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The 2017 Gift Guide from the chef behind The American Table …

http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/The-2017-Gift-Guide-from-the-chef-behind-The-12363318.php


Updated 1:14 pm, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Caption

Close


A Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit, and two Lodge cast iron skillets, available at shop.lodgemfg.com, are photographed in New York, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2017. Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. less

Photo: Richard Drew, AP






Two versions of the Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide: the stainless steel version, immersed, and polycarbonate version, foreground, are photographed with their smartphone app, in New York, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. less

Photo: Richard Drew, AP








This holiday season’s gift guide contains a book by a real-life hero chef who built an empire by valuing his busboys, a set of nifty ceramic stoneware oyster shells, atasty tequila and “the last knife you ever buy.”

BOOKS FOR THE COOK WHO LIKES TO READ

“L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home”

By David Lebovitz (Crown, $27)

It’s easy to think that David Lebobvitz is living a dream life. Cooking, writing about food, giving chocolate tours and living in Paris. But that old saying, ‘nothing worth having is easy.’ comes to mind when you read his latest book. It’s a memoir about buying and renovating his Paris home. If you ever dreamed of having an apartment in Paris, this book is required reading. As horrible as parts of it must have been to live though, David tells the bittersweet tale with a sense of humor, insight into the French culture, and memories of delicious and unexpected recipes like how to make Croissants aux Amandes (almond croissants) at home (spoiler alert: they are made from day-old croissants — who knew?). But the best thing about this book is that David writes as he talks so it is like having a long conversation with a good friend. Equal parts honest, intriguing, distressing, entertaining, funny and appetizing. Pour yourself a glass of French wine, grab a nibble and cozy up to a great night with a great book.

“NOBU”

By Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa (Atria Books, $30)

This year, many new food memoirs by chefs, bloggers and food writers were published. I read a stack of the books and was struck by how tedious and self-indulgent so many of them are. Maybe memoirs by the very nature of the genre are self-serving.? And, then I sat down to read a memoir by the most famous of all the authors, Nobu. Most people know Nobu as the highly acclaimed chef proprietor of 47 Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, and six hotels around the world with partners who include Robert De Niro.

I was instantly struck by how humble and inspiring his story was — or rather, how simply and humbly he presented his story and his life philosophy. Nobu is one of the good guys who has become famous by the old-fashioned tenets of being a family man, hard work, passion and perseverance even in the face of adversity. Forget about reading self-help books for motivation and guidance. Read Nobu and experience a real-life hero who built an empire and a good life by valuing his busboys as highly as his executive chefs. This is inspiration by example.

For Cooks Who Like To Drink

French Duralex Picardie Tumblers

Drinking glasses are very personal. They have to feel good in your hand, look good and be durable. I like my glasses to be sturdy, functional and elegant. That’s a lot to ask, but the tempered glass tumblers from Duralex check all the boxes. They are the epitome of good design and the French company has been in business since 1945. You can use the glasses for hot or cold drinks and they store easily because they are stackable. Thanks to shatterproof construction, if broken, the glass becomes small chunks instead of jagged shards — so cleanup is safe and easy. The glasses are microwave and dishwasher safe, impact and chip resistant and lovely to use.

I especially like that they come in eight sizes from 3.1 ounce to 17.62 ounces. The original French tumbler is the Picardie design and it is the only style available in a set of 18. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment. The set of 18 ($69.95) includes six of each, small (8.75 ounce), medium (12 ounce) and large glasses (17 ounce). They are perfect for milk, juice or a cocktail, iced coffee or tea, water and anything else that you care to drink. I also like the smaller 4.4 ounce size for espresso and sipping bourbon and tequila neat. They can be ordered separately to complete your set at https://www.surlatable.com .

Grand Mayan Tequila

The first time that I saw Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila was about 10 years ago. I was at a liquor store in Los Angeles and I was struck by the beautiful hand-painted ceramic decanter. I gambled and bought the bottle based on looks alone and boy, oh boy, was I rewarded. The color, aroma and smooth taste rival my favorite aged bourbons for choice sipping. Deep with nutty caramel, vanilla and blue agave notes, this is tequila that you sip neat. The deep dark color comes from a blend of 3, 4 and 5 year-old tequilas that have been aged in American and French oak casks. The Ultra Aged takes 10 years to produce from agave plant to bottle.

The Ultra Aged has a younger sibling, the award-winning Grand Mayan Silver. It is triple distilled resulting in a crystal-clear spirit that is the cleanest silver tequila that I have ever tasted. The sparkling fresh 100 percent blue agave tequila is perfect for drinking over ice with a splash of citrus or mixing into almost any cocktail. It also comes in a very handsome black and white hand-painted ceramic Talavera bottle created by Mexican artists honoring the history and tradition of Mexico.

From my first taste of Grand Mayan a decade ago, I have had my eyes open for that bottle but I couldn’t find it outside of Los Angeles — that is until now. Luckily for the rest of the country, Grand Mayan is now distributed nationally by MS Walker and at http://www.binnys.com . The cost is $100 for the Ultra Aged, $70 for the Silver.

Little Book “The Easy” Blended Straight Whiskey

Fans of Booker’s bourbon will love Little Book. It was released in October from Freddie Noe, son of 7th Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe. I am a personal fan of Booker’s and a huge fan of American whiskey, so I couldn’t wait to taste Freddie Noe’s first release in the Little Book series. The new limited-release whiskey is Little Book “The Easy.” It is aptly named as it goes down easy. Smooth and rich and perfectly balanced, it is destined to become a fast favorite. Freddie drew inspiration from the classic components of bourbon to create his first-ever whiskey expression. It features uncut and unfiltered Kentucky Straight Bourbon blended with corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and malt. As Freddie takes on an expanding role in the family business, Little Book is a nod to what he’s learned so far from the generations of distillers before him especially his grandfather, legendary distiller Booker Noe. Little Book “The Easy” is available nationwide for $79.99 for a 750-ml bottle and at http://www.binnys.com. If you miss it, take heart because the distillery plans to release a new expression every fall.

FOR COOKS WHO LIKE HANDY TOOLS

Loftin Oyster Shells

I like to grill oysters on the half shell which makes for both a pretty presentation and failsafe grilling. The tough shell protects the delicate oysters from the hot fire, tampering the heat and transferring it through the shell. But, if you are not very comfortable with shucking oysters, or can’t find whole oysters in the shell, then I have a gift for you!

Loftin Oyster Shells are made from ceramic stoneware. The life-like oyster shells are handmade from high-fire ceramic in Louisiana where oysters reign. Best is that they are uniform with flat bottoms which stop the shells from rocking on the grill. The beautiful re-useable shells will hold one large or two smaller oysters. So, all you have to do is buy the shucked oysters and get grilling! I like their motto which is ‘all shell, no shuck.’ You can buy the oyster shells by the dozen on their website and start making all your favorite restaurant oyster recipes at home. Their oyster grilling tong is especially helpful for taking the oysters off the grill. Suggested retail is $69 for a set of 12 shells and $18.49 for the tong/lifter at http://www.loftinoysters.com

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System

This machine surprised me and made me a new fan of Ninja products. As anyone who knows me knows, I love a good gadget! And, when a friend told me about the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System, I knew that I had to try it. And, now I can’t stop talking about it. It is so smart. There is one base (think brain) and four attachments that will blend, chop, make individual smoothies and spiralize. In effect, this one appliance replaces my food processor, my smoothie machine, my blender — and my hand-cranked spiralizer — that didn’t work well anyway.

But that’s not all, the Intelli-Sense base recognizes which of the four vessels you attach to it, and automatically displays the corresponding settings specifically designed for that vessel. For example, when you attach the processor, the touch screen on the base gives you options for four different functions (puree, dough, chop, dips). When you make your selection, the base adjusts the speed and torque of the motor to suit what you are making. It’s genius, or at the very least, very intelligent! But that is not all, the design feature that makes this appliance heads and tails above the rest is that the blender and the processor have four blades stacked at varying levels to process everything at once. It does all the hard work for you. No more pushing the food from the top to the bottom or manually turning the machine on and off while you distribute the un-processed food. It goes for $199.75 at https://www.ninjakitchen.com .

Sous Vide Joule

I just decided to sous vide my steak for dinner tonight. It may sound like a big project but it’s not. I have started to think of my Joule sous vide circulator by Chef Steps, as a fancy slow-cooker that makes cooking dinner and entertaining easier. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. It’s that simple.

The Joule is shorter than other circulators which makes storing it a breeze. And, the bottom is magnetic so you can put it in a pot and it stands upright — and stays upright — without needing to clamp it on the side. You put your food in a heavy-duty re-closeable plastic bag — vacuum sealing is no longer a must — and attach it to the side of your pot with a chip clip. The Joule runs with an app that is so intuitive that you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You search for the food that you want to cook, choose a degree of doneness and the size of the food, i.e., a 2-inch thick steak, and turn it on by phone.

One added bonus is that with sous-vide cooking, it is next to impossible to overcook your food. I use my Joule mostly for cooking meat that I will char on the grill just before serving and poached eggs. Yes, if you only bought it for poached eggs, that would be enough! I first became enamored with sous vide when I discovered that you can place a raw egg (in the shell) in the water and 45 minutes later, you crack the shell and out comes a perfect poached egg. I make eggs like these at least once a week for topping avocado toast or eating for breakfast. Once you do it, you will be hooked! The Joule comes in two finishes, stainless for $199 and white for $179 at https://www.chefsteps.com/joule .

FOR THE COOK WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Gift certificate for Institute of Culinary Education

The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is the heart of New York City’s academic culinary world. It is unique in that it has both a robust and award-winning professional program, and recreational program. It is the school where so many well-known chefs and food writers and editors attended, and or taught. I taught recreational classes at ICE for many years and most of the photographs in my column are now prepared and shot at ICE. When I taught, many of my students came to my classes with gift certificates that friends and family gave them. I always thought that it was the best gift of all, an experience that they could enjoy with or without the gift giver, and take home new recipes and new skills that they will have for a lifetime.

ICE has been in business since 1975 and houses the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine education classes in the world. More than 26,000 people visit ICE each year to learn and experience everything from wine tasting and mixology to hands-on cooking and eating. With 12 state-of-the-art kitchens in lower Manhattan, ICE is able to provide classes both day and night, 355 days a year. For a list of classes and to register, visit https://recreational.ice.edu . The minimum amount for gift certificates is $100.

Town Cutler knife sets

Galen Garretson wants this to be the last knife you ever buy. The former chef always loved knives, even as a kid. After tiring of the restaurant kitchen life, he worked as a butcher and became an expert knife sharpener. In 2011 he opened up Town Cutler, a shop selling and sharpening knives in San Francisco. Two years later, he sold his first handmade Town Cutler knife and says that there was a lot of trial and error to making that knife. Those trials paid off. Today, his collection of handmade knives are functional art pieces. I fell in love with the heavy feel and sleek look of the knives. These knives are a cut above.

To understand the quality of the steel and the quality of the wood handle, you just need to hold the knife. It is the difference between the feel of a custom-tailored piece of clothing and off-the-rack clothing. Equally beautiful are the soft leather knife rolls and scabbards (blade covers). This fall, he opened his second location in Chicago and sells his beautiful knives, scabbards and knife rolls through his website.

For the holiday, Town Cutler is putting together two kits, one For the Chef with an 8.5-inch chef knife, scabbard, palette knife for plate decoration and leather knife roll ($450). And one For the Butcher which includes a 6-inch Hankotsu knife (favored by butchers), scabbard, palette knife and leather knife roll for $450. Got to https://towncutler.com

STOCKING STUFFERS

Cast Iron care kit by Lodge

I love all things Lodge cast iron, but they can be a little tricky to clean. Now that all of their cast-iron pans come pre-seasoned, it makes cast-iron accessible to every cook, beginner to master chef. The properties of cast-iron make it a cinch for searing, crisping and baking. A good friend has a pan that is so well seasoned that he even cooks eggs in his cast-iron pan. But after every use, you have to wash your pots and pans, and that is when it becomes tricky with cast iron. You are not supposed to use harsh soap, metal scouring pads or the dishwasher because that will destroy the layer of seasoning that makes cast-iron cookware “non-stick.” So, Lodge has packaged a Seasoned Cast Iron CARE KIT for cast-iron cookware ($26). Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. You can give this to your favorite cook as a stocking stuffer or add it to a Lodge cast-iron pan for an extra-special gift. I am partial to the 10-inch cast-iron chef skillet for $25.50 and the 10.5-inch square cast-iron skillet for $32. Go to http://shop.lodgemfg.com/prodcat/indoor-accessories.asp

Meat thermometers by ThermoWorks

ThermoWorks has been in business for more than 20 years and is serious about its thermometers. They make a variety and my favorite is the Thermopen. It’s the barbecue and chef community’s choice of instant-read thermometer because it is fast, accurate and the foldable probe makes it easy to carry. All it takes to be a believer is opening the box and seeing the individual “Certificate of Calibration.” Every Thermopen comes with their own individual certificate that is filled out by hand, an extensive instruction booklet with real-time tips and a serial number to track your Thermopen. These added value features underscore that you’ve purchased a professional instrument, not just a gadget.

The foldaway thermocouple probe is strong but thin and goes into meat quickly and efficiently without leaving large holes for juices to escape through. I love that it folds into the plastic body, and is thin, and I would buy it for those two features alone. But the fact that it is fast and accurate seals the deal. It can read the internal temperature in 2-3 seconds. Thermopen ($99) is handmade in England and comes in your choice of 10 colors at http://www.thermoworks.com/Thermapen-Mk4 .

___

EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pit master at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and the author of three books, including “Taming the Flame.”

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off

The 2017 Gift Guide from the chef behind The American Table

http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/The-2017-Gift-Guide-from-the-chef-behind-The-12363318.php


Updated 1:14 pm, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Caption

Close


A Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit, and two Lodge cast iron skillets, available at shop.lodgemfg.com, are photographed in New York, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2017. Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. less

Photo: Richard Drew, AP






Two versions of the Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide: the stainless steel version, immersed, and polycarbonate version, foreground, are photographed with their smartphone app, in New York, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. less

Photo: Richard Drew, AP








This holiday season’s gift guide contains a book by a real-life hero chef who built an empire by valuing his busboys, a set of nifty ceramic stoneware oyster shells, atasty tequila and “the last knife you ever buy.”

BOOKS FOR THE COOK WHO LIKES TO READ

“L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home”

By David Lebovitz (Crown, $27)

It’s easy to think that David Lebobvitz is living a dream life. Cooking, writing about food, giving chocolate tours and living in Paris. But that old saying, ‘nothing worth having is easy.’ comes to mind when you read his latest book. It’s a memoir about buying and renovating his Paris home. If you ever dreamed of having an apartment in Paris, this book is required reading. As horrible as parts of it must have been to live though, David tells the bittersweet tale with a sense of humor, insight into the French culture, and memories of delicious and unexpected recipes like how to make Croissants aux Amandes (almond croissants) at home (spoiler alert: they are made from day-old croissants — who knew?). But the best thing about this book is that David writes as he talks so it is like having a long conversation with a good friend. Equal parts honest, intriguing, distressing, entertaining, funny and appetizing. Pour yourself a glass of French wine, grab a nibble and cozy up to a great night with a great book.

“NOBU”

By Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa (Atria Books, $30)

This year, many new food memoirs by chefs, bloggers and food writers were published. I read a stack of the books and was struck by how tedious and self-indulgent so many of them are. Maybe memoirs by the very nature of the genre are self-serving.? And, then I sat down to read a memoir by the most famous of all the authors, Nobu. Most people know Nobu as the highly acclaimed chef proprietor of 47 Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants, and six hotels around the world with partners who include Robert De Niro.

I was instantly struck by how humble and inspiring his story was — or rather, how simply and humbly he presented his story and his life philosophy. Nobu is one of the good guys who has become famous by the old-fashioned tenets of being a family man, hard work, passion and perseverance even in the face of adversity. Forget about reading self-help books for motivation and guidance. Read Nobu and experience a real-life hero who built an empire and a good life by valuing his busboys as highly as his executive chefs. This is inspiration by example.

For Cooks Who Like To Drink

French Duralex Picardie Tumblers

Drinking glasses are very personal. They have to feel good in your hand, look good and be durable. I like my glasses to be sturdy, functional and elegant. That’s a lot to ask, but the tempered glass tumblers from Duralex check all the boxes. They are the epitome of good design and the French company has been in business since 1945. You can use the glasses for hot or cold drinks and they store easily because they are stackable. Thanks to shatterproof construction, if broken, the glass becomes small chunks instead of jagged shards — so cleanup is safe and easy. The glasses are microwave and dishwasher safe, impact and chip resistant and lovely to use.

I especially like that they come in eight sizes from 3.1 ounce to 17.62 ounces. The original French tumbler is the Picardie design and it is the only style available in a set of 18. It is a great gift for anyone who needs new glasses, or for the student or graduate moving into his or her first apartment. The set of 18 ($69.95) includes six of each, small (8.75 ounce), medium (12 ounce) and large glasses (17 ounce). They are perfect for milk, juice or a cocktail, iced coffee or tea, water and anything else that you care to drink. I also like the smaller 4.4 ounce size for espresso and sipping bourbon and tequila neat. They can be ordered separately to complete your set at https://www.surlatable.com .

Grand Mayan Tequila

The first time that I saw Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila was about 10 years ago. I was at a liquor store in Los Angeles and I was struck by the beautiful hand-painted ceramic decanter. I gambled and bought the bottle based on looks alone and boy, oh boy, was I rewarded. The color, aroma and smooth taste rival my favorite aged bourbons for choice sipping. Deep with nutty caramel, vanilla and blue agave notes, this is tequila that you sip neat. The deep dark color comes from a blend of 3, 4 and 5 year-old tequilas that have been aged in American and French oak casks. The Ultra Aged takes 10 years to produce from agave plant to bottle.

The Ultra Aged has a younger sibling, the award-winning Grand Mayan Silver. It is triple distilled resulting in a crystal-clear spirit that is the cleanest silver tequila that I have ever tasted. The sparkling fresh 100 percent blue agave tequila is perfect for drinking over ice with a splash of citrus or mixing into almost any cocktail. It also comes in a very handsome black and white hand-painted ceramic Talavera bottle created by Mexican artists honoring the history and tradition of Mexico.

From my first taste of Grand Mayan a decade ago, I have had my eyes open for that bottle but I couldn’t find it outside of Los Angeles — that is until now. Luckily for the rest of the country, Grand Mayan is now distributed nationally by MS Walker and at http://www.binnys.com . The cost is $100 for the Ultra Aged, $70 for the Silver.

Little Book “The Easy” Blended Straight Whiskey

Fans of Booker’s bourbon will love Little Book. It was released in October from Freddie Noe, son of 7th Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe. I am a personal fan of Booker’s and a huge fan of American whiskey, so I couldn’t wait to taste Freddie Noe’s first release in the Little Book series. The new limited-release whiskey is Little Book “The Easy.” It is aptly named as it goes down easy. Smooth and rich and perfectly balanced, it is destined to become a fast favorite. Freddie drew inspiration from the classic components of bourbon to create his first-ever whiskey expression. It features uncut and unfiltered Kentucky Straight Bourbon blended with corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and malt. As Freddie takes on an expanding role in the family business, Little Book is a nod to what he’s learned so far from the generations of distillers before him especially his grandfather, legendary distiller Booker Noe. Little Book “The Easy” is available nationwide for $79.99 for a 750-ml bottle and at http://www.binnys.com. If you miss it, take heart because the distillery plans to release a new expression every fall.

FOR COOKS WHO LIKE HANDY TOOLS

Loftin Oyster Shells

I like to grill oysters on the half shell which makes for both a pretty presentation and failsafe grilling. The tough shell protects the delicate oysters from the hot fire, tampering the heat and transferring it through the shell. But, if you are not very comfortable with shucking oysters, or can’t find whole oysters in the shell, then I have a gift for you!

Loftin Oyster Shells are made from ceramic stoneware. The life-like oyster shells are handmade from high-fire ceramic in Louisiana where oysters reign. Best is that they are uniform with flat bottoms which stop the shells from rocking on the grill. The beautiful re-useable shells will hold one large or two smaller oysters. So, all you have to do is buy the shucked oysters and get grilling! I like their motto which is ‘all shell, no shuck.’ You can buy the oyster shells by the dozen on their website and start making all your favorite restaurant oyster recipes at home. Their oyster grilling tong is especially helpful for taking the oysters off the grill. Suggested retail is $69 for a set of 12 shells and $18.49 for the tong/lifter at http://www.loftinoysters.com

Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System

This machine surprised me and made me a new fan of Ninja products. As anyone who knows me knows, I love a good gadget! And, when a friend told me about the Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System, I knew that I had to try it. And, now I can’t stop talking about it. It is so smart. There is one base (think brain) and four attachments that will blend, chop, make individual smoothies and spiralize. In effect, this one appliance replaces my food processor, my smoothie machine, my blender — and my hand-cranked spiralizer — that didn’t work well anyway.

But that’s not all, the Intelli-Sense base recognizes which of the four vessels you attach to it, and automatically displays the corresponding settings specifically designed for that vessel. For example, when you attach the processor, the touch screen on the base gives you options for four different functions (puree, dough, chop, dips). When you make your selection, the base adjusts the speed and torque of the motor to suit what you are making. It’s genius, or at the very least, very intelligent! But that is not all, the design feature that makes this appliance heads and tails above the rest is that the blender and the processor have four blades stacked at varying levels to process everything at once. It does all the hard work for you. No more pushing the food from the top to the bottom or manually turning the machine on and off while you distribute the un-processed food. It goes for $199.75 at https://www.ninjakitchen.com .

Sous Vide Joule

I just decided to sous vide my steak for dinner tonight. It may sound like a big project but it’s not. I have started to think of my Joule sous vide circulator by Chef Steps, as a fancy slow-cooker that makes cooking dinner and entertaining easier. Add warm water to a Dutch oven, insert the Joule, turn on the Joule with the phone app, add your food and cook. It’s that simple.

The Joule is shorter than other circulators which makes storing it a breeze. And, the bottom is magnetic so you can put it in a pot and it stands upright — and stays upright — without needing to clamp it on the side. You put your food in a heavy-duty re-closeable plastic bag — vacuum sealing is no longer a must — and attach it to the side of your pot with a chip clip. The Joule runs with an app that is so intuitive that you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You search for the food that you want to cook, choose a degree of doneness and the size of the food, i.e., a 2-inch thick steak, and turn it on by phone.

One added bonus is that with sous-vide cooking, it is next to impossible to overcook your food. I use my Joule mostly for cooking meat that I will char on the grill just before serving and poached eggs. Yes, if you only bought it for poached eggs, that would be enough! I first became enamored with sous vide when I discovered that you can place a raw egg (in the shell) in the water and 45 minutes later, you crack the shell and out comes a perfect poached egg. I make eggs like these at least once a week for topping avocado toast or eating for breakfast. Once you do it, you will be hooked! The Joule comes in two finishes, stainless for $199 and white for $179 at https://www.chefsteps.com/joule .

FOR THE COOK WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Gift certificate for Institute of Culinary Education

The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is the heart of New York City’s academic culinary world. It is unique in that it has both a robust and award-winning professional program, and recreational program. It is the school where so many well-known chefs and food writers and editors attended, and or taught. I taught recreational classes at ICE for many years and most of the photographs in my column are now prepared and shot at ICE. When I taught, many of my students came to my classes with gift certificates that friends and family gave them. I always thought that it was the best gift of all, an experience that they could enjoy with or without the gift giver, and take home new recipes and new skills that they will have for a lifetime.

ICE has been in business since 1975 and houses the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine education classes in the world. More than 26,000 people visit ICE each year to learn and experience everything from wine tasting and mixology to hands-on cooking and eating. With 12 state-of-the-art kitchens in lower Manhattan, ICE is able to provide classes both day and night, 355 days a year. For a list of classes and to register, visit https://recreational.ice.edu . The minimum amount for gift certificates is $100.

Town Cutler knife sets

Galen Garretson wants this to be the last knife you ever buy. The former chef always loved knives, even as a kid. After tiring of the restaurant kitchen life, he worked as a butcher and became an expert knife sharpener. In 2011 he opened up Town Cutler, a shop selling and sharpening knives in San Francisco. Two years later, he sold his first handmade Town Cutler knife and says that there was a lot of trial and error to making that knife. Those trials paid off. Today, his collection of handmade knives are functional art pieces. I fell in love with the heavy feel and sleek look of the knives. These knives are a cut above.

To understand the quality of the steel and the quality of the wood handle, you just need to hold the knife. It is the difference between the feel of a custom-tailored piece of clothing and off-the-rack clothing. Equally beautiful are the soft leather knife rolls and scabbards (blade covers). This fall, he opened his second location in Chicago and sells his beautiful knives, scabbards and knife rolls through his website.

For the holiday, Town Cutler is putting together two kits, one For the Chef with an 8.5-inch chef knife, scabbard, palette knife for plate decoration and leather knife roll ($450). And one For the Butcher which includes a 6-inch Hankotsu knife (favored by butchers), scabbard, palette knife and leather knife roll for $450. Got to https://towncutler.com

STOCKING STUFFERS

Cast Iron care kit by Lodge

I love all things Lodge cast iron, but they can be a little tricky to clean. Now that all of their cast-iron pans come pre-seasoned, it makes cast-iron accessible to every cook, beginner to master chef. The properties of cast-iron make it a cinch for searing, crisping and baking. A good friend has a pan that is so well seasoned that he even cooks eggs in his cast-iron pan. But after every use, you have to wash your pots and pans, and that is when it becomes tricky with cast iron. You are not supposed to use harsh soap, metal scouring pads or the dishwasher because that will destroy the layer of seasoning that makes cast-iron cookware “non-stick.” So, Lodge has packaged a Seasoned Cast Iron CARE KIT for cast-iron cookware ($26). Inside the kit are use and care tips, a pan scraper, scrub brush, seasoning spray, and a silicone hot handle holder as a bonus. You can give this to your favorite cook as a stocking stuffer or add it to a Lodge cast-iron pan for an extra-special gift. I am partial to the 10-inch cast-iron chef skillet for $25.50 and the 10.5-inch square cast-iron skillet for $32. Go to http://shop.lodgemfg.com/prodcat/indoor-accessories.asp

Meat thermometers by ThermoWorks

ThermoWorks has been in business for more than 20 years and is serious about its thermometers. They make a variety and my favorite is the Thermopen. It’s the barbecue and chef community’s choice of instant-read thermometer because it is fast, accurate and the foldable probe makes it easy to carry. All it takes to be a believer is opening the box and seeing the individual “Certificate of Calibration.” Every Thermopen comes with their own individual certificate that is filled out by hand, an extensive instruction booklet with real-time tips and a serial number to track your Thermopen. These added value features underscore that you’ve purchased a professional instrument, not just a gadget.

The foldaway thermocouple probe is strong but thin and goes into meat quickly and efficiently without leaving large holes for juices to escape through. I love that it folds into the plastic body, and is thin, and I would buy it for those two features alone. But the fact that it is fast and accurate seals the deal. It can read the internal temperature in 2-3 seconds. Thermopen ($99) is handmade in England and comes in your choice of 10 colors at http://www.thermoworks.com/Thermapen-Mk4 .

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pit master at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and the author of three books, including “Taming the Flame.”

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How to Make the Perfect Roasted Vegetables for the Holidays

Are you ready for the holidays? We’ve been thinking about what we’re going to make since mid-October, and now that November is finally here, it’s crunch time. Planning for the main star of the meal is a task in-and-of-itself that calls for careful planning to ensure that your friends and family are thoroughly impressed. And let’s not forget about the side dishes!

Vegetable sides don’t have to be boring dishes of plan veggies that play second fiddle to the more beloved side dishes like sweet potato casserole, scalloped potatoes, or mashed potatoes (the potato love is real). With that in mind, we delved deep into the reaches of the Food Monster App and extracted the best tips and tricks for holiday sides. Here’s what we learned:

How to Roast Vegetables 101

There are a few basic rules to keep in mind when roasting vegetables. First, be sure to line your pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, even if you have a nonstick pan and even if you plan on being generous with the oil. Second, you should generally chop your vegetables into even-sized pieces to ensure that they roast evenly. Keep the smaller pieces for making broth from vegetable scraps. If a vegetable is on the smaller side, like carrots, you might be able to roast them whole. Prior to roasting, add all the vegetables to a bowl and toss them with a little bit of oil, just enough to coat them. Olive oil is a good choice, given you don’t heat it above its smoke point of 425°F.

Be sure to lay your vegetables in an even layer and place the baking pan in the center of the oven, rotating halfway through cook time to ensure even cooking. For tips on prepping and chopping different types of vegetables for roasting, read The Ultimate Guide to Roasting Vegetables.

Roast Vegetables Without Oil

If you’re avoiding oil, you can still have delicious roasted vegetables for the holiday. First, you need the right cookware. Nonstick pans (like Teflon) work, just be sure not to heat them above 500°F, as this can cause the nonstick coating to break down and release toxic chemicals. If you want to stay away from nonstick pans altogether, then heavy stainless steel, ceramic-coated titanium, and enamel-coated cast iron are also good options.

If you don’t have any of those and want to save money, silicone baking mats or parchment paper will do. Blogger Molly Patrick uses parchment paper for oil-free oven-baking. As you can see in these Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos, these Tangerine Roasted Root Vegetables, and these Oil-Free Roasted Potatoes, the results are delicious.

Oil also helps add flavor to vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, beets, and all those tasty winter vegetables often partially caramelize and crisp up when roasted in oil, which is very tasty. To recreate that without oil, toss your vegetables in a sauce. In the Tangerine Roasted Root Vegetables pictured above, the veggies are tossed in a sauce made from tangerine juice, mustard, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. It also uses a blend of herbs that we often associate with the holidays, like sage, parsley, rosemary, and basil. You might want to try swapping the tangerine juice for another seasonal fruit juice, like cranberry or pomegranate. Using Molly‘s roasted root vegetables as a guide, play around with creating a sauce that combines sweet, savory, citrus, and salty flavors.

If you want to keep it simple, you could also forego the parchment paper, lay your vegetables evenly on a baking pan, and add a thin layer of vegetable broth with herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary. For a unique twist, try roasting the vegetables in a mixture of organic apple juice and water with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves.

Spice it Up

Don’t neglect your herbs and spices! For the holiday seasons, stick with herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme or use warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, or even cardamom. Just toss your vegetables with whatever herbs and spices you want to use. If you’re using fresh, add them to the dish once it’s done roasting.

These Holiday Hasselback Sweet Potatoes are topped with fresh rosemary and sage that have been fried in oil to make them crispy. This Delicata Squash was roasted with cinnamon, then tossed with fresh sage and thyme. These Roasted Sweet Potatoes are cooked with cloves, cinnamon, cayenne, and brown sugar, then topped with fresh parsley. And Holly Bertone’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes are tossed with cinnamon and turmeric. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box, either. This Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin is paired with dairy-free yogurt and hazelnut dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend made from toasted herbs and spices.

Make it Sweet 

Adding some sweet flavor to your roasted vegetables is a nice touch for holiday dishes, and there are a lot of ways to do it.

Using maple syrup is one of the most popular ways to add a touch of sweetness to roasted vegetables. You can toss your vegetables in a mixture of maple syrup and olive oil (or water for oil-free) with herbs, as in these Maple-Thyme Roasted Carrots and Parsnips or make it sweet, spicy, and citrus-y like in this Maple Cinnamon Roasted Squash. These Paleo Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes add an unexpected touch with curry powder and ginger. Or, try combining maple syrup and Dijon mustard, like in this Maple Mustard Roasted Cauliflower. For an oil-free option, try the marinade for this Orange Maple Butternut Squash and Tofu Salad.

You could also roast your vegetables with fresh, fall fruit, like red apples, figs, or pears. Slice the fruit evening, toss it in a bit of cinnamon sugar, and add it to a separate pan. Roast it for a shorter amount of time than your vegetables. The fruit is done when it’s tender. This would pair well with root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. Toss the fruit and roasted vegetables together before serving. Adding fruit to your dish after roasting is another good option, particularly dried cranberries, fresh pomegranate seeds, or sliced persimmon.

Candied nuts and seeds can add spice, sweetness, and texture to your dishes. Choose seasonal nuts associated with the holiday season, like walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or hazelnuts. To learn how to make candied nuts, click here. Or, just toss some nuts in there for texture.

Our final suggestion is to serve your vegetables with a sweet dressing. Try this Maple-Pomegranate Vinaigrette or this Pomegranate Glaze.

Now, talk to us! What side dishes are you planning for the holidays? Share your ideas in the comments!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Maple Cinnamon Roasted Squash

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ksdk.com | Don’t miss these amazing deals on cookware from Sur La …

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY’s newsroom and any business incentives.

Sur La Table is up there with Williams Sonoma and The Kitchn when it comes to dream-home daydreaming. The kitchen and cookware retailer carries everything from pots and pans to barware, small appliances, and even food. And right now there are loads of great savings to be found on the site. If you’ve been dying to own a Le Creuset or want to experience the quality of All-Clad, this is a great time to take the plunge. (They make great gifts for the home chef in your life, too).

Cookware from amazing brands for up to 65% off

Yep! You can find your favorite brands for seriously steep discounts right now. A Le Creuset 3.5-quart Dutch oven is only $179.96, 36% off the regular $285 price.

How about a Staub Rooster Oven that’s slightly larger and has an adorably kitschy rooster emblazoned on the lid? It’s only $159.96, but it usually retails for $429-that’s a 62% discount. You can also get big discounts on other brands like Kitchenaid, Lodge, All-Clad, Wolf Gourmet, and more.

See all the cookware deals on Sur La Table

Our favorite non-sale items are 20% off too

If you scour the sales and don’t see anything you like, you can still get discounts on full-price items thanks to the Friends and Family exclusive. With the coupon code “FRIEND17” you’ll get 20% off anything that’s not on sale or clearance. For a lot of items, this works out to roughly what they’re selling for on other sites like Amazon (or sometimes more). So we rounded up four of our absolute favorites that are not only great quality products but are actually fantastic deals.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro Chef’s Knife—$111.96 (Save $27.99): The best chef’s knife we’ve ever tested!
OXO Good Grips Snap-Lock Can Opener—$12 (Save $3): No more cramped hands or spilled cans.
Breville “The Boss” High-Velocirty Blender—$319.96 (Save $79.99): We love Breville’s blenders, and this sale price is $40 lower than we’ve seen anywhere else.

Explore all the amazing deals on incredible cookware from Sur La Table

Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.

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wbir.com | Don’t miss these amazing deals on cookware from Sur La … – WBIR

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY’s newsroom and any business incentives.

Sur La Table is up there with Williams Sonoma and The Kitchn when it comes to dream-home daydreaming. The kitchen and cookware retailer carries everything from pots and pans to barware, small appliances, and even food. And right now there are loads of great savings to be found on the site. If you’ve been dying to own a Le Creuset or want to experience the quality of All-Clad, this is a great time to take the plunge. (They make great gifts for the home chef in your life, too).

Cookware from amazing brands for up to 65% off

Yep! You can find your favorite brands for seriously steep discounts right now. A Le Creuset 3.5-quart Dutch oven is only $179.96, 36% off the regular $285 price.

How about a Staub Rooster Oven that’s slightly larger and has an adorably kitschy rooster emblazoned on the lid? It’s only $159.96, but it usually retails for $429-that’s a 62% discount. You can also get big discounts on other brands like Kitchenaid, Lodge, All-Clad, Wolf Gourmet, and more.

See all the cookware deals on Sur La Table

Our favorite non-sale items are 20% off too

If you scour the sales and don’t see anything you like, you can still get discounts on full-price items thanks to the Friends and Family exclusive. With the coupon code “FRIEND17” you’ll get 20% off anything that’s not on sale or clearance. For a lot of items, this works out to roughly what they’re selling for on other sites like Amazon (or sometimes more). So we rounded up four of our absolute favorites that are not only great quality products but are actually fantastic deals.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro Chef’s Knife—$111.96 (Save $27.99): The best chef’s knife we’ve ever tested!
OXO Good Grips Snap-Lock Can Opener—$12 (Save $3): No more cramped hands or spilled cans.
Breville “The Boss” High-Velocirty Blender—$319.96 (Save $79.99): We love Breville’s blenders, and this sale price is $40 lower than we’ve seen anywhere else.

Explore all the amazing deals on incredible cookware from Sur La Table

Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.

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Q&A: Stainless steel roasting pans best – Entertainment & Life – The …

Cookbook author Tamar Haspel recently joined The Washington Post food staff to answer questions about all things edible.

Q: I plan to buy a new roasting pan before Thanksgiving and am wondering if stainless steel or hard-anodized is better? I typically roast a chicken two to three times a month, so I’ll be using this often and am willing to spend money to get a high-quality pan.

A: I find a stainless steel pan less heavy and easier to clean than the anodized models. Having tested some things in roasting pans and non-roasting pans recently, I’m beginning to wonder whether spending a lot of money on the typical pan featured around Thanksgiving time is really worth it. (The lower the pan sides, the more exposure for crisped poultry skin, for example.) If you do a lot of braising, maybe an enameled cast-iron pan might serve you better? A friend finds good cookware on eBay.

Q: I bought a dozen poblanos at a farmers market. I charred six and succeeded in peeling only half of one. If this step is really necessary, what’s the secret?

A: I had to roast a bunch recently and found great peeling success by tossing them into a deep stainless steel bowl and covering it tightly with plastic wrap. You need to char them enough for the thin skin to be encouraged to separate from the flesh, and then you need to peel them while they are still somewhat warm, or the skin may re-stick, sort of, to the flesh.

Q: I have a spiralizer and was wondering if sweet potatoes would make good noodles? If so, what kind of sauce would work well with them?

A: Yes! I would eat them with tomato sauce and a salty cheese like pecorino Romano, or you could top with salsa verde and crumble on some cotija.

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off

Q&A: Stainless steel roasting pans best

Cookbook author Tamar Haspel recently joined The Washington Post food staff to answer questions about all things edible.

Q: I plan to buy a new roasting pan before Thanksgiving and am wondering if stainless steel or hard-anodized is better? I typically roast a chicken two to three times a month, so I’ll be using this often and am willing to spend money to get a high-quality pan.

A: I find a stainless steel pan less heavy and easier to clean than the anodized models. Having tested some things in roasting pans and non-roasting pans recently, I’m beginning to wonder whether spending a lot of money on the typical pan featured around Thanksgiving time is really worth it. (The lower the pan sides, the more exposure for crisped poultry skin, for example.) If you do a lot of braising, maybe an enameled cast-iron pan might serve you better? A friend finds good cookware on eBay.

Q: I bought a dozen poblanos at a farmers market. I charred six and succeeded in peeling only half of one. If this step is really necessary, what’s the secret?

A: I had to roast a bunch recently and found great peeling success by tossing them into a deep stainless steel bowl and covering it tightly with plastic wrap. You need to char them enough for the thin skin to be encouraged to separate from the flesh, and then you need to peel them while they are still somewhat warm, or the skin may re-stick, sort of, to the flesh.

Q: I have a spiralizer and was wondering if sweet potatoes would make good noodles? If so, what kind of sauce would work well with them?

A: Yes! I would eat them with tomato sauce and a salty cheese like pecorino Romano, or you could top with salsa verde and crumble on some cotija.

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off