Gadget: The One Kitchen Gadget to Rule Them All

All-Clad Prep & Cook

Matthew Kronsberg wrote . . . . .

The Characteristics

All-Clad Metalcrafters LLC is a Pennsylvania-based cookware manufacturer of copper, stainless steel, and nonstick pots and pans. The company is part of the French global kitchen appliance conglomerate Groupe SEB, which this year introduced the Prep & Cook. The machine can weigh, cook, chop, crush, emulsify, whip, mix, steam, blend, grate, and knead. It has 12 speeds, 1,400 watts, and 15,000 RPMs to blend and process food, plus a heating element that can be set in 10-degree increments to warm the contents of its 4.7-quart stainless steel bowl from 90°F to 270°F. Along with buttons for speed and temperature, it offers a half-dozen preset cycles for sauces, soups, pastries, desserts, simmering, and steaming, for which a stainless steel basket is included.

The Competition

The gadget arms race means that appliance companies promise less work with every invention, whether an $80 Instant Pot, a $150 Cuisinart food processor, or $600 juicers from Smeg. The do-it-all category is still relatively new to the American market, but it’s well-established in Asia and in Europe, where the Thermomix, which pioneered the category in the 1960s, remains the best-known brand. It relaunched in the U.S. last year with the TM5, a $1,850 web-connected appliance that makes from-scratch dishes a cinch for even the most timid cook. With a list price of $999.95, the Prep & Cook stakes out a modest price point in this group, tailoring its appeal to the cook who wants style and power without overpaying for digital hand-holding.

The Case

The machine lives up to its name. It comes with four blades: a food processor-style “ultra blade” for fine chopping, another for kneading dough and crushing ice, and two plastic blades for stirring and whipping. It finely chops onions for a chili recipe in one minute, then handily crushes frozen banana chunks to make a thick soft-serve smoothie the next. Keep butterscotch pudding from scalding by swapping in one of the plastic blades and setting it on stir; or choose to simmer until your rhubarb-raspberry jam is perfectly thickened. A cookbook comes with 300 recipes, including one for a hazelnut spread that tastes like a grown-up version of Nutella. It’s also impressively quiet—important when you’re cooking a chili on low for hours on end.

Source: Bloomberg

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Indian-style Curry with Beef, Cauliflower and Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon ghee
1 kg beef chuck steak, cut into 3 cm pieces
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh bay leaf or dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam marsala
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 long green chilies, seeded (optional), finely chopped
2 cups beef stock
2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
8 fresh curry leaves
1/2 cauliflower, cut into florets
200 g natural yogurt
1 cup fresh peas or frozen peas
steamed Basmati rice, to serve
papadums, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Heat half the ghee in a large flameproof casserole pan over medium-high heat. Add one-quarter of the beef and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 3 more batches with remaining beef, reheating pan between each batch.
  3. Heat remaining ghee in pan. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens.
  4. Add the bay leaf, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, paprika, turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger and chili and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.
  5. Add the beef, beef stock, tomatoes and curry leaves and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  6. Bake in preheated oven, loosely covered, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours.
  7. Add the cauliflower and yogurt and stir to combine. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until beef and cauliflower are tender and sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Add the peas and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Spoon evenly among serving plates. Serve with steamed basmati rice and papadums, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Taste magazine

In Pictures: Home-cooked Avocado Pasta

Seven Things You Should Never Cook on the Grill

Kate Krader wrote . . . . .

Few things conjure up the feeling of summer like a fully loaded grill. Steak and burgers, a couple salmon fillets, charring over fire while someone in an ironic apron flips and turns, beer in hand.

We interrupt this idyllic scene to report a problem here.

You’re grilling the wrong things. That burger there? If you want the best, juiciest, well-seared beef, take that patty off the grates, argues chef Daniel Herget, of Little Octopus in Nashville, Tennessee. And that salmon? Take it back inside.

Because it’s the season when food magazines are out there trying to get you to grill everything from chickpeas to scallops, we spoke with top chefs around the country to find out which foods you absolutely should not put over the coals. They came back with a whole roster of no-nos, from pizza to flaky fish. They’re best cooked in other ways.

The following list is simply a guide. Feel free to grill anything and everything you want to—grilling is all about freedom, after all. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The Do Not Grill List

Filet Mignon

Who Says? Craig Koketsu, Quality Meats, New York

Why: “Filet is a lean cut, so it doesn’t get the same, nice caramelization over the grill as a more fatty cut like a ribeye, where the fat from the steak itself essentially fries the outside as it cooks over the flame. For that reason, I like to sear filet in a cast-iron pan so that I can get that nice Maillard [browning] reaction all around the steak. It adds more flavor to what it a pretty mild cut of meat. Also, because filet tends to be cut more thickly, it’s much easier to get an even rosé color throughout the steak by cooking it in the pan. The same is true for leaner cuts of meat in general.”

Pizza

Who Says? Michael Friedman, chef and co-owner of the outstanding All-Purpose in Washington.

Why: “Grilling pizza is just a bad idea. Home grills, as a rule, heat very unevenly. Also, because of outdoor elements, the minute the grill is opened, it loses heat. The best pizza doughs out there have very high hydration, meaning the doughs are very wet. To try and lay down a wet dough on a somewhat hot surface will most likely result in a very disappointing experience. If you reduce hydration and are able to roll out a decent piece of dough, you’re still going to have major issues removing the dough from the grill itself, especially after you add toppings. [If you use a pizza stone, you still face the issue of the toppings.] I just don’t think the grill can retain enough heat to cook the toppings as much as one would like. In the end, of course you can try to grill pizza. Whether it will be to your liking or not is another story.”

Salmon

Who Says? Edward Lee, of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, and star. of Mind of a Chef.

Why: “I don’t understand why so many folks grill salmon. The best part is the fatty oils, which render out on a hot grill—leaving a dry, overcooked piece of fish that was once succulent and fragrant. Salmon needs low-and-slow heat to just cook the flesh.”

Shish Kebab

Who Says? Sang Yoon, whose empire includes Father’s Office and Lukshon, in Los Angeles, and Two Birds One Stone, in St. Helena, California

Why: “Shish kabab needs to stop. I have no issue with grilled meat on a stick, or grilled veg on a stick. Just not on the same stick. Proteins and produce cook very differently and require very different timing. It is physically impossible to cook everything correctly on one skewer. The worst offense is when I see cherry tomatoes sharing a stick with some chicken.When making kabobs, you should separate your ingredients on their own sticks so they can be cooked properly to their own timing. This way you can also season each ingredient independently. Sometimes together is not better.”

Flaky Fish

Who Says? Josh Capon, Bowery Meat Co., New York

Why: “Stay away from grilling white flakey fish like Cod. Stick with meatier, firm-flesh, steak-ier cuts if you will, like swordfish or tuna.”

Who Else Says? Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish & Oyster and GT Prime, Chicago

Why: “I never put halibut, cod, or any other delicate, flaky fish on the grill, because the fire and smoke will completely take over the flavor.”

Pork Chops

Who Says? John May, Piedmont, Durham, North Carolina

Reasoning: “Pork chops totally taste better when they’re cooked in a pan instead of on the grill. They have that strip of fat on the outside; rendering that beautiful cap in the pan over medium heat allows you to save that melted fat. It also lets the meat get nicely crisp. In a pan, you can put the chop on its side and baste with that rendered fat, thus enhancing the porky goodness! Try doing that on the grill.”

Burgers

Who Says? Daniel Herget, Little Octopus Nashville, Tennesse

Reasoning: “Burgers should be cooked on a plancha, full stop. Grilling them allows the fat that renders off the meat to be lost, instead of helping to create a heavily caramelized crust on the outside of your beloved burger.”

Source: Bloomberg

Brain Training’ App Found to Improve Memory in People with Mild Cognitive Impairment

A ‘brain training’ game developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge could help improve the memory of patients in the very earliest stages of dementia, suggests a study published today in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) has been described as the transitional stage between ‘healthy ageing’ and dementia. It is characterised by day-to-day memory difficulties and problems of motivation. At present, there are no approved drug treatments for the cognitive impairments of patients affected by the condition.

Cognitive training has shown some benefits, such as speed of attentional processing, for patients with aMCI, but training packages are typically repetitive and boring, affecting patients’ motivation. To overcome this problem, researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge developed ‘Game Show’, a memory game app, in collaboration with patients with aMCI, and tested its effects on cognition and motivation.

The researchers randomly assigned forty-two patients with amnestic MCI to either the cognitive training or control group. Participants in the cognitive training group played the memory game for a total of eight one-hour sessions over a four-week period; participants in the control group continued their clinic visits as usual.

In the game, which participants played on an iPad, the player takes part in a game show to win gold coins. In each round, they are challenged to associate different geometric patterns with different locations. Each correct answer allows the player to earn more coins. Rounds continue until completion or after six incorrect attempts are made. The better the player gets, the higher the number of geometric patterns presented – this helps tailor the difficulty of the game to the individual’s performance to keep them motivated and engaged. A game show host encourages the player to maintain and progress beyond their last played level.

The results showed that patients who played the game made around a third fewer errors, needed fewer trials and improved their memory score by around 40%, showing that they had correctly remembered the locations of more information at the first attempt on a test of episodic memory. Episodic memory is important for day-to-day activities and is used, for example, when remembering where we left our keys in the house or where we parked our car in a multi-story car park. Compared to the control group, the cognitive training group also retained more complex visual information after training.

In addition, participants in the cognitive training group indicated that they enjoyed playing the game and were motivated to continue playing across the eight hours of cognitive training. Their confidence and subjective memory also increased with gameplay. The researchers say that this demonstrates that games can help maximise engagement with cognitive training.

“Good brain health is as important as good physical health. There’s increasing evidence that brain training can be beneficial for boosting cognition and brain health, but it needs to be based on sound research and developed with patients,” says Professor Barbara Sahakian, co-inventor of the game: “It also need to be enjoyable enough to motivate users to keep to their programmes. Our game allowed us to individualise a patient’s cognitive training programme and make it fun and enjoyable for them to use.”

Dr George Savulich, the lead scientist on the study, adds: “Patients found the game interesting and engaging and felt motivated to keep training throughout the eight hours. We hope to extend these findings in future studies of healthy ageing and mild Alzheimer’s disease.”

The researchers hope to follow this published study up with a future large-scale study and to determine how long the cognitive improvements persist.

The design of ‘Game Show’ was based on published research from the Sahakian Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The study was funded by Janssen Pharmaceuticals/J&J and Wellcome.

In 2015, Professor Sahakian and colleagues showed that another iPad game developed by her team was effective at improving the memory of patients with schizophrenia, helping them in their daily lives at work and living independently. The Wizard memory game is available through PEAK via the App Store and Google Play.

Source: University of Cambridge


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