I thought I’d get a bit of a head start on my… ahem, your… wish list for Christmas 2013. I know, it’s early December… but hey, you want to be sure that you get “the list” into the right Santa hands! Am I right?
Let’s do a year rewind for a bit first. This year, I had a nasty accident. I fell down a flight of stairs while on a business trip to Holland. First, I must say the Dutch health care system is exceptional! We here in Canada could learn a thing or two about Emergency Room wait times. (I’ll get off my soap box now.) I really have no memory of the fall other than I tripped on the first step. So, down a full flight – knocked unconscious – badly broke my right wrist. It left me with a nasty concussion that for at least six months I was feeling the repercussions of. Not nice. The wrist – yikes. That’s another story. After a long consultation with the medical staff in Holland, and with my boss/former boss also attending the same conference, I decided to return home to have surgery rather than having surgery in Holland. Good move. Long story short, I shattered the right distal radius and had to have a plate and screws inserted to patch it back up. Six months later and I’m still not at full capacity. The prospect of further surgery looms large in my future. You had read a bit more on the post “Girl, Interrupted”
So, why did I tell you all this? Well, what I thought were simple, easy tasks in the past became major undertakings for me. Holding a pen was excruciating for me. Using it was worse! I’m right-handed so imagine…. *shudder*
I came across a unique product at Canada’s Baking & Sweets Show (CBSS) in 2012. I hemmed and hawed about it for so long, and then forgot about it as the frenzy of excitement over new baking pans kicked in. Yes. I get excited about great quality baking pans! Thinking this “item” was good but not a real essential to my kitchen, I wasn’t heartbroken over not getting it. BOY what a mistake! This year, at CBSS 2013 I bought one! It has become a much used and loved product in my kitchen! What is it? Simple, it’s called a Staybowlizer! Check out the video here: Staybowlizer . Use it a your second (or third) hand in the kitchen! I sure am! This unique and wonderful product let’s you free up a hand while you’re whisking, stirring, double boiler-ing (is that even a word?) and serving, without any spills! My hand is doing my better now, but this great item (it comes in a set of two; a larger and smaller one) is my new kitchen bff.
Okay, next. From last year I had listed Anna Olson’s “Back to Baking” book as one of my “I sure hope someone in my family is reading this and will buy it for me” items. I’m happy to report – Adam (my new favourite son, sorry Jay) did buy it for me and I’ve used it so many times. This amazing cookbook by one of Canada’s premier pastry chefs has become indispensable in my kitchen. Everything from making perfect pastry to more advanced desserts, everything that I make comes out perfect! Thank you Anna Olson! If you didn’t get it last year, be sure to pick it up this year!
Again making my “most favourite things” list is a good chef’s knife. I started at George Brown in January of this year, and learned that (a) you don’t need a complete set of knives when you’re starting out, and (b) invest in top quality! So, I got myself a 10″ Chef’s Knife (and cover) that is amazing. I also learned how to properly sharpen the knife and how to hone the knife. It was the ONE class I thought I would really do bad in. But, I actually did very well! Surprise! (Well, I was surprised!). So other than a good 10″ chef’s knife, get a boning knife and a good paring knife. That’s probably all you will need.
Much to my delight, Chef Michael Smith came out with a new Cookbook this year. It’s on MY list! His recipes are simple, classic, and very very yummy! Cooking anything from his other books (yes I have more than 1) results in lots of compliments from our guests. So I am eagerly anticipating that this new cookbook will be a favourite in my kitchen!
I invested in a citrus press this year. Best investment! I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, and I must admit that after my surgery I couldn’t even hold it, let alone use it! But, it’s really an indispensable tool now in my kitchen! You can squeeze your lemons/limes all you want by hand you won’t get the juice out of them that you need! And, forget about those old fashioned types, this is by far the best! I cannot get over how much juice I get out of my citrus fruits now. Don’t be fooled by the design, it looks like you need to put the lemon half into the press in the direction of the “curve”, but resist that urge! Put it in upside down, i.e. against the curve. as you squeeze together you will find that you get so much juice without seeds! Best ever! Okay, so the one I purchased was from The Pampered Chef through my friend Karen Hoover.
Hmm, what else? Commercial grade cookie sheets are a must in your kitchen! I don’t know about you, but I get tired of those cookie sheets that “pop” in the oven. Oh, you know what I mean! You have something on them, and you hear that pop… they’ve warped!! Of course they go back into their shape, but they are brutal! Use those old cookie sheets you have for something else…. but seriously get yourself some commercial grade sheets. Two reasons; they are reinforced around the edges so that you don’t have warping, and they are bigger than the standard sheets, but still fit nicely into your oven! Last year (2012) at Canada’s Baking & Sweets Show in Toronto I bought two different ones to test them. I love them both! The USA Pan has small ridges which allows air to flow under what you are baking, like cookies, giving a nice even cook to the bottoms.
Image on the left is the USA Pan (yes, that’s the brand name) and the one on the right is Chicago Metallic. Both are wonderful!
Well, I could go on and on and on…. but you get the idea. If that special person in your life is looking for a perfect culinary gift for you, have that person send me an email and I’ll help with THE perfect purchase for you!
For me, I’m off to the kitchen, going to get my traditional French Canadian Tourtiere started. Must get it done and in the freezer so that on Christmas Eve, we will have that delicious treat! Stay tuned, that’s my next post!!
Until then, Happy noshing!