New Products


Progressive International: Collapsible Salad Spinner
December 28, 2009

During its 36-year history, this Seattle manufacturer of microwave cookware, kitchen tools, and accessories has consistently delivered on its goal to produce functional, innovative, fun gear for the kitchen. One of Progressive's strong suits has been in meeting the storage challenges for food and gear posed by many home kitchens today. An array of specially designed fruit, vegetable, and herb keepers extend the life of fresh produce. Progressive’s folding mandoline slicer, cheese grater, pizza wheel, and their collapsible funnels, masher, and cake carrier save drawer and cabinet space.

Their latest addition to the category is the 5 quart collapsible salad spinner. The spinner collapses to less than 35% operational height, or about 3”, which, for a bulky item like a salad spinner, can be significant.

The spinner is driven by a retractable pull-cord, housed in the lid, as is the push button brake for stopping the spinning basket. The bowl and basket, made of ABS plastic, are dishwasher safe.

Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner


Gaggia Brera: Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
December 28, 2009

Into your machine goes pure water and high quality coffee beans freshly dark-roasted. When the temperature of the brewing water, the pressure generated by the machine’s pump, the consistency of the grind (powdery fine, in the case of espresso), the degree of compaction of the coffee grounds, the water-to-coffee ratio, and the evenness with which the water is forced through the grounds are all correct—you get a perfect cup of espresso. Gaggia machines are second to none at handling all of these variables.

Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Maker

The Italian manufacturer of some of the world’s best espresso machines and coffee grinders rolled out their latest super-automatic machine in October. It’s currently on sale in Europe and should be available in the US in early 2010. Super-automatic espresso machines, as opposed to manual, semi-automatic, and automatic versions, are more frequently found in commercial installations than in home kitchens. They include an array of automated functions including grinding, dosing (measuring the grounds), tamping, brewing, and ejecting the spent puck.

The Brera holds about nine ounces of whole beans in its hopper, which feeds an automatic grinder that can be set to any of five different grind consistencies. The removable water tank will hold about 34 oz. The Brera will brew one or two cups in a cycle, during which the water pump generates 15 bars of pressure. All of the settings and functions on the Brera are controlled with five buttons on the electronic control panel, and monitored with LED icons. This compact machine weighs about 19 pounds, has a stainless steel exterior, and comes in silver and black.


Wine Enthusiast: Pushbutton Electric Corkscrew
December 28, 2009

Wine Enthusiast Pushbutton Electric Corkscrew

This rechargeable cork extractor is easy and fun to use. The 8” long cylinder, resembles the handle of a lightsaber, with a clear window at the bottom through which you can see the corkscrew. During operation, a cool blue light illuminates the process and doubles as a night light during recharging. There are two buttons on the handle: one to extract the cork from the bottle, the other to remove the cork from the screw. The unit will extract 40 corks on a single charge, then you’ll have to give it 6 to 8 hours to recharge. Along with the recharging stand, the set includes a foil cutter and instructions. The Wine Enthusiast page linked below includes a short demonstration video, showing this gadget in action. Demy Digital Recipe Reader
December 28, 2009

The Demy is a compact, digital recipe reader consisting of a 7", high-resolution, sealed, color touchscreen, housed in a sturdy, splash-resistant plastic frame. A built-in base allows the unit to be used in either an angled-horizontal or angled-vertical position. The Demy stores up to 2500 recipes in customizable, user-organized groupings called "cookbooks." It displays the recipes in adjustable text sizes.

The Demy, originally released in May 2009 by recipe site, was both praised and criticized by users and reviewers. That version was lauded as the kitchen version of the Kindle, but also labeled a disappointing, overpriced digital device. The newest version contains updated software that corrects the clunkiness of the older system.

Using your computer, recipes are entered, organized, and downloaded via the recipe website, where you'll need to establish a free account to keep your recipes. When you connect the Demy to your computer via a USB cable, the Demy syncronizes your recipe collection.

Extra features include three built-in timers, measurement conversion calculator, substitute ingredient list, and 250 factory-loaded recipes. The unit is powered by a rechargeable battery, which holds a charge for 6-8 hours, and comes with an AC adapter for plug-in use. There’s a one-year warranty, with an option for extended coverage.

Demy Digital Recipe Reader: 1) prone  2) recipe index screen  3) timer screen


Delta Faucet: Pilar Touch-Activated Faucet
December 28, 2009

Depending on how it’s described, this new faucet from Delta sounds either like one of the fussiest of recent kitchen product releases, or one of the coolest. Let’s say you’ve just kneaded a stick and half of butter into your peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie dough. You want to wash your thoroughly batter-coated hands but don’t want to get the faucet taps greasy. . .you may be a fussbudget. On the other hand, you’re zipping around the kitchen, preparing a meal for your new boss. You’re watching three pans on the stove, and going back and forth between two hands-on operations on adjacent cutting boards—one involving filo dough, the other raw meat. You need to wash your hands every couple of minutes to guard against cross-contamination, but can’t take time to wipe the fixtures clean between every rinsing. No worries: you paid $547 for a big stylish faucet which you can turn on and off with a touch of your wrist or the back of your hand.

Delta Faucet "Pilar" touch-activated faucet

Electronic faucets, with valves activated by touch- or motion-sensitive, sensors are likely to become more and more common in home kitchens as their prices decrease. They’re more sanitary, they save water and energy, and they offer added convenience to the cook or baker with her hands full.

The touch-activated Pilar by Delta has a bold contemporary style, comes in chrome and the manufacturer’s abrasion-resistant “Brilliance” stainless finish. The single handle controls pressure and hot/cold ratio; a touch anywhere on the faucet turns the water on and off. There’s a pull-down sprayer, with a toggle switch to select between spray and aerated mode. A magnetic docking system secures the sprayer to the spout when not extended. The faucet comes in a 2-hole mounting configuration and a 3-hole, when you choose the optional soap dispenser.


Fusion Brands: Silicone Finger Tongs
December 28, 2009

Purveyors of about a dozen innovative and colorful kitchen gadgets, most made of silicone, Fusionbrands has introduced what looks like an alligator hand puppet, which when donned will turn your hand into a pair of super tongs. This glove, made of FDA food-safe silicone, isheat resistant to 500 degreesF/260 C, and will fit either right or left hand. At just over six inches long, it will easily cover at least the knuckles of all but the largest adult hand.

The fingertongs are flexible enough to pick up small individual pieces of cooking food, for easy moving and splatter-proof flipping. Their non-stick surface releases food easily, they’re safe to use with even the touchiest non-stick pan coatings, and they’re dishwasher safe. Fingertongs come in blue and gray.

Wine Enthusiast Pushbutton Electric Corkscrew


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Updated: February 12, 2010