My Christmas Wish List: Kitchen Gadgets

by Ann Marie Michaels on December 6, 2008

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It’s Christmastime, the season to give and receive. Of course, what I want more than anything is more gadgets and whosie-whats-its for my kitchen. And once again I’m sure my husband has absolutely no idea what to buy me.

Dear Husband, this post is for you. Just click and add to cart.

I don’t blame Dear Husband for not having a clue about this stuff. Ever since we shacked up together, his tidy bachelor kitchen which was formerly used only for making coffee and opening take-out containers, has been transformed into a dark and mysterious netherworld with cauldrons full of fermenting sauerkraut and mushroom tea.

The fridge is full of unmarked mason jars that contain all manner of potions. Of course, I can tell the sourdough starter from the whey from the kefir. But to him, it’s all just witch’s brew.

He has no idea what goes on the kitchen and we both agree, he’s better off not knowing. There was that time I made Tacos de Lengua and he happened to see that humongous cow tongue simmering in the stock pot. He likes it better when he is shielded from this sort of thing.

Dear Husband, this post is for you. Just click and add to cart. And do it soon — so you can avoid going to Sur La Table with all those other poor bastards on Christmas Eve.

I’m obviously not expecting to get everything on this list. These are all things I want and need. So please, DH, bookmark this page; you can use it again for our anniversary, my birthday, Valentine’s, and so on.

And yes, please note, the items are listed in order of how badly I want them. Number one meaning I really really want it.

This post is also for you, Dear Readers. A little inspiration in case you don’t know what to ask for. Or in case your significant other also has not a clue — just email them the link!

Without further ado, here’s my Christmas Wish List:

1. KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer
I’ve been wanting one of these for about 10 years. Now I need one more than ever, because I want to bake bread, make pizza, pasta, cookies, etc. I want it in this beautiful shiny silvery color. And please do NOT get me the Artisan version of the KitchenAid mixer. It must be the professional version (the Artisan does not have adequate power).
Ciick here to buy.

2. UGG Boots
OK, I realize this item is not exactly a kitchen gadget. But I really want these boots. Not only do I want them, I need them.

Short explanation: I only wear 3 pairs of shoes right now. Two pairs of Crocs and a pair of slippers from Target. Ever since I got pregnant, I got spoiled by wearing Crocs and now I just can’t bear to wear anything else. Crocs feel like you have pillows on your feet. (This is why all the chefs wear them.)

But every time it rains (yes it does rain in Los Angeles — we get rain instead of snow in the wintertime), my socks get wet and I nearly fall down because Crocs were never designed to be worn in the rain. They have very slippery soles. It’s not safe.

So please, I need these UGGs. Size eight, short classic, color shown.

(Yes, I know they are passe in Los Angeles. But I don’t care. I don’t wear shoes for fashion. I wear them for comfort and utilitarian reasons, i.e., not landing on me bloody arse whilst shopping at the farmer’s market.)

Ciick here to buy.

3. Bosch Nutrimill Grain Mill
I need a grain mill and many people swear by this one. I want to make my own sprouted flour so I can make homemade bread, pie crusts, cookies, brownies, and so forth. Same deal as above with the Kitchen Aid mixer. But I don’t have to have this right away. I can buy ready-made sprouted flour. It’s just more expensive, so eventually I want this grain mill.
Ciick here to buy.

4. Digital Kitchen Scale
Every cook should have one of these. I used one the first time in Europe — and fell in love. Finally got one a few years ago but it somehow got wet (washed perhaps?) and it died. So I need a new one. I’m truly lost without it.

It’s super handy to use — just put a bowl on top, reset, add an ingredient, and then reset when you are ready to add the next ingredient. No mixing bowls or measuring spoons required. Plus you can easily convert grams to ounces and vice versa. I want this in red (as pictured). Click here to buy.

Escali Digital Scale

5. Butter Crock
I’ve always wanted one of these. You put a stick of butter in and fill with a little water and the butter will stay fresh on the counter for up to a month. Of course, a stick of butter only lasts about half a day at our house, but that’s not the point. I love it when the butter is soft and spreadable. And PS: I want this in green (as pictured). Ciick here to buy.

Butter Bell Crock

6. KitchenAid Hand Blender
This is the very best tool for making soup. I had one but I burned it out. Literally — sparks flew and I saw flames. Scared the crap out of me. Ciick here to buy.

7. More Mason Jars
Some women can never have too many pairs of shoes. I could care less about shoes. I want mason jars. It seems like I never have enough. I use the quart and pint size the most. Ciick here to buy.

Mason Jars

8. Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot – 5 Liter
It’s easy to make sauerkraut in mason jars but if you really want to make amazing kraut, this is the baby you need. Because it has a water lock, you can ferment your kraut for a month to six weeks, versus the usual few days. Much tastier and much more nutritious. Ciick here to buy.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Princess Edamame December 6, 2008 at 7:56 AM

I really enjoyed this post – and have passed some of it on to hubby. Thanks! :)

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Paula December 6, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Have you looked at the Bosch Universal versus the Kitchenaide?
The Bosch has a much more powerful motor and transmission, and a better track record in sustainability.
It wins in my book everyday, and I have used everything out there in my years as a proffessional cook.
We just got all the additional parts for grinding grains and rolling oats.
I am in 7th heaven!
Paula

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Jenny December 6, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I have that grain mill and I LOVE it! It makes making sprouted flour so easy. My MIL bought it for us last Christmas. A food scale and butter bell are definitely on my list too.

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Fighting Windmills December 6, 2008 at 12:38 PM

What a great list!

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Kate December 6, 2008 at 3:10 PM

I love it! We recently bought a Thermomix 31 because of limited space in our house. It is a grain mill, mixer, steamer, blender and basically does what a food processor does but cooks as well. I really like it. I can prepare soup in it from start to finish as well and make yoghurt, sorbet, risotto – all from start to finish!

I would really love a Harsch 5litre Crock too….maybe next Christmas ;)

http://www.thermomix.com.au

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Carys December 6, 2008 at 6:41 PM

I have that Kitchen Aid stick blender and LOVE it.

I’m with you on the canning jars, too, but I prefer the wide mouth ones, and I love the 1/2 pints and pints — you can freeze stuff in them and get it out without having to thaw it all the way!

Carys

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 7:03 PM

I’m scared to freeze stuff in glass, Carys. I hate plastic, but I still use it for freezing. How do you freeze with glass and avoid cracking/exploding? I have heard horror stories.

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 7:21 PM

Paula,

I did consider the Bosch. My dear friend Kelly the Kitchen Kop has written extensively about the Bosch. She LOVES it and raves about it.

However, I have some reasons for preferring the KitchenAid. One reason is purely aesthetic. I just love the look and feel of a KitchenAid stand mixer. The Bosch is big and white and plastic. It makes me sad. I love the shiny durable look of the KitchenAid.

That said, the Bosch is actually better than the KitchenAid because, while it’s white and plastic on the outside, it’s all steel on the inside. And the KitchenAid is steel inside — with plastic housing. Ugh. Not so good.

The truth is, what I’d REALLY like is a Hobart N50.

Check this baby out:

http://www.ckitchen.com/commercial/food-preparation/mixers/hobart-n50-60-mixer.html

Isn’t it pretty?

Unfortunately it costs anywhere from $2000-2500.

What can I say? I have expensive taste.

The truth is — it’s not all about looks. My other reason for choosing the KitchenAid has to do with my long-term plans — my goal of having a Hobart.

From everything I have read, the Bosch is much more powerful than the KitchenAid and definitively better for bread baking — especially when it comes to whole grain breads.

But since my real goal is to someday get a Hobart, I am going with the KitchenAid in the short term. Why? Because all the KitchenAid mixer accessories (pasta attachment, meat grinder, etc.) are interchangable with the Hobart.

So my evil plan is to start with the KitchenAid and then trade up to the Hobart in a year or two.

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Carys December 6, 2008 at 7:21 PM

To avoid breakage don’t over fill (I leave 1/2 to 1″ space at the top) and never, EVER screw down the sealers until the contents are done freezing.

I put on the lid and press it gently in place, but don’t put on the ring — I just leave it next to the jar.. Later, once things are completely frozen, I go back and put on the ring and tighten it down.

Some things are really funny to look at — sometimes the food sort of fountains up in the middle, making a tiny mountain that can go up the full inch (and sometimes further — which is why I don’t put the rings on at all. If the broth/applesauce/etc needs more room to expand, I want it to have the room….). If the mountain goes up too far, I carefully scrape away at it until it’s low enough to put the sealer rings on, then seal it.

The first time I ever froze in jars I didn’t know about leaving space or about the fountaining up, and I did get breakage. Nothing exploded, but 3 jars cracked under the pressure. Since then I’ve been conscientious about the space and leaving the lids unsealed, and I’ve never had another jar crack.

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Kate –

That Thermonix looks AMAZING! Totally Jetsons. I don’t think they sell them here in America.

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 7:28 PM

Carys,

You are truly a wealth of knowledge. I think you’ve convinced me to try it.

I really hate all my stupid Tupperware containers and Ziploc freezer bags.

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 7:29 PM

OOPS I forgot to post this.

Here is an excellent comparison of all the stand mixers:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Mixers-Which-Stand-Mixer-is-Best

Hobart is best. Bosch is next. KA is fine if you don’t want to make tons of bread (esp. whole grain bread, as we traditional foodies are wont to do).

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Carys December 6, 2008 at 8:12 PM

Color me clueless, but what do you use a stand mixer for in making bread???

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cheeseslave December 6, 2008 at 8:22 PM

The kneading!

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Paula December 6, 2008 at 8:44 PM

Yes, I agree, a Hobart would be heavenly!
I have used several of the biggest floor models out there. I had the ability to make 30+ loaves of bread at a time, never mind the amount of cookies I could do. Those were the days…..

I always freeze in glass jars. Never had one break.
I put up 4 gallons of bear lard this summer, and froze it all in pint jars.
Plus rather than make jelly, I just cook down the bulk distressed fruit we get with a little bit of honey on our woodstove, and freeze it in pints as well.
Paula

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Carys December 6, 2008 at 8:56 PM

But the kneading is the fun part! That;’s what I miss most about being celiac — nongluten breads dont get all lovely and elastic like that, so it’s no fun at all.

Paula, I love the idea of cooking on the woodstove. We just got one this last winter, and so far I’ve only really used it to heat water for tea/cocoa, heat soup, etc. Are there tricks to keeping the temperature good for cooking?

Carys

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J December 6, 2008 at 8:59 PM

At one time Kitchen Aid was a division of Hobart. You can still find old KA mixers, model #K45, which has Hobart stamped on the metal plate that the bowl sits on. I got mine about 10 years ago at a yard sale for $30. Ironically, the man that sold it to me said his wife bought a new one because she wanted to make bread. I bet her new one was not as strong as this old horse! I made bread it in at least weakly for years until I started almost exclusively using the “no knead” method.

Take a look on Ebay. There are several listed now including a cool yellow one. Hmm, that would match my very old Champion Juicer!

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J December 6, 2008 at 9:02 PM

Oh yeah, I made that bread weekly, but pre-GAPS it was probably also weakly. :-O

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Carla December 7, 2008 at 1:46 AM

Oooh! I have the 600 series – that thing is a workhorse. ;)

Great list!

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Michael December 7, 2008 at 5:49 AM

I must say , my girlfriend bugs about this Uggs all day. As if I won’t get her Uggs for Christmas she won’t be mine or something :0).
I really am going to buy her those Uggs and hopefully she would be happy this Christmas.
What color should I get her?

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Julie December 7, 2008 at 6:18 AM

I have the Harsch fermenting crock in the 10 liter size. It makes sauerkraut in such a way that it is fool proof. A truly wonderful investment. Check around on the web for good deals on shipping, you should be able to find them. And the accompaniment to the crock is the digital scale. They go together like peas and carrots (to quote Forrest Gump). I will give you the ratio I use for great kraut: 1 pound of shredded (3 mm shred blade in the Cuisinart) cabbage, 1 teaspoon of sea salt. You layer these in the crock and pound pound pound! If you get a 5 liter size, you should be able to make 5 pounds of kraut.

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cheeseslave December 7, 2008 at 6:38 AM

Paula, your bear lard and preserves sound just wonderful!

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Christine Kennedy December 7, 2008 at 8:11 AM

AM,
Is that grain mill you have listed a stone mill? Or has it just got metal grinders? I’m told that the stone mill is the best, but they are over $500.00.

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Julie December 7, 2008 at 8:51 AM

I have never seen that adorable baby Hobart. I want it too! I am a Kitchen Aid loyalist but I did not know Hobart now made such a nice small one.

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cheeseslave December 7, 2008 at 8:51 AM

Christine,

I don’t think the Nutrimill is a stone mill.

I recall reading that stone-ground flour is better but I can’t remember where I read it. Do you remember where you heard that and why they said it’s better?

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5728/stoneground-vs-steelground

When I looked this up I just found this:

http://www.vitaminproshop.com/chamgrainmil.html

We have a Champion juicer already. Maybe I should just ask for the Champion attachment — it’s only $75!!!

Also, I found an old Hobart KitchenAid on Craig’s List for $200 (plus shipping). If I asked for these 2 things instead of the KA/Nutrimill, I could probably get both this Christmas!

Oh my gosh to think I can start making my own sprouted flour — I will be so excited!

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions guys. I would have never thought of this stuff on my own.

I appreciate you all so much!

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J December 8, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Ann Marie, you know the one thing about the old Hobart made Kitchen Aid is that it’s on the small side. The bowl is 4.5 qt vs the one on your wish list which is 6 qt. This can get a little tricky with a double batch of bread dough. It tends to climb the dough hook and I have to watch it carefully. I’m used to it, but this is something to consider.

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Hyon Quirindongo November 16, 2010 at 8:46 AM

kitchen aids have a variety of different appliances that can help you cook your food easier .~:

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LeahS July 19, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Ummm, yep! All those things are on my constant wish list too!

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Erica July 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

“Some women can never have too many pairs of shoes. I could care less about shoes. I want mason jars. It seems like I never have enough.”

I absolutely love this statement, Ann Marie!

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