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I love the holidays. I like giving gifts and try to find the right present for the right person each year. This doesn't have to be expensive and in the last few weeks I have written about some of my favorite kitchen gifts (especially for making pizza!).
It's getting close to the time we should all be about done, but there's always that stocking stuffer or party gift that you need to pick up. Here are some of my favorite little gadgets for you to put on your shopping list.
Lemon squeezer. This little guy makes it really easy to squeeze lemons and get every bit of juice but not the seeds. I have had a few of these and some have actually broken. The ones that are painted enamel over aluminum I have found to have the paint peel.
Finally I found the OXO lemon squeezer. Most of their products I like, but this one is especially good and generally the most reasonably priced.
Truffle oil. A bit more expensive, but this is the king of stocking stuffers (next to the queen: balsamic vinegar). Even a little bottle can be as much as $20.00, but it is the gift that the really special person on your list will love you for.
For the most adventurous cook on your list, you might give them a membership to the Italian Cooking and Living Olive Oil Club. Think of this as the Olive Oil of the Month Club where the folks at IF&L will send a selection of fine oils out on a regular basis.
Speaking of balsamic vinegar, that cook on your list would love a bottle of aged vinegar. The older it is, the pricier it will be, but just like fine aged wine there's no substitute for having a great vinegar on hand for that special occasion.
The Palm Peeler made by the Chef'n company is a wonderful gadget. I have not found many peelers that I thought were all that great, and for the most part I prefer simply using a knife. This little guy makes short work of peeling though and is the best peeler I have come across.
As you can see from the picture it is a piece of contoured plastic with a soft rubber grip that slips around your finger. It is comfortable and really easy to use, and at only $4.99, it's a good bargain as I have used a lot of peelers that don't work at all and cost two and three times as much.
The Food Loop. This is a package of six silicone loops that work like a noose and can be used to truss anything. Because they are heat resistant to 675°F / 357°C you can use them for trussing and roasting almost anything. And they fit in a stocking perfectly…
A potato ricer fits great in a stocking (well, maybe a big stocking) and makes a great gift. This tool is essential for making gnocchi but also for making great fluffy mashed potatoes and yams. I have the plastic version of this Cuisipro and it is a great product.
Even an extra pair of kitchen shears will be appreciated by that cook on your list. Less than $20.00 for great quality shears and they make a great stocking stuffer. I have owned many types but do love these Henckels.
Happy holidays! Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
December 10, 2007