Q: I often notice Martha using a round, handheld strainer with what appears to be a straight bamboo handle. I have looked several places but have been unable to locate one. I like to keep many of my kitchen tools hanging from a pot rack, so I am interested in this not just for its usefulness but also for its beauty.
--Kym Jaranson, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
These strainers are also known as wok skimmers. They are made of brass and have long, straight bamboo handles. Martha buys hers in Chinatown in New York City; if you don't have a Chinatown or a Chinese market in your area, you can order them from Bridge Kitchenware. The strainers come in a range of sizes, from several inches to almost a foot in diameter, and are useful for removing doughnuts or tempura vegetables from hot oil after deep-frying, vegetables from boiling water after blanching -- and, of course, for cooking in a wok. Skimmers made with finer mesh are handy for scooping foam off the top of a broth.