cooking tools

The Wonders of the Fantastic Rice Cooker

There’s slow cookers, toaster ovens, steamer pots, pressure cookers … and then there’s the Tantung rice cooker.

These things are great. At around 100-130$ each, they sit at a hefty price. But they’ll last you for a freaking millennia, with no additional upkeep and limited power drainage. This is in comparison to the 35$ ones you can find at Target, which might last you three years if you’re lucky, or the over-complicated, digital, 500$ ones that have all these extra features that you really don’t need for that much money. 

The Tantung model rice cookers are simple analog (unless otherwise specified), and they will serve you a literal lifetime. My parents currently use one that’s older than I am, and it still works like new. My own model is a solid four years old, and compared to the amount of cooked/instant rice I would have bought if I didn’t have this thing, it paid for itself in less than a year.

And they’re not just good for only rice! They’re so powerful and quick, you can dump an entire stew in there, or six large dumplings, or some noodles, and have it ready within 10-15 minutes. The container inside can hold a hefty 6 cups; that’s half a roast chicken, or an entire pot of stew. 

And it’s ridiculously easy to use. You literally just plug it in, put some water in the steaming cavity, flip the switch, and wait for 15 minutes. Rise and repeat. Half of Asia freaking swears by this thing.

So if you’re thinking about getting a steamer, consider the miraculous Tantung rice cooker!

College Cooking Necessities

I’m quickly approaching my last few days of dorm living, so I thought I would go through some of the most vital tools that I use to cook in my dorm room.  I rarely buy food at the dining hall because the food is typically disgusting and unhealthy.  By cooking food myself, I am able to have a more customized diet and I also save a lot of money on my dining account!

You can find plenty of lists online that will tell you that a microwave or a tea kettle are important for college, and I agree! These appliances have really helped me out.  But I also think that I have some unique tools that have really impacted my ability to easily cook meals in my room.

1. Electric Skillet

By far what I use most to cook dinner each night is my electric skillet.  These babies are so versatile.  You can bake casseroles, “grill” steaks, and scramble eggs! Pretty much anything you can make in a pan (and more) is possible in an electric skillet.  They’re pretty easy to clean in the sink, and can easily be stored in your closet or a cabinet.

This skillet costs less that $20 on amazon, and there are plenty on the market between $20 and $40.  

2. Spices

College cooking tends to be pretty bland at times.  The best way to liven up your meals is by having a few important spices on hand.  I recommend checking out the bulk section of your local grocery store, you may even have one on campus.  The spices I used most often are paprika, oregano, cumin and garlic salt.  It really depends on what flavor profiles you prefer, but having just a few can go a long way.

If you’re looking for a simple way to grab a few spices that won’t take up a ton of space, this multi-spice pack is a great option.  It is around $8 on amazon, but you can also find them at several stores such as target or Walmart. 

3. Mason Jars

Mason jars aren’t just trendy, they’re SUPER versatile.  Mason jars can be used to store ingredients, make mason jar salads, mix ingredients together (shake it up!) and so much more.  If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, check out pinterest.

You can obviously pick these up at any grocery store, but you can also get these colored ones on Amazon for about $11.

4. Measuring Cup

Sometimes easier to just throw in a little and hope for the best than measure out everything exactly.  This has actually been a lifesaver.  Its really simple to measure a bunch of things, takes up minimal space, and is super easy to clean.  It is also microwave safe!  If you’re on any sort of diet, measuring your food is important! In addition, it’ll help you stay closer to the taste of the original recipe.

You can buy Pyrex in tons of different stores, but you can also find this measuring cup for a pretty great price on Amazon for about $8.  If you’re buying a non-pyrex cup, make sure to check if it is microwave safe or not!

5. Large Microwave safe Bowls

Last, but definitely not least are these bowls that are super essential for cooking.  Being able to cook things in the microwave is very important.  I throw some cauliflower and water in, and it steams in 5 minutes.  You can also heat up soups, and even scramble eggs.

These bowls are especially college-friendly.  They are collapsable! When you’re not using them to microwave your delicious meals, you can store them in your small dorm room drawers.  You can find this set of 3 for under $15 on amazon.

I hope that this list was helpful!  Cooking in a dorm room is not impossible, and can be healthy, quick, and delicious.  Do you cook in your dorm room? What do you use to make the process simpler?

Hang Around and Toss Around by KiBiSi for Muuto.

Copenhagen designers KiBiSi have designed a set of wooden cooking tools and salad servers for Danish design brand Muuto. Called Hang Around, the cooking tools have a groove in the back so they can balance on the edge of pans and bowls.

“We were originally inspired by Bhutanese crafts. Their wooden everyday tools seem to have layers of stories and thoughts. We combined that with our Scandinavian design heritage and our idea-lead, no fluff design philosophy – and this little invention was bread. ”

Kitchen Recommendations?

My birthday is next Tuesday (yay!), and my family has been asking for gift ideas. The problem is that most of the things I need/want at this point have to do with my kitchen, which, oh yes, is still not done. (Don’t let me start…)

Anyway, it’s hard to know exactly what I want or need with all of my stuff packed up. But I’m sure there are some amazing gadgets and even simple tools that I have lived this long without and shouldn’t go a day longer. What are your favorite things in your kitchen? It could little things or big things, just looking for some ideas!

(oh, and cause I know it’s a tumblr fav, I already have a kitchenaid mixer. but any attachment recommendations are welcome!)

We wanted to share a few useful cooking tools

Over the next few days we’ll be posting charts, nutritional info and even news. All about your diet. 

This chart is to help you decipher which herbs go with each type of veggie.  We suggest you print it out and use it this fall and winter to enrich your meals with new and exciting tastes.