I’m a gadget minimalist in the kitchen – thoroughly in the camp that believe a sharp knife is all you really need.
However, there is one lone kitchen uni-tasker, that for approximately $3, is worth every penny to me.
No, I’m not talking about a garlic press. Those things are way too annoying to clean. Plus, in the case of minced garlic, a good slap of your chef’s knife will get that pesky skin off no problem (and get you halfway minced too).
But what happens when you don’t want to mince your garlic? You want it thinly sliced and golden, sauteéd with green beans or as a garnish for creamy cauliflower soup. For even the most adept cook, it’s difficult to get just the right amount of knife pressure with the slap technique to avoid pulverizing the whole thing.
One of my favorite tools in the kitchen, a cast iron skillet, is inexpensive and will literally last forever. It will help you in so many ways you never even thought of – ever tried reheating pizza in a cast iron? Or french fries? It’s perfection. I haven’t found a tool better for making bacon either.
Having a well made Dutch oven will change your life. Soups, sauces, whole chickens (!), even artisinal bread will be in your reach with this one pot work horse. It’s worth buying a nice one with a good warantee, like a Le Creuset, because again, you will probably have it forever.
4. A great knife
No kitchen is complete without a really sharp knife. It is your best tool (other than your bare hands) in the kitchen.
My favorite knife is this 5.5″ Santoku from Crate and Barrel. It’s small enough to take care of every day tasks and can handle larger items as well. The handle is extremely ergonomic which I love. Crate and Barrel is doing a 15% off full price online orders that ends today so jump on it!
Keeping your knives sharp is critical. You’re much more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp one. While there are a variety of sharpening tools out there, I recently purchased a knife sharpening stone which does a phenomenal job.
If you’re been reading along with Love Beer, Love Food for a while then you know my feelings about beer glassware. But just a quick refresher, it’s important!!! Impress your favorite beer nerd with a set of nearly every glass they could want in their collection.
7. A double walled growler
With the craft beer boom, growlers are becoming an ever important mode of beer purchase. Many beers are simply not available in bottle or can, but your favorite local brewery may offer growler fills. Keep your beer cold and carbonated with a double walled stainless steel growler like this one.
There are some super awesome books out there for those wishing to improve their beer knowledge. When I was studying for the Cicerone exam I found Tasting Beer to be one of the most easy to read and most educational out there. It’s perfect for someone who is just getting into beer or even a more advanced beer nerd.
The IPA, or India Pale Ale is the most popular craft beer style these days. The good folks at Dogfish and Sierra Nevada teamed up to create the perfect glass for this iconic style. The etching at the bottom releases bubbles for enhanced aroma, while the shape and base optimize flavor, slowly warming your glass for optimal hop POW!
Refract – oh whatsit? A refractometer is the easiest way to get a gauge on your beer’s initial gravity (the amount of sugar) and therefore potential alcohol content. It’s a great, inexpensive tool for the homebrewer in your life. Just be warned, this great tool does not work for FINAL gravity, which the hubs and I learned the hard way. Still best to use a hydrometer for that one.
For the advanced, all grain homebrewer, a sparge arm can increase efficiency and consistency in your beer. Plus it just looks so cool in action. Ours spins, releasing a steady stream of hot water over the grain bed, rinsing off all the wonderful malty sugars into your wort.
This unique fermenter will make your life so much easier. You don’t even have to transfer the beer! Just remove the yeast ball at the bottom after primary fermentation has finished and voila! You can mount it to the wall or get a stand, but I recommend the wall mount technique for ease of use.
If you keg your beer, the Blichmann beer gun is the perfect tool for you to bottle just a handful of beers for friends, family, or perhaps even a beer competition or two. It’s extremely easy to use, and a super fun toy.
I hope that gives you some good gift ideas for the beer and food lovers in your life! What other fun gift items do I need to give away (or need for myself)?
Hi loves!!! It’s been a little while – we have much to discuss!
First, let me catch you up on the life stuff.
I am absolutely loving life as a beer rep. In addition to meeting lots of new, awesome people, I’m the first to know about and try new beers plus every hour/day/week is completely unique which suits my ADD tendencies just right.
I have to say it is a bit tougher these days when I am living beer all day to come home and write more about beer. But, I love it! So I’m just going to make it work! In fact, I’m working on a post about my lessons learned in these first six months since taking the leap. I think you’ll find it eye opening to what the beer biz is really like. Back in June I really thought I knew a lot and boy was I wrong. Continue reading Spicy Garlic and Herb Pizza Sauce→
Though it truly is awesome, and an excellent place to start as a bread-baker, I decided recently it was time to step up my game.
While wandering around Portland, Maine on our recent vacation, me and the hubs sought shelter from a stray rain shower in a quaint book store. He picked up this great book all about the history of, and how to make cocktail bitters (don’t worry I’ve commissioned him to write a guest post all about it), and I found the new love of my life.
To start off our most recent collaBREWation meal (you remember, that obscenely delicious and fiery lamb curry), we started out with a heaping platter of these crispy cauliflower fritters, aka pakora.
We served up these wonderfully spiced, fried pakora with tangy raita – an easy as cake Indian condiment. I was surprised at how much I LOVED this yogurty goodness. The cooling cucumber, subtle spices and onion, plus tangy yogurt work wonders together.