No matter how large a kitchen is, there is always a need for more space. One big space occupier is the cooktop--much as we all would like to have every cooktop function available, the desire for more counter space prohibits it. Answering this need is the convertible cooktop, which enables you to alternate various cooking modules with the regular burner, such as a barbecue grill, a pancake griddle, or a deep fryer.
One of the latest innovations from Dacor is a Halogen cooktop EM-2 module in its line of electric convertible cooktops. Aglow with red neon when operating, Halogen allows the instant on and quick response of gas while providing the convenience of electric. And no, it doesn't require special cookware as in induction cooking.
Fitted flush for a sleek look and for ease in cleaning, the EM-2 module has a frame-less top. It is set on a Ceran glass surface and consists of a 2,200 watt halogen and a 1200 Quick Star radiant burner consisting of porcelain modules with coils or solid elements. One or two halogen modules may be used in Dacor's 36-inch convertible cooktop or as many as three in the 46-inch model. Available in a monochromatic look of white, almond or black, the modules are interchangeable with barbecue grill inserts, griddle and rotisserie accessories. For ventilation, there is a choice of either the downdraft or overhead ventilation system.
The Dacor Halogen cooktop is available at most independent appliance dealers.
Just as there are good reasons for muffins, there are equally good reasons for the new insulated muffin pan from Rema Bakeware. Designed with a cushion of air insulation in between the top and bottom aluminum layers, the Cushionaire Muffin Pans ($15) prevent burned muffins. Aside from minimizing unwanted peaking in the center of the muffins, the pans promote even baking for more uniform and higher muffins. However, since the pans are thicker than normal, for best results increase the baking period slightly following the higher range of recommended cooking time.
Made of heavy- gauge nonrusting aluminum, the six-cup (three-inch) regular muffin pans are dishwasher safe. (Rema has updated all their insulated bakeware assortment such as cookie sheets and cake pans by making them all dishwasher safe.)
Rema Cushionaire Muffin Pans are available at the Broadway, Bullock's, Fedco and May Company.
Many people find that they are using the mini food choppers for daily kitchen tasks more than their larger food processors. If you're one of those who haven't yet discovered the convenience of these smaller versions, try checking into the latest entry from Black & Decker. Its Super Mincer/Chopper (Model SC25: $37.98) has enough power and speed to process onions, garlic, nuts, chocolate and herbs efficiently and uniformly.
In addition, the space-saver compact unit can "whip up" mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, whipping cream and eggs. It is wonderful for small amounts of egg whites for omelets or soups, but forget it for angel food cakes. What makes whipping possible is the small stainless coil attachment that can be inserted over the stainless steel blade.
Designed with a white base and see-through work bowl, the machine features a special opening in the lid for pouring in extra liquid ingredients. The unit also includes a continuous on and pulse switch to prevent overprocessing of ingredients and for better power control.
The Black & Decker Super Mincer/Chopper is available at Fedco, Service Merchandise, Virgil's Hardware (Glendale) and Adray's.