Stephanie Izard isn't a big fan of kitchen gadgets, but there's one she can't live without—especially in the summer.
Cherry pitters, the chef said, are worth every penny.
"I think sometimes people go a little crazy with gadgets," the Girl & the Goat chef said at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. "There are lots of really unnecessary gadgets. But a cherry pitter—it's pretty sweet. If you’re going to eat cherries for the seaon, it's definitely worthwhile." (We like this one, which is only $9 on Amazon)
A device that quickens the tedious process of pitting cherries makes summer pies and salads much easier to prepare. Plus, cherry pitters work on more than just cherries.
"I’m a big olive person, and there are definitely olive this works for," Izard added.
While Izard doesn't love fresh cherries, she pits them all the time to put in pie—"When you cook cherries you end up with a totally different flavor profile. When you cook them they get all mooshy and lose that brightness," she said.
Izard's demo at the Classic focused on easy entertaining. She started the event off by making a quick cocktail out of the liquid leftover from pickling rhubarb and Fresno peppers. Whenever she quick-pickles vegetables—which she does a lot—she saves the liquid to mix into cocktails, vinaigrettes, and soda water.
"You take a vegetable, you [can use] various vinegars depending on what it is," Izard said. "A sugar and salt mixture, you just pour it over and make a very simple version of a quick pickle."
One of her favorite pickle juice concoctions? The leftover liquid from green strawberries mixed with seltzer.
For more tips and recommendations from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, check out this guide to the 26 best tips we learned over the weekend.