We love our American-made Lodge Cast Iron and unbreakable Pyrex, but sometimes a great cool tool is forged in foreign kitchens. While we are proud to be in the US of A and support our local brands and products, international inspiration has shaped some of our favorite soup flavors! For example, Caribbean Black Bean is filled with spices from the Islands, Chicken Pomodoro is a take on an Italian classic, Sweet Chicken Curry has the flavors of South Asia, and the flavor our Lentil soup comes from Spanish Pardina lentils.
Our lucky Soup Challenge finalists will be picking out a selection of Cool Tools as part of their prize! To see the rest of their options, check out Cool Tools 1: Health Incentives (link) and Cool Tools 2: Cooking is a Science.
Capresso frothPLUS ($47.99 via Amazon) – http://amzn.to/wMzmYZ
From the snowy Alps of Switzerland we present you with Heidi the milkmaid’s secret weapon: the Capresso frothPLUS. There are no limits thanks to Capresso’s ability to froth both hot and cold milk, half & half or cream, giving you myriad of drinkable milk options. Things like hot cocoa, chocolate milk, egg nog, tea lattes, or smoothies can benefit from the addition and topping of freshly frothed milk. And, if you are a home barista, this little machine can take your normal morning cup of joe from tolerable to terrific! Easy to clean and takes up little counter space- thank you Switzerland for another fabulous addition to the culinary world.
Swissmar Curve Peeler ($3.99 via Sur la table) – http://bit.ly/ZLUOCb
Culinary cousin of another great Swiss invention, the Swiss Army Knife, this little peeler will become your most favorite foreign exchange tool. It peels, it slices, and makes vegetable ribbons like you’ve never seen before. And, best of all, it’s almost impossible to cut yourself (unlike some more traditional models). This peeler is held between the pointer finger and the thumb and easily adapts to all kinds of peels. We’ve even used my Swissmar to remove citrus rind for garnishes. Essentially, this tool can do no wrong and deserves citizenship in your cutlery drawer.
Sil-Pats ($26.95 via Sur la table) – http://bit.ly/13pC4JU
From the same country that brought us macarons, beurre blanc, and ratatouille (that’s France if you weren’t quite sure), may I introduce you to the Sil-Pat: a reusable and flexible silicone mat that takes the place of parchment paper when baking or roasting. It also makes a great work surface and can help form other things like ice-cream cake rolls, stuffed-rolled-and-roasted pork tenderloin, and even sushi. It’s the simplest invention and helps any level of chef perfect their cooking.
Molcajete ($14.95 via Sur la table)- http://bit.ly/VQf7uT
The molcajete (a Spanish word for a mortar and pestle) is an ancient culinary tool from Mesoamerica that is a pivotal part of traditional Mexican cuisine, but it also has so many uses in the modern kitchen! This particular model is one of the best and universal options available here in the states. So what can you make with a molcajete? Better question: what can’t you make in one?! Anything from guacamole to fresh peanut butter is easy work for this nifty ceramic tool and you can wow your dinner guests by rambling off details about its Aztecan history.
It really is a small world after all and the more we learn from other cultures’ culinary methods, the more our own cuisine will grow. Start by just adding one or more of these cool tools to your kitchen arsenal and you’ll be a worldly-cook in no time.