Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gifts for a Food Lover...

Okay, okay. I know it's not exactly romantic, but I love cooking tools. Useful, ingenious ones, not stuff like..oh, I don't know, like the avocado slicer that made me roll my eyes (what, it's too hard to scoop it out with a spoon and chop it? Or even mash it with a fork, right in the bowl??)....So here, in no particular order are a few things I'd get myself ...just because.

1. New Kitchenaid  mixer. I use my mixer often. And the little 4 1/2 quart one with a tilt head has been sorely challenged over the past year. I hear its motor protesting with a whine on some of the heavier lifting (mixing) it has to do. So I would love to upgrade to a 5-quart lift-bowl model. Price tag? Around $300. I don't think that will be in the stocking.

2. To go with the new mixer, I'd love one of these bowl scraper paddle attachments: hello genius! It's the paddle with plastic blades added to scrape the bowl as it mixes. Did I say genius already? They make them for all the models, the price tag is around $24--this could be in the stocking for that 4 1/2 quart mixer. Maybe I'll just have to live with this smaller model longer. I'll take the scraping paddle, Santa!

3. Enormous kitchen towels from Sur La Table. These look as if they could make a small woman a skirt, they are that big. But I love them. They run around $12 and as far as I am concerned, no chef can have enough cool kitchen towels. Enough said.

4. Two new Lodge cast-iron skillets. Ask my friend Michelle Marie: I bake everything in the 12-inch skillet I have, but sometimes, I could use a smaller version. At under $20 each, this is so affordable and so versatile. The bonus is that if you season it after every use (these days, the skillets come pre-seasoned--anathema to some purists, but I'm okay with it) by drying it, coating it with a thin layer of oil and placing it into a warm oven for about 20 minutes, you'll have some of the best non-stick cookware with non of the nonstick compounds.

5. Either a new Le Creuset Dutch oven (I saw one at Marshall's for about $160), which is enameled cast-iron OR a Lodge Dutch oven, which probably would run me about $50. You know I'm cheap. So Santa can bring me the Le Creuset. But since Santa doesn't read my blog, I'll probably buy myself the Lodge Dutch oven.

6. Salts. I want sel gris to use every day. I want truffle salt so I can make truffle fries. I want pink and black and smoked salt. And I want to get them all from The Meadow, run by Mark Bitterman, whom I met at The Greenbrier Writers' Symposium.

7. BOOKS. I really covet a few books this year. I want Tartine Bread and Tartine. Chad Robertson, who I worked with many many years ago, wrote the bread book, and his wife, Elisabeth Prueitt (they are James Beard Award winner, btw. And I SO know them. NAME DROP.), wrote Tartine, about their San Francisco bakery's pastries. But I've decided I ONLY want to buy it from them in their bakery, so i guess I need a ticket to San Francisco. I also really want Amanda Hesser's Essential New York Times Cookbook. I admit to being insanely jealous of Amanda. I love her website, Food52, which I wish I'd have thought of first. Oh, the sponsors wouldn't be a bad thing to have, either. But the thing is, I pretty much like everything I've read of Amanda's and I really like the website. (Check it out.) yes, this is one of THE cookbooks to own. I also want Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, written by Mark Bitterman (see #6).

8. This isn't exactly a FOOD tool, but I would so use it in my kitchen: I want an iPad to work on for recipe development in the kitchen. Right now, I develop with a pencil and paper nearby, making notes that I then have to transfer to the computer page. I'd love to have the iPad on my counter, make changes right there...Of course, I'd do plenty of other things with it, but I can't help wanting it. Yes, my name is Barb, and I love Apple products. (For the record, they fixed my computer last month, honoring the warranty because it was only just expired and two days ago, they replace my son's iPhone...because they are so cool. They like happy customers and happy customers are loyal customers. No, I'm not a paid advertiser!!)

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