August 20, 2014

Recall: Senseo One-Cup Coffeemakers by Philips Consumer Lifestyle Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Philips Senseo One-Cup Coffeemakers

Units: About 155,000

Distributor: Philips Consumer Lifestyle, of Stamford, Conn.

Hazard: An electrical fault and the build-up of calcium from hard or medium water can cause an obstruction in the coffeemaker. If this happens, the boiler can burst, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported in the United States. The firm has received 17 reports of incidents in Europe, including six reports of minor personal injury involving first degree burns to the hands, arms and abdomen.

Description: This recall involves Senseo one-cup coffeemakers with model numbers HD 7810, HD 7811, HD 7815, HD 7820, HD 7832, and HD 7890. Model numbers are located on the bottom of the coffeemaker. Date codes are printed on the bottom of the coffeemaker. Coffeemakers made in China have date codes 0727 through 0847; coffeemakers made in Poland have date codes 0627 through 0847.

Sold at: Wal-Mart, Target and Safeway stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com between July 2006 through March 2009 for between $60 and $140.

Manufactured in: China and Poland

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the coffeemakers and contact Philips for instructions on receiving a free replacement unit.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Philips toll-free at (866) 604-0051 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays. Consumers can also visit the firm’s Web site at www.senseoexchange.com


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Recall:GE Ranges Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

Name of Product: GE Profile™ Freestanding Dual Fuel Ranges

Units: About 28,000

Manufacturer: GE Consumer & Industrial, of Louisville, Ky.

Hazard: The wiring in the rear of the range can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: GE is aware of 47 reports of overheated wiring, including 33 reports of wiring that caught fire. Of these, one fire caused structural damage to the home and there have been 14 reports of minor property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves GE Profile 30” Freestanding Duel Fuel ranges. The ranges were sold in white, black, bisque and stainless steel. The following model and serial numbers can be found on the left inside corner of the bottom drawer.

Brand Model Number Begins With: Serial Number Begins With:
GE Profile J2B900 LD, MD, RD, SD, TD, VD, ZD, AF, DF, FF, GF, HF, LF, MF
GE Profile J2B915 MF, RF, SF, TF, VF, ZF, AG, DG, FG, GG, HG, LG, MG, RG, SG, TG, VG, ZG

Sold at: Department and appliance stores nationwide from June 2002 through December 2005 for between $1,300 and $2,000.

Manufactured in: Mexico

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the oven and contact GE for a free repair. Consumers can continue to use the cooktop burners.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact GE toll-free at (888) 352-9764 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday ET, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.geappliances.com


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Five Appliances That Can Help You Save Money

 Many Americans are finding themselves looking for ways to save money. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has come up with a list of five appliances that may already be in your home, which can help you save money.

Coffeemakers —Save on pricy coffeehouse blends by brewing your morning cup at home. Resisting a three dollar cup of coffee will save you nearly $1,000 per year!

Freezers —Stock up on frozen foods when they are on sale. In 2008, shipments of home freezers were up five percent as consumers started to realize the savings in stocking up on frozen sale items. Also, remember to shop for an ENERGY STAR freezer to save even more on energy costs.  

Water filters —Use a water filtration system in your refrigerator instead of buying bottled water. This practice will save you money, and will help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles that clog landfills.  

Portable electric heaters —Turn down the heat and use portable heaters in rooms that are used frequently. Keeping the thermostat down will save money while portable heaters provide direct and quick warmth.  

Electric Oven—An electric oven turned on for 1 hour on 350ºF only uses 2kWh of electricity, costing just 24 cents. The cost of dining out can add up quickly. Try cooking at home for a low-cost meal.

For more tips for saving money and energy around your home, visit www.aham.org/consumer.

 

Crock-Pot Wonders

I’ve owned a few crock-pots over the years. Right now I have two- both of them the large six quart models made by Rival. They are both basic models that have a simple central knob for choosing a low or high setting. I prefer my appliances simple and these are perfect for me.

Many people are discovering or rediscovering the humble crock-pot or slow cooker. They offer convenience, and economy. A slow cooker and turn a tough (and cheaper) cut of meat into a tender main dish, ready for dinner when you return home after a long day. Today, about 83% of American households own a slow cooker, according to the NPD Group, a leading marketing research firm. Of these households, almost half used a slow cooker within the past month.

While I heartily recommend my style of slow cooker, the folks at the Los Angeles Times, took a look at a few newer, sleeker models out there and offered these comments:

West Bend’s 5-Quart Oblong Slow Cooker promises an all-in-one slow cooker and griddle, with an insert advertised to be safe for the stove top and oven; it also comes with its own carrying case. The adjustable temperature control has five settings.
What we thought: The model promises a lot and delivers little, if anything. The model automatically starts warming as soon as it’s plugged in — there is no “off” setting — which could lead to burns if you’re careless. Although it’s marketed as oven- and stove-top-safe, in the manual’s fine print there are limitations to how high the thin insert can be heated. Only plastic or rubber utensils can be used with the insert, as metal can scratch the coating. The lid does not securely cover the insert and easily falls off. The model takes forever to heat up, as does the griddle (it took us 45 minutes to fry three pieces of bacon and 10 minutes to fry an egg with the griddle on the highest setting). About $55.

The KitchenAid 7-Quart Slow Cooker is big in capacity and power. It heats quickly with its 400-watt heating element and boasts an accurate and responsive “electronic temperature management system.” It offers 10 hours of programmable cooking time, automatically lowering the heat to warm when the timer is done. The settings: buffet, simmer, low, high and auto.
What we thought: Everything about this unit is big; there’s even a bumper at the back of the unit. The 7-quart ceramic insert is heavy and awkward on its own; filled, it requires a good amount of strength to move. However, it has large — and very convenient — level indicators, so you know the volume of contents you’re cooking. The big digital cooking display is easy to read. The lid does not always sit flush against the top of the insert. The unit heats up very quickly and adjusts throughout to maintain consistent temperature. The insert and lid are dishwasher-safe. About $130.

The All-Clad 7-Quart Deluxe Slow Cooker offers a cast-aluminum insert that is oven- and stove-top-safe (both the insert and lid can function on the stove top as a Dutch oven). The programmable timer automatically switches to warm when cooking is complete. The model features a stainless steel exterior.
What we thought: This is one massive and expensive showpiece. The exterior is big and impressive, but after a couple of uses we found the stainless steel hard to keep clean and almost unbearably hot. The stainless steel lid prevented us from being able to check on contents as they cooked; the lid itself was very thin and lightweight and the handle got so hot a potholder was required. The cast aluminum minimizes mess and eases cleanup. About $280.

And their favorite:

Cuisinart’s 3 1/2 -Quart Programmable Slow Cooker includes a ceramic insert that is stick-resistant and dishwasher-safe. The model comes with a 24-hour LCD countdown timer that automatically switches to warm when contents finish cooking. Four settings: high, low, simmer and warm.
What we thought: This slow cooker was one of our favorites. The programmable timer is a big plus, allowing the cook to set the cooking time in half-hour increments. The ceramic insert offers consistently reliable heating and cooking. The insert and lid are dishwasher-safe. About $60.

One of my favorite cooking sites, allrecipes.com has a highly rated recipe for chicken and dumplings you can try next time you want a comforting meal ready right away when you get home.

You can read all the reviews here.

Cook Microwave Ready Meals Safely

After more than thirty people in twelve states contracted salmonella from microwaveable dinners, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a warning on February 12th about microwaving food.

“Foods cooked improperly in the microwave have the potential to make people sick,” said Graciela Padua, a research associate professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Padua added that one of the main reasons for the salmonella outbreak is because people simply don’t follow the directions on the food’s packaging. If consumers read the instructions more carefully, the risk of sickness would be minimized, she said.

When you heat up a microwave ready meal, be sure the food is heated thoroughly, all the way through the package. If possible, stir the food to distribute the heat and continue cooking until the entire meal is hot to the touch.

Thermador’s Newest Cooktop Technology

Thermador has released its newest cooktops making it almost unnecessary for us to monitor our cooking.  The infrared sensor technology which they have named Sensor Dome, is available in electric cooktops.

In the electric models,  the retractable sensor dial utilizes an infrared beam to continuously measure heat from the cookware.  Sensor Dome automatically cycles the burner on and off to maintain the precise temperature needed while preventing boil over. The result is time-savings combined with superior cooking performance, without the guesswork or the need to constantly adjust the temperature.

In addition, Sensor Dome works in conjunction with the exclusive new CookSmart® program, which is currently available on Thermador’s advanced Masterpiece wall ovens.  Designed again to save consumers time and effort, CookSmart offers nine pre-programmed temperature modes to perfectly prepare a variety of common recipes, including pasta, potatoes and vegetables, as well as assist with deep frying.

It also operates a keep warm function on all elements, child lock for unintended cooktop use and fast preheat that quickly reaches the high temperature needed and then cycles down to the preset level. In addition, the series offers the 36” cooktop (with one sensor) with a center element that is 13” in size at 4,000 watts, making it the largest and most powerful electric cooktop in the industry.  For those consumers who still prefer the intuitive turn of the dial, Thermador’s electric cooktops are also available with mechanical knob controls.

This cooktop is part of Thermador’s Masterpiece and Masterpiece Deluxe Series and is available in both 30″ and 36″ sizes.  They retail for around $1,300 -$2,000 depending on the style and options you select.

Admit it – You Love Your Microwave

Microwaves are one of the great conveniences of life. They heat up our coffee and lunch at work, make popcorn for snacks and heat up leftovers for a quick dinner.  While most of us admit to using the microwave for these tasks, there are fewer who find they truly cook meals using them.

“Everyone says that all they use it for is defrosting, reheating and making popcorn,” Johanna Burkhard says at a recent Microwave Myth Debunking session put on by Panasonic at Toronto’s Calphalon Culinary Centre, “but when I tell them to write down everything they’ve put into it over a week, they surprise themselves.”

Burkhard should know. She wrote the book on it. Or rather, one of the books on microwave cooking, hers being 125 Best Microwave Oven Recipes. Other best-sellers include The Well-Filled Microwave Cookbook and Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka, regarded as the bible on the subject.

Your may find that you mostly melt chocolate or steam some broccoli in your microwave but Burkhard shows that you can whip up several fast and nutritious dishes, including perfectly cooked asparagus with Gorgonzola and pine nuts, Mediterranean chicken, and an especially tasty one-dish meal of spicy ginger salmon with steamed vegetables.

Go ahead, try it:

JOHANNA BURKHARD’S SPICY GINGER SALMON WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES – 3 tbsp (45mL) orange juice – 4 tsp (20mL) soy sauce – 1 tbsp (15mL) rice vinegar – 1 tbsp (15mL) packed brown sugar – 1 tsp (5mL) cornstarch – 2 tsp (10mL) minced fresh ginger – 1 small clove garlic, minced – ½ tsp (2mL) chili paste or to taste – 2 centre-cut salmon fillets (5 ozs/150g each), skin removed – 1 cup (250mL) thinly sliced mushrooms – 2 cups (500mL) shredded Swiss chard or spinach – ½ red bell pepper, cut into 2″ (5cm) thin strips – 1 green onion, finely sliced

1. In a glass measure, blend orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Add ginger, garlic and chili paste. Microwave on high for 1 to 1½ minutes, stirring once, until sauce comes to a full boil and thickens. Sauce will be quite thick. 2. Place salmon in an 8″ (2L) glass baking dish, pour prepared sauce overtop, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and turn back one corner to vent. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 3½ to 5 minutes or until fish is just opaque.

3. Layer with mushrooms, Swiss chard, red pepper and green onion. Cover and cook at medium for 3 to 4 minutes or until Swiss chard is just wilted and pepper is tender-crisp.  (I suggest serving this with rice.) Makes 2 servings.

Helpful Refrigerator Tips

Here are a few quick ideas to help keep your fridge cool and your family healthy:

Refrigerate hot foods as soon as possible and within two hours after cooking.  You can put hot foods in the refrigerator – they cool faster there – just put them in small, shallow containers for faster cooling.

Keep the refrigerator at 40F degrees or lower.  If you’re not sure of te temperature, you can buy and inexpensive refrigerator thermometer and adjust the temperature if necessary.

Date leftovers so they can be used within a safe time.  Most foods are usually safe if eaten within three to five days of being refrigerated.  Foods from restaurants should generally be eaten sooner.

Don’t overload the refrigerator. You need space between the containers for the cold air to circulate.  This not only keeps the food uniformly cold, but helps the unit run efficiently.