Kate Heyhoe reviews more of her her favorite cooking products, creating a growing holiday gift list (Santa, I want an Escali Pana Scale, please) for your favorite home chef.
by Kate Heyhoe
From cool tools to stocking stuffers, this month's gift goodies pick up where November's Food Lover's Holiday Gift Guide left off...
AeroGarden: Become an all-season indoor farmer, grow organically, and never get your hands dirty, or have to battle bugs. All you need is this nifty kit to grow herbs, lettuces, cherry tomatoes and other edibles in air and water only. It's completely self-contained and comes with its own lighting system, seeds, and is virtually idiot-proof (good for those of us with black thumbs). Makes a great gift and is fun for kids, apartment dwellers, and as a conversation piece. Plus, it's so functional! $149.95
Zarafina Tea Maker Suite: Be the first on your block to brew tea like a Zen master. White tea, green tea, herbal, and black teas brew best under different temperatures and times. Some of these teas can be quite costly, especially the delicate white teas which steep in just seconds. The Zarafina lets you taste them the way they're meant to be enjoyed, whether they're loose or bagged. The "suite" refers to the ceramic teapot, two cups and serving tray that come with the brewing unit. It's so hip, you'll be combing the nearest Whole Foods to find the pinnacle of exotic tea types and flavors, like a kid in a candy store. But this time, the treats are purely adult and anti-oxidant rich. MSRP $149.95
Escali Pana Scale: Kitchen scales give cooks the edge when it comes to accurate recipe replication. More cookbooks are listing ingredients by weight, especially baking recipes. The new Escali Pana Scale tips the you-know-what when it comes to performance and bonus features. For instance, it comes preprogrammed with volume measurements (tablespoons and cups) of more than 150 ingredients like eggs, flour, grated Parmesan and more. To measure volume, enter a 2-digit ingredient code, then add the ingredient to a bowl on the scale until the display shows the desired number of cups and tablespoons. (Escali partnered with King Arthur Flour to develop these codes, researching the density and weight of each item.) It also measures weight in grams, ounces, or a combination of pounds and ounces, and unlike the home scales which show measurements in decimals only, you can view results as either decimals or user-friendly fractions. Set a bowl on the scale, and use the tare function to reset the scale to zero as you add each ingredient. The stainless steel measuring plate can be removed for easy clean up, handy for messy cooks like me. MSRP $69.95
CDN's Egg-Shaped Timer counts up or down, but that's not all: you can stop it midstream, then resume the counting. The recall function remembers the last setting and returns to it by tapping the top button. And there's only one button to push: simply tap the top with the palm of your hand. Set the time by rotating the base forward or backward until you reach the right time. It's a handy no-brainer timer with added functionality, at $12.99 MSRP.
The Sili Honey Jar and Dripper: Papa Bear and Mama Bear would both find this honey jar a fitting gift. The William Bounds Sili Honey Jar is big enough to hold 11 ounces of honey, clear to view the golden hue, and the silicone dripper head in the stainless steel lid helps honey stick where it's supposed to, instead of everywhere else. Specialty honeys are all the rage these days, and local honeys, too. So bundle it with a big jar of the sweet stuff, and bar the door: Goldilocks may not be able to resist. MSRP: $19.99 (Idea: Give the Livestrong tea set with loose tea and a honey jar to sweeten the deal.)
Taylor Connoisseur Series zeroes in on accurate cooking with two new products. The Digital Instant Read Thermometer ($20) won't roll off the counter like round ones do, and responds digitally within 1 second. The Oven Thermometer ($18) has an easy to read dial, and can clip, stand, or hang. Both products feature silicone pads for easier handling.
Fischer & Wieser Sauces: Don't wait for grilling season to resume. Fischer & Wieser's sauces take center stage even on baked and broiled poultry, meat, and seafood dishes. The company is famous for their Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, and they put the same spicy-fruit spin on four other products: Seville Orange Cranberry Horseradish Sauce, Plum Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Blueberry Chipotle Sauce, and their sister brand's Four Star Provisions Black Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Smack those sweet, hot lips! Prices run around $9 each. (I also recommend Four Star Provisions Strawberry Lavender Jam.) Check this out: You can buy a Cooking Sauce Trio with their Plum, Raspberry and Mango sauces for $25.99, and their Seville Orange Cranberry Horseradish Sauce for $8.95.
Grill Floss: When grilling season does resume, be ready for it with an oddly but aptly named product, the Grill Floss. Push the stainless steel scraper along any round grill grate, give it a slight turn at the end, then pull it back. Gunk is gone, even on the underside of the grill rod. It comes with two sizes of scraper heads, to fit 5/16th and 3/8th inch grill rods. Stick this in your grillmaster's stocking! MSRP $19.99
Finally, all of us at Global Gourmet look forward to sipping, slurping and savoring our way through 2007 with all of you. I leave you with my same wish as last year, but with more hope in my heart: It's time to bring our families home from the war, to share the holidays—and every tasty day together—in the coming year.
Wishing You Happy Holidays, and a Return to Peace,
Food Lover's Holiday Gift Guide from November 2006.
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Copyright © 2006, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created December 2006
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