XMAS gifts for ones who cook

oldbat2beNovember 29, 2012

There are gifts which are creative, useful, and affordable. Most of my family loves to cook and appreciates good recipes, food and equipment. Last weekend, we visited Wegmans, and while browsing the pasta section, I found bucatini (it's a really thick hollow pasta). I've read this as a pasta suggestion for years, for certain sauces, but have never found it in a store. For me, this would be (will be!) a fun gift to give; something which could be enjoyed throughout the coming year: a gift of a dozen boxes, with perhaps a few handwritten recipes on personalized recipe cards.

DeCecco Bucatini Pasta

Anyone have any other ideas like this?

Here is a link that might be useful: De Cecco Bucatini Pasta

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How about this? Just got some for myself and have yet to try it but seems like something different to give to someone who likes to cook.

Here is a link that might be useful: fish sauce

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Last year for Christmas, my brother gave me the sweetest gift; a flask of vodka in which he had preserved 2 hot peppers from his garden, a can of San Marzano tomatoes, and a recipe for Penne a la Vodka.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:07PM
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This thread will be most helpful. My DS1's new girl loves to cook and bake but needs gluten free things. So I'm putting together a box with a homemade apron and a hotpad mit filled with different kitchen items that are more unusual (like a cyclone wisk by Wilton). I'm looking for suggestions of items. Thanks for starting this thread!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:10PM
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I got a Thai granite Mortor and pestle that I just love. I have hinted for a nice small spice grinder, one of those Peugeot pepper mills and a replacement for my beloved butter crock that broke over summer.

I am planning a gift card from specialty bottling for a friend who loves to make jam.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:36PM
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tea4all, how about a hand-written recipe for quinoa banana chocolate muffins? I just ate one of these muffins today, and it was sublime. I usually find the texture of GF baked goods lacking, but the texture of this muffin was terrific.

As for general gift ideas, last year my SIL gave me three bottles of different premium olive oils. So thoughtful and delicious.

Here is a link that might be useful: GF muffin recipe

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:38PM
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I found awesom trivets at a Princess House party. They are round silicone with little silicone suction cups all over one side. You can suction it down on you counter or table to keep it from moving, or suction it to the bottom of your pan so you can move it from place to place easily. Love them!

We have also given actual vanilla beans, real vanilla extract, saffron, and good aged balsamic vinegar to people that would appreciate them. It's a little something that can be purchased reasonably, but most people don't splurge on them for themselves.

Also picked up a great garlic press at a home show from Cutco. It hinges in a full circle so you press it with one side, then swing the top all the way around and it has knobs on the back that clear the press holes.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Hardware and tool favorite Lee Valley has a great holiday catalog with lots f gifts for cooks. I'm getting the double prong BBQ skewers for hubby, and these cookie/cooking racks for myself.

You can be TKO with your stocking stuffers as well.
I just sent in a hundred dollar order....but all my kids like to cook.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee valley

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:54PM
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I drew my sister-in-law's name in the family drawing this year and she wants a small deep fryer and a "chicken skillet". What is a "chicken skillet"??? one of those deep electric skillets? I sent her an email asking about it but so far she hasn't told me.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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First I wanted to say that Wegmans is my favorite store. Not just grocery store...overall store.

I'm making food gifts for my family this year. I'm doing a batch of spicy pickled green beans and shipping a "bloody mary kit" to my out of town siblings. I'm trying to find a quality bloody mary mix to purchase, since my oldest brother makes his own, which obviously can't be beaten by store bought.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:38PM
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oldbat2be, are you near a Wegmans? I live fairly close to their flagship store, or as we call it "the mothership" and it's always on the list of stops when my out of town family comes to visit.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:40PM
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I just found a wonderful gift....a silicon lid by charles viacin that seals instead of plastic wrap and goes into the freezer, fridge, microwave, oven (to 450 degrees) and dishwasher. Add a cute dish, recipe card and and lid and it is a terrific gift. The lids range from 8-14 dollars depending on size and look like flowers (lily, sunflowers, peonies).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Alas, I have never had the pleasure of visiting a Wegmans. :( Maybe that's a good thing?

I've been having fun experimenting with different salts--Spanish rosemary, French gray, and merlot. Would love to try wild porcini. I thought a couple of small tins would make a nice holiday gift. Maybe with a beautiful bowl of purple potatoes and a roasted spud recipe upon which to try the salt?

For gifts this year, I've made a flavored vodka and vanilla extract. I also plan on ordering some more tins from Specialty Bottle (along with the vanilla extract bottles) and making some sort of a cool spice rub. I did the dry ingredients for chimicurri year before last. My creativity is lacking this year, and I'm running out of time. I also plan to visit the cool local specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop to see what's in season. I hope to get some inspiration for an interesting combo and hand written recipe to go along. Oh, hey! Maybe a basket with tangerines, walnut oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, and the vinaigrette recipe I made at Thanksgiving? I like it!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Fouramblues--Thanks a bunch for that recipe and idea!! They look wonderful. This is a whole new experience-- looking for gluten free ideas. Williams-Sonoma has some mixes that are gluten free but they are a bit pricey (around $20 for a cake mix).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:15PM
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I love these ideas. It seems like for every event my sister and I give eachother something food related.

It sounds rather common after some of the other suggestions, but I adore my balloon whisks with a wood handle that say "best." I don't know if that's a brand or comes from somewhere fancy, but I swear they are the best.

My grandma doesn't cook anymore so I took a bunch all of my ingredients downnto make mini pizzas and cookies to freeze. She helped me make them and every now and then I get a call about how much she loves them.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Ooh, such great ideas. Thanks for the gf recipe, fouramblues! Married to a celiac, always on the hunt for gf goodies.

I've been thinking of making preserved lemons for a couple of friends just dipping their toes into Moroccan cooking. (That may be the wrong metaphor to use. No toes are actually being dipped into any foodstuffs.) I should probably get started, since preserved lemons take 30 days...

Also, I recently got a very thin metal spatula, which is bringing me all kinds of kitchen happiness. It's really good for getting roasted potatoes off the baking sheet without losing all their wonderful crust.

Here is a link that might be useful: LamsonSharp Slotted Turner

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:47PM
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Some gifts I have received include: a set of pasta bowls and various types of pasta and sauces, a fajita pan with a wooden tray holder and a fajita cookbook, a small metal bucket filled with chili seasoning/ spices and some chili recipes, a package of bread mix with a nice dish towel wrapped around it and wooden spoons tied to it. And a Belgium waffle maker with a box of waffle mix and bottle of pure maple syrup. Mmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about this food related gifts.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:13AM
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This is more a gift for anyone who loves wine than for foodies, but the Oster Electric Wine Opener is the BEST! It is even easier to use than the rabbit opener. And, at only $20 at BedBath and Beyond (even less with their coupons!) It's a great gift. Last year I bought one for everyone and they still use and love it. Don't be fooled by the more expensive brands they carry though they look fancier. The cheap Oster is by far the best and has the greatest longevity.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:20AM
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Thinking about the other non-food items I adore in my kitchen, I use my lemon squeezer very often. I have the gree lime press also, but dont use it as often.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lemon squeezer

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:49AM
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And thinking about he lemon squeezer reminded me of a tool I use regularly with it, my microplane with handle. Mine has a plastic cover for storage, but the one I'm linking doesn't seem to. These tools go hand-in-hand for me as I often zest and juice a lemon when cooking. For instance, I use both to make the lemon/oil dressing for our favorite pasta with brown butter, arugula, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, capers, and parm. One could build a gift basket around the recipe--a lemon squeezer, microplane, bottle of capers, bunch of gorgeous organic lemons, and a bag of pine nuts.

The microplane comes in handy for many other chores also--finely grating hard cheese, grating ginger, shaving a whole nutmeg, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Microplane

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:57AM
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I'll second the microplane, one of my favorite inexpensive tools.

If the recipient has a really good food store nearby, a gift certificate is always good. My BIL gave us one to a really good market which is normally out of our price range. It's fun to have a guilt-free splurge once in a while!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:43AM
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justmakeit, it's great to hear your feedback about the spatula. My sisters and I visited the Lamsonsharp Factory Store in Western Mass over Thanksgiving weekend. One sister picked that spatula up and said it looked like a great tool but she didn't purchase it...I may have to make a trip back there.

My daughter is making cranberry liqueur for presents. I saw the recipe on the GW Cooking Forum last year and my daughter found a similar recipe on myrecipes (originally from Cooking Light). It also gives directions for making a cranberry cosmo. Dd bought bottles from Specialty Bottle.

A pricey present I've given to my mother and m-i-l in the past is a Thermoworks Thermopen instant thermometer and I finally purchased one for myself a few weeks ago. I first learned about it here a few years ago. Now I don't have to ask my mother to bring hers when she visits! Click on the Reviews tab on the link below to see how highly regarded it is. It's a terrific tool.

I love reading all of the suggestions on this thread!

Here is a link that might be useful: Thermopen

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:47AM
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I also have the Microplane zester and have used and liked it so much that I now have the nutmeg/spice mini version as well as a set of 5 all metal microplane graters for everything else. This is one of them

I was thinking someone who would use fish sauce probably already has it, then I noticed the price and read the description -- that one is along the lines of a fine balsamic or olive oil.

Speaking of olive oil, I haven't tried it yet, but was intrigued by this one and ordered some for DH and I to try -- it is a limited reserve extra virgin olive oil - a first cold press with bits of the olive fruit still in it. http://shop.californiaoliveranch.com/?utm_source=Pre-Order+2012+Limited+Reserve+-+VIP+Notification+2+Reminder&utm_campaign=VIP+-+%232&utm_medium=email
Sounds like it should be very flavorful, and since it is only available seasonally, it works well for a holiday gift. I think they start shipping Dec. 5th. That VIP in the url refers to an early mailing list sign up that got you free shipping. Maybe it will work for you.

I'm thinking of asking for a cheese making kit (mozzarella, queso fresco among them) or a pizza making kit that had a crust mix and the cheese making kit (if I could remember whose catalog that was in). The Epicurean peel and pizza cutting tool have been on my list too -- we just have working ones now so they have been lower priority.

Might give DH a mushroom growing kit.

Other foodie ideas:
onion goggles - look silly but I hear they really work
wine aerator
Thermopen or other instant read thermometer
kitchen scale - when I had to replace my Salter, I got severl recs for My Weigh scales and found a large selection of those and other brands at Old Will Knott Scales dot com

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:04AM
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teaforall, My DD is fussy about gluten free pasta but she really likes
Le Veneziane Italian Gluten Free pasta you could add to the box you are making up. Amazon as well as some health food stores have it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Not for cooking but for foodies, We recently got a slate cheese board with soapstone pencils for DS/DD's teacher, who was getting married. The boards are lovely (see link) and the pencils are so cool you can't stop playing with them. You use them to write the names of the cheeses. Or doodle I guess, or add political slogans to your cheese boards, or calorie counts?

Anyway, see the link and scroll down for the pencils, too

Here is a link that might be useful: cool slate and pencil for cheese display

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Like Labbie, who posted above, I am also very close to "the mothership"-- Wegman's flagship store in Pittsford NY!

Favorite tools-- just got a Bamix immersion blender -- love it. Replaced a Kitchenaid Immersion blender which failed prematurely. Do not recommend the KA but love the Bamix.

Also love the cutting boards that DH made for me -- and the latest one-- a block with a round bowl to use for chopping with a mezzaluna. I make lots of soups and salads and the mezzaluna makes short work of all the prep -- almost makes it fun!

Love the full size Silpat sheets for baking.

Love the Simplex tea kettle-- I see they are now back in production after a hiatus.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:11PM
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I did a cooking class with some friends a couple years ago at Sur La Table and it was FAB!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sur La Table classes

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Yes. The microplane is great. One of my favorites and so handy for such a small price.

Hey, I remembered hearing about these... a salt plate to serve or grill on...

Here is a link that might be useful: himalayan salt plate

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Zelmar or anyone else that has a Thermapen.
I checked out the web site and cannot quite figure out, do you use this only when your meat comes out of the oven for checking temperature or can you put it in your meat and leave it in the oven while roasting.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:07PM
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That Thermapen Zelmar linked is an instant read you put in when pulling the meat out, but if you want one that stays in meat in the oven like a temperature probe, the same company has a couple products that will do that.

I have the EcoTemp and you'd need to get/add the special cable meant for ovens to use it that way. I use it for making yogurt, because it will chime when a temperature is reached both for heating up or cooling off.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:49PM
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The King Arthur catalog has amazing parchment sheets that lie flat and fit cookie sheets perfectly. If you like parchment, these are WAY better than the stuff on rolls.

Also, for anyone who bakes often, they have some extra tasty flavorings like vanilla bean paste and espresso powder (for brownies or anything chocolate).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Wow this has been a terrific if expensive post. I've been doing a little shopping for myself as well along the way and my xmas stocking is going to be full. I very much appreciate the ideas from all - THANKS!

Breezy, you inspired the following selection: Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar paired with Blood Orange Olive Oil.

deedles - like the fish sauce (and reviews sound great) but don't have the recipes handy.

localeater/tea4all/breezy/labbie - the home made gifts are the best but I am not ready! Need to receive all and then ship out of state.

lalitha - I think I do have a mortar and pestle somewhere. Hmmm...

fouramblues - boy have I been buying olive oil (and lavendar and balsamic vinegar)...


Wegmens is about an hour away for us (we're on the North Shore of Boston). If we are anywhere near, we will visit.

Sedonamazer - I watched the video for that lid, pretty neat. I'm just not sure where I would store it or how it would stack or how good it would be at keeping the dish fresh in the freezer. Would like to know more!

Breezy - the salts sound like a great idea! My address is ... :)

Iowacommute - that's what I like, products that people really love. Hopefully you are repeating for your grandmother this year? Lovely idea to make something to stock for the fridge for someone who no longer cooks.

justmakeit - somehow, I don't think you're going to get the lemons done (you could, for a New Year's party!). I did order two of the Lamson Sharp Slotted Turners (looking forward to mine!)

badgergal - funny how I read some ideas and get so excited. I LOVE fajitas and am always searching for the right recipe. Great idea!

monikaxp - I'm such a traditionalist, must use the waiters corkscrew with which I grew up.

breezy - I checked out the lemon squeezer, love it and my microplane too (I have the cover as well).

flgargoyle - excellent point about the local GC

zelmar - if I had the time, I'd try the cranberry liqueur (I really like Cooking Light). Will need to check out Specialty Bottle. I also checked out the Thermoworks thermometer - WOW, I want one.

Thanks corgimum!

lascatx - I've ordered some first press for myself, am considering it for Dear Dad (who would really appreciate it), as well as some really good aged Balscamic Vinegar.

mtnrdredux - Like the slates! Ordered two :)

sayde/Labbie/all - what else do you love to get at Wegman's? It's so big we usually zip through on the way to/from something else.

sayde - silpat sheets seem awesome, something I've wanted for a while.

senator13 - thanks, classes are a great idea.

deedles - Like the salt plate, fun!

Engineerchic - I'll look into the parchment sheets, good idea.

One other idea for anyone looking for spices - Penzeys is terrific.

I'm almost done with the extended family/friends. Now, can anyone help me with my Christmas Card picture? Best, oldbat2be

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Last year I received from my MIL a 13x9 glass pan with my name etched in the bottom. She used a Crikut cutting machine to make the stencils and then etching solution to etch the name. Great idea for anyone who makes meals for families or does potlucks and wants their casserole pan back.
I think I am giving potted herbs this Christmas for my extended family. Very handy to have on your kitchen counter.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Great ideas - hope I am not repeating any
Super Gloves - Oven mitts that really work - I bought some at B3 and they are just thick gloves with grips - I hardly use anything else anymore!

Silpat sheets

Joseph Joseph - Some really cool stuff - I bought the expandable pot stand - it is like an accordian and folds up into a small package but holds a full size casserole.

Love those olive oils - we have a really great olive oil store in A2 - Fustini's I made an awesome Blood orange olive oil and Pomegranite vinegar marinated salmon the other night!

Four - I have to try those GF muffins!

Zelmar - I have to find that thermopen!

OldBat - I bet you have the best pictures with your photoshop skills!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 5:32PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree about te micro planes and if you haven't tried Penzeys spices and herbs, you are in for a real treat. I love their pasta mix, Tuscan sunset, Bavarian, and their Vietnamese cinnamon is superb!

Here is a link that might be useful: Penzeys

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 5:51PM
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eandhl--Thanks for the Le Veneziane Italian Gluten Free pasta idea. That's a winner and I'll look that up. I much appreciate you posting about it.

This is a great thread!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:43PM
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A cute stocking stuffer, one of those things you can't imagine that you'd need, but once you have it, you love it:

Chef'n StemGem Strawberry Huller (on Amazon for $6.75)

And, FINALLY, AT LONG LAST, after years of exhaustive searching, I have found a SPATULA that is perfect. The ISI spatula is heat resistant to 600 degrees, bendable, but has a bit of steel inside so that it's not too bendy, and, it's all one piece so no more ick stuck in a crevice between the handle and the spatula end. Stiff enough for the thickest cookie dough, gentle enough to stir egg whites, edge is constructed so you can get every drop scraped from your bowl. Doesn't hold onto smells. It comes in several colors, and in a wide size and a slim size. I tend to use the slim one more often, but they're both great. Yes, I've finally found my one true spatula.

This post was edited by akchicago on Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 12:25

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:53AM
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So funny to read all the comments on Wegmans. Yes, I've been there when I was up that way not long ago, and now it's everything everyone says, but I keep thinking about when I lived in Rochester a million years ago and it was definitely the most downscale grocery in town back then, the kind of place you might grab a bag of chips on a snowy night when you didn't want to drive farther.

To see their stores now, you'd never believe it. :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:04PM
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I'm ordering strawberry hullers for everyone! Those look great!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:09PM
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I'm giving my DH a new waffle iron(to replace his Valentine's gift from a few years back) homemade waffle mix and 1lb of German smoked bacon. My BF will get marzipan, which she loves.
For an upcoming wedding gift: a waffle iron, maple syrup, homemade waffle mix, pot holders/tea towels/flour sack clothes, German smoked bacon and buttermilk and eggs from a farmer's mkt. To be presented after the honeymoon for their first (married) breakfast...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Can't wait to make my way through this post! I love food-inspired gifts. On my list this year are a salt pig and a coffee canister.

Here is a link that might be useful: coffee canister

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Schoolhouse, A "chicken skillet" is a large, deep frying pan with a lid. Not electric. A deep pan like this is good for many things, but it's especially good for frying chicken because the grease doesn't splatter like it would in a typical, more shallow pan. They're available in many price ranges.

Lalitha, I LOVE my small granite mortar and pestal. I frequently grind up whole spices, and I've even mashed up medicines for my daughter who can't swallow pills. It's also a "forever thing" -- you'll only need one for your whole lifetime.

Several people mentioned a lemon or lime press. That's one of my FAVORITE kitchen gadgets, but you don't need both. The lemon press is a little bigger, and there's no reason you can't press a lime in it.

JustMakeIt, I also obtained a small, thin metal spatula recently, and I love it. Never understimate how much someone may enjoy an "upgraded" basic item. Similarly, I have muffin tins, but I'm hankering for a set of new, better muffin tins. However, this is the kind of thing you probably want to ask about before you buy; I mean, someone else might say, "Muffin tins? I already have those!" instead of appreciating them.

EngineerChic, I don't know much about baking on parchment, but I have silicone baking sheets that I LOVE. I highly recommend them to anyone. In addition to your suggestion about vanilla bean paste, I'd say consider unusual chips for baking -- I have cinnamon chips right now, and I've made cinnamon bread (the chips make "bursts" of cinnamon), and I've put them into steel cut oatmeal. I had maple chips, but we ate an awful lot of pancakes, and now I'm maple-chipless. I have cherry chips, but I can't quite figure out what to do with them. A good source for unusual items like this: The Prepared Pantry (online store).

Zelmar, that Thermopen looks cool, but, oh, the price tag!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Javachik, I own that salt pig! Mine's off-white, and I keep it full of Kosher salt right by my stove at all times. I ADORE IT. Always so handy. However, mine has been damaged somehow over the years, and it now has a crack in the top. I know it's only a matter of time . . .

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Here's one that takes up no storage space and will last all year: a subscription to Eat Your Books.

It's a site that indexes the ingredients of all the recipes in cookbooks, cooking magazines, and food blogs. Once you build your 'bookshelf' by selecting the cookbooks & magazines you own (and any blogs you'd like to include), you have instant, searchable access to all your recipes. You can build shopping lists of ingredients, organize both recipes and books in any ways you like with 'bookmarks', and it's easy to include personal recipes and online recipes from unindexed sites.

I've been a member for two and a half years, and it has allowed me to make infinitely better use of the cookbooks I already own. I won't pretend it hasn't also encouraged me to buy quite a few more -- you can see what books are on other members' 'bookshelves', and which you have in common.

The indexing continues apace, and most cooks will find that the vast majority of their holdings are already indexed. You can try it out for free indefinitely with a bookshelf of any five books (and/or magazines & blogs) to see if it would be useful to you or the cook you're shopping for.

Other aspects that make the site a worthwhile regular check-in are the daily blog and notes from members on recipes. I have no affiliation with the site other than being a grateful and enthusiastic member. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eat Your Books - recipe indexing site

This post was edited by ellabee_2016 on Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 16:30

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:34PM
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One of my favorite gadgets is a hard plastic thing that resembles an oversized "church-key" type bottle opener. It's for loosening the vacuum on a jar lid so it comes off easily. I got mine free from Beechnut when DD was an infant and I couldn't open their jars. I've seen them for less than $2. It would be a useful stocking stuffer.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Gleaning ideas to send to my DH to enhance our new kitchen - I have the email in place.

One other item - Panani spatula - it is split in the middle to allow you to cut the panini or sandwich in half

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:58PM
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One of my favorite kitchen tools ever is the microplane zester and tray from Lee Valley. The tray bumps it up a notch to make it absolutely a must have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley microplane

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:07PM
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I have a question about the Thermopen. Can it be used on thin pieces of meat? I'm thinking hamburgers on the grill, boneless chicken breasts?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Yes, the great thing about the Thermapen is only the tip needs to be in the meat and it reads very quickly. It is our go-to wedding present. We love ours!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:08AM
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I love my Demarle baking items - especially the 24 mini muffin "tin" (not sure what you call it; I don't sell the products, and not even sure how to spell it,)

Just came back from working in NJ for the past 2 weeks. Was able to walk through a Wegmans for the first time,,,OMG it was wonderful! The gluten free soups and salad bars...i was in heaven!

I've always been a WaWa fan, and got to get my daily dose of coffee from there each morning as well. i remember when they use to be just a little store here or there, They sell k-cups now. Family (like me) living out of the WaWa area will be getting these for Christmas, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:59AM
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Last year DH bought us a remote meat thermometer. We can use the remote out on the grill, but we can use the probe for the TG turkey, etc, without the wireless. Really helps with avoiding overcooking.

He also bought me a Kitchenaid stand mixer. No, I never put one on our wedding registry. The attachments could make great gifts. This year I asked for the slicer/shredder.

Here is a link that might be useful: Remote thermometer with two probes

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Gsciencechick--When DH brought me one similar to that home from work for me, I wasnt so thrilled. Once I figured out how to use it, I loved it! It comes in handy for so many food items. Now that I have Wolf ovens with a built-in probe I use it far less, but it's still still a useful tool!

Ellabee--that's such an exciting concept! As I start transitioning more and more to online recipes, I found I don't have a way to organize them on the iPad. I knew there had to be something cool like that out there somewhere! I'm going to check it out today for myself. (I don't know anyone who would really benefit from it to give it as a gift.) Maybe Santa thinks I've been good enough to deserve three gifts this year? ;) Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:05PM
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I'll second Annie's Penzeys Spices suggestion. They're gift boxes come in a nice wooden box and they usually throw in extra treats.

Here is a link that might be useful: Penzeys Spices

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Ellabee--I spent 30 mins this morning looking at Eat Your Books. It's everything I was hoping for and more! So worth the $25 yearly membership....if I had paid it. I googled around and found a voucher code that gave me 6 months free membership! In case anyone else is interested, the code is BLOGCOMP06. When my free 182 days are over, I'll definitely be paying for a year long membership. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Early Christmas
I received a coupon for a free WS tool from WS - I could pick anything I wanted as long as WS. So I picked a flexible spatula.
Do I have to wait til Christmas to use it?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I am thinking about a nice trifle bowl ( like from Pampered Chef) where the stem is removable and it has a lid.

Or a nice knife.

Or a set of stainless steel nesting bowls

Or an herb chopper

Or a salad spinner

Or a veggie chopper like the Vidalia onion chopper

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Breezy, you're right, it was a little tricky to sync it to get the wireless to work like most wireless products, but once that's done, it has been great. We like to grill a beef tenderloin on Christmas Eve, so it really comes in handy because it can be a little chilly out there.

I also saw on the Williams-Sonoma catalog a bluetooth iPad stand that could be used for the kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Oldbat2be, as far as other things I like buy at Wegmans (even just for us as a special treat or for gifts, I like their pumpkinseed oil (drizzle over ravioli or pasta), and in the Nature's Marketplace section I love to browse their selection of teas, nut butters, and the sodas there (yummy flavors made with cane sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup). There are also some fun sodas in the regular soda aisle (Jones sodas are very tasty, and I get the Saranac shirley temple sodas for my nieces/nephews once in a while). Alas, the sodas wouldn't ship well as gifts but are fun to have on hand.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Great thread!

Wegmans opened near my BF in Mass about a year ago and I love it!

I don't follow a gluten-free diet but many of my friends do and are fans of King Arthur GF mixes. I think they're quite good also (our neighborhood gatherings are a mix of GF, vegan, paleo and one neighbors fresh eggs, pork and chicken so we get to try a variety of dishes and styles we normally wouldn't) Needless to say our dishes are well labeled, especially since the looked like hummus, but was chopped liver episode :)

One gadget I love, and have used for years is my bagel gripper. They were popular for a while and then seemed to drop out of favor but I still love it. They sell a guillotine style one but I prefer this as it seems easier to keep clean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bagel Holder

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:19PM
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Ellabee/breezy - thanks for the posts about Eat Your Books. I looked initially but was a little confused about the benefits. I just signed up for the 5 books free and didn't do much else. When Breezy posted the 6 month free coupon code, I tried again.

Now I'm starting to get excited. Tonight, I made for the second time a recipe from Cuisine Light, 30 Minute Menus, Spicy Garlic Chicken with lemon glaze. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It's the kind of recipe I write all sorts of notes over, the kind that it's more than worth the price of the magazine. So now I will add this magazine to my library and mark the recipe as 5 stars and add my comments. I'm assuming I'm now going to be able to see, for example, your favorites Breezy and Ellabee. If I like them, then this will be a great resource to be able to look for other recipes you recommend. GW but with sharing recipes from our favorite cookbooks, WAHOO!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:34PM
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old bat 2 be --- I'm so glad you bought 2 of the cheeseboards! They are such fun --- esp the soapstone pencils!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Oh.. I have to try the Eat your books site.. I too have been looking at options to make it easier to use the ipad in the kitchen. I am eyeing an ipad stand that is mounted under the cabinet that seemed to be a good idea after the oil splatters from padron peppers episode..

Breezy.. talking of recipes.. I have been meaning to asking you for the lemon arugula pasta recipe.. Can you please share?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 1:06PM
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I love, love the Temptation baking dishes that QVC sells that my mom gave me a few years ago. Last year I got a set for her for Christmas. She adores them. They are fabulous to clean. Neither one of us can get over how they wipe out. I have the blue set, and hers are green. Both are pretty, and I don't know which I like better.

I also adore my Pampered Chef Mini Whipper that is flat on the bottom. I wish I had two of them, since it's a very popular item in our kitchen. I barely ever use a full-sized whisk anymore.

I just put the Ecotemp on my Christmas list. I didn't know that type of thermometer existed. I want one for making yogurt!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tempting Baking Dishes

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Lalitha--Sure! I'm laying in bed sick with all the cruddy gunk one can get so I can't grab it now, but I typed it it here for someone recently. Let me look for it a bit later!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:25PM
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I want to share my favorite app for anyone that may be interested. I absolutely love the Paprika app for the iPad. It quickly downloads recipes from many blogs and websites, and is simple to add recipes if the sites are not compatible. You can double recipes easily, and set timers on the iPad. I have tried a few apps, and this is by far the best in my opinion. I think it costs about $4.99 from the App Store. It's not really a big gift...maybe a stocking stuffer:)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:28PM
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I'm so glad several of you have found the Eat Your Books site of interest; thanks for reporting back!

New members are what the site needs most. With about 3500 books indexed, and dozens of blogs and magazines, it's very, very useful right now to its couple of thousand members (estimate, based on holdings of the top cookbooks) -- but it can become even more of a magnet for cooks once the subscriber base is big enough to support the next phase of development, which will focus on more ways for members/subscribers to interact with each other.

If you continue to find it of value (which I'm confident you will), let your cooking friends know. It can only get better and better...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Update on the Red Boat Fish Sauce: Mixed some olive oil, fish sauce, garlic powder and S&P and brushed it on a cut-up chicken. Baked at 400 til done.

Holy Umami! It was to die for. Really, unbelievably delicious. That stuff is great!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Thanks for the code for Eatmybooks! Wow.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Not sure if this qualifies as "for those who cook," but how about a slate cheese board? Wait, why pay top dollar at WS for one? I went to Home Depot, and bought a 12x12 slate floor tile for $1.64. I glued a foam sheet from Michael's Craft Store to the back. I oiled it with mineral oil. And the piece de resistance -- a soapstone chalk pencil with a nifty holder. Where did I get that? From the welding section of Home Depot, for about $3.

Of course, you could just buy one for $25 to $75, but where is the pleasure in that?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 11:34PM
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I'm not sure if this has been suggested already, but I just bought these scraper/beaters for friends who love to bake with their KitchenAid stand mixers. The hardest part was secretly finding out the size of their mixers, because the beaters are specific to the KitchenAid model.

Here is a link that might be useful: Metro beater blade

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:41AM
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I can't believe you posted that. I posted above about the slAte board and pencil, for, iirc, $25. Our cooking club is exchanging under $15 gifts, and I was thinking of doing exactly what you describe. I had one concern. Is the tile food safe? And does a sq cheeseboard look odd?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Mtn: Oh, gosh, that is embarrassing. It looks like I read your post, got the idea, and then forgot WHERE I got the idea. Ooh, boy, creeping senescence...

I am not concerned that slate used as a floor tile would not be food safe. I suppose your concern is not the slate, but a chemical sealer? My understanding is that slate is usually not pre-sealed. Moreover, I really doubt that they pre-seal the stuff at this price point; it certainly did not seem sealed, as water did not bead on it and it soaked the oil right up. And sealer, which is meant to bind chemically tightly to stone, seems unlikely to be transferred to cheese anyway. I did run it through the dishwasher before gluing on the backing foam.

Yes, the square shape of the cheeseboard looks a little off. I had been sort of intending to cut mine to something like 7.5" x 12" (golden mean), but I didn't feel like filling the water tray of the wet saw. So, instead, I googled for images of slate cheeseboards, and saw enough square ones to decide to just go with it.

The other "flaw" is that the edges are square. Most of the cheeseboards you see commercially have more rustic edges. I figured I would just whack the edges of my tile with a margin trowel or tack hammer, and spall the edges nicely. Well, it wasn't happening; I was just making small chips in the edge, rather than causing any of the lamellae to delaminate. I then decided that square edges were acceptable in a cheeseboard :-)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I finally got my beloved Xmas gift from DH: a Vitamix blender!!! (Amazon lighting deal last night)
Green Glow Smoothies, here I come!

It would have been so helpful during this kitchen renovation to incorporate in more veggies in our diet.
Instead of having to cook up the kale (with tons of pancetta), now I can just blend it up w/ some fruit and drink it down.

So excited!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:08PM
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I am making the etched casserole dishes that camphappy described for the cooks on my list. I made a few a couple of years ago as commissions and never got around to making them for my own friends and family. I just have to more to go!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:55PM
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This is a silly little thing compared to the many awesome things you guys all posted . . .

For many years I used my burnt orange leftover from the 70s small spatula with a short handle. It's the spatula I seem to always grab first, hence it was always dirty in the dishwasher. So, for years, and years, and years, and YEARS I looked everywhere I went for another. It was on my Christmas wish list every single year but no one could ever find one. I finally found one within the last year at Big Lots. Bought all they had at that store and gave one to a lot of people as little surprise gifts. Now, it's everyone's favorite spatula !! LOL. My dad said it's the one he always grabs too and asked me to get 2 more for him.

For only $3 you get a spatula and a spoon ...

Oh, and another thing we use a lot .... our $1 handheld 7" colander from Dollar Tree ...

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.biglots.com/p/c/kitchen-gadgets/farberware-2mini-tools

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Fishymom: How do you do that etching? It looks great!

Mtnrd: Well, I decided to make several more cheeseboards for gifts. This time, however, I bought a 16"x24" slate tile, and I did pull out my wet saw. I cut it into 3 slabs that are each 8"x16". Looks pretty good!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:03PM
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My kitchen remodel has been going on forever and I have been lurking on GW for months. I've learned a lot from everyone here and I'm very grateful. If my new kitchen turns out as well as I hope it will, I owe it to all of you generous souls. Now I have to confess that I've been madly jotting down a lot of the wonderful suggestions you all have made for making cooking even more enjoyable. Please keep it going and if anyone knows where I can get a cutting board that will fit over a gas cook top I would gladly continue to hold on to my threadbare patience with GC and all his subs!!

You all are the best!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:01AM
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I am loving this thread! I've sent hubby several hints . . . . . okay, very specific e-mails with "I want! . . about what to get me for Christmas. He says I'm hard to buy for so he is very appreciative!

I haven't seen this mentioned. One of my favorite, often used tools in the kitchen is my Pampered Chef Mix'N Chop. I love it! It does such a great job with ground meat. I especially love how easily it breaks up partially frozen meat. And it's only $11. I've given one to several of my friends and family. Great for guacamole too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pampered Chef Mix'N Chop

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 2:51AM
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    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:51AM
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Thanks Angie, I have been having fun making the personalized casserole pans! I use an electronic cutter to cut a stencil from adhesive backed vinyl and then use Etchall etching cream to etch the glass. I have done eleven of them this year, just three more to finish before Saturday!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:27AM
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I hope someone resurrects this thread next November. I've been absent with work for about 3 weeks and so very behind with Christmas shopping and have thoroughly enjoyed this great thread!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 9:25AM
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