- Food and Cooking
Gift Ideas for a Cook
Ideal gifts for someone who loves cooking
If you have a loved one or know of someone who is a culinary adventurer, thinking of agift might not be easy especially if you personally are not one who enjoys cooking.
Instead of heading out to the kitchen section of your local store looking for an inspiration or spending hours browsing online stores for ideas, I have prepared for you a list of great gift ideas for a cook ranging from popular kitchen appliances to exotic ingredients.
All images courtesy of Amazon
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Gifts for cooks who like to experiment
If the cook is someone who likes to experiment with food and different styles of cooking, try gifting a cooking apparatus or accessory that is used for some foreign or exotic type of cooking.
Fondue PotFondue is a style of cooking popular among the French and Swiss that consists of dipping bread into a pot of melted cheese using long-stemmed forks. Nowadays, besides cheese, chocolate, broth and oil are used as well. A fondue dinner is ideal during cold winter nights either as a romantic dinner or an intimate party among close friends.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 1-3/4-Quart Traditional Fondue Pot, Cherry
The Le Creuset cast iron traditional fondue pot is made in France with its heavy cast iron body that is ideal for keeping the cheese or other sauces at the right temperature for fondue cooking. A good fondue pot must be able to evenly heat the sauce without burning it. If you mainly use cheese for your fondue, a cast iron pot is a must.
The Le Creuset pot comes with a cast iron stand which contains an adjustable alcohol burner. The stand is very sturdy and it prevents the pot from falling over.
The pot has an enamel coating on the inside that ensures that the pot does not absorb odors and flavors as it cooks and it is dishwasher safe. The enamel layer also makes the Le Creuset pot easy to clean. It also comes with 6 stainless steel fondue forks with different colored ends.
Tajine PanTajine Pans are used in Moroccan cuisine to slow cook stews at low temperatures producing meats that are tender with aromatic vegetables and sauce.
The tajine pan is characterized by its cone or dome shaped cover that sits on a circular flat base. The shape of the cover allows the return of all condensation to the container at the base. The design of the tajine pan helps ensure that the meat and vegetables are moist and well cooked each and every time.
The Moroccan tagine pan makes a wonderful gift and a unique addition to any cook's collection of cookware.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 2-Quart Moroccan Tagine, Cherry
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron base tajine comes with a stoneware dome. The cast iron bottom allows the the tajine pan to be heated on a cooking stove on high temperature which permits the meat and vegetables to be browned before the slow cooking or braising process. Normal ceramic or terracotta tajine pans can crack if high temperature or direct heat is used.
The knob like handle at the top allows the cook lift of the cover without the aid of a mitten to inspect the cooking, add additional ingredients or additional braising liquid. The dish can be served on the base itself. This 2-Quart tajine is suitable for cooking for 2 to 4 people.
Other gift ideas to go along with the above
Set of 6 double pronged fondue forks. Perfect for securing chunks of bread, meat, or fruit. Handles made of rugged Bakelite plastic that stay cool while the stainless-steel prongs heat up in the fondue mixture.
Moroccan Tagine spice blend is a beautifully balanced selection of warm spices such as cumin, allspice, turmeric and paprika. Ideal for fish, egg, beef or chicken tagines.
Make life easier for the cook
Cooking is not an easy task. There is a reason for the saying "Slaving over a hot stove". Fortunately. there are a lot of tools and cooking utilities that are designed to make cooking an easier and less laborious task. The kitchen items listed below can shave minutes or hours off cooking times.
Cuisinart Food ProcessorThe name Cuisinart is synonymous with the ever popular food processor. A good food processor is a highly versatile kitchen tool that can be used for various time saving tasks such as slicing or chopping vegetables, grinding nuts or meat, shredding vegetables, grating cheese and pureeing.
Cuisinart DLC-2009CHB Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless
The Cuisinart Premier Series 9-Cup Food Processor comes with a powerful motor that makes the slicing, dicing, chopping and pureeing quick and easy.
The large and virtually shatterproof 9-cup Lexan work bowl is ideal for preparing an entire meal from scratch. It also comes with a large one-piece feed tube that is large enough for whole fruits and vegetables.
The unit comes with a 3-year limited warranty and a 10-year limited warranty on the motor, the longest warranty in the industry.
The Cuisinart Food Processor has a compact design that takes up minimal valuable space on your kitchen counter. The removable parts are easy to clean either by hand or in a dishwasher.
Spend less time preparing your ingredients and let the Cuisinart Food Processor help you out while you concentrate on the actual cooking process.
Microplane Premium Zester/GraterThe kitchen grater originated from the woodworker's tool for smoothing wood surfaces. Today, the grater has become a indispensable cooking utensil that saves both time and energy.
Microplane 46020 Premium Black Zester/Grater
The Microplane Premium Zester/Grater is the perfect tool for zesting citrus and for grating garlic, ginger and cheese.
The blade is made in the USA out of high quality surgical grade stainless steel with razor sharp edges and can grate the hardest Parmesan Reggiano cheese into delicate shavings.
The handle has a soft touch that provides a good grip. A rubber end tab at the tip of the blade provides stability when you grate and protect the surface the blade is resting on.
For safety, a plastic cover is included with each grater and the Microplane Premium Zester/Grater is dishwasher safe.
With the Microplane Premium Zester/Grater, zesting an entire lemon takes less than a minute with none of the bitter pith. You can now grate garlic, cheeses and garlic like a pro.
Consider adding these to the above items
Today's food processing machines are more versatile, affordable, and easier to use than ever before. Discover the healthy goodness and time-saving convenience of food processors.
This Professional coarse grater is perfect for grating hard cheeses, chocolate and coconut.
Exotic ingredients for exquisite cooking
Kitchen tools are only one part of cooking. Good ingredients is another and some cooks consider good ingredients as the most critical factor of great cooking. Rare and high quality ingredients make great gifts. Once only available in the kitchens of five star establishments, nowadays, many home cooks make use of them to elevate their dishes to new heights.
TruffleA truffle is a tuber type fungus or mushroom that looks like a dark, rough skinned potato. It grows underground near certain tree species and traditionally, it is found by using a hog. Nowadays, dogs have replaced the pigs as the truffle hunter of choice because sometimes the hog eats the truffle before the truffle harvester can get to it first.
Italian White Summer Truffle, Whole - 7 oz
Truffles come in many forms and usually categorized as either black or white. The most luxurious truffle of all is the Italian white truffle and it has a flavor that is a combination of garlic, shallots and mushroom. Truffles are treasured for their unique and incredible aroma and taste.
A little grated truffle shavings can transform a simple dish into something extraordinary. Great uses for truffles include added as a finishing touch to risotto or scrambled eggs.
Truffle can also be infused into light oil to create truffle oil. Truffle oil is normally lightly drizzled over the dish before it is served. It is commonly used with seafood, poultry, soups, garlic bread and vegetables.
Balsamic VinegarBalsamic vinegar is made from reduced cooked Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes so it has similar roots as wine. Therefore it is not surprising that balsamic vinegar grows better with age like fine wine or whiskey and is highly cherished by chefs and gourmet food lovers. It is different from wine because the grape juice used is unfermented.
Varvello Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena
To make aged balsamic vinegar, grape juice is cooked and reduced in cauldrons. Then the reduced grape juice is placed in oak barrels to age. As the vinegar evaporates year after year, it is transferred into smaller barrels made of different kinds of woods and each barrel infuses a different flavor to the vinegar.
As it ages, the balsamic vinegar becomes increasingly thick, sweet and dark. The best aged balsamic vinegar is labeled as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena which means that it is made following the standards of Modena and passes a rigorous taste test.
Balsamic vinegar is often used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, dips and reductions. It is also used in small quantities to enhance the flavor of steaks, eggs, seafood and on simple pastas and risottos. Some deserts like crÃ¨me caramel and zabaglionec also makes use of balsamic vinegar.
Well-aged balsamic vinegar is usually only used after the cooking has been completed so that the taste is more prominent. It is well suited for pairing of cheese and fruits such as feta cheese with strawberries.Aged balsamic vinegar can also be enjoyed on its own as a beverage by adding water to it.
High tech gifts for the techie chef
Who says the high tech gadgets do not have a place in the kitchen? If you have a cook who is comfortable with the latest gadgets, consider getting a high tech gift that can help with the cooking as well as entertaining the cook.
Belkin Kitchen Stand and Wand for TabletsWe have already established that a tablet is a great device to have in the kitchen. However, handling a tablet while cooking can be a messy affair and washing your hands every time you wish to use the tablet is just too troublesome.
Belkin Kitchen Stand and Wand for Tablets
This is where the Belkin Kitchen Stand and Wand for Tablets comes in. This tablet stand makes an awesome Christmas gift for the chef who is already using a tablet in the kitchen.
The Belkin Kitchen Stand sits firmly on the kitchen counter top and allows for 2 viewing angles on the tablet. A low angle orientation allows for the tablet to lie almost flat on the counter for optimum typing or reading up close. A vertical orientation makes the screen easy to see from across the kitchen.
The most thoughtful feature of the Belkin Kitchen Stand is the inclusion of a magnetic capacitive stylus that wakes up the tablet when you touch the screen with it. With the stylus, the chef can use the tablet without laying a finger on the tablet or the touchscreen. The stylus can be easily washed and cleaned. When not in use, the stylus is stored on the stand itself.