The Christmas season is upon us, and stress has begun to fill the air! Sometimes we just don’t have the time to be creative! As giving should never be a source of stress I felt the need to share my personal gift ideas for Christmas this year for those who find it difficult to get out of the kitchen. I hope you find inspiration!
1. Cookware. Every cook loves new cookware. No surprise there, but there are ways to make this gift more special. For example a new sauce pan would be a wonderful present for under the Christmas tree, but in addition, find a great sauce recipe to be used as a stocking stuffer along with all the required ingredients!
2. Flavored Oils and Vinegars. A sure way to create a new or improve an old dish! New oils and vinegars are always a treat for a cook, you can never have enough! Walnut oil, Avocado oil, Truffle oil, simply take a look around your local specialty food store and you will be amazed at the variety today!
3. Plastic Storage Containers. They must be of the best quality which are able to go into the freezer, dishwasher, and microwave! I don't know how but these containers always seem to disappear and you can never have enough of them or enough sizes. Why not buy several different shapes and sizes but fill them full of special nuts or candies to make this gift more special than plain old plastic!
4. Liquor. Although we all like to have a little Christmas cheer, there is another wonderful use for liquor in the kitchen. It is essential for creating beautiful demi-glazes for your favorite meat dishes and most likely your cook at home will not splurge on such luxurious liquids. So why not help your favorite chef out and purchase a few bottles of liquor to cook with! Brandy, Sherry, Bourbon and Madeira are all fantastic to use.
5. Wine. Like liquor wine is also essential for deglazing pans and creating incredible sauces. Again, why not include a recipe as a stocking stuffer as well. Inspiration is always welcomed by any cook.
6. Coffee & Tea. Most kitchen lovers love coffee if not to drink, to cook with. So why not create a specialty coffee gift basket? It's easy to find local free trade coffee in you neighborhood specialty food store and while you're there by some cinnamon sticks, honey, flavored syrups etc. Why not also throw in some specialty coffee mugs and some liquors such as Baileys or Kahlua. What a treat!! Tea is also widely used in kitchens today. Instead of boring brines, use tea instead!
7. Cookbooks. Again another "no-brainer” but if they truly love to cook then they LOVE cookbooks. We never get tired of cookbooks, but be sure to find the best ones. Look for a specialty cookbook store and you'll have a fantastic gift in your hands.
8. Microplane. If you’re special chef does not have one then here is another must have kitchen item. They are inexpensive and vital when adding or enhancing flavor in dishes. Why not combine a Microplane with several of its favorite counterparts like whole nutmeg, whole cinnamon, whole star anise etc. That way your chef can get right down to business!
9. Appliances. Maybe not an oven or a fridge but why not a new electric mixer or Panini press? Here’s a shopping tip… when wanting to purchase any of these items this year buy on-line! Small appliances are almost always less expensive when purchased on-line and shipping is often waived as well. Stores charge a premium this time of year so save yourself time and money and buy on -line!
10. Tableware. If they love to cook then they love to entertain. Why not find beautiful glassware, or placemats, or service plates that they can show off their creations with. Unique paper napkins make great stocking stuffers and linen napkins with gorgeous napkin rings are always a treat. So don’t let stress take the fun out of Christmas this season. There are truly plenty of ways to put smiles on faces this year. And for one last suggestion: make your own Specialty Gift Basket! Create your own gift basket by combining several of the above ideas. Now that is an incredible gift for any kitchen lover!