Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide - Part 1

Great gifts for cooks, bakers, and people who like to eat

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet and have any cooks on your list, I have a few suggestions to make your last-minute shopping easier:

Kitchen tools

BeaterBlade for KitchenAid Mixers - A built-in spatula/scraper for your mixer. I haven't tried this product, but it looks like a great idea!

Le Creuset Skillet - A groundbreaking product this is not; however, anyone who uses a skillet could benefit from having a Le Creuset. Cast iron skillets heat evenly and are a healthier option (both for people and for the planet) than using a nonstick skillet coated with Teflon.

Thermapen Professional Infrared Instant Read Thermometer - Thermapen thermometers are recommended by the folks at Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen . . . think of it as an investment . . . the dividends will be perfectly cooked meat.

Stocking Stuffers:

Garlic Zoom - This is my favorite new gadget - yes, it looks silly . . . but it works! It chops garlic in a fraction of the time it would take to use a knife. And it is easy to clean (open at the seam in the middle and remove the blades - it's dishwasher safe). I actually look forward to recipes that call for fresh garlic because of the Garlic Zoom.

Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife - Nothing new here, but these are still must-have items. Not only are they cute, they also have a protective cover (great for brown bag lunches or picnics) and they cut - and release food - perfectly.

Microplane Zesters and Graters - The "must-have" of all "must-have" kitchen gadgets. Recipes calling for citrus zest, grated Parmesan, nutmeg, chocolate, etc. are instantly accessible with a Microplane. Like the Garlic Zoom, Microplanes are easy to clean. I know most serious cooks already have a Microplane (or two), but if yours doesn't - get them one. Now.


Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics - One of the hottest new releases this holiday season. Great for Ina Garten fans or anyone looking for something new - or a good version of a classic recipe. I just got this book, but I already have tabbed several recipes I want to try and I've always had good luck with Ina Garten's recipes.

Any books from the editors of Cook's Illustrated - In America's Test Kitchen, they test every recipe 30 to 70 times before publishing it, making it practically foolproof. All their books and recipes are awesome, but if I were forced to live with only one cookbook, I would pick The New Best Recipe.

The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper - If you read my blog regularly, you already know I'm a huge fan of How to Eat Supper. Check out some of the recipes I've sampled: fettuccine alfredo, flash chicken saute and roasted chicken with preserved lemon. I'm not always a fan of their food politics - but the good content and great recipes outweigh that aspect. This would be a great gift for anyone who enjoys cooking dinner and/or needs new weeknight recipes.

Magazine Subscriptions:

Magazine subscriptions are great gifts for people who love to cook because they give the recipient 12 months of fresh new recipes and inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bon Appetit

Everyday Food

Cooking Light

Watch for gifts of food and gifts for kids in part two of my holiday gift guide!


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Sarah said...

I'm going to have to check out the Garlic Zoom, that looks fun! Plus my husband loves garlic. I'll second the Everyday Food subscription, I love that magazine!