Three Great Gadgets

Normally, I’m anti-gadget. They clutter the house, they break, they create more work than they save. Yet I’ve been very happy with three recent purchases:

Oxo Cherry Pitter Cherry pitter: 2yo Guppy doesn’t have to negotiate the pits, and both he and 4yo Drake love to use it–it’s a new favorite reward for good behavior. We eat Door County cherries straight, or use them in homemade vanilla ice cream (like this recipe from Baking Beauties) with Potion 9 chocolate on top. Mmm.

MandolineMandoline: A $10 purchase at Target, this made-in-China one is flimsy, but it’s getting lots of use in spite of that. The thin slicer attachment does great work on radishes (for eating with sweet butter on fresh bakery bread), cucumbers, and carrots for salads. When it breaks, I think I’m likely to spring for a better-made one.

Lemon Juicer Lemon/Lime juicer: I’ve used a stainless juicer with basin, a Robocop-lookin’ thing, and a reamer over a sieve over a bowl. But this thing gets maximum juice and maximum flavor from both lemons and limes. I think it’s strong enough to get out some of the oil from the rind. Great for guacamole:

Guacamole (from a recipe from Cooks Illustrated)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2 small avocados , ripe, (preferably Haas)
1 tablespoon minced red onion or scallion
1 small clove garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press
1/2 small jalapeño chile , minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons), ribs and seeds removed to temper heat
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or Italian parsley leaves
Table salt
1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime

1. Halve 1 avocado, remove pit, and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Using fork, mash lightly with onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just combined.

2. Halve and pit remaining avocado. Using a dinner knife, carefully make 1/2-inch cross-hatch incisions in flesh, cutting down to but not through skin, (see illustrations below). Using a soupspoon, gently scoop flesh from skin; transfer to bowl with mashed avocado mixture. Sprinkle lime juice over and mix lightly with fork until combined but still chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. (Can be covered with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto surface of mixture, and refrigerated up to 1 day. Return guacamole to room temperature, removing plastic wrap just before serving.)

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