Sunday, September 9, 2012

Voulez vous brûlée avec moi?

Me: My name is Johanna, and I have a kitchen gadget problem.
Room: Hello, Johanna.
Placard: Welcome to Kitchen Gadgets Anonymous

That's the scenario I often imagine when I find myself trying to rationalize the purchase of yet another kitchen gadget.

But yesterday, I saw a Facebook exchange among relatives and their friends, which made me realize that my addiction is, in fact, genetic. And I experienced flashes of recognition, empathy and yes, validation, as the discussion, which started out as an ode to my cousin's latest purchase--a fennel-colored oval large Le Creuset French oven--quickly evolved into a collective lusting over  the Bentley of kitchen gadgets--a Thermomix.

The people I know, they dig phones. Laptops. Designer bags. Cars.  Me (and as it turns out, my relatives), I dig kitchen gadgets.  Food processors, blenders, choppers, mixers, mandolines, whatever Cook's Illustrated and the good reviewers on Amazon rave about, I long to have. And yes, I probably do have a few more gadgets than I actually need or my miniscule kitchen can accommodate.

In fact, the only reason I don't have this KitchenAid stand mixer is because the only place I'd have for it at this point is on my head. And it would be a bitch having to go to work with a stand mixer on my head.

Oh, yeah, and I don't bake much.  Although...if I had a mixer, I bet I'd bake a lot more. And I could sell my baked goods. Which would eventually pay for the mixer. And then some. See where I'm going with this?

So, my latest gadget is this amazing blowtorch, which has just opened up a whole new world of possibilities. And the most obvious use for it also happens to be one of the coolest.

Because casually dropping the fact that you made creme brûlée for dessert is so...French (aka hella impressive). Until of course your guests read this post and realize how ridiculously easy it actually is.

All you need are great ingredients, (i.e., good cream and a REAL vanilla bean), a good recipe like Alton Brown's with accurate cooking times and oh, yeah. A BLOWTORCH. Honestly, though, if you didn't have one, you could just torch the sugar under the broiler.  It just wouldn't be as much fun.

So, brûlée your cares away, and knock the socks off your friends while you're at it.

Meanwhile I'll be busy researching the Thermomix. I mean, really, think of all the counter space I'd save. Because if I had one, then I wouldn't need my new food processor, blender, chopper, rice cooker, mixer, mandoline...

I know. It's a cry for help, people.

Note: I used regular sugar instead of vanilla sugar, and I didn't bother boiling the water for the pan. I also baked the custards for about an hour, which is how long mine took to set. 


  1. Yes, funny, interesting, and cool - all three! I can't believe how fast you churned this out. And now you've returned the gadget-lust favor by making *me* want a blowtorch! Hmmm... I think you should practice making salmon aburi with this macho gadget of yours next. Let us know how it goes... I think we need a photo of you in the kitchen, apron on and blowtorch in hand. :0

  2. The post was already in the works, you guys just provided further inspiration! OMG, now googling salmon aburi!!! And absolutely, get a blowtorch! My colleagues at work have already threatened to call security on me, because I keep bringing it in to show it off!

  3. Hey, how did you know it was me?? Hahaha! I'm chortling at the thought of you dragging your latest toy in to work. Ridiculously cute! But yes, dear, it may be time for an intervention... We need to alert your mom & Danielle!

  4. Pleading guilty to inciting gadget-lust was the tip-off! ;) Dan may have to conduct the intervention by herself, as I think my mom is part of the group!

  5. So funny, the hubby was just telling me this weekend that it is time to clean out some of my kitchen gadgets. I want them all and love them all. Really hard to resist!