As always, Santa left some great kitchen items under my tree this year.
As I made my list of favorite gadgets, cookware and small appliances for my sidebar, I realized that I have a acquired quite a few nice kitchen items. Then I realized that almost every single one of them has been given to me by either my mother or my MIL. Every year they ask for a birthday list and a Christmas list and every year, my lists are filled with kitchen stuff. No matter how much stuff I have, I always seem to be able to find more things to put on the list and this year was no different.
Under the tree this year I found:
A Cuisinart Griddler! I decided that I'm sick of our hard anodized double burner griddle. I've never liked that thing - stuff always sticks to it, it's hard to clean and now it doesn't center well on our ceramic cooktop (because of a lip around the cooktop), causing everything to cook unevenly - that was the last straw. I asked for advice over at the CLBB and, as always, they came through with a great idea. A griddle that can also be used as a grill and a panini-maker! It looks easy to clean - the plates are removable and dishwasher safe - and I should not have any problems with even heating. It also folds for easy storage.
A stainless steel All-Clad 3-quart saucier. I wanted something for making risotto. Not sure if this will be quite big enough, but even so, I'm sure I can come up with other uses for this great pan.
A large silicone baking/pastry mat. This will be great for rolling out cookies, pie crust, making candies, etc.
The King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook. I looked through it briefly last night and quite a few things caught my eye. I think this one will keep me quite busy for a while! My plan is to move away from cookies and maybe start trying some whole grain yeast breads. However, there are many sweet temptations in this book, so I don't know how long I'll be able to hold off!
DH usually gets the wine gifts. We both enjoy wine, but he takes more time to learn about them, select them, etc. This year he got a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 10-Year Tawny Port and a gift certificate to a great wine store in Delaware - Total Wine and More. Think grocery aisles where one whole side of the aisle is devoted to one varietal. It's actually quite overwhelming! And the prices are great and better yet, they have regular wine and beer tastings. After visiting their site, I see they also have stores in New Jersey, Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas. Check to see if there's one in your area - you won't be disappointed!
He also got two great new bar gadgets:
A champagne opener. I had no idea how this was going to work and wasn't sure it would be all that useful. I was wrong - it's very cool! You place the entire unit over the cork and bottle, depress the lever and POP - you're done! No pulling and straining to get the cork out and the cork is prevented from flying off and injuring and/or breaking something. It's only $25-$30 too.
A new wine opener. We have tried quite a few different wine openers over the years, but DH had a favorite. It was very easy to use, but unfortunately, it broke and we decided that it was something that would likely break again, so we didn't buy another one. We have two now that work okay, one in the rabbit design (this one requires a bit too much strength to make it really easy) and one that isn't fancy, but makes easy work of opening bottles. This new one, however, may be destined to become a favorite. DH tried it out last night and it worked beautifully. Only time will tell whether or not it holds up. It's only $20, so not expensive at all! We only opened one bottle last night, but I was tempted to open another just so I could try it out! Maybe tonight............
So, thanks Mom and MIL for helping us have such a well-equipped kitchen (and bar)!
Not sure yet what we're doing today in the kitchen, but coming tomorrow.....our take on the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Only we'll be doing 4 fishes.............