A compendium of Recomendo




Whimsical wine pourers

I came across Menagerie wine pourers/aerators at a winery and wish I would have bought more. They’re made from stainless steel and they definitely feel heavy and high-quality, but mostly they’re just really cute. They have almost 100 different creatures to choose from — animals and make-believe — I chose an octopus. – CD

Keep produce fresh longer

Buying in bulk does save, but when we buy the large plastic container of mixed greens from Costco, it usually gets slimy after 4-5 days. I tried the paper towel hack and placed one sheet in the middle and one on top and it extended its shelf-life by one week! — CD

Summer pasta recipe collection

I’m so excited about this recipe collection of Summer pastas by NYT cooking. Most of them require ingredients that are out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing, and they all seem fairly easy to make! I’ve already crossed two off my list and they were delicious. — CD

Chill champagne faster

One of my favorite hacks helps to quickly chill a bottle of bubbly — very useful when you are a dinner guest. Fully wet a paper towel, wrap it around the bottle, then place it in the freezer. In about 10-15 minutes, the paper towel should be hardened and the wine will be chilled. — CD

Good grilling

It’s summer, so we have been barbecuing a couple of times a week. I have the classic Weber charcoal grill. I grill beef and chicken directly over the coals, but I’ve been using these grill mats to cook vegetables and fish. They are so thin that they look like they would incinerate in a second, but they are impervious to high heat. They are easy to clean, too. Nothing sticks to them. — MF

Amazon grocery delivery

Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery shopping and delivery service. They sell everything a large supermarket sells, often at better prices. You can sometimes get same day delivery, but it usually takes 24 hours. This is a huge time saver for our family. You must be an Amazon prime member. Here’s how to get an Amazon Prime 30-Day free trial. — MF

New favorite pasta recipe

I grew up eating Prego sauce spaghetti and as an adult had a hard time enjoying less sugary alternatives. This America’s Test Kitchen Skillet Lasagna recipe (free on is my new favorite. I substitute the meatloaf mix with ground beef and lasagna noodles for spaghetti broken in half to fit into the skillet. Also, my husband doesn’t like ricotta, so I’ve been subbing with white cheddar. — CD

Kitchen knife gift

Everyone can use a perfectly balanced, lifelong kitchen knife. It’s an ideal gift. One I like to gift is the Kuma Chef Knife which gets rave reviews from kitchen knife aficionados who normally review two-hundred dollar knives, yet the Kuma only costs $25. It’s ergonomically optimized for your hand, easy to keep razor sharp, and will last generations. When I lift mine, I smile. — KK

Favorite kitchen dishtowels

I love these white, blue-striped kitchen dishtowels. They’re $15 for a set of 12. They are 100% cotton, thick and absorbent. I just retired my former, coffee-stained set to the garage, and bought a new set. — MF

Chicken kebab recipe

My wife is Armenian, and we have eaten a lot of Middle Eastern food over the years. We also like to cook Middle Eastern food. Here’s my go-to chicken kebab recipe. My mouth is watering as I type this, remembering how great this is. I cook it over a charcoal grill. — MF

Best kitchen knife

The gift I most often give for young adults starting their own kitchen is this great, thin, sharp, durable, yet inexpensive chef knife. Both the 6-inch and 8-inch versions are wonderful, but I always grab the 6-inch Victorinox myself. Still ranked by Cooks’ Illustrated as a best buy for $25, the Victorinox Chef Knife will last forever, keep a razor sharp edge easily, and balance in your hand perfectly. — KK

Backyard eggs

Backyard eggs really do taste better than farm raised ones. At least ours do. It may be because they get a more varied diet: we include our kitchen scraps, which they devour. Chickens will eat anything. I had always resisted raising chickens because of what I imagined would be a daily chore. But they are really very low maintenance. We’ve had half dozen chickens for 6 years now. Their feed trough can hold a week’s worth of feed, and an automatic water feeder keeps them in water indefinitely, so we can leave them alone for days at a time if we need to. We can always find someone willing to pick up some free, yummy backyard eggs. You can buy chicks from a mail order like McMurray Hatchery, but most feed stores, even urban ones, will sell chicks one by one. The best intro book is Raising Chickens for Dummies — KK

HomeClaudia Dawson