Dec 12 2011

holiday gift guide: kitchen essentials

holiday gift guide: kitchen essentials

I just can’t believe that’s we’re already almost halfway through December. On top of the usual business of the season, work is starting to get a little crazy (not to mention the fact that we just moved to a new office building!). Joseph and I are pretty behind on our Christmas shopping and cookie baking, but that’s not going to stop me from giving you some ideas!

I love, love, love kitchen gadgets and talking about them is almost as fun as picking them out and using them. Last spring a friend who was getting married sent an e-mail out asking what she should put on her registry and, kitchen geek that I am, thoroughly enjoyed reading other people’s responses and giving my own two cents. I’ve always meant to write a post up on those essentials, but it’s always been on the back burner. But last minute shoppers, give a sigh of relief because here it is! Now let’s get down to business.

Here are some of our favorite kitchen things (in no particular order) which we believe would make excellent gifts:

SodaStream Sparkling Water & Soda Maker

SodaStream

My coworkers gave us a SodaStream as a wedding gift (in addition to dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, because that’s how awesome they are!) and it’s one of our very favorite things. We don’t drink much soda, but I grew up in a family addicted to seltzer water and this baby feeds that addiction much more economically and is also much more environmentally friendly. Added bonus? No more lugging heavy bottles home from the store.

 

Thermapen – Instant Read Thermometer

I got this for Joseph last year and it was money well spent. This instant read thermometer is America’s Test Kitchen’s favorite, and for good reason. Gone are the days when we would hover over the meat in the oven with the oven door open letting all the heat out, waiting impatiently for a temperature reading. This thermometer gives you a precise temperature in just three seconds, which means you’ll know right away if your meat is ready or not. It’s our most important tool for getting perfectly cooked meat, and it also comes in handy when making ice cream and other custards.

 

Trudeau 10-Inch Silicone Spatula

Trudeau Silicone Spatula

It’s such a small thing, but this spatula is easily one of my favorite kitchen utensils. When I’m baking, I want to make sure that not a single drop of batter goes to waste and this spatula does the trick better than any other spatula I’ve ever tried. And because it’s silicone, I can use it for cooking on the stove too. It was a gift from a friend of mine who is an incredible cook, and when she gave it to me 2 1/2 years ago, I had no idea what a difference it was going to make in my kitchen life. This is the one machine washable item in the kitchen that I always insist is hand washed, because I just can’t wait for it to go through the dishwasher. Luckily because there are no separate pieces, it’s incredibly fast and easy to hand wash. Trudeau also makes a 9-inch spatula and a classic (non spoon-like) 10-inch spatula that I also love. Continue reading

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Dec 23 2010

forgotten meringues

forgotten meringues

My family has many Christmas traditions and one of my favorites is the forgotten meringue. It’s called the forgotten meringue because you whip up the meringue, form cookies on a sheet, and put them in a preheated oven and turn the oven off, and then forget about them until the next morning. You then begin the day with a meringue or two because you just have to see how they came out. You nailed it if they’re light and airy and dissolve in your mouth. Even if you didn’t nail it and ended up with a chewier cookie, you’ll still really enjoy them — believe me, I’ve made plenty of less than perfect meringues and no one has ever complained.

Meringues may appear a little tricky, but if you follow the basic rules and tips, they’re actually pretty easy. Here are some tips for perfect meringues: Continue reading

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