Sometimes the technology gremlins who ferry information about my internet searches and email messages to their counterparts who serve up the supposedly tailored advertisements I see in my social media feeds are spot on.
Yes, I will consider buying a pair of cropped yoga pants instead of a new summer party dress as the pandemic drags on. And maybe an upgrade to my currently overused meditation app would be a good idea, too. Oh, and home wine delivery, most certainly!
But for the love of Roald Dahl (he wrote the book that made these mythical creatures famous), the gremlins are dead wrong about my desire for kitchen gadgets. I’ve seen ads for gadgets that hold plastic storage bags upright while you fill them. Instead of reading my emails, the gremlins might want to check out my columns on reducing plastic waste.
I’ll pass on the banana slicer, because, well, I already have a knife. I certainly don’t want a gadget that looks like a metal daddy long legs and has a battery-operated timer so it can be set to periodically stir a long-simmering sauce. If I’m making said sauce, I’ve got a wooden spoon lets me both stir in a little love and take a little taste as needed. Oh, and those hands-free silicon taco holders that let me assemble eight tacos at a time? No thank you. In my house, tacos are made one at a time, by the eater, in a fashion that requires less work on my part and facilitates more time at the family table talking about the day’s events.
I’m simply not a kitchen gadget girl. Every piece of equipment that comes into my kitchen must do at least three things or it doesn’t make the cut. Acquiring unnecessary stuff is an unsustainable practice.
I have a friend whose Bundt pan was lost in a recent move. She opted not to replace it because she says she doesn’t miss making Bundt cakes. But how do you remove corn from the cob without making a huge mess all over the counter, I asked? Blank stare.
If you stick the top of a piece of shucked corn into the tube in the center of the Bundt pan, you can run a knife down the cob and all the kernels drop neatly into the pan. To make every bit of skin on a whole chicken crispy when you roast it, cover the Bundt pan tube with a piece of foil, place the whole chicken, legs down, over the tube so that it stands upright, and slide it into the oven. If you want to roast potatoes in the chicken juices that flow out of the bird, scatter one-inch cubed spuds around the bottom of the pan before perching the bird on the tube.
If you are a person who cooks Thanksgiving stuffing outside of the turkey, consider doing so in a Bundt pan. Turning it out onto a plate like you would for a cake gives you a unique presentation. The same scenario can apply to meatloaf, cornbread, sandwich bread and lasagna. Need a ring of ice to keep a picnic punch cold? Arrange berries, lemon slices and edible flowers in the bottom of a Bundt pan, fill it with water and freeze. A Bundt pan can also serve as a summertime s’mores caddy, holding all the ingredients in one place by the campfire, with the skewers standing upright in the center tube. Oh, and if you use your Bundt pan so much that non-stick coating has worn off, upcycle the pan to be a receptacle for all your gift-wrapping supplies. Tape, ribbons, note cards all fit nicely in the pan and scissors are safely housed in the center.
I could go on and on with this ode to the Bundt pan, but think I’ve made my point about it being more of a multi-purpose tool than a single-use gadget. It deserves a spot in your kitchen, preferably one that’s easy to get to because you should be pulling it out early and often.
Bundt Pan Maple Cornbread
This recipe is based on one published by King Arthur Flour. If you have a favorite cornbread recipe that fits into an 8- or 9-inch square pan and want to bake it in a Bundt pan, increase all ingredient amounts by 50 percent. You can use regular yellow cornmeal for this recipe, but I’d suggest seeking out one ground from local flint corn for added flavor, color and texture. I highly recommend eating all cornbread with pepper jelly.
Butter for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups (180g) AP flour, more for dusting the pan
1 1/2 cups (138g) local cornmeal
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Heavily grease and lightly flour a Bundt pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, fresh corn, baking powder and salt until combined. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, melted butter and eggs. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake the cornbread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve warm, or store, covered, for three days at room temperature. Freeze for up to a month.
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