grinder weighs at least 5 pounds, grinds any kind of grain into flour, of any coarseness, and brings back memories of a different day.

* Universal food and meat chopper: This hand-crank grinder is easily assembled and in Ann’s house, is used once a year by her mother to grind cranberries and oranges the old-fashioned way, with the bottom screw for counter mounting and the medium grinding plate inserted.

The auger, as you crank it, pushes the top-loaded fruit through the medium grinding plate into a bowl and you have your product ready for Thanksgiving cranberry relish. The chopper, made from cast iron, is assembled and disassembled with each use, and stored in its small box in between use, in the kitchen cupboard.

Made in New Britain, Conn., they used to be a staple in every American kitchen for meat and vegetable grinding.

* Potato ricer: It is supposed to make fluffier mashed potatoes and is one of those great hand-powered tools. Ann, who had wanted one for years only to use it once upon finally getting it, realized why it had gone out of fashion in the first place. It takes a long time to push potatoes through the ricer.

* Crock pot: Georgeanne’s daughter wanted one for Christmas last year, and in researching them, Georgeanne found there were as many kinds as there are cooks. She bought one for her daughter, in a medium price range that seemed to suit the purpose, but decided not to replace the one she gave away years ago.

* Parsley chopper: A few years ago, Georgeanne was given a vintage parsley chopper. It looks like a small tin measuring cup but has a chopping blade inside that is turned by a hand crank. She’s only used it once or twice, but keeps it for the memory of the person who gave it to her, an older woman who had come to one of Georgeanne’s cooking demonstrations who could no longer cook, but loved the parsley chopper and wanted someone to have it who would understand.

* Ice cream maker: Georgeanne has the old-fashioned White Mountain ice cream maker but with an electric motor to turn the canister of ice cream or sorbet mixture. It gets packed with ice at least once a year to make apricot or strawberry ice cream, sometimes green almond or quince.

* Mandoline: The perfect hand tool for slicing, julienning and even crisscross cutting, but it remains in Ann’s top cupboard much of the time. Somehow assembling and disassembling seems more time-consuming than a knife — yet the mandoline has capabilities that remain unexplored. This is the perfect project for a cold winter day of cooking and equipment research — now, how does that crisscross blade work?

* Fondue pot: After relentlessly searching thrift shops for a discard, Ann got a new fondue set for Christmas with both the metal pot for meat and a ceramic one for cheese and chocolate, complete with six long-handled forks. Georgeanne has two sets and we’ve included her classic recipe below for Cheese Fondue.

Cheese Fondue
Serves 4-6

It’s fine to try different cheeses in this fondue. Use an equal amount of grated Beaufort for the Gruyère or an equal amount of mild, soft blue such as Blue Castello or Montbriac, raclette, or a triple cream such as Brillat-Savarin for the Emmentaler.

Ingredients:

6 cloves garlic
2 cups dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 ¾ pound Gruyère cheese, shredded
¾ pound Emmentaler cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons kirsch
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 ½ day-old baguettes or equivalent amount of artisanal nut, herb or whole-grain bread, cut into ½-inch cubes

Putting it together:

If using a ceramic fondue pot, set the oven to 250 F and put the fondue pot in the oven to warm. If using a metal fondue pot, skip this step. Fill the burner of the fondue pot with denatured alcohol.

Crush the garlic with a garlic press or grate with a grater and put into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or directly into the metal fondue pot. Add the wine and place the pan over high heat. As soon as bubbles form around the edges, after about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheeses, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts completely into a smooth, creamy mass. Stir in the kirsch, nutmeg and pepper.

To serve, light the burner of the fondue pot and place it on the table. Pour the hot fondue from the saucepan into the warmed ceramic pot, or transfer the metal fondue pot directly to the burner. Set out fondue forks and pass the bread cubes. For a convivial winter meal, serve with a simple green salad and crisp white wine.

— Ann M. Evans and Georgeanne Brennan are coauthors of the award-winning “Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, Tasting California’s Small Farms,” (2012.) If you have a piece of unused kitchen equipment, they’d love to hear your story. Co-leaders of Slow Food Yolo, they have a food and agricultural consultancy, Evans & Brennan, LLC. Their blog “Who’s Cooking School Lunch?” features personal stories of front-line men and women cooking school lunches. See the blog at www.whoscookingschoolunch.com and reach Ann and Georgeanne at info@evansandbrennan.com.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Features

.

Arts

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3