cooks' essentials

GREAT GADGETS

Accessories to make life in the kitchen easier.

WRITTEN BY SANDRA MACIAS
PHOTOS BY ASA GILMORE 

Who doesn’t love a kitchen gadget? Especially if it perfectly meets a need (and works) to make our kitchen lives easier. Edible Reno-Tahoe has gathered 10 items — an assortment of gadgets and essential kitchen accessories — that may be just the right things to simplify your life.

Artisan cutting block

This handsome cutting board of American walnut is handcrafted at Haus of Reed, a locally owned custom furniture business. Each is unique in design, and the end-grain, book-matched cutting boards are sturdy and immune to scratches. Available in 10-by-10-inch, 14-by-14-inch, and 18-by-18-inch, $100 and up. West Elm, 50 S. Virginia St., Reno or Hausofreed.com

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Safe silicone spatulas

Meet the spatula and spoonula from Heirloom Living. USA-made of ultra-pure silicone (the kind used for medical devices), it features no chemical fillers at all. Guarantee: The spoonula will become your go-to utensil. Heirloom durable, available in a rainbow of colors; choice of wood or fiberglass handles. Priced from $11 to $15 each. Heirloomliving.us or Amazon.com

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Innovative steamer

The LéKué Steam Case is a nifty way to steam foods in the microwave. Add a tablespoon of water to, say, asparagus, in the BPA-free silicone case, close the lids, and zap. Illustrated cookbook included, with how-tos for steaming everything from vegetables to desserts. Be gone, steamer pot. $39.95 at Nothing To It! Culinary Center, 225 Crummer Lane, Reno; Nothingtoit.com

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Spiral mania

This nothing-fancy, hand-held spiralizer, by OXO Good Grips, creates quick and easy vegetable noodles. Spiralize carrots, zucchinis, beets, cucumbers, or potatoes, and you’ve got a healthy alternative to pasta; it’s also fun for salads, garnish … even curly fries. Fits in your kitchen drawer. $14.99 at Cooking Gallery, Arlington Gardens, 606 W. Plumb Lane, Reno and 10084 Donner Pass Road, Truckee

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Cast-iron cleaning solution

The Ringer, a stainless-steel, chainmail scrubber, works wonders on cast-iron skillets and pots. Useful also to clean such things as casserole dishes, waffle makers, woks, and pie pans. Made in the USA, the durable chainmail is soldered (not hand crimped) for a gentle, sanitary scrub. $14.99 on Theringer.myshopify.com

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Classy, affordable knife

Japan’s historic cutlery company, Kai, offers Kai Luna, its line of superior cutlery, at an affordable price. Its 3½-inch paring knife with a longer, soft-grip handle is ideal for peeling, coring, trimming, and mincing. Plus, it’s beautiful, with a traditional hammered finish and German, high-carbon, stainless-steel blade. $19.95 at Nothing To It! Culinary Center, 225 Crummer Lane, Reno; Nothingtoit.com

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Handy herb snippers

You think you don’t need them … until you do. Tovolo’s Herb Snips have two functions: to cut garden herbs for the kitchen and strip the leaves from the sprigs on the blade notches. Blades separate for easy cleaning. Comes with a storage sheath. $10.95 at Cooking Gallery, Arlington Gardens, 606 W. Plumb Lane, Reno and 10084 Donner Pass Road, Truckee

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Multitasking kitchen appliance

Fagor LUX is an electric multicooker — pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker — plus it steams, browns, and sautés. Features 12 predetermined settings, including one for risotto (which cooks in less than 10 minutes). Highly rated Fagor is one of several brands of electric pressure cookers. 6-quart, $129.95; 8-quart, $159.95 at Nothing To It! Culinary Center, 225 Crummer Lane, Reno; Nothingtoit.com

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Artisan pottery bean pot

A Reno-made, handcrafted bean pot for slow cooking that offers many possibilities, including baked beans, pot roasts, and stews. Oven use only, unless seasoned for stovetop cooking. Microwave and dishwasher safe; includes instructions and recipes. $60 to $80 at Artists Co-op Gallery, 627 Mill St., Reno; Artistsco-opgalleryreno.com; Micano Home & Garden, 1350 S. Virginia St., Reno; Micanohome.com; and Dtrpottery.com

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Small but mighty

This strawberry huller, the Stem Gem, by Chef’n is a perfect solution for spring strawberry season. True, it is small. But the rocket-shaped gadget’s steel claws remove stem and core mighty efficiently. You can hull a pint of strawberries for a pie in record time. $8 at Cooking Gallery, Arlington Gardens, 606 W. Plumb Lane, Reno and 10084 Donner Pass Road, Truckee

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Reno food writer Sandra Macias is a kitchen gadget fan herself. Her favorites include: a cherry pitter (cherry season is coming soon) and the Microplaner, a lifesaver for ginger zesting and Parmesan grating. Researching this story, she collected a new one: the LéKué steam case. Works like a charm.

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