My Review of The Weber 6511001 Genesis E-310 Home Gas Grill

Weber 6511001 Genesis E-310 Home Gas GrillWeber has made quite a name for themselves in the world of barbecue, and they’re one of the few companies who can afford to advertise nationally with a televised campaign. For many people, they are the undisputed kings of barbecue that provide you value and cooking power in one package. In a strange way, this makes it even more difficult to finally settle on one single barbecue that you bring into your backyard and home. The fact is Weber has so many great products in their line that you might not be able to decide which one to purchase. But if you have a budget of around $700, and you’re looking for a straightforward grill that will be in your backyard for years to come, then the Weber 6511001 Genesis E-310 is a great choice. There are barbecues that are cheaper and definitely ones that are more expensive, but this one is the perfect selection for a mid to high range budget.

One of the things to love about this grill is it combines size and cooking power perfectly to give you everything you want to feed your family. In fact, there is enough overall cooking space that you can feed to families (plural) if you wanted to. That makes it a perfect party machine that will allow you to invite your neighbors over for a great summer meal. You can accommodate large groups of people with a bit of organization and careful planning for each element that ends up on the grill. And remember, Weber grills are not just about intense power or temperature, they also allow you to incorporate a good degree of precision into your barbecue routine.

There are separate butane burners that line the bottom of the Weber 6511001 Genesis E-310 and each one has its own individual control. That means you can have one end of the grill running at a different temperature than the other. This will allow you to cook various elements at the same time, and you’ll really love the addition of a back warming rack that will keep everything piping hot until ready to serve. And it’s not just about direct grilling, you’ll love the ability to close the heavy lid and effectively read your own outdoor oven that can be used for entire roasts. Imagine how great it would be to cook a whole barbecue chicken or racks of ribs – you’ll never have to go to a restaurant again to get these classic barbecue dishes!

One common feature found with all of Weber gas grills (http://gasgrillsandbbq.com/) are flavor bars that are located alongside the burners. These effectively trap and evaporate fat trappings which will give you a double dose of taste in to the food cooking above. It’s really a simplistic idea that is implemented to perfection, and the results all end up in more flavor for you. And thanks to a handy sear station you can ensure that you get that crispy first to layer on your food while retaining all of the yummy juice inside. A one touch ignition system is also a welcome addition that is much faster than a traditional charcoal grill, and you can be up and running within minutes of turning your grill on. In the end, not everyone is looking to spend this much money on a backyard barbecue but if you are a true fan of authentic grilled food, this is a safe bet that gives you the added confidence of a Weber quality all the way.

Curious about going from box to burn? I found this video with not just one man’s opinion on this grill, but a time-lapse version of his assembly process.

6 Unique Kitchen Gadgets from Chef’n

Unique Kitchen Gadgets from Chef’nLast time I made a list it was about cool kitchen appliances and gadgets that make great gifts. While they definitely were some cool kitchen gadgets, they were a little expensive.

Recently, while on vacation, I walked into a cool kitchen gadgets store that had everything I’ll be writing about just sitting there all perfectly lumped together. They were begging to be looked at!

All of these unique kitchen tools are made by Chef’n (or “chefn” if you’re webbin’ it). Not only will their funky kitchen stuff go great in your own kitchen, but these items are great as unique kitchen gifts AND they are very affordable.

Chef’n Pepperball

Chef’n PepperballThis is one of the cool kitchen accessories that can solve a major problem in my kitchen. Spilling.

By that I mean that I keep my salt and pepper right by the stove and, more frequently than I care for, I end up knocking one or both of them over. Good thing I’m not superstitious! So, bonus number one: there is a magnet on the Pepperball! I can just attach it to the vent over the stove, the top part of the stove, the side of the refrigerator…anywhere metal that is nearby. It is also clear plastic so you can see when you’re running out of pepper.

The Chef’n Pepperball costs about $12.

Chef’n Palmzester

Chef’n PalmzesterThe next three unique kitchen accessories all caught my eye for one reason: I have big hands. Sometimes it is harder for me to use smaller kitchen utensils, but these attach right to your finger.

Just clip the Palmzester to your finger, grab whatever you’re going to zest, and the rest is easy. There is just one tiny blade, and a little compartment with a lid to collect your zest. With the long zest wand I have at home I’m always worried I’m going to cut myself. The Palmzester gives me a little peace of mind in that department since I only have to focus on the one blade.

The Chef’n Palmzester costs about $8.

Chef’n Palmpeeler

Chef’n PalmpeelerAnother one of these cool cooking gadgets is the Chef’n Palmpeeler. Like the Palmzester, the Palmpeeler clips to your finger and lets you peel away.

My only worry with this one is carrots. As I said, I have large hands, and the problem comes more from holding a narrower carrot than the palm peeler. But, having the blade in my palm and obscured from view makes me just a little uneasy with smaller foods. With larger foods like potatoes and cucumbers, I have no worries.

The Chef’n Palmpeeler costs about $6.

Chef’n Palmbrush

Chef’n PalmbrushThe last of the cool kitchen tools in my list that attach to your palm is the Chef’n Palmbrush. This is just an overall handy way to scrub down vegetables before cooking. Again…large hands. The handle on the brush I have isn’t very big, and it is hard for me to grip it comfortably. Just like the other two unique cooking gadgets above, the Palmbrush slips onto your finger, then scrub away!

Since there isn’t a blade on the Palmbrush, this one is all pluses in my book.

The Chef’n Palmbrush costs about $7.

Chef’n Garliczoom

Chef’n GarliczoomNOW we’re really talkin’!

For reasons I shouldn’t have to mention yet again (my hands), dicing is a little harder for me. The Chef’n Garliczoom is high up there among other cool kitchen gadgets. With the Garliczoom you put a couple garlic cloves inside, close the top, then roll away! The wheels spin the blades inside to chop and dice your garlic up. Open it back up, take out the blade, and you have access to your diced garlic.

The nice thing is that they also have an XL version that allows you to chop more garlic, or throw some herbs in there to dice them up. To me, this seems like the perfect chef gadget since garlic is a key ingredient in so many recipes.

BONUS: Dreamer’s Tips to a Work-Free Meal
– find a chef at place where you can find chefs cooking
– observe chefs cookware in place
– befriend chef by complimenting on their chef cooking skill and chef cookware
– chef makes you food
(this method has not been tested)

The Chef’n Garliczoom costs about $10, and the XL costs about $15.

Chef’n Flexicado

Chef’n FlexicadoThe last of the six items is the Chef’n Flexicado. This is one of those unique kitchen utensils that has a very specific purpose: cutting and scooping avocados. I’m sure you could find another use of some sort for it, but it has avocados in mind.

I personally don’t care for the taste of avocados, but my wife loves them. Cut an avocado in half, take out the pit, squeeze (a.k.a. “flex”) the Flexicado to match the size of the avocado, and slice away! Not one your standard chef utensils, but great for you “guac” fans.

The Chef’n Flexicado costs about $7.

BONUS ITEM: RSVP Onion Goggles

RSVP Onion GogglesSURPRISE! A bonus item!

This is one of those funny kitchen gadgets that isn’t really the most necessary thing to have, but it was interesting enough to me that it was even a product on the market in the first place.

I think it is common knowledge that cutting onions can make your eyes water. If it is that big of a problem in your household, maybe it is time to get some?

I see this as more of a secret Santa type gift, but I don’t have a problem with onions. At least not as bad as the lady in the video.

The RSVP Onion Goggles dont cost a lot either.

How to Make Coffee Taste Good at Home

Everyone wants to drink good coffee – and it isn’t as hard as it seems. Day after day you fork a few dollars over a counter to get your coffee, but did you know you could be making the same coffee at home. Yes, you could, well – you could actually be making it better at home, if only you had the right coffee gadgets in your kitchen.

A Conical Burr Grinder

All the professionals in the specialty coffee community agree: you can’t have good coffee without having a grinder that properly crushes the whole beans into grounds for the right extraction. What kind of grinder do you need?

You need a conical burr grinder.

hario skerton hand coffee grinderThese are not expensive, and an investment in one will last a lifetime. The one I recommend above all others is the Hario Skerton hand grinder. We use one in a lot of our exploits at Project Vvlgar and it has never failed us. Not to mention, it is dishwasher safe, the burrs are made of ceramic, and the entire thing is very easy to take apart and clean, or put together for more use in the kitchen.

A Brewing Method Other Than a Drip Coffee Maker

Yet again, at Project Vvlgar we highly recommend trying pour over coffee with any number of apparatuses.

hario v60 ceramic coffee dripperOur personal favorite is the Hario v60 ceramic dripper. The first time that we ever used it the brew came out perfectly, I personally use it any time that I want to make a cup of coffee without brewing a whole pot at a time. If you are drinking a single cup of coffee by yourself there is no better way to drink it than from a pour over extraction.

It is simple, the ceramic dripper can be purchased for under $20, and even a lot of espresso bars and cafes are starting to offer it to their customers because of the phenomenal taste associated with this method.

It Really Is That Simple

Making fantastic coffee at home isn’t difficult, it isn’t complicated, and it isn’t expensive. You need a grinder with conical burrs and a brewing method other than a drip coffee maker. Once you’ve acquired these simple appliances your coffee drinking experiences will reach an entirely new level.

Mix It Up In Pyrex Mixing Bowls

pyrex mixing bowls

I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Pyrex bowls. My grandmothers both had them, my mother has them, I have them. I consider them some of the best mixing bowls for a few reasons.

First off, they’re durable. Made from a soda lime composition, the glass Pyrex cookware, bakeware, and mixing bowls can take a lot of heat. Although, Pyrex does offer many safety tips because their products aren’t completely immune to thermal shock. Here are four tips to cooking safely with Pyrex:

– Preheat your oven to the desired temperature before putting in Pyrex
– Place hot Pyrex glassware on a dry towel after cooking is complete
– Add liquid to the cookware if cooking meat or vegetables
– Never put Pyrex glassware directly on the burner or in the broiler

Follow those simple instructions and you avoid the major factors that lead to breaking via thermal shock. If you want a little more info on those rules, see the video below.

I realize that those rules are more important for the Pyrex glass bakeware than the mixing bowls, but they are important enough to make note of.

Another thing I like about Pyrex glass mixing bowls is that I can see through them. Sometimes when I’m mixing in a hurry it will look like I’m done, but there will be a small chunk of unmixed flour at the bottom. With glass Pyrex mixing bowls I can see that flour trying to hide from me and take care of the problem.

Because they’re glass, they are also extremely resistant to stains and odors. It is nice to be able to have a completely clean mixing bowl each and every time I go to use them.

There is even a newer line of pyrex tear shaped mixing bowls that have a round side that is still good for mixing against, and a pointed side that makes pouring smoother and easier.

Some other things I like aren’t necessarily exclusive to Pyrex by any means, but it doesn’t hurt that these options are there. I use a mixing set of Pyrex nesting bowls, so they all store away nicely. And, they are Pyrex bowls with lids, so I can use them for storage too. You might not want to use one multi piece mixing bowl set as diversely as I do. Don’t worry. There are other options.

pyrex 10 piece storage set

If you’re read any of my other articles you probably are catching on to the idea that I’m trying to get rid of petroleum products in my kitchen. We have enough plastic being generated daily on this planet. With Pyrex glass storage containers I get a more durable product that will be reusable for longer, and that doesn’t have the possibility of leeching into any soups or liquids I might microwave in them. Yes, it is handy to have “disposable” plastic containers, but pyrex food storage containers are much more earth friendly.

I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a house or apartment that hasn’t had a Pyrex measuring cup set. I’m not talking about the smaller type of measuring cups (1/8 cup – 1 cup), but a stacking set of Pyrex measuring cups with a 2, 4, and 8 cup sizes. As I said, Pyrex has been around in my life since I can remember. They go a long way back.

antique pyrex mixing bowls

Since it is such a durable product, you can still find plenty of vintage pyrex mixing bowls still in existence today. A little history may be needed.

The idea for Pyrex was created when the wife of a scientist at Corning Glass Works was flustered with her cookware. She knew that the glass her husband worked with was strong and got him to create a glass piece of cookware for her. It has been around since 1915, and some of those old pyrex mixing bowls are still around today.

Although World Kitchen purchased Pyrex from Corning Incorporated, they still use the same formula and still manufacture Pyrex in the USA.

pyrex colored mixing bowls

At some point in the 1940s you could find colored Pyrex mixing bowls on the market. These were very popular, and the primary color set is the one I remember from my childhood.

You can still find many pieces from these sets today, although there is a higher likelihood that the extra large mixing bowl will be missing. Over time, the bigger the bowl, the more susceptible it is to breaking.

Pyrex doesn’t offer any colored glassware currently. You CAN find pyrex mixing bowls with LIDS that are different colors, but just the lids.

Whatever the option, mixing, baking, measuring…Pyrex is my choice for getting the job done.

Mix It Up In Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

stainless steel mixing bowls

Wait…what? There is more than one type of bowl out there (it is hard to type with sarcasm)? Of course. We’ve already taken a closer look at Pyrex mixing bowls, so let’s change things up and focus in on stainless steel mixing bowls.

One major difference between stainless steel bowls and Pyrex bowls can be discovered with a little test. Hold both bowls high in the air…then let go. They both MAY survive the fall, but stainless steel definitely will. It may get a dent, but you can pound that out. You can’t really pound out “shattered.”

A) thesuzchef.com doesn’t recommend actually doing this test
B) thesuzchef.com has done this test via poor cooking karma on separate situations

As with anything else, when you’re looking into commercial mixing bowls you want to be aware of what your general use is going to be. If you’re looking for kitchen mixing bowls that can help maintain the temperature of the food, be it cold or hot, you might want to stick with Pyrex or ceramic mixing bowls. Stainless steel is much more quick to heat up and cool down in comparison to those other types.

But, if you’re planning on doing a lot of aggressive mixing, stainless steel isn’t going to shatter or crack on you.

sizes and textures

stackable stainless steel mixing bowls

The nice thing about mixing is that it is a common part of any cooking process. So, you will find a wide array of sizes from small to large stainless steel mixing bowls. When I went out to get some for my kitchen I found a pretty affordable 3 piece mixing bowl set that has done me well.

The set I bought has a brushed stainless steel exterior and a mirrored stainless steel interior. My KitchenAid mixer has a stainless steel bowl that attaches to it, and it has a brushed interior. I haven’t really found a huge variance in pros and cons between having mirrored or brushed. The only thing I’ve notices is that it is easier to see scratches in the mirrored surface, but I use a silicone coated whisk for most of my mixing so the scratches don’t happen often.

You do want to make sure you’re getting bowls with a higher grade of stainless steel so that you’ll have a stronger and easier to clean product.

Some of the other added bonuses that some brands offer help keep the bowl in place, protect your hands, or keep the food in. Let’s look at some specific brands in this stainless steel mixing bowls review.

stainless steel mixing bowls

If that doesn’t seem like a specific name brand name, well, it isn’t. This represents the bowls I actually own. I don’t remember if they even had a brand name. What does that tell you about a product? It says it was probably mass produced overseas. I only barely remember that I DID find the stainless steel grade on the packaging.

This is the set that I’ve been referring to above. My three mixing bowls (1.5 quart, 3.5 quart, and 5.5 quart) are pretty basic and don’t have any extra features other than a ring on the side in case I ever felt like hanging them from my pot rack, I guess. So, I’m probably on the low end and definitely running bare-bones as far as features.

oxo good grips

Oxo Steel Mixing Bowls

The OXO Good Grips 3-piece stainless-steel mixing bowl set takes things up a notch in features. The interior is brushed stainless steel, but the exterior is covered in plastic to help insulate your hands in case you’re dealing with hot foods. It also wouldn’t be OXO Good Grips with out some sort of grip, right? The base is a non-skid surface to keep your bowl from sliding around on your kitchen counter as you use it.

pampered chef

Pampered Chef stainless steel mixing bowls are another great option and probably have the most features. One big bonus is these are stainless steel mixing bowls with lids. If you’re prepping items that you want to save until later, or that you might need to take with you to another location, it doesn’t hurt to be able to secure the contents inside with a lid.

Similar to OXO, the Pampered Chef mixing bowls have a non-skid base to keep it stable on the counter. As far as differences, in addition to having lids, the Pampered Chef bowls have measurement markers inside to provide better accuracy, AND they have spouts for pouring. Spouts are definitely something I wish I had on my set. I’ve made more than a few batches of popovers and the batter takes a little extra effort to control while pouring.

top chef

Now, while I am normally a little hesitant to go for the items that are fame-based (cookware with a name like Paula Deen or Rachael Ray), there was something interesting about one of the Top Chef stainless steel mixing bowls I saw. They offer a set of three bowls with non-skid base…sure. They offer that same set with lids…okay. But the thing that caught my eye was the Top Chef 5 quart mixing bowl with lid and graters. The lid for this mixing bowl has a hole in the middle that is big enough for one of their three stainless steel grater inserts to fit into. You can grate right into the bowl without the food flying out the other end all over the place!

kirkland

Kirkland stainless steel mixing bowls were a popular search online, but they are hard to track down. Kirkland Signature is the brand name for items made for CostCo. I tracked down some on Amazon to see what people were saying about them. The general consensus was that the non-skid base was great, but that the lids didn’t work in the refrigerator…the cold temperature would effect the lid and make it curl enough to lose the freshness seal.

Like all kitchen gadgets and cooking utensils, there are many more out there. Try some for yourself!

Already using stainless steel mixing bowls? What do you like about them?