Header image  
"We Entertain When It Rains"  



Web www.rainydaymagazine.com

RainyDayMagazine's content can now be licensed for your print magazine or web site. Please contact us directly here. If you want to see something reviewed, then drop us a note with a link and we'll be happy to take a look.

NOTE: Click here to read more about our approach to product reviews.


December 12,2012- RainyDayGiftGuide:Kitchen...

We love to cook, and we know that quality kitchen equipment make the process of cooking even more enjoyable. So we kept that thought in mind as we set about picking items for this year's RainyDayKitchen Holiday Gift Guide.

Regardless of whether the chef on your list is just starting out or has years of experience in the kitchen, the items below will help them do things easier, make what they are doing more enjoyable, and let them achieve better results.

It is a luxury to have a full set of Shun knives, but if we had to pick just one, the 7" Santoku would be our choice. It is the perfect size for most tasks. The scalloped cutting edge prevents food from to the blade. The knife is not just beautiful to look at, but effortless to use. Pair it with the... [more] -RainyDayGiftGuide: Kitchen


November 2,2012- More Cutting Boards...

Yesterday we posted a FirstLook of the John Boos Newton Prep Master III. In the article we mentioned the other cutting boards in the RainyDayKitchen. A few readers asked us what they were. We thought about it and agreed that it would be helpful to talk about what they are, why we have them, and how we have found them useful.

The samples in the photo are representative of the variety of boards we use daily. They range from boards on mobile carts (wooden, stainless steel), synthetic ones made from various non-porous material (stiff, flexible), to small slabs made from hardwoods and bamboo. The larger boards are better suited for tasks such as deboning a chicken, slicing and dicing up lots of vegetables, or... [more] -More Cutting Boards


November 1,2012- John Boos Cutting Board...

We have about a dozen cutting boards in the RainyDayKitchen. The boards come in handy because sometimes we need all hands on deck at prep time. We have alot of types of boards: some are made of hard wood, others synthetic, and one was even custom-made to size. While we use them everyday, we have never reviewed one for the magazine. Judging by the requests for recommendations and product review suggestions, this oversight was not lost on our loyal readers. With Thanksgiving coming up, we thought now was an appropriate time to take a closer look at this essential piece of kitchen gear.

When looking over reader suggestions, the name John Boos & Company kept coming up. They are a maker of premium butcher block and stainless steel food service products. John Boos offers a variety of cutting boards for lots of different applications. We chose one which we thought would be... [more] -John Boos Cutting Board FirstLook


October 9,2012- Slow-Cooker Cookbooks...

The RainyDayKitchen folks have been making dinner in the Cuisinart PSC-400 slow cooker for a few weeks now, and after half a dozen different soups, they have familiarized themselves with the machine and are now looking to expand their slow cooker repertoire.

After some research, we found a series of slow-cooker cookbooks with recipes that looked really delicious. The author, Lynn Alley, specializes in traditional foods from around the world. Ms. Alley has taught cooking classes around the world, contributed food-related articles for magazines such as... [more] - Slow Cooker Cookbooks


September 24,2012- Cuisinart Slow Cooker...

Fall is on its way and Winter won't be far behind. Many of us don't mind the different seasons because we like the cooler temperatures, seeing the leaves change, and cooking comfort foods like soups and stews. It was during a discussion about favorite soups and stews that gave us an idea for a Winter series of RainyDayKitchen articles on slow-cooker cooking.

Most of us who grew up in the 70's have used crock pots at one point or another. The ones most of us had back then were simple devices comprised of some kind of ceramic pot with an electric heating element at the bottom. They had an on/off switch but not much else. We thought it was time to... [more] - Cuisinart 4-Quart Slow Cooker FirstLook


September 5,2012 Tailgating TEC

Tailgating and football go hand-in-hand. Cooking in the parking lot of a football stadium has evolved from an impromptu cookout to a full-fledged part of many a football game. Over the years, companies have caught on to the phenomenon and have created products specifically for the activity.

We have two portable grills that were designed for the tailgating crowd, a Coleman and a Thermos. However, we think our most recent addition, the TEC Cherokee,would be the best of the lot. The TEC Cherokee is an infrared grill. Infrared grilling is superior to other methods because it cooks faster, at a much higher temperature, and does not dry out the food as much. The Cherokee is also... [more] - Tailgating TEC


September 3,2012- IKEA Socker Greenhouse...

Every RainyDayMagazine reader knows that IKEA is the "go to" place for quality, inexpensive home funishings. Because IKEA designs its products to be "shipping-friendly," it also serves as a great resource for DIY-ers. We are constantly scouring its catalog for potential project ideas. One item in its new 2013 catalog that immediately caught our attention was the Socker countertop greenhouse.

The item is only available (as of this writing anyway) for in-store pick-up. At $20 a unit, we decided to pick up a few as they would be excellent for a lot of... [more] - IKEA Socker Greenhouse


July 20,2012- Butcher Block Top DIY...

When we "acquired" the IKEA FLYTTA stainless steel kitchen cart in June, we came up with a really nice accessory for it: a cutting board. IKEA does not sell a cutting board that large, so we looked around for an alternative. We soon discovered that a commercially made 36"x24" maple butcher-block cutting board can set one back anywhere from $200 to $500! That was when we remembered we had a table top from an old DIY project which would be perfect for the cart.

OK, perfect once we cut it down to size, sanded off the grime, and refinished it for food use. The large piece of maple was a table top we made (out of maple stair treads) over twenty years ago. It had been in storage for the past ten years, forgotten, until last week. We found it leaning up against a... [more] - Butcher Block Top DIY


July 2,2012- IKEA Kitchen Cart...

The stainless steel IKEA FLYTTA cart we "restored" a week ago was, regrettably, too large for our needs. However, as luck would have it, a smaller version of the FLYTTA was also for sale on Craigslist. With an asking price of $25 we didn't even bother to haggle (something of which we love to do). This one even had a drawer (the current IKEA version does not).

Our disassembly experience with the last cart taught us to bring along the SwiftDriver. Granted, this cart had fewer shelves and other bits, but we were glad we brought the SwiftDriver with us as it was a... [more] -IKEA Kitchen Cart


June 27,2012- IKEA FLYTTA Cart...

A stainless steel cart is a helpful thing to have in the kitchen. It is a rolling platform which provides extra storage and additional counter space where/when needed. We have been looking for one for some time. Last week, we found one on listed on Craigslist by some folks who are moving out of town. A little haggling and we were the new owner of this IKEA FLYTTA stainless steel kitchen cart.

As with all IKEA products, this FLYTTA is (relatively) simple to take apart, move, and reassemble. We didn't bring any power tools with us for the pick-up, so two of us spent about 30 minutes taking the cart apart. It was... [more] -IKEA FLYTTA Stainless Steel Cart


June 11,2012- FirstGrill 2012...

Summer does not officially start at RainyDayMagazine office until after FirstGrill. On June 3rd, we combined our annual FirstGrill event with a graduation celebration for one of our RainyDayInterns, who just got her walking papers from RISD the day before. (Also, it was BookClub for at least one of the staff, although everyone was welcome).

FirstGrill 2012 featured meats from Morgan Ranch and Good Land Beef. To help with the griller-uppering, we added a "new-to-us" infrared unit from TEC in addition to the three other grills. With four grills available, we could dedicate one for vegetables, one to... [more]- FirstGrill 2012


June 7,2012- Cuisinart Grilling Tools...

A good grill deserves good tools. Now that the TEC infrared grill is all cleaned up, we wanted to have some quality grilling tools to use with it. We compared a lot of different sets and finally settled on a stainless steel set from Cuisinart. The place with the best price? Everything Kitchens, of course.

We decided on the Cuisinart's set of grilling tools for four reasons: first, Cuisinart's reputation; second, their quality—we have reviewed a few Cuisinart appliances (Griddler, Elite food processor, toaster oven) in the past and have found their quality to be excellent; third, the tools are stainless steel—we don't baby our gear and wanted something that could take a few hits without... [more]- Cuisinart Grilling Tools FirstLook


June 1,2012- FirstGrill: What we'll be serving...

FirstGrill this year should be an especially tasty one. Besides the typical ribs, chicken, sausages, and other grilled meats, we will be featuring top quality steaks from two of America's premier ranches: Good Land Beef and Morgan Ranch. In addition, we will be introducing four new soda flavors from Sodastream to our guests.

Good Land Beef is the creation of ranchers Ken Klemm and Peter Thieriot. They ranch in Western Kansas and raise their animals in a sustainable way. Their goal is to offer healthful, tasty, grass-fed beef to consumers. Grass-fed beef is much higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E than grain-fed beef. Of course, none of their cattle ever receive antibiotics or hormones to promote growth. It is more work to raise cattle this way, but Ken and Peter feel that... [more]- FirstGrill: What we will be serving


May 25,2012- TEC Igniter repair...

When we purchased the TEC Cherokee grill, we knew that the igniter did not work. We didn't really care as we typically use a long-nose butane lighter to light all our other grills. However, the Cherokee looked so nice after we cleaned it that we thought it would be a shame not to fix the dead igniter. We also knew that not knowing why it didn't work would bug us to no end. Besides, the project gave us a reason to take apart the grill and clean some of the places we never would have bothered with otherwise.

Most gas grills' electronic igniters work using the same principle: an electrically-generated spark ignites the gas. The spark is usually generated by taking advantage of a property call piezoelectricity. "Piezo," in Greek, means "pressure." Quartz and some ceramics exhibit piezoelectric behavior when pressure is applied to them. When under pressure, a charge separation within the material takes place and a... [more]- TEC Igniter repair


May 21,2012- Brillo Pads: Cleaning the grills...

The TEC Cherokee portable grill we acquired last week via a trade came to us in pretty good condition. All we needed to do to get the grill was ready for use was to scrub the stainless steel grate and wipe the sides. However, as we want it to look really nice for FirstGrill, we decided to give the TEC a complete detailing.

When we were growing up, Brillo pads were what we used to clean pots and pans. They are little steel wool pads infused with grease-cutting soap. The fine steel wool cleans without scratching and the soap cuts through even baked-on grease like nobody's business. We have not used Brillo pads for years, but did... [more]- Brillo Pads: Grill Cleaning


May 15,2012- TEC Infrared Grill...

One of the many anticipated events at RainyDayMagazine is FirstGrill. The first one was back in 2006. It proved so popular that we have been doing it annually ever since. We usually hold it in May, but we are holding off until the beginning of June this year for a reason we'll make clear in a few weeks.

One of our editors got an infrared grill last year and has been extolling its virtues. According to Jay, "There is no question that infrared or radiant cooking is the wave of the future. Radiant cooking has no airflow so the meat is much juicier and more tender. Microwave cooking is a problem because the radiant heat is at a wavelength that tends to heat unevenly and is not 'tuned' to the best wavelength for food. Infrared is considered to be at just the right wavelength for getting juicy red meat and fowl. Browning and carmelization (the Mallard effect) is also... [more]- TEC Infrared Grill


April 12,2012- Manual Espresso Machines...

There are three basic components to an espresso maker: the coffee holder, the water heater, and the high-pressure pump. After the coffee is ground to an appropriate fineness, it is added to a holder (portafilter) and tamped down to remove any air pockets. Heated water (190º-200º) is then forced through the coffee to create the espresso drink. We have two fully automated machines (Jura Z7, Gaggia Vision) in our office which take care of everyone's daily coffee needs. The automated units make pretty decent espressos, but how do they measure up to drinks made from the single-purpose espresso units? We have always wondered, but we will wonder no more.

The interns did some research, and found (and acquired) two espresso machines (Gaggia Classic, Saeco Aroma) that are perfect for our little taste-test experiment. Both the Gaggia and the Saeco look to be very well-constructed units. The Gaggia was from Importika, an awesome source for caffeine-related machines and accessories. The Saeco we got from EverythingKitchens.com. They have a fantastic low-price guarantee, free shipping, and are... [more] -Manual Espresso Machines: FirstLook


March 23,2012- Gatco Knife Sharper...

A blade with a sharp edge is much safer than a blade with a dull edge. The reason is simple: a blade with a keen edge will cut with less effort, which means a decreased likelihood of the blade slipping and accidentally cutting yourself. There are a lot of ways to sharpen a blade, but it is important to use sharpening tools correctly.

The improper use of a sharpener can actually make a blade duller. Some sharpeners are designed to put a quick edge on inexpensive knives, scissors, and other cutting instruments. Others are specifically designed for... [more] -Gatco Knife Sharpeners: FirstLook


March 8,2012- Gaggia Vision: FirstUse...

The Gaggia Vision first came to the office last March. We have been using it along with the Jura to caffeinate everyone in the office for the past year. We had planned to post a FirstLook in the Summer iPad issue of RainyDayMagazine. When we cancelled the iPad issue, we never posted a FirstUse of the unit. So here it is :-) Actually, this will be more of a FirstUse/InTheWild write-up.

The Gaggia Vision is easy to set up and easy to use. There are plenty of customizations (water temperature, strength, language, etc...) one can set on the machine to have things exactly as... [more] -Gaggia Vision: FirstUse


March 5,2012- Drumlin Farm...

We have visited a few Mass Audubon sanctuaries (BNC, Blue Hills, etc...), but have never been to Drumlin Farm. Recently, we popped in for a look and were quite happy we did. Drumlin Farm is Mass Audubon’s flagship sanctuary, containing 232 acres of fields, forests, and ponds. The property features a sustainable working farm and a display of wildlife native to New England. The farm has a full-time staff of 25 people, in addition to 90+ seasonal teacher/naturalists, camp counselors, and farm apprentices. It is the only facility of its kind in the Greater Boston area.

The farm was established in the early 1900s by Louise Gordon Hatheway and her family. The family maintained a working farm and invited city children to visit and learn about farm life. In the mid-1950s, as farms close to Boston began disappearing, Mrs. Hatheway was inspired to... [more] -Urban Safari: Drumlin Farm


February 14,2012- Valentine's Day...

What better way to show your love to your sweetie-pie than with a cup of Love Cappuccino??? To lay down a perfect cocoa-powder heart, one can have either super-steady hands or a stainless-steel heart stencil. We opted for the latter.

The stencils may be made from different kinds of material. We found some stainless steel ones on sale at... [more] - Love Cappuccino


Kitchen GEAR*
RECENT 'fests *

Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment© 2014