measuring spoons get a magnet makeover

magneticspoons
In the test kitchen where I sometimes work, we have a drawer full of measuring spoons. Many of them have been disconnected from the o-ring that at one point kept them in sets. For the most part I prefer them this way. I always find it difficult to carefully measure out a teaspoon of vanilla with 4 other spoons hanging awkwardly from the end. That said, it can be more than a little infuriating to seplace through a drawer full of utensils for a tiny little spoon that is lost somewhere between the vegetable peeler and the can opener. This is why I’m in love with the Stainless Steel Double Magnetic Measuring Spoons from The Container Store. The spoons stack together magnetically, but easily come apart for use. Purchase the spoons for $14.99 online. I’m going to pick up a set for my home kitchen, and then see what I can do about my work kitchen! — Erica P.

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help! i’m looking for the perfect ice cream recipe

icrecreammaker
I’ve mentioned that ice cream is my favorite food. Even though it’s my obsession, making it is something I’ve left to the pros — especially after my first two attempts at home ice cream making failed so miserably. My first batch of coffee ice cream (using Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything) turned out icy and bitter, not nearly sweet enough. The second time, I followed Christopher Kimball’s coffee gelato recipe from The Dessert Bible and was devastated by the greasy mouthfeel and weak coffee flavor. So it’s my goal this summer to make a successful batch of ice cream, come hell or high water! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered peanut butter crackers at The Kitchn, but before I go through all the effort, I thought I’d poll our fabulous readers. Do you have a foolproof, sinfully perfect ice cream recipe you love? –Megan B.

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g.r.i.l.l.: the other clunkers program

clunkergrill
The government’s Cash for Clunkers program may have hit a bump or two, but a new program from Laura’s Lean Beef is just getting up to speed. Now through September 8, you have a chance to replace your outdated, rusted charcoal or propane grill through the Grill Replacement Initiative from Laura’s Lean (G.R.I.L.L.). Simply share a photo of your grotty grill at Laura’s Lean Beef, then follow results through Facebook or Twitter. You could win one of three new stainless-steel, propane-powered replacements, along with a load of Laura’s Lean products. Visit Laura’s Lean Beef for the official G.R.I.L.L rules.

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real life test kitchen: cherry cupcakes with best vanilla frosting

cherrycupcakes

Fancy cupcake shops are all the rage — instead of waning, the trend just seems to keep growing. Just seeing the word “cupcake” on so many store fronts can work on my brain until I have an insatiable craving for them. But this time, instead of paying $3 for one sweet treat, I decided to see how I’d do baking up some of my own. The results may not be half as pretty as a cupcake from Trophy, but wow were they delicious!

I had a pint of cherries I wanted to use, so I went in seplace of a cherry cupcake recipe. I landed on this one from Good Housekeeping because I liked that it called for fresh, rather than canned, cherries. I ended up using fat free half-and-half because we were out of milk (What can I say — I was literally making these at 9 p.m. when the mood hit, and really didn’t feel like a grocery run) but the cupcakes still turned out wonderfully moist and delicious, if maybe a tad denser than they would be otherwise.

The GH recipe is structured a little more like a muffin, with instructions to top the cupcake with almonds and sugar. I skipped that step and used Bake Chocolate Cake’s best vanilla frosting instead. There’s nothing extraordinary about the frosting ingredients — just butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla — but by following her instructions to beat the ingredients together for four minutes at a time, I ended up with some of the creamiest, most perfect frosting I’d ever made. All in all, these are shop-worthy cupcakes. But they may not last long enough to make it to the shelf. –Mary T.

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steal this idea: cold brewed iced tea and coffee

icedtea

I listen to the weekly podcast of American Public Media’s The Splendid Table while cleaning the house, and was excited to hear two features from Lynne Rosetto Kasper on how to cold brew iced tea and coffee. The technique is basically the same: add coffee or tea to a large amount of water and let sit at least eight hours. Strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks. Easy! During a recent crazy heat wave we suffered in the Pacific Northwest, it was too hot to even have my coffee maker on in the kitchen — this would have saved my life. The flavors are said to be improved as well, with less bitter and acidic compounds released into the brew. Can’t wait to try it out! –Megan B.


Photo by Flickr user House of Sims

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