Who doesn’t love a good (and by good, of course I mean useful) kitchen gadget? One of the most frequent questions I receive at this time of year is “what can you suggest for my friend/Mom/sister/husband/wife/brother who loves to cook”? Last year I published this list and I would still heartily recommend all the items. This year, I also prepared an Ottawa at Home 2013 gift guide for cooks which appeared in the magazine’s holiday edition; you should be able to find most of the items in better kitchenware shops.
It was a real challenge to select just a few items for the magazine`s gift guide; I would have loved to include numerous other items as there are so many fantastic new products out there. Here are a few others that I am happy to suggest:
Drink Pucks – a Canadian-made interpretation of the popular Whiskey Stones, these soapstone beauties are both functional and fun. Created by Ottawa-based Really Horrible Enterprises, they come packed in real hockey pucks, and are great for chilling (but not diluting) drinks of all sorts. A great gift for the hard-to-buy-for sports enthusiast!
Sparq – Another soapstone product I really like are the Sparq grilling stones. Made from reclaimed discarded soapstone, they come in a variety of sizes including a convenient 9 inch (22.5 cm) pizza stone. The larger grilling stone has both flat and ridged sides. These all-natural slabs are non-stick and can be used as a heat-retaining cooking surface for meat, fish, pizza, flatbreads and more, plus they protect your food from flare ups.
Cuisipro Magnetic Spot Scrubber - Whether you need to clean baby bottles, wine carafes, pitchers or vases, Cuisipro’s new Magnetic Spot Scrubbers are the perfect solution for those hard-to-reach-into vessels. They are ingeniously simple: simply drop the non-scratching silicone scrubbing disc into the item that needs cleaning and add warm, soapy water. On the outside, align the magnetic spot scrubber knob; it will lock onto the scrubbing disc and then you simply glide the knob around the vessel so the scrubbing disc can clean as it moves.
Ad Hoc Spice Bomb – Another great problem-solver, this little stainless steel spice holder can be filled with your favourite seasonings and then added to a pot full of soup, stew, etc. It’s heat-resistant up to 500°F and dishwasher safe, with a flexible silicone arm attaches to the rim of the pot, so the Spice Bomb can easily be removed from the pot.
Dreamfarm Supoon - This handy device – like a hybrid spatula/spoon – is multi-functional; it scoops, measures, scrapes a bowl clean and sits up off your work surface making cleanup easier. It makes a funky serving utensil too! It’s heat resistant to 500F, great for non-stick cookware and dishwasher safe plus it comes in an array of gorgeous colours.
Caseco Shock Express Cell Phone Case and Powerbox Universal Back-up Battery Charger – don’t think these are gifts for cooks? Think again. When I was sent demo units to test, I quickly realized these great Canadian products solved two of my frequent food-related problems. The phone case – available in numerous fabulous colours for many different devices – features a hard outer shell and soft inner shell to protect the phone from impact; it also features grippy bumps on the sides, ideal for holding with wet or greasy hands in the kitchen. The portable battery charger – just a bit bigger than a tube of lipstick – is a lifesaver if I’m out all day snapping food pictures, taking notes, or researching ingredients and don’t have the opportunity to plug in to a wall charger. A loaded Powerbox delivers a complete charge to my fully-drained iPhone 4S with power to spare; it can be used for a variety of USB compatible devices including iPad, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Z10, Q10, Nexus 5 and more.
T-fal Fresh Express – I did not expect to love this gadget as much as I do. It’s essentially an electric slicer/shredder, but it works so well and cleans up so quickly it’s become one of my most-used kitchen tools this year! I love shredding vegetables to add to salads, soups, pasta sauces and more and this little workhouse does a fantastic job at that (both regular and fine shredding discs are included) as well as slicing (regular or wavy cut) and grating. Because all the bits are stored right on the unit, it doesn’t take up much more space than a conventional box grater, and the removable parts are dishwasher safe.