Life has kind of derailed our grand balsamic week plans, so we want to make it up to you. Christina and I have put together a whole list of our favorite things that you can give or receive this holiday season. Per usual, you should be able to tell us apart – Christina’s the talky, baking one and I’m of few words. Photo credits are linked through the photos.
Fleur de Sel is a fancy, relatively expensive ingredient. It feels kind of crazy to spend $15 on a little bag of salt, quite honestly. But, the bag will last forever, and adding fleur de sel to a dish is like adding MAGIC… so it’s totally worth the price tag.
Another fun salt-related gift is this mini salt kit. Tasting salt might sound… kind of odd, I realize, but you would be amazed at how different each of these salts taste, and how they can totally change the taste of your dish. Include a loaf of good, crusty bread, a small bottle of good olive oil, and a bottle of wine to make a larger gift – all the fixings for a fun evening of salt tasting! (I know, it still sounds weird… but add bread and wine to anything, and I’ll call it a party.)
An olive oil mister is a great tool to add to any kitchen. It’s perfect for controlling the amount of oil you’re using to coat a pan, or to dress a salad. As I explained in my pizza post, I like to mist olive oil onto my pizza crust edges so they’ll get nice and brown and crispy – and the mister is so much easier to use, instead of trying to spread olive oil evenly with a spoon.
I’ve given up on the silicone utensils that never seem to get clean. The bamboo ones are awesome and have held up well (but you should hand wash).
Geechie Boy Grits: you know you want some.
And if you really want to make someone happy, pair those grits with some Palmetto Cheese. Yes, they ship it anywhere! I recommend the jalapeno for snacking, and the plain for topping hamburgers.
While you’re at it, why not add some Duke’s Mayo too? It’s the best on the market, and puts all the others to shame. (Christina said I needed to explain why on earth mayo is on a gift guide. It speaks for itself.) (I am very passionate about mayonnaise.)
If you know someone who loves to bake, give them some cookie scoops! They’re basically just tiny ice cream scoops (I may or may not also use them to control my ice cream intake – don’t judge me), but they’re perfect to use for making cookies. Have you ever tried to “place dough by rounded teaspoons onto the baking sheet” and wanted to hurl those damn spoons across the kitchen? Problem solved.
My husband and I love us some cheese, so I thought it would be really fun for us to make our own! This kit includes everything you need to make 10 batches of either mozzarella or ricotta cheese (she has kits for other kinds, too). As with the salt kit, you can make this into a fun gift basket by adding some good bread, a package of fresh pasta, and a jar of high quality pasta sauce.
Another variation on this gift basket would be a cheese kit, some interesting salamis, and a box or two of really good crackers.
The introduction of silpat liners into my kitchen has been a revelation. I do a lot of baking (and a lot of cookies, specifically), and dealing with parchment paper made me nuts – it was always too big for my baking sheeet, so it had to be cut down, or it would curl up at the edges, or I would run out of it and not notice until I was ready to put some cookies in the oven. Then I got myself some silpat liners, and I am SO GLAD. NOTHING sticks to these, they can be used over and over and over again, and they fit a baking sheet perfectly.
The Salad Spinner changed my life. Judge if you must.
Surely you’ve seen TONS of beautiful cupcakes with amazing looking frosting swirls on top. The larger piping tips to make those beautiful frosted caupcakes can be kind of hard to find, but this kit contains all the piping tips you need to frost cupcakes beautifully.
If you know someone who loves to make cupcakes, you could easily (and pretty inexpensively) put together an awesome cupcake kit for them. Buy an assortment of pretty cupcake liners with a bakers basket, some fun sanding sugars or sprinkles, a package of bakery boxes, and some brightly colored bakers twine – the perfect supplies to make your baked goods look professional and pretty!
Another great gift is a set of really nice measuring cups and spoons. I KNOW, it sounds super boring – but for someone who loves to cook or bake, it’s a pretty awesome gift. I can’t tell you how many set of plastic measuring utensils I went through before getting a good set – they crack, they break, they warp in the dishwasher. I got these sets at my wedding shower, and they. are. AWESOME. A little pricey, but they’ll last FOREVER.
You have separate cutting boards for your meats and your vegetables right? Right? I love a grooved cutting board for cutting meat.
We got these mixing bowls as a wedding present, and I swear I don’t know how I ever cooked without them. I use them every single day. I like the glass better than the melamine (which I also have) because the glass can go in the microwave!
Christina gave me this covered 9×13 last year for Christmas and I’ve used it more than I ever thought I would.
I came across Sweet Tea and Screen Doors a couple years ago, and loved the stories alongside the recipes. You’re going to want to make that banana pudding first.
Charleston Receipts Repeats is just a good, classic Southern Junior League cookbook. From salads to sweets, you will reach for this one over and over again.
Any time I need an appetizer, I look at Charleston Receipts Party Recipes first. It’s full of small bites, both cold and hot; for seated dinners, buffets and cocktail parties.
If you’re looking for a great baking cookbook that covers all your bases, pick up the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book. I received it at my wedding shower a few years ago, and it’s a really great resource for recipes for every kind of baked good you can imagine.
I have at least 40 cookbooks, and I rarely use any of them, if we’re being honest. There is one that I open more than all the others combined, though, and that is the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. This is my favorite of all her cookbooks – and as an added bonus, it gives you access to her awesome recipes, without having to listen to her say “How easy is THAT?!” every 5 seconds.
We need Internet Shopping Addiction Therapy, but HO HO HO anyway,
jcristg and Tina