Summer Tomato Holiday Wish List 2012

by | Dec 10, 2012

Photo by apparena

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.

Happy holidays!

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10 Responses to “Summer Tomato Holiday Wish List 2012”

  1. Aeropresses are THE BEST.. and good coffee is imperative for a good life :). Im totally tempted by the yogurt maker – and the sous vide sounds awesome. Someday…

  2. Sam says:

    So interesting on the skin reaction to organic-organic vs. industrial-organic. I buy Strauss, but if my boyfriend picks up 1/2 and 1/2 he goes with Safeway Organic because that’s the store on his way home – you may have just solved the mystery of my inconsistent skin!

  3. Andrew Robinson says:

    Darya, Fine cookware is great and I more than my share including a massive set of All-Clad but $250 for a dutch oven is a lot. Consider the lodge 5qt or 7qt ($30 and $60 on Amazon). I realize these aren’t enameled but I cook tomato soup in mine all the time and as long as you maintain a good season on your pot, it works great. Lodge also makes a 5qt with enamel for $43.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I wish I were good at maintaining them, but all my cast iron is rusted out. I also never use them because they’re so heavy.

      • stephknee says:

        To get rust off, in the sink, use barkeepers friends or a metal scrubbie to remove the rust. Then throw it in the oven at 200 until it’s completely dry. Once dry, reseason it. To reseason you need to spread a thin layer of olive oil on with a paper towel. let it sit in the 200degree oven for an hour or three. then it’s seasoned and ready to use!! when you do use it again, no need to wash it! I just use a silicone spatula to get liquids out into the sink. For stuck on foods use any flat edged plastic utensil to scrape out excess food. Then, before putting pan away, take a paper towel and spread a fresh layer of olive oil around inside of pan so it’s ready for next time. If for some reason you find your self using soap to clean to your pan or a metal scraper, you will need to reseason again eventually. it’s pretty easy once you feel confident in your ability, and pretty easy cleaning as well. enameled iron chips and is expensive to replace. But if you enjoy it and can afford it, then carry on with what is working for you.

  4. AJ says:

    Thanks for sharing this list! Since you use them quite frequently, I am curious to know: What kinds of dishes do you prepare with your French oven? With the sous vide machine?

    • Darya Pino says:

      I make soups and stock in the dutch over all the time. I also use it to brown and braise large chunks of meat, like pork shoulder. Mainly the kind of dishes that you eat for a week 🙂

      We use the sous vide at least once a week, usually for fish or meat that we’re grilling.

      Kevin is the one who mans the yogurt maker, but it typically takes him less than 20 min to set it up. He makes me yogurt weekly.

  5. AJ says:

    Also, do you find that the yogurt maker is easy (enough) to use?

  6. Mugician13 says:

    One thing I want to mention: On the sous vide, you need to be aware of the time and temperature you’re cooking at. The Botulism bacteria is a potential hazard [as with canning], since it is anareobic [meaning it does not require oxygen to survive]. If your food reaches a certain internal temperature within 4 hours, and stays at or above that temperature for the remainder of the cooking time. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant, or those with compromised immune systems.

    That said, sous vide is a wonderful method for preparing a number of foods, if done properly.

    • Mugician13 says:

      P.S., I’m sure you’re already aware of that, and the instruction manual that came with the cooker probably mentions such. Just wanted to throw it out there for your readers.

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