Gift ideas for gourmands

Looking for Christmas gift ideas? Here are some suggestions for the cook, foodie or gourmand in your life.
by Dave Cathey Published: December 7, 2011

Gadgets

There are more cooking gadgets available than there are printed pages. Something new is always popping up on the market. But the best gadgets are those used often. Good knives and cutting boards are obvious. Here's a list of a few tools the king or queen of your kitchen will find themselves using more often than they might've thought.

1. Kitchen Shears: I used my kitchen shears every single day, which I never expected. But every bag or package full of ingredients gets opened with the shears. When I spatchcock whole chickens, it is kitchen shears to the rescue. I also "julienne" dried chiles and sun-dried tomatoes with them. The best can be separated via bolt for easy cleaning. Serrated edges are ideal for raw meats. Crescent shaped shears are made for poultry and less versatile.

2. Mortar and pestle: While this old world mill isn't as versatile as shears, I use them far more than I would've expected. I don't go many days without toasting cumin seeds, coriander or peppercorns and grinding them into aromatic powder with my marble mortar and pestle. I also use it to mash fresh garlic cloves into salt for a garlic-salt paste that will save you from ever buying garlic salt again.

3. Micro-plane grater: They come in a number of shapes and sizes and are so easy to use, you'll find yourself grating ingredients you'd never grated before: carrots, garlic, celery, cucumber, apples, pears … the list is as long as your creativity is deep. They also will allow you to grate fresh parmesan into the fine powder, meaning you'll never need the flavorless Parmedust found in green canisters ever again.

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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