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August 6, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
A ruler? In the kitchen? I know, many of you probably think a ruler is one of the last tools you would need in a kitchen. But a ruler is just as essential to the serious chef as a kitchen scale or a sharp chef's knife ( some even have rulers tattooed on their hands for easy reference ). We keep several rulers in the Test Kitchen at any given time, and I probably use one at least once every single time I test a recipe. Not only are they helpful -- if not essential -- in baking when measuring and cutting dough, they're also a must in the savory kitchen when you need to gauge the thickness and size of a fillet or steak, or want to have the perfect brunoise or macedoine for the composed salad or vegetable dish you're preparing.
August 2, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
Whether you're a bona fide pit master or just a weekend warrior, there's nothing more important than maintaining the proper heat in the grill. Cook too hot, and you'll turn those baby back ribs into jerky on the bone. Cook too low, and, well, you may be smoking hours longer than you intended. A simple grill thermometer makes easy work of regulating the heat of the smoker, barbecue or grill. A grill thermometer looks like a common instant-read thermometer, except it has a really big dial for easy reading with a short, thick stem.
July 28, 2012
Have you ever wondered how pastry chefs and doughnut shops are able to pipe those perfectly puffed eclairs and plump jelly doughnuts with their glorious fillings? It takes a very long piping tip. Better known as a Bismarck pastry tip (named after the doughnut), these handy little gadgets make simple work of filling all sorts of baked goods: classic pastries, doughnuts, even cupcakes. Trying to fill a delicate pastry using a standard pastry tip can be almost as messy as eating one; the tip is often just too short and thick to reach the center of the baked good.
July 7, 2012 | By Karen Ravn, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Ultraviolet, or UV, radiation. You can't see it coming. But you can keep a lookout for it, thanks to a nifty little gadget called the SunMate. The sun's invisible ultraviolet rays are ultra-villainous - known cancer causers and wrinkle wreakers - and they're waiting to get you, year round, just about every time you step outside during daylight hours. Enter the UV Index, a scale from 1 to 11+, that tells you the level of UV radiation at any given time, which, in turn, tells you how risky it is to be out in the sun. You can keep tabs on the index level for your city or ZIP Code at . You can also subscribe to daily forecasts by email (at
July 5, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
A Los Angeles-based start-up called YBUY has received $1 million in funding for its try-before-you-buy service for gadgets. For $24.95 a month, YBUY lets you try out devices before you choose to purchase them or not. After a month, you can either send the gizmo back for another to try or you can keep it and buy it with the $24.95 knocked off the price of the device. "Wouldn't it be great if consumers could test drive a new high-end electronic device before purchasing, just as they would a car?"
July 3, 2012 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
"Inspector Gadget" creator Andy Heyward and his wife, Amy, have listed their house in the Hollywood Hills West area at $7.85 million. Set on more than half an acre with a swimming pool in the celebrity-populated Bird Streets neighborhood, the traditional-style house was designed by architect Paul Williams and built in 1966. The 3,560 square feet of living space includes a library/study, a screening room, an office, a gym, three bedrooms and 31/2 bathrooms. Heyward, 63, is the former head of the animation production company DIC Entertainment, which was sold in 2008.
June 23, 2012
Here's a tool to help you decorate cakes like a pro. It's a good, sturdy cake decorating stand. Cake decorating stands, also known as revolving cake stands and turntables, are lifesavers when it comes to frosting and decorating. A wide top swivels on top of a sturdy metal base, making it easy to rotate the cake when you're smoothing out frosting or focusing on detailed decorations. The stands come in all shapes and materials. If you're serious about decorating, avoid cheap stands that are often flimsy and wobbly.
June 13, 2012 | By David Lazarus
It's a data-rich world and the wireless companies want you to live in it. But they also want you to play by a new set of rules. Verizon Wireless is the first major carrier to take the plunge. The company says it's ditching nearly all its existing phone contracts and replacing them with plans that encourage customers to connect their non-phone devices, such as iPads, to the Verizon network. Verizon's "Share Everything" plans will become available June 28. They include unlimited phone calls and texts and will start at $90 per month for one smartphone and 1 gigabyte of data.
June 9, 2012
Back in the days before the refrigerator door could be counted on to crush ice at the press of a button, thirsty folks had to rely on other methods to chill their cocktails. One midcentury lifesaver was the manual ice crusher. These handly little gadgets might vary slightly by make and model, but they work on the same principle: Flip open the top, insert ice cubes and turn the crank as metal teeth conveniently crush ice cubes into a waiting basket or ready glass. Voila. Some models even allow you to adjust the level of crushing from coarse to fine.
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