My Christmas shopping was done almost a month ago (!), but in the event that you haven’t finished yours yet, I’ve put together a list of the 10 gadgets and tools in my kitchen that I love the most. If none of my favs strike your fancy, check out the links to gift guides at the bottom of the post!
1. Bottle Stoppers
There are a lot of types of bottle stoppers out there and, for what they are, a lot of them seem pretty expensive. Brian and I are huge fans of these cheap lever bottle stoppers from Zyliss ($9.99 for 6, Amazon.com)…they don’t look like much, but unlike a lot of bottle stoppers, they actually create a airtight seal.
2. Oil Bottles
Similar to bottle stoppers, oil bottles ($4.99, Bed Bath and Beyond) are a dime a dozen in stores lately. I never knew how much I’d use one until I had one though (actually, we have 2–one for olive oil and one for vegetable). One of the best perks: it’s easier to buy big, cheaper bottles of oil when you have a smaller container to dispense it from.
3. Flexible Cutting Boards
At my bridal showers last spring, I received not one, but two packages of flexible, plastic cutting boards. Frankly, I was not impressed. I didn’t even want one package. I wanted “high quality” cutting boards. That said, Brian and I almost always use them. They’re a great size for cutting a lot of things (big pieces of meat, a soup’s worth of veggies) and the flexibility really comes in handy. I can’t find the exact set we have, but these cutting boards from Norpro ($5.99, Amazon.com) look pretty good.
4. Dry Erase Board
No list is complete without one item that seems a little random. This is that item. A couple months after moving into our new place, Brian had the idea to add a small dry erase board to the door of one of our cabinets. It’s super helpful for writing to do or shopping lists, but mostly it’s used for hanging up recipes so they stay clean while I use them to cook. ($9.98, Amazon.com)
5. Garlic Press
My knife skills are pretty bad and we go through an awful lot of garlic. I’m sure there are folks out there who disagree with the notion of the garlic press, but our Oxo Good Grips Garlic Press has definitely saved me a lot of time. ($13.00, Amazon.com)
6. Pyrex Bowls with Lids
Another wedding gift we got but didn’t ask for was a Pyrex 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set. In addition to being 4 different sized mixing bowls (who doesn’t need mixing bowls?!), they’re Pyrex so I can use them in the oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher (in my fantasy life where I have a dishwasher). Best part: each bowl has a lid, perfect for storage and travel. ($19.88, Amazon.com)
7. Zyliss Cheese Grater
For those times when you just need a little cheese…or just don’t feel like getting out and then cleaning the food processor, this (as Brian would say, manly) Zyliss Cheese Grater is awesome. It comes with 2 drums for fine or coarse grating. Perfect for adding cheddar to the top of a bowl of chili. ($19.99, Amazon)
8. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
It’s no secret that How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food is the most important book in my kitchen. Anytime I have a question about how to make something, or how to use an ingredient, I consult this book. If you know somehow who cooks, or has a kitchen, they could definitely use this book (or the original version). ($20.47, Amazon)
9. Slow Cooker
As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t grow up with a slow cooker. In the (almost) six months we’ve been married, I’ve only used my Rival 5 qt. Crock-Pot a few times, but I know I’m going to love it this winter. What’s better than throwing ingredients in a pot and having dinner ready to eat when you get home from work? ($24.99, Target)
10. Food Processor
Of the few things I had to have for my kitchen, a Cuisinart Food Processor was at the top of the list. Pricey, yes, but such a time saver. ($177.45, Amazon).
Still need gift ideas? Check out these gift guides:
From Serious Eats, a collection of gift guides, including gifts for the gluten free, the coffee lover, the chocolate lover, stocking stuffers and more.
Slashfood has a list of The Best Cheese Books of 2009. (♥ Cheese)
The Atlantic has posted their Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen Edition.
If you need something unique, check out A Food Coma’s collection of Gifts We Want.
Change.org has a Sustainable Food Holiday Gift Guide.
A Year of Slow Cooking has a list of Holiday Gifts to Help Bloggers–why not buy a book written by a blogger for someone on your list?