I’ve recently added two new gadgets to my kitchen that famed television chef Alton Brown would not be happy about if he knew. He’d call them unitaskers—single-use kitchen gadgets; objects whose only real purpose is to create clutter.
I’d argue that while his theory—that every tool in the kitchen should be able to perform multiple tasks—is certainly ideal, there are exceptions. Then I’d demonstrate for him my new gadgets, and let him know that I truly wonder how I ever got along without them.
THE THAW CLAW. We’ve all been there. You forget to take the chicken, roast or burgers out of the freezer in the morning to give them enough time to thaw in the refrigerator in time for dinner. Now you’re left scrambling. Do you try to thaw that chuck roast in the microwave? Search for something else altogether? Or just give up and go out—again.
My handy Thaw Claw has given me another option: thaw it super quick. Here’s the deal: The best way to defrost meat, fish, or poultry safely and quickly is by submerging it in a sink full of cool water. The only problem, those packages from the grocery store tend to float. For the thawing process to work really fast, your frozen item needs to be completely submerged.
The Thaw Claw does that in a way that the frozen item is suspended in the cool water—neither sitting on the bottom of the sink nor floating to the top. It has a suction cup that easily attaches to the bottom of the sink. Fill the sink with cold water, stick the item to be thawed under the claw and BAM! Fish and seafood defrost in 15 minutes, while chicken pieces and packages of beef take only about 25 minutes. I defrosted a large 3.5-pound chuck roast that was frozen solid, in just one hour. Amazing! About $13.
THE FRYWALL. Recently I got a message from EC reader, Naomi who wrote:
I have ordered Home Chef several times now, and love it, but find that it requires a good deal of sautéing; stir-frying vegetables, browning meats, and cooking down spinach and Swiss chard—all of which produces lots of splatter—all over my stove. I got the 10-inch green Frywall. I love this thing!
Naomi got my attention, since my husband and I are huge Home Chef fans and enjoy those meals a couple of times a week. Yes, lots of sautéing, stir-frying and browning meat at fairly high temperatures. My stove gets seriously splattered and messed up, too.
I’ve tried wire-mesh splatter guards, but they only work until I have to lift the guard to add something to the skillet. And I find that even with the screen design, the thing holds the heat and moisture inside so things don’t really sauté properly. One evening and not so long ago, I actually set a dish towel on fire when I laid it too close to the flame in an effort to prevent all that splatter getting on my freshly cleaned stove top.
Naomi’s message piqued my interest. I ordered a Frywall for myself so I could check it out. Wow. The Frywall completely blocks fine oil that splatter screens let through but lets steam escape freely. That means burgers sear perfectly, sauces reduce quickly, and condensation splatter is eliminated. And the best part—my stovetop stays clean.
Last weekend I made spaghetti meat sauce. (While not easy to see in the picture below, Frywall is sitting on top of my 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven.) Normally I keep a lid on the pot to prevent the sauce from popping and splattering all over the place. Thanks to Frywall I could let it simmer uncovered for hours, without any mess at all. Boy did that make me happy.
Frywall is made of BPA-free, FDA-compliant silicone that can withstand sustained temperatures of up to 450°F. It’s dishwasher safe and easy to clean. And so easy to roll it up into its cup-sized sleeve for storage. I keep it handy, right with my pots and pans.
Thanks, Naomi. I love this thing, too! About $22.