Nut milks, infused oils, fresh herbs and homemade breads made with whole wheat. Here are a few gadgets home cooks might enjoy using to make the kinds of staples many of us wish were at hand’s reach. Admittedly, some of these prices are steep. (You could, after all, make your own infused oils in a saucepan.) But it’s not too early to start sketching out a holiday gift list ... is it?
Those who make their own nut milks know it can be a hassle; soaking the nuts overnight, high-speed blending, and then straining the pulp through a cheesecloth to squeeze out the liquid. The NutraMilk machine was created as a way to cut through the mess and create creamy and smooth nut milk in minutes. Any raw or roasted seeds or nuts — including coconut — can be used, without the need for soaking. The machine first turns them into butter, then emulsifies into a milk without the pulp or any of the grit associated with homemade nut milks. (A fine, 100-mesh filter inside the machine takes care of skins from nuts like almonds and hazelnuts.) Sweeteners like dates or other dried fruit also can be tossed in for flavor. The milk is dispensed right from the machine, through a spigot. $449.95, thenutramilk.com
Oils infused with garlic, coconut and herbs are a flavorful way to add healthful fats to a diet, but many store-bought versions “are extracted with harsh solvents — like grain alcohol — and filled with preservatives to keep them fresh,” said Chrissy Bellman, founder of Levo, a kitchen-counter machine that speeds up the process of infusing oils at home. Why is this an improvement over the old-fashioned way? Traditional homemade methods include heating oil on a stove, but because every oil has a different smoke point, said Bellman, it’s hard to control the temperature, and overheating the oil creates harmful free radicals. The windowsill method, which can take between two and six weeks, often results in mold. Both then require strainers, cheesecloth and funnels to filter and store. Various oils — olive, sunflower, avocado — can be used as a base in Levo, alongside butter and ghee, which can then be enhanced with peppers, vanilla, cannabis, flowers and roots like ginger and turmeric. Infusions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to upward of two hours depending on the ingredients. $199.99, levooil.com
No more dashing out to the store for that overlooked parsley and dill. AeroGarden makes countertop kits in which to grow your own herbs, salad greens and other vegetables under LED lights using mineral salts as nutrients. The seed pods that come with the kit include leafy green options like arugula, mixed kale and Chinese cabbage, or vegetables like cherry tomato and jalapeño peppers. Even those without a green thumb are guaranteed success; the AeroGarden reminds you when it’s time for more water. $99.95 and up, aerogarden.com
Inspired by the Asian culinary staple roti — a round flatbread made from flour, oil, salt and water — the Rotimatic was designed to make homemade wraps, tortillas and pizza bases in minutes without any rolling and kneading. Compartments at the top of the machine hold flour, water and oil, which are then automatically combined, turned into a dough, and cooked, producing flat, round breads. The company, based in Singapore, is reportedly working on a version to allow for gluten-free flours. $999, rotimatic.com