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Out of the Frying Pan

profiles: Malin Hansson and Nikol Lohr

Silicone Spatula ($6 and up)

I don't bake much. And the only kind of dough I've succeeded with has been the sticky, gooey lovely mess that precedes pizza. And so I'd never considered the benefits of owning a spatula--until I received this girlie red one from Williams-Sonoma as a gift. It was love at first sight. After all, it resists heat up to 500°, making it the IDEAL implement for my nonstick stir-fry pans. Lately, I seem to be centering my meals around this beautiful tool. It resides on my stovetop shelf, proudly placed among my trusty wooden spoons and metal whisks. It's perfectly suited for stirring risotto, separating cooking rice noodles, and divine for swirling my secret-recipe chocolate mousse, just so. Yes, I am in love. -Malin

I second that emotion. There are several makers of silicone spatulas: Williams-Sonoma, Le Creuset, even the Pampered Chef--and they all do the job equally well. The Williams-Sonoma and Le Creuset versions have the added bonus of vibrant color. But good looks aside, the true beauty of these babies come from within--within the magical silicone of which they're comprised. If you've used heat-tempered rubber spatulas and think you know what these are, think again. Heat tempered spatulas crap out at 450°, but these babies go from 500° - 600°, withstanding heavy-duty stovetop heat. You can leave them sitting in a hot sauté pan with no ill effects. They're flexible, last-drop scrapers that will keep you from losing a drop of precious reduction. I use them for everything from batter to stirfry to lifting crepes. Of my obnoxious collection of utensils shown on the Gadgets a-Go-Go index page, this is one of the few I used absolutely every day. -Nikol

shown: large Le Creuset silicone spatula in red from cooking.com, $11.95 (small and medium versions, $5.95 and $6.95, respectively).

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Silicone spatula

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