Here’s a very handy little tool, although it is pretty niche in it’s use. Any ideas?

Well, it’s very, very useful at getting some of the raw ingredients necessary for plantation iced tea.

Plantation Iced Tea:

  • 8 cups very dark black tea (let the tea steep for a good long time)
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • sprigs of fresh mint

Mix together the black tea, the pineapple juice, lemon juice and the simple syrup. Take a sprig or two of the mint in the palm of your hand and smack them with your other hand to release the mint flavor. Put the smacked sprigs into a glass with some ice and pour the tea mixture over top. Sit back, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and enjoy.

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Have you figured it out yet? Kind of big to be juicing a lemon with….so yes! It’s a pineapple slicer and corer. Not convinced? I wasn’t either, but it worked like a charm. The one I have is by Vacu Vin – let me show you how it works.

First you need to cut off the top of a pineapple where the “leaves” (a bit tough to be called leaves, in my opinion, but I have no idea what else to call them). Once the top has been cut off, you put the tool on top of the pineapple and press down so the round blade at the bottom fits flush on the top of the pineapple

And now, just turn the handle, pressing down lightly. The result? A deftly cored pineapple with easy to pull apart rings – which are great to throw into a juicer for fresh pineapple juice.

Pretty cool isn’t it?

Well not exactly different, I just didn’t get around to selecting a gadget this week to puzzle over. Instead, I thought I would share another recipe with you all. This was a little something I put together tonight for dinner as the brief tease of warm weather in San Francisco came to a chilly and windy end today and I wanted something warming, but still light as I was clinging on to the memory of our touch of summer. I call this San Frantucscan Stew, because it reminds me of something you might come across in a small village restaurant in Tuscany.

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 can cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans)
  • 4 medium sized, ripe tomatoes (definitely not beef stock, and not Roma tomatoes either)
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tbl of fresh sage leaves (wash and cut in halves)
  • 1/2 Tbl of butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 white wine
  • 2 cups fresh chopped hearty green, like collard greens or kale

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the garlic and cut in half – remove the inner green stem if there is one as this will make the garlic bitter if you don’t. Wash and chop the tomatoes into fourths. Open the beans and drain the liquid from the beans – I usually give them a rinse in a sieve to get off most of the gooey liquid from the can.  Set all of this to the side.

In a medium sized dutch oven, heat the butter until bubbling over medium to medium-high heat. Add in half the fresh sage leaves and the chicken breast. Brown on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until the the side is has some nice browned/golden bits. Turn over and do the same to the other side for another 3-4 minutes.

When the second side of the chicken is done, turn the heat off under the dutch oven and add the garlic, tomatoes, shallot, remaining sage and beans. Give a good sprinkling of salt on top. Then pour in the wine and the chicken stock.

Cover the the dutch oven and put into the oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, pull the dutch oven out and put the chopped collard greens on top of the chicken and beans mixture. Leave the lid/cover off and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. The greens will get slightly crispy as they cook on top of the mixture.

Scoop the greens off the top and split them between two plates. Then ladle the beans and tomatoes on top with some of the sauce/broth in the pan. Finally, cut the chicken breast in half and put one half on top of each plate of greens and beans and drizzle a little more sauce/broth on top. Serve with a nice crusty rustic bread to sop up the juices and either a lighter red wine or a heartier white.

Serves 2 people.

It’s pretty easy, doesn’t take a lot of dishes and does most of the work for you in the oven, so you can spend your time surfing the web and reading interesting blogs.


Egg SpoonThis particular gadget comes in handy right about this time of year. At least I think it does, and if this isn’t it’s intended purpose, well it’s gosh darn good at doing this. Any thoughts yet? Think colors. Think boiled. Think eggs.

I think this kitchen utensil is intended to retrieve hard boiled eggs from boiling water.  I used it to do just that as I boiled eggs to color for Easter and it worked very well.

I do love a good hard boiled egg*, but there is a limit to how many I can eat on my own. I decided this year to turn my colored little objet d’arts into a deviled eggs appetizers for Easter Sunday dinner. Here’s what I do for deviled eggs – simple, classic and delicious!

* For a good way to boil eggs, I turn to Martha Stewart and her boiled egg 101.

For 6 eggs you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard (I prefer a dijion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery for crunch
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • Paprika (Smoked Paprika adds a nice bacony flavor)

Do the usual trick of peeling the eggs, cutting in half and scooping out the yolks. Mix the yolks and all ingredients except the paprika together in a bowl. Refill each egg half with the mixture and sprinkle paprika on top – e Voila! Easter appetizer.

An apple with an apple corer You didn’t think I was going to start out with something difficult did you? No, I went for the easy one. Clearly this gadget is an apple corer. But why would you use it rather then just slicing the apple? Funny you should ask that, I found it could be used for baking apples stuffed with all sorts of yummy things, like

  • brown sugar
  • a shot of bourbon
  • pecans
  • raisins
  • a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • and a little bit of butter

Which you could mix up together and stuff into the center of the cored apple. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 325 F oven and you have dessert.

Or you could just use it to core the apple before cutting it and eating it. Your choice.