Here are a few ideas for gifts for your foodie friends (or yourself, if those buying you gifts didn’t get you exactly what you wanted ). It’s just a little collection of a few things that I absolutely love and use all the time. (Click on each for more info.)
1. The Flavor Bible ($20)- It’s my all-time favorite ‘cookbook’. It breaks down flavor combinations by ingredient, allowing your creative juices to flow. It also presents ingredients according to seasonality and shows proper cooking techniques for each. It’s amazing!
2. AccuSharp Knife Sharpener ($10)- Because a sharp knive is SO important! This one’s inexpensive, easy to use and safe.
3. Vitamix ($450)- I know, it’s expensive. But trust me, it’s worth it. This is the mother of all blenders. Whom ever you give this to is sure to love you for life! It’s in every professional kitchen because it’s so powerful that it’ll turn a brick into silk! You simply can’t get a texture to smooth with any other blender on the market.
4. Cuisinart electric pressure cooker ($100)- It’s my new favorite toy. It opens up a whole new world of everyday cooking because now you can braise a lamb shank in 30 minutes instead of 4 hours. Make your own chicken stock in 20 minutes or cook a 3lb pork shoulder in 45 minutes. I use it like crazy (especially in the winter)! Absolutely love it.
5. Illy coffee lover’s kit ($40)- Illy is my favorite coffee ever and I absolutely love their many creative and fun espresso and cappuccino cups. This one has two mugs with the illy logo and 2 tins of fabulous coffee.
6. Pizza stone ($20)- Great for using in the oven or on the grill. It holds a lot of heat so you can get that blistery affect on your pizzas and breads. Great for the baker or pizza fanatic in your life.
7. Adorable girly aprons ($30)- Because you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your outfit to be in the kitchen!
8. How to Cook Everything ($20)- This is a FABULOUS cookbook by Mark Bittman that goes through principals of cooking, well, everything. I particularly like the book for how approachable Bittman makes so many different ethnic cuisines. This is a great one for the cook that likes to explore the flavors of the world.
9. A Foodie Experience with SideTour ($80)- SideTour is a cool new company that just launched in Chicago. You can book ‘experiences’ ranging from truffle rolling to jewelry making, hosted by Chicago folk with specific expertise. I’m hosting one with Tony Priolo at Piccolo Sogno that will consist of a kitchen tour, cooking demo by Chef Tony, as well as a 3 course lunch with wine pairings. The link for our ‘experience’ will be up on Monday. Until then, you can always purchase a gift certificate.