A Gift Guide for the Chef in Your Life

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again! Time to think long and hard about what to get your loved ones. Time to fantasize about all the lovely shiny gadgets that could be occupying your kitchen counter space if only your loved ones would pick up on the hint.

For you clueless loved ones who have no idea what that person in the kitchen wants, here are some suggestions.

Bob Kramer 7 inch Carbon Steel Santoku Knife

Probably the most important thing in a kitchen is a good knife. If you have a high quality chef’s knife and paring knife, you don’t really need more unless you want to get really fancy.
These knives are made to the specifications of Bob Kramer, who is one of the few people in the world who specializes in making kitchen knives by hand. Get one of these and learn how to properly sharpen you knives and you are good to go for years to come.

KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer

This is THE hot item in the food blogosphere. Honestly I salivate over this because I see all the wonderful things people can use this for and I wish I could get my hands on one. For all of your mixing needs, plus a few more (even pasta making and meat grinding!!!) if you buy accessories.

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

Another item I only dream of!

Cuisinart holds the title for starting off the food processor craze and manufacturing some of the highest quality processors. As the show says it slices, it dices, it juliennes fries!
This is like your sous chef in the kitchen, doing all those time consuming tasks that you don’t really want to. Great for the chef with little time to spare.

Microplane 40001 Stainless Steel Zester

Best zesters and grater, hands down. You got to give it to the company, they have barely changed their designs at all over the years because they already knew what worked. This zester has no handle and looks nearly identical to their original woodplane. I like it that way, plus there is no plastic to collect water or break on me. Zesting, grating, all sorts of shavings all become effortless.

The Kitchen Proper Kit from Kaufman Gifts

The chef in you life will adore you for this. It has everything. A French tapered rolling pin for precise pastry making and even pressure. Enamel-coated, long-lasting and beautiful colander and ladels. SIX (count ’em) Weck jars for all the canning you could want. And beautiful sweet smelling hand dipped beeswax candles to enjoy the thank you meal you chef will undoubtably make for such a fine gift.

AeroGarden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit

Perhaps your chef has a green thumb. Perhaps not. Either way, the Aerogarden makes having fresh herbs ( it makes all the difference) so easy even the worst black thumb will have a thriving countertop garden.

Silpat

I never thought this could make such a difference to my kitchen routine, but it does. Less flour to keep things from sticking means more delicate, flakier, crisper dough. Plus less flour waste. Plus less environmental waste since it also replaces parchment paper. A staple.

Ozeri Digital Kitchen Scale

This is simple. Sometimes you need to weigh things instead of searching the Internet for the conversion rates of grams of coriander to tablespoons. This does that.

OXO Good Grips Dough Blender

Honestly, I use my hands because my mom did and I am cheap, but your chef is probably fancier than I am. So they will want a pastry blender to ensure that their hands don’t melt the butter in their pastries and they will come out delicious and light.

CDN Quick-Read Thermometer

Also simple. You need a thermometer. You also need to not burn yourself while taking the temperature.

Bamix Immersion Blender

This is the best immersion blender.Seriously, they invented immersion blenders so they know what they are doing. This will rip, whip, beat, puree, do whatever you need it to do. I don’t even know why people have standard blenders if they can have this.
Don’t let others fool you. I use this thing several times a day and I have burned out some of the so called high end immersion blenders. I can never stop loving my bamix.

Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer

Joined a CSA? Have an abundance of leftovers? Lazy? The Foodsaver can answer all of these problems. Preserve food by vacuum sealing and then freezing to prevent freezer burn and keep produce for years without damaging quality. Make food ahead of time and package it into individual serving bags. Use the mason jar attachment (my favorite thing) to seal jars full of dry goods.

Lodge Logic Cast Iron

Lodge is the last company to actually make cast iron in the USA and they have been doing it for generations. I received several of these as a gift and they are beautifully pre-seasoned. People pass these down as heirlooms, and although LeCreuset is beautiful enamelware, I prefer the durability of un-enameled cast iron.

Sodastream Jet Starter Kit

I consume way too much tonic and seltzer water. Between all the syrups I make, carbonated beverages disappear in no time. This item is great for people like me, and for people who are trying to kick the soda habit but just love the taste of carbonation.

Good luck shopping!


Giving thanks

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • I am and always will be thankful for being blessed to have such a wonderful immediate and extended family
  • For my friends who still talk to me even though I fail at life
  • For health and shelter in a time where many even in this rich nation have none and could only dream of above minimum wage jobs and health insurance

Happy Thanksgiving everyone


Cranberry sauce

November 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

I will never forget my one and only “real” Thanksgiving.

Even though my family has lived in the USA for over a decade, we never quite acculturated all the way. No Thanksgiving, no Halloween, no Fourth of July. I think when we moved to the suburbs we bought a grill in an attempt to be “all-American” and it was used once and never again.

So… I never had a “real” Thanksgiving so much as a mini pre-Christmas.

My first Thanksgiving was my second year of college. I wasn’t going home for the fall break and my friend invited me to come to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner since she lived nearby.

It was like I was in the home of those people on TV!

Turkey and tons of people and children running around. Stuffing and “yams,” and cranberry sauce.

Now, the only exposure to cranberry sauce I had up until then was the canned kind that they served in the dining hall before fall break. So I was amazed when I saw my friend make this, and it was so simply and delicious!

So, when this year I was asked what I would bring to dinner, I immediately volunteered to bring cranberry sauce.

It is the easiest thing. It is almost not cooking, but it is so great!

Ingredients

  • 2 bags of Cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Wash cranberries and remove any that look too old and squishy
  2. Add cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice to large pot
  3. Cook until cranberries burst
  4. (optional) strain, but I love the taste of cranberry skins
  5. Cool and eat


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