I thought it might be fun to take a bit of a break from cooking (well there is a recipe hidden in the description of the last gift recommendation) to share with all my readers some of my favorite cookbooks and cooking products. Since we are in December and the holidays are soon approaching perhaps you need a gift for a family member or a friend or need things to put a on your own holiday wish list. I’ve tried to not give an overload of items, really narrowing this list down to the items I really do recommend the most.
I cannot recommend How To Cook Everything enough, a great reference for cooks of any level, but this book could be particularly great for newer cooks. The knowledge in this book is vast and recipes are wide ranging, relatively easy and very tasty. It’s a large book too, so you really get your money’s worth with this one. The only negative I could see for some is there are no photos of the dishes. There are however sketches to help illustrate different cooking techniques.
For a more experienced cook Momofuku is quickly becoming another of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes are long (spanning days!), labor intensive, using some unique ingredients, BUT the end results are absolutely delicious! David Chang happens to be my favorite chef so I was excited when I first purchased this cookbook. At first I don’t really think that appreciated it to its full extent, but as my culinary skills grew, I really began to love this book. I find the dishes are different (in an exciting way) to those in any other cookbook I’ve tried.
Dash egg cooker. First off I am not one for unnecessary kitchen appliances. Having a smallish kitchen I don’t have room for them! This little egg cooker is compact and gets a ton of use in my kitchen. For those who like hard boiled eggs (my typical weekday breakfast), this cutie appliance is a life changer! No more boiling water and having to keep track of time. With dash egg cooker all you do is place the marked measurement of water in the machine and cook up to 6 eggs until the magical timer dings. After cooling the shells come off clean too! There are 3 options for hard boiled eggs: soft, medium and hard. And there is an option to make omelet or poached eggs!
Sur La Table Platinum Professional Baking Sheets (click here). I took a bread making class at Sur La Table (oops spoiler for the next gift idea) and we used these baking sheets in the class. I was so impressed with the product I bought my own. I LOVE these baking sheets. They are strong, they don’t warp (which I have found to be the case with other baking sheets I own in a hot oven) and they are non-stick. And how cute would it be to put together a baking gift set for a friend with a baking sheet, some cookie cutters and cookie decorating sprinkles?!
Sur La Table Cooking Class (click here). A cooking class is a fun and “out of the box” gift. I have given Sur La Table cooking classes as gifts a few times before, purchasing a seat in the class for myself and for a friend. I think it makes a nice way to spend time with someone. Sur La Table offers a wide range of classes, even classes for kids. And in my experience the teacher are pretty knowledgeable and personable and I’ve always walked away learning something. So if you want to give more of a bonding gift consider giving a Sur La Table cooking class!
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. This is the most versatile skillet ever! I use it on my stove top, in the oven and even over the fire in the backyard. Want to make an awesome steak? Season a room temperature steak both sides with salt and pepper. Place a tiny bit of oil in the skillet over high heat. Sear both sides of the steak for 3-4 minutes. Then place the skillet in the oven at 350 F until the steak is done to your liking. Let the steak rest 10 minutes tented under foil. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt (Maldon) and eat! And Lodge has a pretty awesome Instagram page, with lots of awesome photos of people using their skillets, search for lodgecastiron.