By Lindsay Kaye, Associate Editor
Hi Tech devices aren’t just for the office, or entertainment, or the road. Increasingly they are becoming commonplace in the kitchen. Recently we came across two gadgets that have just made life easier both morning and night.
Coffee plays a big role in my life. I rely on it to get my day going and keep it going. Before the advent of single serve coffee systems I tried to brew a fresh pot each morning, grinding my own beans. Then reheating cup after cup during the course of the day. Keurig transformed all this with it popular K-cup brewer. Take a coffee pod, add water, push and button and you’re ready to go. Now iCoffee from Remington thinks it has developed a better mousetrap and hopes the world will beat a path to its door. iCoffee’s Opus Dial-A-Brew Single Serve has set itself apart from Keriug by using what it calls SpinBrew technology, which uses the whole K-cup instead of just a part. It has a wheel with a needle attached above the cup which, according to iCoffee will “spin, steam and stir throughout the brewing process to open up the grounds, unlocking and releasing all the exquisite coffee flavor in a way that has never been done before,” making what it claims is a better, less bitter, more flavorful cup of coffee.
The machine itself could not be easier to use. Unlike the newest generation of Keriug, the Opus will take all brands of K-cups. In addition, it also comes with a K-cup filter basket so you can fill it with your own ground coffee (my personal preference). First step is to fill up the water reservoir on the side. You can either pour water into the top or carry the reservoir to the sink and fill it there. You press the large power button on the front. Next, another button opens the device so you can place your K-cup in the slot, and close the lid. If you are using an average size mug, you can place it on the drip tray. The drip tray is removable, in case you are using something larger, like a travel mug. The fourth step is to use the Dial-A-Brew knob. You are able to control the strength and the serving size from 4 oz to 12 oz. Finally, press the knob in to brew. It’s as simple as that. The instructions are also easy to follow, including tips for making iced beverages and how to clean the device. There’s a detailed quick start guide with clear pictures and bold type.
The machine is easy to use, and creates great coffee. For me, it means I can easily get a fresh cup of my own brewed coffee anytime during the day. The iCoffee Opus is available from Amazon.com for $139.95
Being a Top Chef aficionado, I had heard of Sous Vide cooking during the course of many seasons. But it just got lumped in with all the other advanced culinary techniques, I as a mere mortal, would never use. Later, as I researched a food plan, the Sous Vide technique was highlighted again as an easy and foolproof way to prepare meats for meals. It lives up to the advanced billing. Sous Vide, if you are not familiar with it, is a method of cooking involving sealing the food in plastic bag or canning jars and placing it in a water bath that you set to a target temperature. The method is hailed as a way to get perfectly cooked meat without much work. You set the water temperature, place the meat in and let it cook from anywhere from an hour to 24 hours.
I confess that when I opened the Sous Vide Supreme kit it seemed intimidating, with lots of manuals, and detailed instructions on how exactly to operate the machine. However, it could not have been easier. The kit, retails for 499.00 from www.sousvidesupreme.com, and includes the Sous Vide bath, vacuum sealer, two sizes of vacuum sealer bags and an Easy Sous Vide cookbook. To test the sous vide, I decided to use it for chicken breasts instead of baking or grilling. First I seasoned the breasts, then vacuum sealed using the appropriate setting (moist or dry). Second, I turned on the Sous Vide, filled up the bath with water, and set it to the appropriate temperature, which in this case was 150 degrees Fahrenheit. I waited for the bath to reach the temperature set, then dropped my vacuum sealed chicken breasts into the rack in the bath and set my timer for an hour and walked away. Distracted by what I was doing, I didn’t get back to pick up the chicken for an extra 45 min. I removed the package with tongs, placed it on the plate, and opened it up with scissors and served it straight from there. The chicken was moist, flavorful and tender. In doing some additional research, I found many people often will also sear the meat by placing it in a pan for a few moments. The Sous Vide system is a smart buy for the 50+ market. It helps you prepare healthy meals, and locks in the flavors that can be lost with other cooking methods. It is an easy to use device, and like a crock pot you can set it and forget it.It has an easy to read display and buttons rather than knobs. The only potential drawback is that this is a pretty large unit, and can be heavy when filled to capacity.
If you are looking for an easy way to prepare meals and literally seal in the flavor, the Sous Vide may be a great answer. Bon Appetit.