"The C4 Kitchen" - The Carnot Command and Control Center Kitchen
I spend lot of time in the kitchen, and like things organized with easy access to knives, scales, blenders spices ovens. Get the largest cutting board you can afford, keep it clean and oiled. Keep lots of towels near by - I have one in my pocket always. Use biodegradable bags in the composite waste bucket - I keep it open and take out to compost pile near everyday. Not shown bellow is sink behind C4 - Treat your self to a new commercial faucet that is easy to turn on/off with raised nozzle (example Amazon Kohler) - what a difference. Buy it online or from plumbing supply store- the big retail home improvement stores have them as well, but often degrade many parts to reduce costs.
Recommended C4 Kitchen Cooking Gear
The PolySciences Sous Vide circulators were responsible of getting Sous Vide off the ground in US. I have both the large professional version and smaller version for home use. The home use version does not do well up at higher temperatures (185F), the professional version is a workhorse and great very large pots. However, The Anova below is great for home Carnot cooks.
Sous Vide Circulator
The new Anova sous vide water circulator is top quality and lowest cost - it just works. I give it five stars and place it in a small pasta pot so can change temp fast. I have one of every sour vide circulator made, and this gets five stars. Only change I would make is make timer a stop watch, that does not turn bath on or off - just times and sets alarm for anything in bath. It is actually dangerous to turn bath off on many foods, pushes them into pathogen danger zone, if undercooked.
This is a VacMaster VP115 chamber vacuum sealer. Orders of magnitude better than home sealers. First advantage it bas bags that are pennies not 25 cents; Second advantage can get very high vacuum on things like tomatoes for Sous Vide; Third advantage can seal in liquids. Major disadvantage. This one cost about $800.00 but worth every penny. I use mine at least 5-6 times a day for just about everything.
It is the ultimate portion control tool and food storage tool. Can weigh everything in bag, after it is sealed. It is an industrial workhorse that for me is as essential in a kitchen as a refrigerator.
The Philips AirFryer is a convection oven on steroids. Many other AirFryers at much lower price, but highly recommend the Philips digital unit. Does a great job of roasting fish, eggplant, potatoes, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, apples, chicken wings or legs, with very little or no oil.
It has replaced the oven in our kitchen. It does not do great job on beef, but fantastic for vegetables and fish.
For example we do roasted asparagus with garlic using about 3g of olive oil. 200g serving with oil and garlic is about 93 calories, and takes 10 minutes to roast. You see a Ratatouille on far left that cooks in 12 minutes,
The Vitamix Blender is almost essential to any diet. Key to make soups, justice drinks, frittatas, many sauces. A great addition to any kitchen. We use ours at least once a day. Other competing brands Blendex, and Ninja are OK, but can recommend Vitamix as five star gear.
The Breville oven is reliable, great for roasting red peppers, garlic, baked potatoes and cooking frittatas Not essential but very handy and well made.
A dehydrator is great thing to own if you cook. If I see red peppers or sweet green peppers on sale I buy a bunch cut them up and dehydrate for soups and snacks. Red onions sliced thin are amazing dehydrated both as a snack and for garnishes. Fresh spices about to go bad can be saved, bananas that are turning get a new life, tomatoes can be converted to "sun dried" for salads. The Nesco on left is inexpensive and works well order on Amazon, or buy in any kitchen store ($80). The Excalibur seen below is for production home use, and works well but more expensive ($280) and can order on Amazon. Many hunting stores like Cabela's have own brands but not as good as these.
I have purchased and tried many kitchen scales and have found most to be low cost and junky - This with the bathroom scales is essential Carnot Gear and not a place to cut corners. general issues to watch; they turn off too fast after a tare; they don't turn on in grams, you have switch to grams after pushing on button; they display lbs. in fractions not in decimals; scale top is attached so can not easy to clean; LCD displays poor quality hard to read; are not accurate if placed on anything soft (e.g. dish drying pad); Use CR2015 Li batteries difficult to replace; Gimmicky design - for example calculate calories from a fixed or stored list.
I have at least a dozen scales and think the workhorse is the OXO 11 lb and 22 lb scale seen on right - can purchase 11 lb on Amazon for $49.95. Make sure you get new model that automatically comes up with last setting (i.e. grams or .lbs) - The top comes off so easy to clean and stays on for five minutes, keeps last read for 30 minutes, and well built. A second larger version handles up to 22 lbs worth owning both.
I also have several small scales from AWS that I use when I go to a restaurant or travel. I keep it in my brief case, and is often handy. If I am eating an unknown food I weigh it and can usually guess a worst case Cal-Index get estimate of totals for the day. Can purchase from Amazon for $12.64. It fits in your pocket.
I have purchased and tried many low cost small scales and two you see to right are inexpensive and OK. When I was in serious weight loss mode (.3-.4 lbs per day) i was very careful when I traveled. Lot of hard work could be thrown out window with just a few bad choices. I often too weigh guessed Cal-Index so could edit things. The scales you see to right (PROINTxp® Digital Pocket Scale PMDT Series) Black, 500g capacity with 0.1 G resolution are $15 on Amazon and accurate to .1 g. They fit in your pocket, I carry one in my brief case.
The scales below to right are not for travel, but I use to measure things like olive oil sprays. GEMINI-20 Portable MilliGram Scale have capacity of 20g and resolution of .001g. Amazing differences between oil sprays and weight. In the US oil sprays all claim to be zero calories, however if you measure a single spray is between 4 and 10 calories. FDA lets manufactures say zero on label if under 5 calories. Not true in Canada or EU. Can purchase these from Amazon for $22.
Carbonated non-sweet green tea is amazing stuff. It is a Carnot magic elixir that helps fight hunger pains. I often buy the carbonated zero calorie 10/$10 drinks found in grocery store. They all have artificial sweeteners that are probably OK for you but not so good for the gut flora and fauna (read Good Gut). Carbonated drinks are good and do not require any sweetener. They expand about 8 times volume in the stomach, stretch stomach walls and activate the vagus nerve - that helps reduce feeling of hunger with no calories. You can brew you own, but I buy Japanese Oi Ocha tea or similar at grocery store and carbonate myself.
I have tried all the carbonators all the low cost commercial versions are junky. Only two work well the Mastriad (Amazon) is low cost, and OK. but the ISI Siphon works better and is more convenient (Amazon), but much more expensive. Amazing green tea drink when carbonated tastes like beer. Can get a real kick by adding a bit of grated ginger, or ginger syrup, and/or pinch of cayenne pepper. I also make non-sweet tonic water in these using quinine syrup or Cinchona Bark.
Important to fill both to 750 ml, place CO2 top and cartage on and inject CO2, but do not open. After injection place it in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours so very cold and tea becomes saturated with CO2 before you use it. Dramatic difference between warm CO2 injection and cold. Can also just make sure tea is very cold when you start. We keep a 1 qt ISI Siphon in refrigerator door all of the time, just tilt and squeeze lever to fill a glass with a "give-me-a-kick" drink.
This makes amazing drinks, hits spot when afternoon hunger hits and suppress hunger pangs.
Get the largest maple board you can afford. End grain is better but edge grain works fine. I prefer large over anything else. We use wood for vegetables only, Boos is good (Amazon) and Chop Bloc is good (Custom sizes). I keep my large working wood surface clean with scrapper and hot water sponge, plus oil with mineral oil every few days. Clean with vinegar and water (1:1) often.
Epicurean compressed wood is for fish, chicken meat - can be easily washed in sink (Amazon) and in dishwasher. We hang on door hooks near counters so easy to grab.
If your going to cook will discover many kitchen towel issues. Clean hands and counters are critical. Kathleen Flinn: In her book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Cooks, introduced me to burp diapers. They work because are reenforced in middle so can use to pick up hot pan handle, and quickly wipe off oil or sauce on hands. I wash my hands when cooking many times a day and best to use this to dry after washing and not just wipe off sauce or oil. I always have one stuck in my pants pocket, when it gets dirty toss into bucket in laundry room and get clean one from bucket we have in kitchen. Can buy 6/$10 on Amazon and they last about 6 months.
We keep yellow microfiber towels all over kitchen on hooks. We sew a magnet into top and use SS hooks on drawers to hold. Usually have 6 or so scattered around - great to clean up counters, or accidental mess (egg on floor). Can purchase big bag of 24 yellow at Costco for $17 or green at Sam's club.
I have used the Withings scales for four years. They have been reproducible and accurate. They provide weight resolution of 0.2 pounds, however if you export the weights to a spreadsheet seem to have resolution of 0.1 pound. The scales use WiFi, connect to internet and keep record of dates times and weights in the "cloud". Withings web site is great tool and I use it daily, can see 4 years of data to right. This one is about right size and fits into luggage. I always calibrate it before I leave with my reference bathroom scales. Can purchase Withing scales from Amazon for $149.95 with resistive body fat monitor and for $99.00 without body fat monitor. An air quality and heart rate monitor are also provided on more expensive version but in my view gimmicky. I also use IFTTT to transfer all weights to a spreadsheet automatically to Google Drive, many Withings Apps are available. Fitbit has similar WiFi scales called Aria for $129.95. I have not used the Aria but look comparable.
I have tried several small travel scales made in china that were not so good. This one is about right size and fits into luggage and has worked well. I always calibrate it before I leave using my bathroom Withings scales as a reference. These NewLineNY seem to be about 0.2 pounds above the Withings scales and do provide reproducible weights while traveling. Can purchase from Amazon for $29.00 with case and $20.00 without case.
NewlineNY SBB0718M-NYBK Step-On Mini Travel Scale
I have tried several body tape systems. This one has memory and displays length in inches. I usually take measurements every other day. Often changes based on real weight faster than actual weight.
Can purchase from Amazon for $24.00.
I have tried several activity monitors and Fitbit seems to be most accurate on step counting. Their web site is not bad and data link using Bluetooth LE is impressive. Calorie calculations on the FitBit web is useless, but total step count is +-5% it is good and useful.
I have the charge, but Fitbit one also works very well. No need to subscribe to premium web options the standard dashboard is all you need for Carnot. I tried the Withings and steps off by 20%, I also have tried other watch options and not very useful, most are off by as much as 50% on steps. not sure about others.