There was plenty to take away from this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago: recipes, new products and plenty of tasty samples. While we’re married to our stand mixer for making muffins, food processor for pesto and food mill for tomato sauce, we found a few new items on the market that are worthy of our home-based operations.
1. Nonstick Cooking Sheet
The COOKINA Cuisine Reusable Cooking Sheet made by Poirier Richard Inc. is a nonstick, easy-to-clean alternative to aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper or oil. Simply place the reusable cooking sheet on a sheet pan or baking tray and you’re ready to bake. It’s easy to clean with soap and water afterwards, and doesn’t hold odors or flavors from previous uses. The sheet is reusable, reversible and free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical found in many nonstick pans that the EPA says is very persistent in the environment and causes developmental problems in animals. The company also makes the COOKINA Gard Oven Protector to catch spills and a COOKINA Grilling Sheet for barbecuing.
2. Silicon Pastry Liners and Molds
The food-grade silicon bread or pastry liners and flexible molds from Sasa Demarle make working with dough a breeze. Their Silpat Workstation Roul’pat is coated with silicon on both sides, allowing you to roll out any kind of dough without using flour. It’s also an ideal tool to have around during holiday treat-making, as you can spread nougat, cooked sugar, chocolate or caramel on it without the mess.
Sasa Demarle’s molds come in various shapes and sizes for pastries, specialty breads and muffins, but you’ll need to go to a restaurant supply store for these. The Silpain nonstick baking mat for breads has perforated qualities. The water seeps through the mat, leaving a crusty finish for your homemade biscuits and breads.
3. Gel Floor Mats
A heavy-duty, gel floor mat made from polyurethane cushions the hard kitchen floor, buffering your joints when standing for long-periods of time while cooking. GelPro and Imprint both make such mats that retail between $50 and $100. They’re well worth purchasing if you foresee a long hours spent at the counter, processing tomatoes or applesauce.
4. American-Made EVOO
We often brush our roasted vegetables with and dip our artisanal breads in olive oil to enhance the flavors, and we’re happy to find an olive oil grown and made in the U.S. Corto Olive Co., based in Lodi, Calif., manufactures a cold-pressed, 100-percent extra virgin olive from ripe, fresh-picked olives. The oil boasts crisp and robust flavor, and unlike many olive oils, Corto Olive Oil’s product meets extra-virgin standards, according to a study completed by the University of California-Davis, meaning it’s top quality. Because olive trees require about half the water that almond trees, according to John Larsen with Corto Olive Co., they’re an agricultural product better suited to the increasingly drought-stricken farmlands of California.
5. Safer Surface Cleaning
Clearly Better’s PURE Hard Surface cleaner helps prevent the spread of diseases while reducing risk to human health. The cleaner’s active ingredient, silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC), has the EPA’s lowest toxicity rating. To boot, Clearly Better claims PURE Hard Surface to be more effective at disinfecting than harsher, more widely used cleaning products with active ingredients like bleach, alcohol, phenols or hydrogen peroxide.