It cannot already be December 10. Can it? I'm usually in full holiday mode by this time. This year I seem to be having trouble jump-starting the Christmas spirit. I started my holiday baking yesterday, and that helped a bit, but I still have several things I want to do before Christmas yet no matching motivation. Perhaps thinking of presents for others will get me going...
Looking for some great gift ideas for the cook in your life? Well, look no more. I've compiled a list of useful and fun items for cooking, eating, and drinking. I promise this is not a list of frivolous gadgets or trendy cookbooks to clutter their kitchen.
Microplane Zester - I have had mine for years and am continually surprised by how often my husband and I pull it out of the drawer to use. Any one who cooks regularly will be thrilled to have this in their stocking. Use it to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses or spices.
Flat Whisk - I find that in my kitchen the flat whisk is much more useful than the more common balloon whisk. The balloon whisk is best to whip egg whites or cream, but I have electric mixers for those tasks. The flat whisk is great for sauces, vinaigrettes, or scrambling eggs. Plus, the flat whisk fits more easily into my counter storage system, and it is easier to clean. (I do not have a dishwasher. Gasp.)
Candy Thermometer - Yet another goodie for your loved one's stocking...This handy tool is used to take the temperature and therefore determine the cooking stage of sugar and is also helpful to measure hot oil when frying. I use it frequently for making candy and preserves. I find the traditional liquid thermometer is easiest to use and I appreciate having a clip to attach to the pot or saucepan so I may have my hands free for stirring or adding additional ingredients. Make your gift more special by giving this with a handwritten recipe.
Cast Iron Skillet - If you do not yet have a cast iron skillet, what is holding you back? Right. I know, your glass or ceramic cooktop. Well, for those of you without the fragile cooktop, you want one of these. I have talked about them before, and I even told you how to take care of it.
Mandoline Slicer - This tool is not only useful, but also kinda fun. It is great for slicing and cutting all kinds of vegetables to a uniform thickness which not only makes your dishes more attractive, but ensures equal cooking time for both frying and baking. This one has several attachments so you can create different types of cuts, and it has a carrier to help you not slice off your fingertips. A plus!
Silicone Baking Mat - No more need for parchment paper with this non-stick baking mat. It is really useful for sticky batters or toffee. Get them more than one.
Keys to Good Cooking by Harold McGee - This book can serve as a useful companion to any cookbook, and can be a resource to a kitchen novice or experienced chef. Learn the science of what is happening in your cooking and improve what you turn out.
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer - Don't wait until you get married...get one now. I have the classic version and I love it. I don't really need to tell you why you or your favorite cook want one.
Okay, here are a couple of gifts that are a little less practical and a bit more fun...
Gin and Titonic Ice Cube Tray - I got this for my birthday and they still make me smile. Perfect for any drink, but I certainly enjoy them in my gin and tonic.
Fun Apron - Help your favorite cook protect their clothes and make a fashion statement in the kitchen. I like this one because it helps support the ASPCA.
Happy Holidays, and have a great weekend!