Monday, December 9, 2013

Presents of Greatness for the Gourmet

A longtime friend of mine from high school, Candice Corum, routinely tempts me on Facebook with fabulous pictures and descriptions of her home-cooked meals. ‘Home-cooked’ is a weak descriptive when you speak about Candice’s food fare; rather, her cooking skills and presentation style rival that of a fine restaurant, and the repertoire that she creates is equally impressive.

Given Candice’s gift for the gourmet, I asked her to compile a list of exactly that–gifts for the gourmet! This is her ultimate list for the savviest foodie. Thanks, CC! Next up? Dinner at my house!

Candice’s Gift Picks…

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Sur la Table Sphere Ice Molds, Set of 2, $10.95

Clever ice molds create giant icy orbs that won’t water down your drink. Combining art and science, the balls are ultra slow-melting…Plus, they look hella cool! I love the way you can freeze a bit of mint or a sliver of citrus inside the balls for a true gourmet touch!

Easy-to-use mold and innovative cap effectively shapes your ice into large spheres. Simply fill with water and freeze. Perfect for holiday entertaining, and they make a great gift for the foodie.

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Monogram Cheese Board & Spreader, $25

This maple cutting board and spreader set, exclusive to Williams-Sonoma, is just the right size for serving appetizers and cheese, and for small prep jobs in the kitchen. Makes an ideal personalized gift.

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Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker, $29.95

Mix cocktails with ease in this all-American Mason jar shaker. Created by Virginia boys Josh Williams and Eric Prum, of W+P Design, it’s the perfect gift for showing your down-home Southern hospitality.

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Artisanal Cocktail Gift Set, $119.95

This gift set is filled with artisanal ingredients for preparing the season’s most festive cocktails. It includes ginger syrup made by Brooklyn-based Morris Kitchen, Spanish olives and a bottle of Dillon’s Bitters, a complex flavor enhancer for Manhattans, martinis and Old Fashioneds. The book Winter Cocktails inspires creative drinks from mulled ciders to eggnog to holiday punch. A stainless steel, 23-ounce cocktail shaker means you can raise a toast to gleeful gift-giving!

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Double Mezzaluna, $39.95

This old-fashioned tool, whose name means “half-moon” in Italian, is still an international favorite for quick chopping. Using an easy, two-handed rocking motion, you can swiftly chop or mince onions, garlic and herbs, reducing prep time. Two curved, hand-sharpened stainless-steel blades glide easily through herbs, vegetables and nuts. Strong beechwood handles are easy to grip and keep your hands and knuckles away from the blades.

Candice Loves…

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Dubost Laguiole Olivewood Steak Knives, Set of 4, $179.95

Candice loves anything by Laguiole, but this handsome collection of knives makes a thoughtful gift for steak-lovers. The knives feature stainless-steel blades with riveted olivewood handles and come in an elegant wooden box, perfect for gifting.

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OXO Adjustable Measuring Beakers, $5.95-$11.95

This handy tool is ideal for measuring and dispensing sticky ingredients such as nut butters, honey and molasses. Features a smooth, rotating body and comfortable turning knob to easily push up and dispense your ingredients. The cup is adjustable for convenient measurement of different volumes.

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OXO V-Blade Mandoline, $39.95

No kitchen is complete without a mandoline, and this one, designed for safety, efficiency and ease of use, produces a variety of popular cuts for cooking and garnishing foods. V-shaped stainless-steel blades slice cleanly through soft and hard foods. Makes perfect crinkle and straight cuts in four thicknesses.

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Tunisian Hand-Painted Fresco Tagine, $59.95

This hand-painted earthenware dish can be used to cook and serve traditional North African tagines, as well as couscous and rice dishes. The cone-shaped cover funnels condensation directly back to the food for moist, tender results.

The traditional Tunisian pattern is painted by hand using food-safe paints and glazes. Hand-thrown clay retains heat well for serving directly at the table.

Candice’s Kitchen Essentials…

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Boos Cutting Block, $249.95

Boos butcher blocks are the best, and this 4″ thick beauty is manufactured from the finest northern-white species of hard rock maple. Maple wood is naturally anti-bacterial and won’t harbor any bacteria. On top of that, the Boos cream finish creates a protective layer that prevents food and moisture from damaging the wood.

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Williams-Sonoma Meat Thermometer, $20.95

Scientifically calibrated for accuracy, this commercial-quality thermometer ensures a perfect bird every time, and features dual pointers that indicate both the numeric temperature and the degree of doneness for different types of meat.

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Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender, $59.95

Cuisinart makes it quick, clean, and easy to blend, prep and whip a variety of ingredients. Blends or whips right in the bowl, pitcher or pot, to eliminate extra dishes, and with the chopper attached, it turns into a handy mini food-prep tool. Hand blender and chopper has a powerful 200-watt motor. Blends and chops, with push-button control for continuous or pulse action.

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Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet, $10.95-$59.95

Lodge Logic offers heirloom-quality cast iron skillets with a size for every task. The smaller skillets are ideal when cooking for one or two. Choose a larger skillet for cooking in quantity; they’re great for serving up family-style meals or braising bigger cuts of meat. Whether it’s bacon, grilled sandwiches, fish, cornbread—no matter what you like to grill, sauté or fry, you’ll love these classic American skillets.

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