Repurpose Rarely Used Appliances
Surprising things you can do with your ice cream maker, rice cooker, waffle iron, and milkshake machine.
Your Ice Cream Maker
- Make Cola slushies. Set up the machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Pour in one 12-ounce can of cola and start the machine. When a thick slush has formed (after 10 to 15 minutes), scoop it into two glasses and serve.
- Make margaritas. Pour all the ingredients except the alcohol into the ice cream maker. When the liquid has frozen, add the tequila and triple sec.
- Whip up a frozen lime rickey. Pour 6 ounces of seltzer, 1 ounce of simple syrup (made by dissolving 2 parts sugar in 1 part boiling water), and 1 ounce of lime juice into the machine. Let freeze for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Make frozen hot chocolate. Prepare instant hot chocolate according to the package directions, then pour it into the machine and freeze for about 20 minutes.
Your Rice Cooker
- Steam towels to offer guests before dinner. (Or, for a quick moisturizing treatment, slather your hands with lotion, then wrap them in the steamed towels until cool.) Wet and wring out several small washcloths. Fold in thirds horizontally, then roll and place inside the steamer. Steam for 5 minutes (or until hot). Remove with tongs, and place on a tray or a plate.
- Make hot cereal. It takes twice as long, but the cereal is smoother and creamier than the stovetop version. And the no-stirring method frees you to attend to other things in the morning―like simultaneously packing lunches, reading the newspaper, and feeding the dog.
Your Waffle Iron
- Make grilled cheese. Bob Blumer, author of Surreal Gourmet Bites, says, "the dimples double the amount of surface, so the sandwich has a much more satisfying crunch." The iron also divides it into four sections―great for toddlers or snacking adults. Butter two slices of multigrain bread on one side with 1 teaspoon butter (or coat the iron with vegetable cooking spray). Place 1 slice of cheese in the center of the iron, buttered-side down. Top with another slice of cheese and 1 slice of tomato, if using, and cover with the remaining slice of bread, buttered-side up. Close the lid firmly and cook until golden, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Make a calzone. Roll out two rounds of pizza dough. Place one on the hot iron, top it with whatever you like, then add the second round of dough. Close the lid firmly and cook until the dough is golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve with a bowl of pasta sauce for dipping.
Your Milk Shake Machine
- Make aioli to use on burgers, sandwiches, grilled chicken, crudites, or fish. (The machine is faster and less wrist-wearying than a whisk.) Place 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 egg yolks*, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in the cup and combine with a fork. Holding the cup so the spindle touches the bottom, turn on the machine and add the 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a slow, thin stream. When the mixture reaches the consistency of mayonnaise, add fresh chives, parsley, basil, or dill, if using. The aioli will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
- Make vinaigrette.
- Make fluffy omelets. Crack eggs straight into the cup.
* The USDA says young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of food-borne illness from raw unpasteurized eggs. (Pasteurized are OK.)