The more time I spend in the kitchen, the more I appreciate stuff that really works, is well-made, and lasts forever. I like my kitchen tools and cookware to be part of the family: I really enjoy having them around! Here are three special items that you might consider for gift-giving this season. (These items are available at our online store at 177milkstreet.com but feel free to find them anywhere you like!)
Giannini 6-Cup Moka Pot, $164.00 (link)
Most stovetop espresso makers are hard to clean, are flimsy, and screwing the top on is dicey since coffee grounds get in the way. This Moka Pot is incredibly heavy and well-made and the top clicks into place which is a huge improvement. I can also make more coffee than with many other similar pots, enough to fill up a small thermos. You fill the bottom container with water, add ground coffee to the basket that is inserted into the bottom half (I use a bit less coffee than called for to get a more American cup), and then put the top half in place. The trick is to use medium-low heat and within a few minutes you can hear the water boiling up through the ground coffee and into the top container. It is the best way I know to make a couple of cups of high-quality coffee without fiddling about or using a French press which has to be timed perfectly. Makes a lovely gift.
Kamado-San Double-Lid Donabe Rice Cooker, $180.00 (link)
I traveled to Japan two years ago and found the everyone uses an electric rice cooker. I find that the electric cookers turn out heavier, wetter rice than I like and this classic clay Japanese rice cooker is heads and shoulders better. First of all, it is gorgeous and has a wonderful dark brown patina inside and out. You rinse the rice, place it in the bottom of the cooker (you use slightly less water than rice for long-grain white rice) and let is soak for 20 minutes. (You can skip the soaking in a pinch.) Then put on the inside cover which has two small holes and the top cover which has just one hole. Put over medium heat and when steam starts to spout from the top (about 10 minutes), cook for an additional two minutes, remove from heat, and let sit 15 minutes and then fluff the rice. This is the best rice I have ever eaten and donabe cookier is drop-dead gorgeous and well made. Worth every penny in good looks and great rice.
Il Cole del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread, $17.95 (link)
Forget peanut butter and almond butter – this pistachio spread is to die for. I eat it right out of the jar when nobody is looking and put it on oatmeal, toast, or on anything else that is handy. It is a luscious creamy green and the oil content makes for a rich and tongue-wrapping experience. Buy a few jars since you will want to keep one or two for yourself.
- Charred Broccoli with Japanese-Style Toasted Sesame Sauce (Rule No. 9: Beat Bitterness by Charring)
- Lentils with Swiss Chard and Pomegranate Molasses (Rule No. 18: Don't Let Neutral Ingredients Stand Alone)
- Bucatini Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Sage (Rule No. 23: Get Bigger Flavor from Supermarket Tomatoes)
- Soft-Cooked Eggs with Coconut, Tomatoes, and Spinach (Rule No. 39: Steam, Don't Boil, Your Eggs)
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Red Chili-Walnut Sauce (Rule No. 44: Stick with Single-Sided Searing)
- Curry-Coconut Pot Roast (Rule No. 67: Use Less Liquid for More Flavor)
- Tenderize tough greens quickly
- Create creamy textures without using dairy
- Incorporate yogurt into baked goods
- Trade time-consuming marinades for quick, bright finishing sauces, and more
- Stir-Fried Chicken with Snap Peas and Basil
- Cacio e Pepe
- No-Sear Lamb or Beef and Chickpea Stew
- Somali Chicken Soup
- Roasted Cauliflower with Miso Glaze
- French Apple Cake
- And Central Mexican Guacamole and Israeli Hummus -- classics with a twist!
- Miso-Ginger Chicken Salad
- Rigatoni Carbonara with Ricotta
- Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps
- Peanut-Sesame Noodles
- White Balsamic Chicken with Tarragon
- Seared Strip Steak with Almond-Rosemary Salsa Verde
- Chocolate-Tahini Pudding