Here are some last minute gift ideas for the cook in your life. If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you already know members receive Free 2-Day Shipping on eligible purchases, free access to Amazon Instant Video, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, all for only $79 a year. If you're not a member, they offer a FREE 30-Day Trial. Can't beat that!
Swiss Diamond Cookware - This is hands down my favorite non-stick pan. Here's why - it's made from a heavy weight cast aluminum core that will never warp, it's oven safe up to 500F, it has an awesome non-stick diamond-reinforced coating that eggs never ever stick to, and most importantly, it has survived the abuses of my husband and teenagers. It's a keeper!
End-Grain Cutting Board - Aside from the great feel of cutting and chopping on a quality wooden cutting board, I love end grain-boards over edge-grain for a number or reasons. They look so good, they won't dull your knife blades as quickly, knife marks kind of disappear on them, and did I mention how good they look?
AccuSharp Knife Sharpener - Cook's Illustrated rated this their #1 manual knife sharpener and I have to agree. Cheap and effective!
Magnetic Knife Strip - I really like hanging my knives on the wall. I did the knife block thing for years, but the block got all nicked up and I hated the space it took up on my counter. They seem so much neater hanging on the wall and no more guessing to find the knife I want to use.
All-Clad Double Grill Pan - I use this pan for burgers, chicken, pork chops, shrimp, veggies, hot dogs, steak, and so on. It's holds a ton of food, is oven safe, leaves cool grill marks on my food, and is super easy to clean.
Laser Thermometer - Want to know the surface temperature of a preheat saute pan? How about the oven? Freezer? Point, zap,
Instant Read Thermometer - This baby will give you an accurate reading in 3 seconds and it has a range of -58 to 572F (-50 to 300C). Also, you can check it's accuracy in boiling water - if the reading is ever off, you can recalibrate it. It folds for easy storage too. I use it any time I want to do a quick temperature check for steaks or chicken breasts. I even turned the hubs on to using it when he grills.
Le Creuset French Oven - Every kitchen should have at least one of these workhorses. The 5 1/2-quart is a pretty good medium-size for any size family. I use mine to braise roasts, simmer soups and stews, make chicken stock, and do much more. These things last for generations.
Aroma Rice Cooker - For years I resisted buying a rice cooker, but I finally caved and now I wonder why I waited so long to get one. Sure I can make rice on the stove top, but it's so much easier throw everything into the rice cooker and walk away. It will make white or brown rice as well as grains like quinoa, I can program it up to 15 hours in advance, it has a nice stay warm feature, I can steam meat and veggies while my rice cooks, and it has a "saute then simmer" setting which allow me to cook all kinds of recipes other than rice. This is what is commonly referred to as a "Fuzzy Logic" rice cooker because it can do so many things besides cook rice.
SushiQuik - Looking for new ways to entertain company? Have a Sushi Party! This kit provides everything you need to roll perfect sushi or maki rolls. It even includes a nifty cutting guide for perfect slices.
Wusthof Serrated Bread Knife - A serrated knife is essential for cutting things like bread, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Works beautifully for cutting cake and melons too.
Wusthof Santoku - I was first introduced to this knife watching Rachael Ray on TV. I was so impressed with how she handled it that I had to get one for myself and now it's the knife I reach for more than any other. I love the shape of the blade, I love the way it feels in my hand, and I love that it's large enough to scoop and transfer a lot of veggies from my cutting board. Love, love, love.
Breville You Brew Coffee Maker - Do you have family members who disagree about what strength coffee is the best? My mother says my husband drinks mud, and my husband says my mother drinks dirty dish water. Well, this coffee maker is the perfect solution. Just fill it with beans and it will brew any amount of coffee at any strength. One cup of dirty dish water for my mother - no problem. Five cups of mud for the hubs - no problem. An entire pot of normal coffee for my church ladies - no problem. Oh, and I love the thermal carafe.
Bamboo iPad Stand - This stand is super awesome for those who use their iPads/tablets in the kitchen. The stand can be set to 3 different viewing angels, it has a little cutout to accommodate the power adapter thingy, it's expandable, it folds flat for easy storage, and it will even hold a small-ish cookbook. It's extremely sturdy too - I was constantly knocking my iPad over while typing on the screen, but not anymore.
Magnum Pepper Mill - Another winning Cook's Illustrated product. This mill has an over sized grinding mechanism so you get more ground pepper per grind than any other mill. It'll hold over a cup of whole peppercorns, and you can adjust the grind from fine to coarse. I've owned mine for well over 10 years and it's still going strong.
Fleur de Sel - The flaky crystals of this French sea salt is prized for it's delicate flavor which is best when used as a finishing salt on meats and vegetables. It has a slightly moist texture and and gray-ish color from the high mineral content, comes in a cork topped canister, and each container is signed by the salt raker who harvested it.
Boyajian Garlic Oil - This is my favorite garlic oil. It's intensely flavored and I use it to saute vegetables, drizzle on pizza, and it makes the best
ever. Made of pure olive oil, I buy several bottles at a time because they have a 2-year shelf life. Makes a great gift for the cook who has everything.
Oxo Mandoline Slicer - The mandoline works so well for cutting fruits and vegetables quickly and evenly. I use it to cut super thin tomato slices when I'm making subs, apple slices for apple tarts, mountains of sliced spuds for scalloped potatoes, and it'll shred an entire head of cabbage in less than a minute. This one comes with additional crinkle, french fry, and julienne blades as well. It comes apart for easy cleaning too.
Ninja Prep - I love my Ninja and it comes in really handy when I don't feel like lugging out my big food processor. The small container is great for chopping nuts, making dressings/marinades, and grating Parmesan cheese. The large pitcher container is what I use to puree tomatoes, blend smoothies, and mix batters.
Garlic Keeper - This canister really prolongs the life of my garlic and it's large enough to hold 7 or 8 heads.
Food Mill - I use my food mill mostly for making homemade applesauce, but it works well for making mashed potatoes, pureeing tomatoes, and straining berries. There are 3 discs that will grind from fine to coarse, and the non stick legs fold up for storage.
Immersion Blender - Great for blending hot soups right in the pot or reaching down into a tall pitcher or beaker. This model has a high and low speed and the stainless shaft is dishwasher safe. Available in a rainbow of colors.
Coffee/Spice Grinder - I own two grinders. I use one just for grinding coffee beans, and I use the other one to grind whole spices, turn whole grains and rice into flour, turn granulated sugar into confectioners sugar, grind peppercorns, and so much more.
Le Creuset Platters - Every cook needs a set of platters to present their masterpieces. These French porcelain platters are very well made and they come in several colors.
All-clad Ladle - You'd be surprised what a difference the rimmed edge of this ladle can make. I stopped using my old ladle when I was sent one of these.
Probe Thermometer - Using a probe thermometer and you'll never have to eat a dry overcooked roast again. Just insert the probe into a roast, program your desired temperature, and pop the roast into the oven. An alarm will sound when the the target temp is reached. Perfection every time.
Locking Tongs - Every cook uses tongs, but not all tongs are created equally. Oxo tongs have the best locking mechanism so they stay closed, nice and neat, making them easy to store. Available in several sizes, colors, with silicone tips, with nylon tips, or just stainless tips. I use the 9-inch length most of the time in the kitchen. The hubs uses the 12 and 16-inch lengths when he grills.
Long Bread Board - Baguettes look so much more appetizing when presented on an elegant maple bread board. Works nicely for serving cheese as well.
Le Creuset Fruit/Pasta Bowl - I'm so in love with these bowls. The 10.5-inch diameter bowl can be used as a centerpiece to hold fruit or use it to serve pasta, mashed potatoes, or salad. Something about the wide and shallow shape of this bowl combined with the rich glaze colors makes my heart sing. And the porcelain holds it's temperature for a long time so it keeps hot foods hot and cold foods cold longer.
Baking Stone - Nothing beats a baking stone for making bread, reheating leftover pizza, and baking biscuits. They will darken and naturally develop a non-stick patina over time.
Emile Henry 11x14 Lasagna Pan - This is the perfect lasagna pan for anyone who wants to feed a crowd. This pan will hold almost 5.5 quarts of lasagna compared to only 3 quarts a standard 9x13-inch pan will hold. Another awesome feature of this pan, it can go straight from the freezer and into a hot oven without breaking. I don't know of any other manufacturer who can say that.
All-Clad 12qt Stockpot - I purchased this workhorse years ago and I've gotten every penny of my money's worth out of it. This stockpot doesn't just have an aluminum disc in the bottom, the aluminum core goes all the way up the sides to the rim. I use it for everything from boiling pasta to simmering chicken stock to making chili. I have this pan in a 6qt size as well. Easily the most used pieces of cookware I own.
BluApple Fruit/Vegetable Preserver - I discovered these non-toxic ethylene gas absorbers a few years ago at my grocery store and I was very impressed with the way they prolonged the life of my fruits and vegetables. Place the gas absorbing packets in the blue apples or use them alone - just toss them into your fruit bowl or crisper drawer. I even tuck a packet into the strawberry clam shell. Each packed will last about a month. After that, sprinkle the granules on your pants as natural fertilizer.
Pasta Machine - Make homemade pasta just like Mamma. This manual pasta rolling machine is so much fun to use. This one rolls and cuts spaghetti and fettuccine. Additional cutting attachments are available.
Lilypad Food Covers - This set of silicone covers create an airtight and water tight seal on any smooth surface. Dishwasher safe.