CARTHAGE, Mo. —
In my house, I have a special display area where I keep my Elvis memorabilia. My glass collectibles are stored in the china cabinet. But there isn't a central location for my "As Seen on TV" items.
That's probably a good thing because if they were all in one place, I might be shocked at how many of them I have purchased. Plus, it doesn't make sense to keep my Heel-Tastic in the same drawer as the slush maker.
The "As Seen on TV" commercials are like an ad for a triple-chocolate brownie delight -- I might as well go buy one because I will think about it until I do. I had three Orgreenic kitchenware items still in their boxes, so I decided to break them out and see if the TV ads are true.
First up was the 10-inch green nonstick frying pan. Its label brags that it will broil, bake, braise, fry, steam and saute, and it cooks without oil, butter or grease. I was most interested in its frying capability.
After seasoning the skillet per the instructions, I tried frying an egg without any oil. I tipped the skillet sideways, and the egg didn't move. But with a tiny prod from a rubber spatula, it slid loosey-goosey around the surface. I must say I missed the oil because the egg's surface seemed a little dry to me.
I then tried a slice of cheese on the skillet, just like on commercial. I left the cheese in the skillet until it was burned black on the bottom. Again, after a tiny prod, the cheese was gliding around the skillet. The cleanup was as simple as dropping the cheese in the trash.
The skillet looked brand new after each trial. I really like that the handle stays cool when frying and the skillet can go from stovetop to oven.
Next up to try was the Flip Jack pancake maker. It required seasoning before use, too.
This pan comes with a recipe booklet, so I mixed a batch of batter for the basic fluffy pancakes. After a few minutes I checked the pancake and the top looked bubbly and ready to turn, so I closed the lid and gave the pan a flip. I didn't hear or feel the pancake fall into the bottom pan, so I flipped it back and checked.
Sure enough, it required a gentle nudge to loosen the pancake. Then I closed the lid and gave it a flip, and the pancake dropped to the other side. After a few more minutes, the pancake was perfect and ready to eat.
While it's fun to use this pancake maker, it would take much more time to fix a big batch of pancakes than using a griddle that allows you to make more than one at a time. The recipe called for 1/4 cup batter per pancake, which I added the first time. For the second pancake, I added 1/2 cup of the batter, which made a pancake that filled the maker perfectly and was more suited to my personal preference.
The final product I tested, the Perfect Tortilla, was the easiest of the three in terms of getting it ready to use. Simply wash it in hot, soapy water, then give it a good rinse and a thorough drying. The Perfect Tortilla also gave the best results.
The Perfect Tortilla can use three different tortilla sizes. It turns the tortilla into a crispy bowl that's perfect for salads or desserts. The shells can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container and reheated in just a few minutes. With four pans in the box, you can make more than one at a time, which gives the Perfect Tortilla an edge on the pancake maker.
I will use all of these products again, and I will season the skillet and pancake maker to see if it was operator error that caused them not to automatically release the food. The skillet is the perfect size for a quick egg or grilled cheese, and the pancake maker has recipes for sandwiches, crepes and potato pancakes, making it versatile, too. I look forward to the next "As Seen on TV" gadget (as well as just about any chocolate dessert) that I see advertised.
Today's first recipe is from the pancake maker's recipe booklet. I found it funny that it calls for 11/4 egg. I just put in one large egg, which was fine, but I guess I could have made a 3/4 scrambled egg with the leftovers.
The other recipes are from "Taste of Home's Family Favorites." The chicken recipe is a one-dish meal, while the pie adds a cool ending to dinner.
Have a great week and happy eating.
Basic fluffy pancakes
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
11/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Make a well in center. In a separate bowl, beat together remaining ingredients. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Makes 4 servings.
Delaware chicken divan
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli or 11/2 pounds fresh broccoli, washed, cut into spears and lightly steamed
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Arrange broccoli on bottom of 11/2-quart buttered casserole dish; sprinkle chicken pieces over broccoli. Combine sauce ingredients; spoon over top of broccoli and chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Yields 4 servings.
Ultimate strawberry pie
2 packages (one 8-ounce and one 3-ounce) cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons sugar
1 quart fresh strawberries, divided
2 squares semisweet chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios, pecans or walnuts
1 pie crust
Bake pie crust until golden brown; let cool. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add about 3/4 cup of the strawberries; beat until just bits of berry remain. Spread into pie shell. Melt chocolate over low heat. Dip tips of remaining berries into chocolate. Arrange over cream cheese layer with the tips up. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill thoroughly. Yields 8 servings.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.