This year my recommendations are short, sweet and all really practical but are things I genuinely enjoy using. Without further ado…
I used to have two big clunky wooden knife blocks. My knives only fit in certain slots and the blocks took up a ton of room. Worst of all, they tended to tip over. So I bought this good looking bamboo knife block to replace them and am sorry I didn’t buy it sooner. It holds an amazing number of knives! One block replaces two, and holds 14 knives of varying sizes and shapes. It takes up little space and won’t dull knives the way wood blocks do. If you or someone you know are still using a wooden block, I highly recommend upgrading to this bamboo block with plastic needles. $22.99
I have had various ceramic salt cellars and none of them quite suited me. I like to grab a pinch of salt and most cellars use a spoon or are too deep to reach into. This triple salt box has 3 levels and easily swings open so kosher salt, smoked salt and flaky salt are all within reach. But you could use it for other seasonings like ground pepper or dried herbs if you prefer. They also make a 2 tiered box. It’s reasonably priced and something I genuinely enjoy using. It’s also rather handsome. $21.89
Non-stick pans have come a long way since the days of Teflon. Today you can find pans that are free of harmful chemicals, yet affordable and durable. Everyone should have a good nonstick pan for frying eggs and making omelets. The light weight DiamoTech nonstick pan features a 4 layer design and is made with aluminum. It can be used in the oven up to 500° F and is scratch resistant. It’s free of PTFE/PFOA/PFOS and dishwasher safe but I cannot imagine ever needing to put it in a dishwasher. I used this pan consistently for 3 months and even made a huge batch of crepes and never needed to use any butter or oil. It’s the best ceramic nonstick pan I’ve ever used. The 9.5 inch pan with a glass lid is just $19.99
If you’re the kind of person who prefers cooking with nonstick (I can’t blame you!) the Circulon Symmetry Merlot Twin Pack Skillets Set nonstick French skillets are incredibly durable, made from hard-anodized aluminum and have a magnetic stainless steel base so they are compatible with all cooktop ranges, including induction. The pans feature a unique cooking surface of raised circles that reportedly lasts 10 times longer than ordinary nonstick coatings. Unlike many other nonstick pans they are metal-utensil-safe, in addition to being PFOA-free and oven-safe to 400° F. and are dishwasher safe, though I find them easy to clean. The high sides to these pans make them perfect for frying, sautéing, as well as making pan sauces and gravies. A 10 and 12 inch pan set in gorgeous Merlot color is $67.39 (other colors are a bit less)
Laudemio extra virgin olive oil is made from Frantoio, Maraiolo and Leccino olives that come from an estate near Florence. It’s a very “green” olive oil with notes of artichoke and grass. It’s one of the best you can buy and because Laudemio is celebrating their 30th anniversary the bottle is a stunning gold this year. Great quality extra virgin olive oil must be used fresh, so don’t save it, savor it! I wouldn’t use this olive oil on salads, it’s too good. But I would use it on plain cooked beans, grilled meats, potatoes, steamed vegetables, toast, vanilla ice cream, any “blank canvas” that will allow you to fully enjoy the flavor. $44.95
Bake, toast, roast or slow cook
I know everyone is going nuts for the Instant Pot but I’m still a fan of this great counter top oven. I just replaced my original Breville Smart Oven with a newer model and am really loving it. It heats quickly, has a convection feature, a light, and now has a slow cooking function so I can put a Dutch oven in it for hours and hours. My last Breville SmartOven lasted 8 years. It costs $215.95
Deiss Kitchenware is offering one of my readers a lemon zester/cheese grater (value $10.98). I have an earlier model and use it practically daily. It would make a nice gift or a stocking stuffer. To win you must reside in the United States. Please leave a comment telling me what’s on YOUR kitchen wish list this year. I will choose one winner at random on Monday December 17, 2018.
Disclaimer: I purchased some of these items, but received the oil as a gift, the pans for review purposes. This post does include some affiliate links. I was not paid to write this or any other post.