Five food experts recommend their favourite ‘shortcut’ tools to speed up your dinner prep
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Tight on time and not in the mood for takeout? We asked five Canadian food experts to recommend the tools you’ll want on hand for cooking shortcuts.
The workhorse sheet tray Food writer and cookbook author Naomi Duguid has owned a pair of heavy, stainless All-Clad sheet trays for almost two decades, and recommends them for easy roasted veggies. “I toss the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, and then add a generous sprinkling of salt, or salt with some dashes of fish sauce. And into the oven they go,” says Duguid. “If there are carnivores to feed, it’s easy to stir-fry something quickly on the stovetop to complement the vegetables.”
All-Clad D3 stainless ovenware 14” x 17” roasting sheet, $199, amazon.ca
The everyday grater “Chopping garlic and ginger are tedious tasks that take time,” says Toronto-based chef and food media producer Vijaya Selvaraju. “The Microplane does an excellent job of grating them quickly, right into whatever dish you’re preparing.” Plus, it’s easy to clean: “A rinse with hot, soapy water, and it’s good to go for the next time,” says Selvaraju, who uses hers regularly and will often gift the tool to friends and family, too. “I particularly love it for grating citrus zest, Parmesan, garlic and ginger.” Microplane Home Series fine paddle grater, $21, bedbathandbeyond.ca
The quick dumpling maker Eddie Yeung, chef and owner of Wonton Hut in Markham, recommends this stainless-steel set for DIY dumplings at home. “It comes with a cutter if you prefer to make the dumpling skin yourself,” says Yeung. “Or you can buy premade dumpling wraps at any Asian supermarket.” Once you’ve prepared the filling, it only takes seconds to form a “perfectly wrapped dumpling” using one of the presses. Linnnzi 11-piece dumpling maker set, $29, amazon.ca
The easy-clean blender
Derek Powers Jr., executive chef at 1 Hotel Toronto, became a first-time father last summer. He uses the NutriBullet Magic Bullet to puree baby food for his daughter, but also finds it handy for preparing smoothies and soups, and even substituting as a mini food processor. “It’s incredibly versatile and easy to clean,” says Powers of the one-speed blender, which comes with a 600W motor and cups in two sizes.
NutriBullet Magic Bullet blender, $100, canadiantire.ca
The stovetop grill You can make an entire meal in less than 15 minutes using this cast-iron grill and griddle, says Joanna Liu, chef at Yueh Tung in Toronto. She recommends it for cooks who don’t have access to an outdoor barbecue, or don’t want to grill outside when it’s cold. “You can place it on top of any heating element — electric, gas and even induction — and grill any meat or vegetable you can think of,” says Liu. This reversible grill and griddle is also oven-safe up to 500°F.
Amazon Basics pre-seasoned cast iron reversible grill/griddle, $48, amazon.ca