Four Kitchen Gadgets Every Home Needs

Kitchen gadgets
We demand a lot from our kitchen gadgets on a daily basis. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Whether you need to cook for yourself or a crowd, you really need the right tools. Sure, you can get away with using the same gadgets your grandmother did, but these days there are better solutions on the market that simplify the cooking process and shorten your prep time. Here are some of our favorites!

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Black Pepper Biscotti

Black Pepper Biscotti

Blending citrus flavors from Triple Sec and lemon zest with the spicy bite of fresh cracked pepper, our Black Pepper Biscotti is a savory twist on one of our favorite cookie classics.

My family loves it when I prepare homemade biscotti. Whether they dunk it in coffee or eat it with soup like a cracker, there’s just something decadent and delicious about pairing a big crunch with something that warms the soul. Although we all love my Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti, which is rich, packed with cocoa and nuts and perfectly complements a steaming espresso or cappuccino, sometimes I want something a bit different. My Black Pepper Biscotti is lightly sweetened with 10x (confectioner’s sugar) and pairs tangy citrus flavors from lemon zest and Triple Sec with a peppery finish that creates a unique biscotti that is sweet enough for breakfast or dessert and savory enough for any other time of day.

PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 60 minutes + cooling time


  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • Confectioner’s sugar


  1. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in Triple Sec, lemon peel and vanilla. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in dry ingredients. Cover and chill just until slightly firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on work surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each half on sugar to 11-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake until firm to touch, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Transfer logs to work surface. Discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until dry, about 20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

TIPS: Serve biscotti with coffee or a savory soup, as they are great any time of day. These can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in an airtight container.

YIELDS: Makes about 30

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Hoppin’ John [RECIPE]

Hoppin' John
Pork and black eyed peas come together to create Hoppin’ John, a spicy Southern staple. (Photo by Canva)

Growing up in the South, I frequently discovered marvelous one-pot dinners made with easy-to-find ingredients. For many families, both money and groceries are oftentimes in short supply, and out of necessity cooks learned to make due with what they had on hand. Dishes like gumbo, etouffee and dirty rice utilize simple items including rice, legumes, vegetables and bits of meat or fish. Many of these dishes remain favorites to this day. With Hoppin’ John, the earthy flavor of black-eyed peas combined with bits of salted pork and a dash of spice create a mouth-watering treat that satisfy the biggest appetites with minimal cost.

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