miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2016

KitchenAid KMC4241CA Multi-Cooker - Candy Apple

The first question I had when I looked at this thing was “what purpose does this serve?” Apparently, multi-cooker appliances are now a thing and I missed the trend. So if you’re new to this like me, know that this little appliance acts as an oven, stovetop with pot, and slow cooker. It combines all of these functions rather gracefully, actually, which is in stark contrast to my general experience with convergence devices.

That isn’t to say my experience with this appliance hasn’t had a couple of bumps – it has – but the true worth of this or any other appliance is whether the potential outweighs the bumps. In this case, I think it does.

I’ll start with the looks of the thing. Stainless is nice but I think it’s also getting a little passe. If you want pop and attitude, the Candy Apple Red model is your choice. The photos don’t really show the true color. Think modern Ferrari. In fact, with the color, the glass top, and the chrome accents, I kind of think this appliance SHOULD be sporting a Ferarri logo somewhere. Simply put – it’s beautiful. Take this to cooking club and you will be the toast of the ball. It’s also a bit larger than I thought it would be, with thick double-walls surrounding the removable pot (er, “cooking chamber.”). This construction is important, as temperatures in this thing can go up as high as 450 degrees. Even at full bore, the outer surface of the appliance didn’t get overly hot. Very important for a countertop cooking device. The pot itself is aggressively nonstick, something that is greatly appreciated…you’ll see when I describe my experiences with braising.

So what do you use this thing for? Well, it’s pretty general purpose. Basically anything you can do in an oven or stovetop you can do with this thing. And now I hear a couple of you saying “well then, why do I need it?!” And that’s a good question. In my case, my oven takes FOREVER to heat up, which contrasts with the speed in which this appliance can get to temperature. You also have pretty good control of your temperature, either via preset modes or through a manual mode. Rare is the stovetop that will let you set a specific temperature as opposed to vague “med, med high” and so on. Sadly, although the manual temperature settings are within a fairly wide range, they are within a range nonetheless. The lowest you can manually set the temperature is 165 degrees. In the back of my mind I was thinking this would be useful as a kind of poor-man’s Sous Vide cooker, but 165 degrees is going to be too high for that cooking method. Adding frustration to the mix is that the device itself is perfectly capable of going below that (indeed, the yogurt setting works at a comfortable 110 degrees) but the manual setting interface won’t allow it. So bummer.

Rice, on the other hand, is very easy to make with this device…and you can make a LOT of rice. It’s roughly double the capacity of my rice cooker, although it seems somewhat slower. A full pot of rice took 35 minutes to make. Soup? Easy. In fact, this device makes for the easiest preparation of Onion Soup that I’ve ever seen. Fill the thing with cut up onions, let them cook down to carmelized golden goodness, then add your beef stock and other stuff. Easy. And appreciated is the aforementioned yogurt mode. Making yogurt requires very precise temperature control, which again is usually out of the range of a typical stovetop. I had previously relied on an Alton Brown method of using a heating pad combined with a bowl (not going to ever buy a dedicated yogurt maker), but this device allows me to free up a heating pad. It works. Roasting? Check. Steaming? Check. The only limit is your imagination.

Or is it?

So now for one of those bumps I mentioned – braising. At first glance you’d think this would be a natural for braising. The trouble is that braising requires a tight-fitting container to keep the liquid from evaporating. And out of the box, this device does not give you that. The lid has a hole in the top (just like a slow cooker’s), there is no gasket, and it’s well made but not heavy. My first attempt at braising was to do ribs (yes, ribs…cut them in two-bone portions and you can fit a full rack in here). The liquid evaporated away and left a black mess at the bottom of the pot. However, the pot is seriously nonstick and cleanup was effortless.

Time for a hack: extra-wide heavy duty aluminum foil, covering the pot with the lid on top of it. Not only did it work like crazy, but the unit heated up about twice as fast.

It dawns on me that now it looks like I’m gushing. I guess I am. This device does that to a person. When you open up that box, the possibilities seem endless. You can’t wait to get your hands dirty and see what it can do…and it can do a lot. It is invaluable for making baked beans from scratch, which includes soaking the beans. It makes mac and cheese with grace. Using this to make my Nana’s ragu is a dream.

So I may have been blindsided by the whole Multi-Cooker trend…but I’m rapidly getting up to speed. This device is a handy and useful addition to my kitchen.

The KitchenAid multi-cooker delivers consistent culinary results with more than 10 cooking methods for amazing versatility. With even heat technology it constantly monitors the temperature of the cooking pot from 110 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for precise temperature control. The digital display shows step-by-step instructions, temperature and timer for up to 12 hours of cooking.

  • Enter your model number above to make sure this fits.
  • Over 10 cooking methods, with 4 step-by-step modes
  • Even heat technology
  • 4-Quart cooking pot with coating and pour spout
  • Dual purpose steam basket and roasting rack
  • Soft grip handle with clear tempered glass lid