I am determined to get my shopping done NOW—so I can concentrate on the fun stuff on the days leading up to Christmas (eg Pork Pie, Brioche, Chocolate Truffles). I started my shopping today at my own Open Sky shop (my first time ordering, very easy and free shipping!). The following are gift ideas for the cook in your life are very cool in that they're not easy to find, incredibly useful, and eminently affordable gifts.
Want your lover to make you the above quiche? Here's the ring mold he or she will need for the proper depth and that voluptuous texture that made Keller refer to quiche as the sexiest pie.
I love the Mag Blok magnetic wall mounted knife holder. It's gorgeous wood and won't ding your knives. Especially great for tiny kitchens where space is a premium. You can't get it from Amazon or Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table—so that makes it an especially unique gift, and it's under 30 bucks.
I'm on a mission to rid the world of pot holders; my mom couldn't live without them but I think they're evil; they belong on Courage the Cowardly Dog but not in my kitchen. I use these great side towels that I once could only get when I visited the Culinary Institute of America (they're big, so I only need one towel to drain pasta).
The problem I have with so many pepper grinders is that their grind is too coarse. When Michael Symon showed me his Peugeot pepper mill I had to have one. His chef de cuisine at Lola, Powder, nabbed his at Marshalls. This is THE best pepper mill, in their opinion and in mine, another great gift. (I use the short black version, but they all have the same grind.) Another thing to do with these is to have two of them and reserve one for grinding coriander, or a mix of coriander and pepper.
In the higher range, there's no better gift to a new cook than the two knives, the only knives, you really need. Here are the ones I use and adore, Wusthof. (You can see mine on the Mag Blok page along with a few other must-haves.)
And have a look at some of the other shops at Open Sky. Want to know what Le Bernardin pastry chef picks as his juicer of choice? If I were buying one, I'd trust his choice of a Champion 2000+. He says "it's a workhorse in our kitchen."
And I wouldn't be caught dead with a pink rolling pin, so I don't know why it fascinates me! I think it's that I want to know that person for whom a pink rolling pin is the only way to go. If you know that person, Shannon and Alison, of cookingwithfriendsclub.com have one for you, here—yep, a pink rolling pin. I use so much lemon juice and lime juice—I wouldn't mind that lemon press they have either. Donna? Are you reading?
Open Sky is new concept, a company only months old and so they have given me 4 $25 coupons to use on purchases of $50 or more to encourage people to have a look. This means you could get the Mag Blok and the Pepper mill for around 30 bucks. I'll email the first four people who ask for it in comments (I only have four so don't ask if you don't intend to use). Oh, and all Open Sky shipping is free. Love that.
I intend to do more shopping posts soon, the next one on my favorite cookbooks of the season (not my own!). Mise en place: get your shopping done now so you're not in the weeds come the holidays!