Mom CookingThis year, we want to dedicate this article to mothers and all the women who are Mother-like figures in our lives.

Charcoal Companion Steak Station 4-Probe Steak Thermometer (www.cheftools.com $24.95)
Now that summer is fast approaching, this handy new device helps to keep track of four different steaks at once. The color coded probes allow the outdoor chef keep on top of the desired degrees of doneness of his or her guests ranging from rare to well-done.

Charcoal Companion Grill Station (Amazon)
This grill station is another great summer organizer that marinates, stores, chills, and serves food while keeping accessories close by. There is one tray marked “raw,” one large tray marked “cooked,” to avoid cross food contamination. I also like the food caddy tray which hooks on to the station for convenience.

Cuisinart SP-2 Stainless-Steel Rechargeable Salt and Pepper Mills (Amazon) The unique quality of these grinders is that they allow one to adjust the units’ grinding power from fine to coarse. The clear spice holder container lets you know when to refill and the mills are equipped with LED lights that illuminate food while grinding. Great for candlelit dinners!

Vacu Vin Salad Cutter (Amazon)
This nifty gadget comes under the heading “why didn’t we think of this before?” This plastic cutter easily cores a head of lettuce in one light nudge of your hand without bruising the lettuce or your hands.

Cuisipro Cupcake Corer and Decorating Set (Amazon)
Now this is a perfect Mother’s Day gift! A kitchen toy mom can use with the kids. Insert the corer into the center of a cupcake, remove it and use the squeeze bottles to fill the center with frosting. Then use the squeeze bottle to decorate the tops of the cupcakes.

Cuisipro Apple Corer (Amazon)
Finally an apple corer where the core doesn’t get stuck in the center! This ingenious apple corer has a unique lever that enables you to release the unwanted core with ease. This is one of the cleverest gadgets I have seen in a long time.

Goodbye Detergent Original Spaghetti Scrub (Amazon)
This environmentally friendly cleaning scrubbing tool looks like a serving of spaghetti with red sauce! It is fashioned from peach pit powder and designed to clean glass, wood, and plastic without scratching. The best part is that it eliminates the need for harmful soaps and detergents. You might even get the kids to help out with the dishes with this fun kitchen toy.

Light My Fire Spork 4-pack (Amazon)
These Swedish designed utensils are heat resistant and great for kids, or for outdoor dining. Children will love to carry them in their lunchboxes and grownups will covet them for picnics or upscale brown-bagging!

Fusionbrands Fingertongs Silicone Wearable Cooking Tongs (Amazon)
No more burned hands while flipping bacon, tossing spaghetti, or turning sautéed chicken. Just slide the heat-resistant glove on either hand and you have the freedom to literally play with your food.

Tovolo Pancake Pen (Amazon)
The cap and bottle have measurements for easy batter preparation listed right on the bottle. Once the batter is in the Pancake Pen (it holds 3 cups of batter), artists can squeeze out artistic patterns and designs. You can also use this handy pen to fill muffin tins or cupcake pans.

BOOKS:

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard (Amazon)
With an opening line of “I slept with my French husband halfway through our first date,” how can you go wrong? I loved following Ms. Bard’s romantic and sexy travails in this city of love and food. Its chick lit with a bit of gusto and seduction from the aromas and tastes of Paris.

The Best Simple Recipes from America’s Test Kitchen (Amazon)
This lovely compendium of mouth-watering recipes may be simple in steps, but is rich in flavors. The recipes have been tested repeatedly and offer hints and tips to make your dinners a breeze to prepare. Lots of shortcuts and smart shopping sidebars help as well. Suggestions include using fresh pizza dough from a pizzeria rather than the supermarket brands. Another suggestion is doctoring up a can of enchilada sauce with cilantro and pickled jalapenos to bolster quick turkey enchiladas.

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood (Amazon)
Boyce a former pastry chef at Spago and Campanile in Los Angeles, left the kitchen to raise a family. She wanted to make delicious baked goods that her kids would love. She experimented and came up with some wonderful recipes utilizing whole grains. There is even a chapter on preparing homemade jams and fruit butters to go with the whole grain baked goods.

Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic by Anna Getty (Amazon)
Anna Getty is a chef, TV personality, and yes, one of those Getty’s, who loves to cook organically with fresh and local ingredients. The color photos illustrate such luscious dishes as chunky tuscan bean soup with swiss chard and pancetta; seared bay scallops with orzo and sun-dried tomato cream sauce; and pear and blueberry crisp with brown sugar sour cream.

Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billlingsley and Amy Treadwll (Amazon)
Whoopie pies are a New England phenomenon – especially in Maine — and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. But suddenly they are everywhere. Whoopie pies are like a sandwich but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. This new compendium of recipes expands on this hot trend to include graham cracker whoopie, marbled whoopie, and a big whoopie cake.

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