For this year’s holiday wish list I focus on the gear that I cannot live without. Whether the foodist in your life is new in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, there’s almost certainly something here they’ll love. Happy shopping!
Summer Tomato Holiday Wish List 2012
1. Mercado farmer market bag $24.99
One of the things I’m most proud of this year is the launch of Mercado, the farmers market bag I helped design over at Quirky. I’ve been using mine religiously for over eight months, and don’t know how I ever shopped without it. On big shopping days (e.g. Saturdays at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market) I use two to get all my produce home safe and unblemished.
2. Fitbit One $99.95
I’ve been using the new Fitbit One for the past couple months and love it. The new design is sleek and much more durable than older models. The display is also much sharper and easier to read. The Fitbit is still the best simple pedometer I’ve found to ensure I get my daily 10,000 steps. Tracking your weight is one of the most effective ways to find trouble spots in your healthstyle.
3. Fitbit Aria scale $129.95
If weight control is one of your goals, monitoring your progress is essential. Now that Fitbit has created their own wireless digital scale you can have your activity and body weight data in the same convenient place, making it easier to stay on track.
4. Scanpan cookeware $91.73
I know that non-stick cookware is controversial, but I’ve still always preferred it since it is so much easier to clean and I don’t like spending any more time in the kitchen than I have to. Earlier this year I discovered Scanpans, which are eco-friendly, non-toxic pans that are dishwasher safe—it’s like all my dreams have come true. They can be a bit pricey, but I think they’re an investment worth making. I originally planned to recommend the two pan set, but it is already back ordered. This 10 1/4 inch fry pan is a good place to start.
5. The 4-Hour Chef $21
I think this book by Tim Ferriss would make an excellent gift for anyone who has just moved out of the home or out of the dorms, and needs to learn to cook on their own. It’s a simple, easy to follow cooking lessons that can take anyone from clueless to proficient in the kitchen. I recently wrote a full review of this book if you’d like to know more.
6. Le Creuset French Oven $256.99
I got my Le Creuset French oven as a graduation gift back in 2010, and use it constantly. I’ve been reluctant to recommend a $350 pot, but I also know it’s an amazing gift to receive and is worth every penny. Also, I found it on Amazon for $100 less than mine was from the super fancy cookware store, so now is as good a time as any to splurge.
7. Yogourmet Electric Yogurt Maker $49.95
Another new hobby in my household this year is yogurt making. We got this electric yogurt maker and have been using it to create our own batches of creamy yogurt, that I now eat almost daily. It’s fun to play around with different kinds of milk and starter cultures. I learned that if I choose pasture-raised dairy (e.g. Straus Organic milk), my skin doesn’t break out like it does when I use more industrially produced organic milks. Cool, right?
8. Aeropress $25.95
Though we still drink lots of tea, coffee is also a big part of our lives. Since I was in high school I’ve experimented with drip, French press, stove top Bialetti, espresso makers, cold brews and more, but by far my favorite device is the Aeropress. Not only does it make the best tasting coffee, it’s also the easiest to clean. And for $25, you can’t beat it. For the ultimate coffee experience invest in the stainless steel filter ($16.50) as well.
9. Sous Vide Supreme $429
When we first got our sous vide machine, I honestly didn’t think we’d use it much. The grill and stove top had always worked perfectly fine for me, and sous vide seemed like an extra step that felt unnecessary. I was wrong. The food we make using the sous vide, including vegetables and eggs, but mostly fish and meat, inevitably turns out better when we use the sous vide. The machine uses a water bath to get to a uniform temperature throughout the food you’re cooking, so it always turns out exactly how you want it. If it’s meat, that means you can hit that perfect medium rare, then just finish it on the grill for flavor. It’s cooked perfectly, and the food spends less time at high heat, which is a known source of cancer causing compounds. We use ours constantly.