Every year around the holidays/end of year, I am asked to write a few notes on prediction or ideas for gift giving. This year, I was given a list to focus on by one local blogger and I decided that since I did spend so much time writing it, I would reproduce here as i doubt she will actually use all of my thoughts. If she does then I will repost, but for now, here is my current list of shopping ideas for those who like to make what they eat and drink...
This list was compiled for Alycia Chrosniak of CT Eats Out
Piece of kitchen equipment for the home cook:
Membership to a good CSA. My family has belonged to a CSA for years – splitting a full share with our neighbor. There is plenty of great food from Spring all the way through Christmas. While this is not a “piece of equipment”, what are you doig I the kitchen but cooking food. Membership in a local CSA helps local farms, which is a local small business. The money stays in the community, people have jobs, and you have great food.
Our CSA is Oxen Hill Farm in Suffield. Great thing is they do a weekly pick-up in Wet Hartford Center so you are to driving to Suffield. The Winter Share (Thanksgiving to Christmas Season) is a great add-on for loads of cold crop veggies. First week in December, and just got 5 types of squash, cabbage, tons of potatoes and carrots, Brussels sprouts, lettuce and kale. Money well spent, all organic and fresh picked this week.
If you want a more standard equipment recommendation – I would say the best thing is a good chef’s knife and a sharpener. I see a lot of relatives and friends with big blocks of all kinds of knives, but many of them are made of cheap steel, not used for what they are designed for, and often not sharp. I have a Global 8” Classic Chef’s knife, it is sharp and the most used tool in my kitchen. For sharpening, I have a standard steel, but what is needed is a block or sharpener that can rebuild the edge from time to time. I have a Henkels multi stage knife sharpener, and it is great for periodically rebuilding the edge on my knives. Well worth the investment on both counts.
Piece of kitchen equipment for the baker:
Mini loaf pans for making things like pumpkin bread, which is a perfect gift item when cost matters, you need something in volume or on short notice, such as for teachers, co-workers and neighbors. Drop one in a holiday bag with a little ribbon and its good to go. Schemer a little cream cheese between two slices of fresh pumpkin bread and you are in heaven.
Piece of bar equipment for the mixologist:
Product knowledge. The best way to get better at mixing and have a lot of fun along the way is to learn about the ingredients, how they interact, and best techniques for building classic or innovative recipes. Books are my suggestion and my three current fav’s are:
Liquor or wine you love:
L’Ecole No 41 Chenin Blanc, 2014, from Walla Walla
A beautiful expression of this varietal, and no one expects it from this region.
Pied à Terre Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, from Sonoma County
Small wine production, and owned by a fellow Somm from NYC. Edgy style of cab that is not overly polished – a great food wine.
Specialty food item that you enjoy (spices, bitters, type of salami etc):
I usually have several styles of Miso in the fridge at all times. I use it for simple soups, but also add it to more complex soups, many f which are not even Asian in basic flavor. This is my go to whenever a recipe calls for a bouillon or I have no base for a sauce or stock. Great depth of flavor concentration, it can easily be used as a glaze for Tempeh or Chicken. Plus as a fermented product, it’s a lot healthier for you than salty flavor subs.
Gift for the host/hostess:
Champagne (the real stuff, not just ordinary bubbles). Look, a decent bottle of Champagne will cost you about $45. If the party you are going to is not worth that much then it probably is not that great a party. It’s just the classy thing to do. Pol Roger White Label Brut non-vintage is my favorite (hint-hint).
Food charity or non-profit to donate to:
Journey Home CT - journeyhomect.org
These guys work really hard to help people get off the streets and into shelters and other safe places on a daily basis, right here in our back yard. Journey Home’s team works to not only help people solve the issue of where to get a meal or sleep today, but look at the longer term solutions to ending homelessness in general. They are dedicated and effective.
Link to my Old Blog:
Tweets by vintagevino Copy Code