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My Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Chef is inspired by the gifts I’ve received and loved.
It’s that time of year! All of the feel-good smells, sights, and sounds of the Holidays are here!
The house is filled with the aroma of fresh, baked cookies, we are driving the kiddos around and admiring all the twinkling lights, and Christmas carols fill the radio.
Along with all of the enjoyable parts of the holidays is the sometimes challenging goal to find just the right gift. You know the one. The gift that makes that special person’s eyes just light up with what YOU gave them. Or they come back to you a month down the road and gush over how much they LOVE your gift.
Below is a list of all of my favorite kitchen toys and tools. Not the ones that collect dust in the back of the pantry, but the items that I use ALL the time. And let me tell you, narrowing it down to 10 was tough! My birthday is December 20th, so just before Christmas. Almost without fail, when asked what I would like for either, it’s a new kitchen toy or gadget. I hope this list of gifts that I have received will inspire you for your special someone.
Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Chef
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1. The Perfect Knife
This is the knife that fits perfectly in my hand and that I use 90% of the time. It’s not the most expensive one out there, but it’s rated really well for a reason. It sharpens well, is dishwasher safe, holds an edge, and is lightweight. I received this set several years ago for Christmas and couldn’t be happier with it. Ever heard of a Swiss Army Knife? Victorinox is that company, so you know they have been around the block for a while. (Corny pun intended:)
2. Microplane Grater
I use this so, so frequently. I can hardly remember what I did before I got it. It’s perfect for grating Parmesan cheese, zesting a lemon, or grating a nutmeg or cinnamon stick. My Dad gave this to me one year for a birthday. Especially considering it’s $10-12 price tag, it’s been one of my favorite and most frequently used gifts. I, literally, bring this and my favorite knife with me when I vacation if there is any chance I might do any cooking.
3. Cutting Boards
Couldn’t do anything without them. Having a variety of sizes for anything from slicing an apple to Thanksgiving dinner is a definite plus. These are durable and easy on your knives, which is a must in my book. They are also attractive enough for a great presentation if you choose to serve off of them.
4. Cast Iron
It just gives the best sear! And the best sear is where the flavor is at. Another advantage is being able to go from stove top to oven and back. I sear steak or salmon in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and finish in the oven all the time for a nice weeknight meal. My dutch oven has an almost permanent place on the back corner of the stove so it’s ready and waiting for a soup, stew, or a roasted chicken. It was actually handed down to me from my husband’s grandmother, so that speaks for the longevity of cast iron. I have $200 All Clad that, while fabulous, doesn’t see near as much cook time as my cast iron.
5. Immersion Hand Blender
This guy is crazy convenient. There are times when you just don’t want to clean up a large bowl out of the stand mixer or the blender. This is quick and easy with only a small piece to rinse when finished. Quickly mash potatoes, whip cream, puree vegetables in a soup and so much more! This has been one of my favorite gifts to give as a wedding or shower present. It’s so handy to have and you don’t realize how much until you have one.
6. Flake Sea Salt
Flake or finishing salt is just delicious and is the perfect finishing touch on almost any dish. It’s light and pretty and makes the flavors pop. It’s the ultimate in a gourmet touch without a big price tag. I’ve found it surprisingly hard to find. In Europe, every small grocer had it super inexpensively. Here, it seems like it’s only in specialty stores or Amazon.
Possibly the most important tool in any kitchen. Knowing your prime rib is a perfect medium rare or the turkey breast is not cooked to sawdust is what will make or break a meal. I have several kinds and use them all. But my favorite is probably this little guy. The probe can be in the meat and the digital reader is on the outside of the oven or grill. Very convenient.
8. Pressure Cooker
Everyone has heard of the Instant Pot or multi cookers at this point. They are a combination pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and much more. I was gifted with mine less then a year ago and LOVE it! Americas Test Kitchen liked my lesser known model the best for a variety of reasons. While I know there are great reviews on many brands, I’ll just say that I love mine and wouldn’t choose another. Also, for a family, the 8 quart is a definite must. If you want slow cooked favorites ready in 20 minutes of cook time, this is a fantastic present.
9. Stand Mixer
My Kitchaid has a place of pride on a corner counter in my kitchen I adore her to the moon and back. After receiving my Kitchenaid, I actually got rid of my hand beaters. I love the heavy duty construction and large bowl. Quadruple batches of Christmas cookies are a breeze. Letting it handle all of the kneading of homemade bread is amazing. Whipping egg whites into stiff perfection is a snap. All of the attachment options like a pasta roller, meat grinder and sausage stuffer, and food processor provide additional gift ideas for years come. It’s pricey but irreplaceable in my book. Bonus: during the holidays, they run them on sale!
10. Vitamix Blender
A kitchen classic for a reason. A blender might be the most versatile tool in the kitchen from savory to sweet. Make a smoothie for breakfast, roasted butternut squash soup for lunch, and a frozen strawberry margarita for dinner. I’ve had inexpensive blenders over the years and I’ve had this. Where I’ve noticed the biggest difference is anytime I want to blend ice. Think daiquiri or smoothie. A less expensive blender might crunch the ice at the bottom, but not the whole blender full, or even get stuck. A Vitamix doesn’t even flinch.
If you have a favorite cook in your life that you are looking for just the right, perfect, eye widening gift, I hope my Holiday Gift Guide for the Home Chef helped!
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All the best,