I love kitchen gadgets. The right ones can make cooking so much more fun, and efficient! Whether it is a great knife or some obscure tool that only serves one purpose, like a carrot sharpener, they all have a place in my heart (& in my kitchen drawer).
I recently had the pleasure of attending a demonstration of popular culinary tools from Chefs Toys at Melissa’s Produce in Vernon, CA. I knew that I was entering dangerous territory, as my kitchen drawers are already full of other “must-have” gadgets, but I braved the event anyway.
To kick the day off, Chef Tom and the Melissa’s Produce team prepared a delightful lunch. I started with the Hatch Chile and Devils Food Cookies. (Well I needed to eat breakfast before lunch, right?!)
We also enjoyed a Crunchy Asian Vegetable Salad, Honey Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts and two soups: Cauliflower & Celery Root and Black-eyed Pea Stew.
After lunch we had time to photograph the food and tools.
Nancy from A Communal Table joining in the photo fun.
Food bloggers love any excuse to pull out our phones and take pictures!
Now, on to the main event and demonstration.
Mike Krepistman, on the left, the owner/founder of Chefs Toys, shared with us a about his company’s history, then talked about the future, and culinary trends in the industry. Chef Doug Schonfeld, on the right, is the Executive Chef and Sales Manager at Chefs Toys. He’s showing us a Saf-T-Grip White Cutting Board, a fantastic invention because of its anti-slip grip corners. (I love it because it’s dishwasher safe, too).
Chef’s Toys it is the leading restaurant equipment and supply company that is open to the public here in So. California. They have six superstores located in Van Nuys, West Los Angeles, Fountain Valley, Torrance, Anaheim and Corona. If you don’t live in the area, you can check them out at ChefsToys.com.
Here is a video with Chef Doug doing a demo on a few of the tools.
If you are interested in any of these tools in the video, here are the links where you can find them.
The day after the demo, I went to the Chef’s Toy store in Van Nuys. I was lost in a sea of items that would fulfill my every culinary whim. An hour and $100 later, I walked out with so many useful tools that I’m going to soon turn into a gadget-wielding cooking wizard!
My favorite purchase was the Adjust-A-Cup Wonder Cup, an adjustable measuring cup that slides up and down to easily remove ingredients.
Just slide the bottom to desired measurement. Then fill, and slide ingredients out—no mess! It works with dry and liquid ingredients, but I find it most helpful for sticky ingredients like peanut butter & honey.
I love all the other gadgets I bought as well, but will have to share them in another post. I had to sneak my treasures into our house, as my husband would not be impressed with my new space stealers. Fortunately, he doesn’t read my blog. Whew.
Recipe of the Day
This hearty vegetarian soup comes together easily and full of vegetables. I adapted Chef Tom’s recipe to make this vegetarian & dairy-free.
- 1 package Melissa’s Steamed Blackeyed Peas
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- ½ cup cooking sherry
- 1 cup Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes (DYP's) diced small
- Vegetable broth as needed (I used ½ cup)
- 1 cup zucchini, diced small
- 1 cup yellow crookneck squash, diced small
- Salt & Pepper – to taste
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- In a large pot over a high flame, heat the oil and caramelize the onion.
- Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Next add the carrots & celery and cook until tender and slightly caramelized.
- Add the tomatoes to the pot, breaking them up with your fingers and add the sherry.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until somewhat reduced and thickened. Next add the potatoes.
- You will probably need to add some broth to thin the stew.
- Cook until the potatoes are tender, then add the blackeyed peas and the remaining ingredients (except the butter) and cook until heated thoroughly.
- Adjust the seasoning and add a bit more broth if the stew is too thick.
I am all about good quality knives and gaining the skill to use them, but sometimes a gadget that does it perfectly for me is what I really want. Thank you, Chef’s Toys!
…and then, she paused for thought.