What is the best juicer of the year?

Do you want an easy to clean, fast juicing machine? What is your budget for a juicer? We have lined up the pros and cons of the best juicers of the year in three different categories.

best juicer

Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain

The Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain is best for a centrifugal juicer. This one ticks the boxes for being solidly built – the body is stainless steel – well designed and able to deal with juicing soft fruits and hard produce like beetroot. It has five operating speeds, a big 3-litre pulp container and overload protection. Cleaning is easy and the bits and pieces can go in the dishwasher. Like all centrifugal juicers it is a bit noisy and it’s not ideal for leafy greens. But you will have efficient juicing action. Cost? Around $180.

Omega NC800 HDS Nutrition Center Juicer

The Omega NC800 HDS Nutrition Center Juicer is best for a masticating juicer, an improvement on the popular Omega J8006. A wider feed chute meaning less chopping to fit the chute. The end-cap is now adjustable so you can control the rate of pulp ejection – although getting this setting right can be fiddly when you first start but you’ll get the best juice yield with this new feature. Although parts of the juicer are plastic is does come with a 15-year warranty – and a price tag is $300. For this you get great quality juice from everything including leafy greens. The machine is also versatile as extra nozzles help you prepare plant milks.

Tribest Green Star Elite GSE-5000

The Tribest Green Star Elite GSE-5000 is the best triturating juicer.
For $530 you get a machine that will deliver top quality juice – the parts are bio ceramic meaning juices won’t oxidize and can be stored for up to 3 days. However it can be fiddly to clean and you will need to chop up everything quite small. It is quiet and you won’t get pulp in your juice, so that’s a bonus.

Best juicer of the year overall? For the price and sleek looks plus efficiency probably the Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain.

Which is the best juicing machine for me?

When I started juicing I was overwhelmed with the choice of machines that I could choose from, did I want a centrifugal or a masticating one? I had no idea! I read many online reviews to try and help me find the best juicing machine 2017 but it was no good, in the end I decided to try a few out for myself and get a feel for which one was best overall.

I discovered that the difference between centrifugal and masticating juicers was that centrifugal ones were much quicker and easier to use, but they didn’t yield as much juice as a masticating juicer, especially with leafy vegetables such as kale.
juicer

My Juicer Recommendations

If you want a juicer that can do more than just juice, then I recommend the Samson 6-1 which is a masticating juicer, it yields a lot more juice than a centrifugal one and the juice is much more pure and smooth rather than frothy, but it does take a lot of time to use and they are very expensive, but you can do a lot more with it other than just juicing, such as make ice cream and coffee.

There are some cheaper options, such as the Philips 1861, this did everything I wanted from a juicer, such as have a large inlet so I could use whole apples and a large jug so I could make a lot of juice in one session, however I did find it was a bit of a fiddle to clean.

I found that the Magimix Le Duo XL was the best overall machine for me, it was the quickest to use, it yielded the most juice without the time and expense of a masticating juicer and best of all it was the easiest to clean afterwards. This juicer for me really is the best juicing machine out there right now.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles

INGREDIENTS
12 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced paper-thin (use mandoline)
3 large or 6 medium white onions, sliced paper-thin (use mandoline)
Combine and let sit 3 hours, drain.
1 ½ quarts white vinegar
6 cups sugar
½ cup mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed

Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add cucumbers and onions and bring liquid back to a simmer. Do not boil!

Pack while hot into sterilized jars, leaving 1-inch headroom space in jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath according to standard canning procedure. Place kitchen towels on counter. Remove jars from hot water bath carefully, setting down each jar on towels. Leave on counter and do not disturb. Caps will “pop” in an hour or so.

Lip Smackin’ Trail Mix

Lip Smackin’ Trail Mix
trail mix

INGREDIENTS
2 cups granola (recommended: Hudson Valley Dessert Company)
¾ cups coarsely chopped pecans
¾ cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 (3 ½-oz.) can flaked coconut (1 ½ cups)
½ cup sunflower seeds (meat only)
½ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cups vegetable
½ cup banana chips (optional)
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried apricots, diced

Preheat oven to 300 F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except banana chips and raisins, cherries and apricots. Mix well. Spread evenly in an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; stir in banana chips, raisins, cherries and apricots. Cool thoroughly. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Techniques for Roasting Meat

roast

  1. Season with salt and pepper (if possible, store in fridge overnight)
  2. Bring the meat to room temperature
  3. If you’re using a large piece of meat, tie it to ensure even cooking and help it retain its shape
  4. Dry it thoroughly to help produce a nice brown crust
  5. Sear the piece by either: browning the exterior in a hot pan on the stove and then transferring to the oven OR by raising the temperature of your oven to 450* for the first 15 minutes of cooking and then lowering the temperature to 300* to more gently cook the interior for the remainder of its time in the oven
  6. Cook the piece, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking
  7. Baste with fat to keep moist – either spoon on fat that has dripped from the meat and accumulated at the bottom of the pan or introduce butter or oil onto the surface of the meat
  8. Remove from the oven when a thermometer reads 165* for chicken and an average of 145* for all other meats (depending on how rare you like your meat)
  9. Allow to rest so that the juices can redistribute
  10. Flavor the juices that remain in the pan and serve them on the side when presenting the meat

More roasting techniques.

Choosing the Best Bread Knife

I have over the years used different types of kitchen knives and one type of knife that has always fascinated me is the bread knife. Apart from the experience of using this type of knife, I do have some technical knowledge about this utility knife to share with you.

A bread knife is a special type of knife designed to be used for slicing bread. This type of knife was first made available in 1893 in Chicago during the World Columbian Exposition by Germany’s Esslingen Company. The knife has gone through transformations over the years and is now one of the most important kitchen knives that you need to have.

Why do you need a bread knife? One thing I have come to appreciate is the need to use the right type of knife for the right slicing job. Using the wrong type of knife causes unnecessary bruising, mess and damage to bread. Choosing the best bread knife allows you to cut your bread efficiently, makes it possible for you to cut the bread in a safe manner in addition to giving the bread the appropriate texture.

Bread knives are generally serrated, meaning that they have serrations along their cutting edge. The serrations can be wide or narrow. From a personal experience, one with narrow serrations such as Robert Welch Signature Bread Knife turns out to be the best bread knife you can have. This is because it makes it possible for you to cut through bread with ease without crushing the soft interior section.

Like with any other type of kitchen knives, bread knife can also be designed to be long or short. You will indeed find different bread knives with different cutting edge length ranging from 6 to 10 inches. The best bread knife should be one that cuts through bread without your knuckles touching the bread. It is therefore necessary to invest in one with a long slicing edge and my personal recommendation is the Global Bread Knife that features a long slicing edge that curves upwards toward the tip.

bread knife

As I have indicated, bread knives have undergone transformations over the years. This is very true considering that you are not restricted to buying manual bread knives. You now have the option of buying an electric bread knife as well. Whether to buy a manual or electric bread knife is a personal decision. I personally prefer using a manual knife because it gives me the joy of having to slice my bread every morning although my Swan SP1006 knife usually becomes handy when short on time.

From personal experience, it is very beneficial to consider other factors when shopping for the best bread knife to buy. One of the things you need to consider is whether to buy a knife with a strong or wavy cutting edge. I personally prefer one with a wavy cutting edge. I really like my Victorinox Rosewood Bread Knife because its strong cutting edge makes it possible for me to slice both bread and tomatoes with great ease. I use this knife to slice Texas bread and assemble my Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches.

It is also very important that you consider type of material used to make the handle. Most bread knives generally feature metallic (steel), wooden or plastic handles.

Herbed Cheese and Cracker Bits

Herbed Cheese and Cracker Bits
Herbed Cheese and Cracker Bits
INGREDIENTS
2 packages oyster crackers
½ cup vegetable oil
1 (1-oz) package salad dressing mix (Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
1 heaping tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt

Place the crackers in a large sealable freezer container. In a bowl, mix the oil, salad dressing mix, dill, garlic powder, and celery salt. Pour this mixture over the crackers. Cover the container, and invert it to coat the crackers with seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the container every so often to keep the crackers coated. Let the mixture come to room temperature. Transfer to individual containers to give as gifts.

Is Espresso Expensive With Espresso Machine?

Good coffee is either difficult or expensive to come by. That is why you may want to invest in an espresso machine. The question is, which one to buy? As it stands, espresso machines come in all sorts of designs and configurations from the very simple to the confoundingly complex. You however just want the best your money can buy. First things first, you have to understand what your needs are. Is it supposed to serve you only or is it for the office? Do you consider yourself patient enough to go through hoops just to get to your coffee or do you want to just press a couple of buttons and get your results?
drink coffee
Here are a few good machines to guide you in your purchase. There will be a few concessions because of price and features. I have tried to highlight the best espresso machines reviews for varying prices. Espresso machines are known to be quite expensive so do not be alarmed. Afterall, quality comes with a price. On this review however I did not go past the USD 1000 mark which is saying something because there are machines well over 2000. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine is a fine piece of equipment. It is on the higher price range but you get all the bells and whistles. It has a milk pitcher and a built in grinder with adjustable controls. It also has an infusion gauge to let you know what you need to adjust to get your coffee just right. Overall it is great for beginners as it helps you out and it looks really great.

On the other end I would recommend the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. This is a great machine offering tons of value for its price. It produces surprisingly good espresso that you would expect from a more expensive machine. It is easy to use and also easy to clean because of the fact that it can be separated to clean individual parts.

Whichever way you choose to go, you will definitely be glad you bought an espresso machine. You may also like to read my articles on top three common kitchen knives people are using and which is the best juicing machine for me.

Peach and Blueberry Soup

This cooling fresh fruit soup with mint garnish makes an attractive presentation that would be fitting for a ladies luncheon or shower.

Peach and Blueberry Soup

INGREDIENTS
8 cups sliced fresh peeled peaches or 2-1(lb) packages frozen peaches
½ cup orange juice
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar to taste
½ to 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ cup fresh blueberries
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine the peach slices in a food processor or blender with the orange, pineapple, and lime juices, yogurt, and cream. Process or blend at high speed until the mixture is smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and ginger to taste and chill. Just before serving, gently add the blueberries. Serve in small dainty bowls and garnish with fresh mint and a dollop of yogurt if desired.

Turkey Meat Loaf Sandwiches with Red Onion Ketchup

turkey meatloafI serve this sandwich open faced on Texas Toast. Yum!!

Turkey Meat Loaf Sandwiches
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ cups minced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¾ cup heavy cream

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

1 cup plain fine bread crumbs (homemade)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

3 tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

1 ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan or skillet set over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes while stirring, or until translucent. Add the thyme, oregano, all-spice, and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by one-third and has the consistency of oatmeal. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool. When cool, add the turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, ketchup, salt and pepper, and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 1 ½ qt. greased loaf pan (measuring 8 ½” X 4 ½” X 2 ½”).

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle run a paring knife around the inside of the loaf pan and invert the meatloaf onto a clean platter to unmold. Cover in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Red Onion Ketchup

3 cups thinly sliced red onions (3 or 4 red onions)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons honey

Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 cup store-bought tomato ketchup

Place the onions in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Transfer the cooled onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the ketchup and pulse several times until thoroughly incorporated. Adjust the seasonings, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator.

To assemble the sandwich: Reheat the oven to 350 F. Cut four large slices of the meatloaf and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Top each slice with 2 tablespoons of the red onion ketchup and one slice of mozzarella cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 4 minutes or until the meatloaf is warmed through and the cheese is melted. Place the toasted Texas toast (or any thick-sliced bread) in the center of a warm serving plate, top with the meatloaf, and serve open-faced.

Bittersweet Raspberry Vodka Truffles

These simple but exquisite chocolate truffles are bite sized and very bittersweet. Liberally laced with vodka, they are dense and smooth, with a simple cocoa coating. They make wonderful gifts!

Bittersweet Raspberry Vodka Truffles
Bittersweet Raspberry Vodka Truffles

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate* chopped fine
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons raspberry Vodka
1/3 cup premium quality unsweetened cocoa powder

*If using high percentage chocolates, adjust the recipe as follows: Use only 6 oz. chocolate marked 64% to 66%; use only 5 ½ oz. chocolate marked 66% to 72% and dissolve 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar in the boiling water before adding it to the egg yolk.

To make the truffles, place chocolate and butter in a 4-6 cup heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath. Place a fine strainer over it and set it aside. Leave skillet on low heat.

Place the egg yolk in a small stainless steel bowl. Gradually stir in the boiling water. Place the bowl in the skillet and stir constantly until the yolk mixture registers 160 F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the skillet and scrape the yolk mixture immediately into the strainer over the melted chocolate. Add the vodka and stir gently (without whisking or beating) just until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a clean shallow bowl. Cover and chill until firm, two hours or more.

To form truffles: Remove the truffle mixture from refrigerator and allow it to soften about 30 minutes or until the mixture is soft enough to scoop. Pour cocoa into pie plate. Dip a melon baller or small scoop into a glass of hot water; wipe off excess water and scrape across surface of chilled truffle mixture to form a rough ¾-inch ball. Pinch the truffle into shape with your fingers if necessary, it should not be perfectly round. Deposit truffle into cocoa. Repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Gently shake pie plate to coat truffles with cocoa. Store truffles tightly covered, and refrigerated up to two weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.

My two best brown rice cookers

Brown rice cookers are becoming popular appliances in our kitchens today. This may be due to the increase in the health benefits awareness of brown rice. I love cooking brown rice and, therefore, I have found myself in the kitchen more than once preparing this delicious meal. When I first started out cooking brown rice, I didn’t know the right kind of brown rice cooker to use. I remember the first cooker I landed on made me almost detest my passion for cooking. However, after reading a number of reviews of the best rice cookers from customers, I decided to try out some and get the experience. My experience was good with some while others still didn’t bring good results as I expected. I opted to stick on two cookers (this doesn’t mean that these are the only two best brown rice cookers).
brown rice
After much research and testing, I decided to choose Cuckoo Rice Cooker l CR-0631F for my brown rice cooking. It is a digital cooker that maintains the brown rice taste and flavor. It makes batches of delicious rice and produces perfectly fluffy rice every moment. This brown rice cooker is not expensive despite its high-quality functionality. I loved the sleek-looking and the white and metallic pink finish style. It can be found in many stores in the market. You can still find it in online stores, and you can make your order there.

Another great brown rice cooker that I enjoy using is the Hamilton Beach 37549 2-to-14-cup. This cooker gives me an outstanding experience with my rice. It makes delicious brown rice and does not influence its natural flavor. With this cooker, I have never had my rice burned. My brown rice cooks perfectly uniformly. It offers features that are rare to find on other cookers at the same price. It has an insulated lid that holds up the steam.

The two brown rice cookers work well with me. I can recommend them a thousand times to anyone wishing to have a good rice cooking experience.

How to Make Fig & Lemongrass Compote

Fig & Lemongrass Compote
fig lemongrass compote
INGREDIENTS
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
5 stalks fresh lemongrass, sliced
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled
½ lemon (unpeeled), thickly sliced, seeded
1 ½ lbs. fresh ripe figs, halved (about 4 cups)
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar and lemongrass to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer until syrup is reduced by half. Strain and allow syrup to cool. If you must use dried figs, pour the warm syrup over the dried figs to reconstitute them and wait 30 minutes before putting them in the food processor. Finely chop lemon in a food processor. Add the figs. Using on/off turns, process until figs are coarsely pureed.

Transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan. Add 2 ¼ cups sugar, cinnamon, minced ginger and ground cloves. Stir in the lemongrass syrup. Simmer until mixture thickens to jam consistency and a candy thermometer registers 200 F, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Divide hot preserves among hot clean jars. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 months.

The best cookware set for the money that I could spend!

After we got married and set up our new home, the first thing i started looking for was the best cookware set for the money that we could afford then. I knew from friends and relatives that there was a vast option to choose from, but what really mattered was our budget that was just about medium, neither too less nor too much! I was told that there were non-stick varieties, metal cladded stainless steel sets, disc bottom cladded cookware, fully cladded sets, and many more options. The task of choosing the correct set was not all that easy since we wanted to make a lifetime investment, or at least a set that would last us a very long time.

rachael-ray-cookware

The first item off our list were the cladded cookwares since they were quite expensive and relatively unaffordable for us then. After reading quite a few reviews online, my decision was narrowed down to between either buying a nonstick surface cookware or a stainless steel set. The nonstick set would ensure that I would have a cleaner kitchen every time since all food could be washed away easily and the set would sparkle like new every time. The disadvantage was that I wasn’t quite sure about the toxic effects of the nonstick chemical and so was a bit hesitant on buying one. Also, there were stray complaints by users that the surface would wear off after repeated washes, and scrubbing correctly was an important factor in its maintenance.

I finally opted for the non stick hard anodized set since I felt that it was the best cookware set for the money spent on buying it. It would cook food better with its ability to provide uniform heat from all sides, and would also clean up easily without being wary about losing any coating like with the teflon nonstick surfaces. The set I decided to buy also had a heavy discount going because the online store was trying to clear off their stocks.

I have been using the set for the past five years now and it’s like new in my kitchen rack. I haven’t regretted a single day since buying it, and now that we can afford more expensive sets, I have never felt the necessity of replacing it ever! I am sure this Rachael Ray cookware set is going to last us a lifetime, if not beyond!

Lemon Curd Gift

As a gourmet chef, I learned many years ago not to worry that people would be unappreciative if I gifted them with food. I had worried that they would somehow think I simply tossed off one of my recipes to them rather than putting a lot of thought and effort into finding just the right gift. Wrong!

People love to receive food as gifts. And all the better if it is a really good recipe prepared especially for them on their birthday, anniversary or whatever.

Here is a great recipe to use as a gift for friends and loved ones:

Lemon Curd

lemon curdThis makes a lovely gift with a loaf of homemade pound cake!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
4 large eggs, beaten slightly
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh grated lemon zest

In a metal stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, cook sugar, butter, eggs, lemon juice and zest, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and the first bubble appears on the surface, 12 to 15 minutes. Strain curd through a sieve into a bowl and cool. Lemon curd may be made up to 1 week in advance if kept cold and covered.

Top three common kitchen knives people are using

kitchen-knife1

Not one not two, but there are quite a number of knife blades that actually exist and how many of us know that there are actually a variety of them in the market? If you don’t, then you will be surprised to see the types and number of different blades that exist just for knives. Here are some of the good kitchen knives commonly used.

The most common kitchen knives that are in mostly every home is the kitchen knives with wavy, straight and granton edges. The knives which has wavy edges are those type of knives that are used to cut food products which are mostly soft and also hard at the same time. For example, bread. The inner layer of the bread is soft whereas the outer part if the bread is hard, hence, using a knife with the wavy edge helps you cut your bread smoothly and perfectly. Apart from that this type of wavy edged knife can also be used to cut food products with tough skin like sausages or even tomatoes. The blade of a wavy knife helps you apply pressure while cutting your ingredients not allowing yourself to exert much energy.

The straight edge knife. The straight edged knives are knives which are highly recommended to use when you are cutting raw meat, chopping your vegetables or even slicing your salmon if you want to get a perfect slice of it. A straight knife is mostly used when you want the food item you are cutting to be in a precise and clean manner and also if you want your ingredients to be in its best performance. A straight edge knife is easily sharpened as you can simply use a sharpening steel to sharpen it. Chef’s knives are usually straight edged. The best chef knife to buy is either a German steel knife or a Japanese chef knife.

The granton edge blade knife on the other hand are knives which have carve out hollows on the sides of the blade. The carved out hollows at the side of the blades help you to hold the juices or fats of the food while you are cutting it to prevent you from tearing or shredding the fruits or meat you are cutting. A granton edged knife does not entirely look beautiful but its advanced ability to slice without causing the food to look bad is one of its biggest quality to be among the best selling in the market and a popular among chefs and home cooks.

How to Use Rubs as Your Seasoning

A rub is a mixture of seasonings pressed onto the surface of meat before cooking. Rubs are commonly used on roasts, steaks and ground beef patties.

Dry Rubs consist of herbs, spices and other dry seasonings. Paste-type rubs are dry seasonings held together with small amounts of wet ingredients such as oil, crushed garlic, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish sauce. Rubs add flavor and in some cases seal in juices and form a delicious crust.

Rubs can be applied just before cooking, but for a more pronounced flavor, apply your rub and refrigerate for several hours. When a rub is applied and the beef is tightly wrapped and refrigerated 12 to 24 hours, it will develop a distinct flavor, something like a “cure”.

Vanilla Coffee Liqueur

Vanilla Coffee Liqueur
Vanilla Coffee Liqueur

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup instant espresso powder
3 cups vodka
½ vanilla bean, split

Combine sugars and 2 cups water. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Gradually stir in coffee using a wire whisk; cool. Pour into a bottle or jar; add vodka and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Cover and let stand at least 2 weeks. Remove vanilla bean. Good as a liqueur, over fruit or over ice cream!