Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Kitchen Toys

I know. It's February. The holidays were 5-6 weeks ago. I am finally getting around to writing about two new kitchen toys we received over the holidays and that we are really enjoying.
First, our new Breville Tea Maker. I may have mentioned more than once that we love tea. It is our beverage of choice, hot or iced. We have devoted an entire drawer to our loose leaf teas and even so, we have tea stashed in additional locations throughout the kitchen. It's a little... ludicrous. But give up one of my tea flavors? That's crazy talk.
This tea maker is amazing. Fill the pot with water, add your tea to the brew basket, on the control panel select your tea (black, green, herbal, etc.), select your brew time (strong, medium, mild, custom), hit start and it does everything for you.

Select black tea and brew strength strong and the machine understands to heat the water to 212 degrees and brew the tea for 3 minutes.
It automatically lowers the tea basket into the water and when the brew time is up, it automatically raises the basket! No over brewing to the point of bitterness!
And there is a keep warm button so your tea stays warm if you are off doing something else or if you make a full pot and want a second or third cup of hot tea. I love that we can start it, walk away, and return later to perfect tea. No listening for the kettle to whistle, no setting a timer for brewing and then listening to it beep incessantly because you wandered off to do something and can't get back to take your tea out of the mug & shut off the timer.
 We also got some new teas. One is called Stars & Twinkles:
It's an herbal tea. I can see star anise, citrus bits, cinnamon bits, but it's hard to really describe the taste. I'm glad we got a small amount to try, the name of the tea makes me laugh, but I don't think we'll be refilling this tea once it's gone.
However, the Christmas Blend tea is one we will definitely be getting again next year. It's a black tea with cinnamon, clove, citrus, and wee pieces of candy. One of my favorite teas.
Our other new toy: A new paddle for our Kitchen Aid Mixer but this paddle has a spatula edge so that the mixing bowl gets scraped clean as your dough gets mixed.
We wondered if it would really do a good job or if this would just be one of those kitchen gadgets that didn't really work. We have only used it once and it worked wonderfully, after SP spent some time with the mixer handbook and a screwdriver re-positioning the paddle position so it would touch the side of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl but not be too close to either.
We made Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were delicious. We used Nestle Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels. I enjoyed the cookies, but after a week of them, I decided that I didn't really like the mint morsels and that I would prefer a chocolate morsel with mint flavor or adding mint extract instead of a sometimes chalky-ish mint morsel. Or, I'll just keep using the Andes Candies Baking Bits.
Our next new kitchen toy will be a replacement toy - we ruined our roasting pan when we made roast chicken a few weeks ago. Something happened to the pan bottom when we scrubbed it and the finish started coming off. I guess that's what we deserve for buying a not-so-expensive roasting pan (since we only use a roasting pan 1-2 times a year). Guess we have until the winter holidays to figure out what roasting pan to purchase!


  1. Where do you buy your teas? I know that they have a good selection at the Market District, but do you have a special place?

    I got my roasting pan at the All -Clad sale. If you've never been to one, you should go!


    1. Barb- We usually buy our teas at Te Cafe or at Margaret's Fine Imports. I always forget about the All Clad sale! We really should invest in a quality roasting pan.