Each spring, I attend the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago to identify trends and discover new appliances, useful kitchen gadgets, and stylish tableware destined for memorable gatherings.
For one who devotes her personal and professional life to all things HOME, attending this show is like being a kid in a candy store. I want to taste it all!
But as I explored further, select items grabbed my attention – a complete redesign of Corelle dinnerware that’s fresh, contemporary, yet durable, even as the beloved 60 year old “Blue Cornflower” pattern is reintroduced to their CorningWare; Lodge Manufacturing’s “Wildlife Series” of cast iron skillets and griddles featuring bear, moose, duck, or fish designs etched into the bottom; Farberware’s nesting skillet and saucepan sets that require less cupboard space; Hestan Cue’s new smart induction cooktop, guided cooking videos and connected cookware; Eureka’s powerful, but sleek cordless vacuum; Witloft’s leather aprons made in Amsterdam but with a look that’s pure Texas; and Bene Casa’s large pit barbecue pig roaster and multi-burner camp stove.
My Top Three Housewares Picks for 2018 touched all spectrums of home cooking and entertaining. Viking Culinary’s three-in-one polished stainless steel roasting pan functions as a versatile covered roaster, Dutch oven or stockpot, but with summer entertaining season just around the corner, I saw a striking container for chilled wine or carafes of ice-cold cocktails, tea, and lemonade. The deep roasting pan is ideal for a large floral centerpiece or food-for-a-crowd, while the shallow lid would be stunning filled with hot-off-the-grill steaks and corn-on-the-cob.
Bartisian’s countertop cocktail machine began as a Kickstarter project in 2015 and is like a K-cup coffee maker for cocktails. The host fills four containers with preferred liquor; then selects one of six pre-mixed cocktail ingredient pods and inserts it into the machine. When the machine reads the pod’s barcode, it dispenses the correct liquor for that cocktail. After a brief demonstration, my inner-hostess kicked in and I pictured summertime drinks in frosted glassware with little umbrellas.
My final top pick is Hamilton Beach’s indoor flavor searing grill. This lightweight grill-with-lid is easy to clean, features a sear option, cooks everything from steaks to shrimp, and is perfect for grilled sandwiches or kabobs or summertime gatherings on our covered patio, I’ll use this space-saving countertop grill to prepare grilled fruit desserts, as well as my Puerto Rican Coffee-Rubbed Pork Skewers. Served with mango salsa, our guests are going to love this hot-off-the-grill, zesty appetizer!
For additional recipes and entertaining tips from cookbook author and public television chef Christy Rost, visit christyrost.com
Puerto Rican Coffee-Rubbed Pork Skewers
• 1 tablespoon ground Puerto Rican or other dark-roast coffee
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
• 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
• 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1/2 orange bell pepper, rinsed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 10 -12 wooden skewers, soaked in water 10 minutes
In a small bowl, stir together ground coffee, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, smoked paprika, cayenne and coriander. Set it aside.
Slice the meat crosswise into 1-inch thick rounds. Cut each round into 4 to 5 cubes and coat them well with the seasoning mixture. For appetizers, thread two cubes of meat onto skewers alternately with the onion and orange bell pepper. Spray the grill lightly with nonstick spray, preheat on the SEAR setting, and when it is hot, place skewers on the grill. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side for a total of 12 to 16 minutes, or until the meat has dark grill marks and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Serve with mango salsa or desired condiments.
10 to 12 appetizer skewers
* Visit our website for my mango salsa recipe.