2018 Holiday Gift Guide
POSTED BY Kim Pawell ON November 21, 2018 WITH NO COMMENTS
Here is our holiday gift guide to get you from Thanksgiving to New Year's. We are staring down the holiday gauntlet and wondering whether we will make it through in one piece. About this time of year I am particularly grateful that I hold our family Thanksgiving celebration early and don't have the wham-bam of Thanksgiving followed immediately by December's holiday festivities.Let's face it, before we get the last Thanksgiving day dish washed, dried and put away, it is already time to think about holiday decorations, celebrations and shopping. Particularly with Black Friday coming up, I'm a big fan of online shopping. It is just so darned easy. The only catch is you need to know what you are looking for to make the experience efficient. Here is my 2018 gift guide including my favorite gifts and purchase links to make your online shopping experience a little sweeter.
Note: Something New For Dinner is an Amazon associate and we may make a small commission on any purchases you make through our links.
Hostess GiftsWine and candles seem to be the most common holiday hostess gifts, but why not shake things up a bit and give your hostess something a little different? I like to give things that will be used up, rather than trinkets that hang around forever. Here are my personal faves:
Jacobson's sea salt is a cult favorite for Portlanders and is now recognized as the premier salt company in the United States. Jacobson offers an array of flaked and kosher salts, but my personal favorite is their Black Garlic salt. Jacobson ferments their own garlic and blends it with their sea salt to create an umami-rich flavor bomb of a finishing salt. Try it on everything -- steak, poultry, lamb, pork, eggs and avocado toast to start.
Price at the time of writing this article: $10.97
Or go big and give your host a collection of Jacobson salts. So many good flavors to choose from!
Price at the time of writing this article: $27.46
This stuff is simply amazing. Drizzle some on cheese, fried chicken, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, toast. Sooooo yummy!
Price at time of writing this article: $14.99
A good bottle of olive oil will never go to waste. I am a big fan of Stone House Olive Oil and have been using their products for years. Olio Santo is one of their signature products. Ina Garten suggests Olio Santos as one of the seven ingredients all home cooks should keep in their pantry. I personally buy it in 3 and 10-gallon quantities. Each bottle is harvest dated so you can be sure you are getting fresh, quality olive oil.
Price at the time of writing this article: $20
This excellent mild to medium finishing oil won a gold medal in the 2018 London International Olive oil competition. Use it to finish soup, for a special salad dressing, for a wonderful Caprese or Greek salad, on bruschetta - anywhere you want to really taste your olive oil. Don't cook with it as that would be a waste.
Once you have tasted a really good balsamic vinegar, you will understand why they are so expensive. This balsamic is excellent and should be used as a finishing vinegar. Drizzle on a Caprese Salad, finish a soup, use on my Persimmon, Grape, Pomegranate and Burrata Salad, Strawberry Panna Cotta or on top of vanilla ice cream.
Price at time of writing: $37.99
I can't tell you how much I love this little tool. We all know microwave popcorn that you buy from the grocery store is full of trans fats and is really not good for you. This little device lets you pop 1/4 cup of popcorn without any fat or any other ingredient. It makes for the best late afternoon or evening snack. Of course you can add a bit of butter and salt if you like. Or be virtuous and eat the popcorn plain.
Price at the time of writing this post: $15.90
For the Cooks in Your LifeThe nice thing about shopping for a cook in your life is there is always something you can get them that will make their cooking easier, more fun and possibly more adventurous. Even better, if you are lucky, the cook in your life will follow up your gift by cooking you a meal. Giving a cook a new tool is a win-win proposition! Here are some of my favorites:
For the Sous Vide Enthusiast
We've published a lot of sous vide recipes this year and there are more to come. You will be amazed at the quality of food you can cook with this device that allows you to precisely control low and slow temperatures - including meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, eggs and amazing desserts. I recommend the Anova sous vide circulator. I personally own two!
Price at time of writing this article: $99.99
Rubbermaid Containers and Everie Lids
While you can sous vide in any large pot, I recommend using Rubbermaid plastic containers in either 12 qt or 18 qt size. Why? They stay cool to the touch and you can fit more in the square shape than you can a round pan. Buy an Everie hinged lid to help hold in the heat.
Prices at time of writing this article: 12 qt container: $19.00, 18 qt container: $28.00, Lid: $9.99
If you sous vide much you will want a vacuum sealer. Why? They allow you to more efficiently remove air from plastic bags and achieve a better bag seal, which is particularly important for longer sous vide times. Once you've used a vacuum sealer, you won't go back to the air displacement method.
Price at time of writing this article: $119.75
You will find these weights indispensable for keeping your sous vide bags submerged. I've tried lots of tricks to weight down my sous vide bags and these weights do the best job. They come in a 3-pack and a 5-pack. Go for the 5-pack. You will use them all the time.
Price at time of writing this article: 3-pack: $21.84, 5-pack: $32.84
Investment PiecesThese investment pieces make for amazing gifts for the cook in your life who wants to up their cooking game. Here are my favorite big-ticket tools that I wouldn't want to live without. I use them weekly, if not daily.
A good cast-iron enamel Dutch oven is a life-time investment that will pay dividends every time it is used. I'm a big believer in buying the largest one you can afford so you can cook once and stock your freezer with containers of soups and chiles. Here is the link for a 7 1/4 qt Le Creuset. If you have the scratch, go for a 9 qt. You will never regret it.
Price at time of writing this article: $379.95
If a Le Creuset is not in your budget, don't despair. Lodge makes a significantly less expensive Dutch oven that will have you cranking out delicious stews, soups and chiles. The big difference I notice between the Lodge and the Le Creuset is the Lodge lid doesn't fit as tightly. It is a great value for the price, however.
Price at time of writing this article: 6 qt $59.90 and 7 1/2 qt $79.99
Food ProcessorsFood processors make it possible to cook so many things that would otherwise be time and labor prohibitive. They really open up a world of cooking. I like them because I find when I cook with a food processor I generally eat more vegetables. Here are my three choices, starting with the deluxe model, a moderately priced model and a great starter food processor for small jobs.
This is the food processor I have been using for the past three years. I bought it when my beloved 20-cup professional Cuisinart died and the company stopped making them. I did my research and decided to take the plunge with this food processor and I have never looked back. In all honesty I haven't touched on all the things this amazing machine can do. Still, I use it several times a week and cook more quickly and eat more produce because of it.
Price at the time of writing this article: $359.96
I'm a big believer that you can't have too big of a food processor. Why? Because a large food processor gives you the ability to make big batches so you cook once, stock your freezer and revel in the joy of having a freezer loaded with home-made soups, stews and chiles. This is the largest food processor Cuisinart currently makes. It has great ratings and will do wonders for the quality and efficiency of your cooking.
Price at the time of writing this article: $158.96
If you are not ready to take the plunge on a pricy full-sized food processor, you can still enjoy some of the efficiencies of a food processor with this smaller and significantly less expensive model. I own one of these in addition to my full-size food processor. I use it for smaller tasks such as chopping onions, nuts and herbs and making salad dressing. For small jobs I find it easier to use and clean the Mini-Prep than my full sized food processor. If you are not sure whether you would use a food processor this is a good place to start.
Price at time of writing this article: $32.99
For Your DogThese are gifts both you and your furry pals will enjoy.
Dog ChewsDogs really love their chew toys. And when your dog is happy you are happy. With three dogs in our household I'm always looking for chew toys that:
- My dogs won't swallow whole (my new pug is a chew toy gulper)
- Are healthy and not too calorie dense
- Don't make a huge mess and are not stinky
- Last longer than 60 seconds
I didn't think I would ever love a vacuum, but I unabashedly love this one. My pug Bille is a shedder and so are my two grand-dogs Everest and Maru. I tried a Roomba but found I didn't want to wait for it to get around to specific spots that I wanted to immediately clean. This Dyson Animal is cordless, easy-to-use, comes apart so it can be used as a dust-buster and has lots of attachments for hard-to-get-to spots. It makes cleaning up piles of fur a breeze. This model is being replaced by a newer model (see below) but there are some good deals to be had if you elect to buy this earlier model.
Price at time of writing this article: Begins at $358.94
There is a newer version of my favorite vacuum. Here it is. I haven't tried it but the ratings look good. It is a little sleeker and a little more expensive.