By Dan I. Cook
I know it might be a little late for my recommendations of gifts for the foodie in your house, but oh well. Remember, it doesn’t have to be Hanukkah, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day to get that gift.
So here are my top five 2021-22 gifts. Please feel free to add anything other folks would like as well.
Sous Vide Precision Cooker with Bluetooth
I got turned on to this gadget by Chefs Keith and Mike, who worked together at The Cook and Cork in Coral Springs. This was maybe five or eight years ago. These chefs blew my mind with the food they were preparing.
One of my favorites was the Korean Style Ribs. These ribs were perfect because the meat didn’t all fall off the bone when I bit into it. I hate when I bite into a rib and all the meat falls off leaving me with a pile of meat on my plate. I want ribs not a BBQ plate of pulled pork or beef.
Not only was it very tender, but the structure of the meat held up fantastically. The secret to preparing this dish was this contraption called a Sous Vide Machine. They showed me how it worked, and I was blown away.
Since I didn’t graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, this machine looked like some sort of science experiment. You place your protein in an airtight bag and then submerge it in a temperature-controlled water bath. It basically simmers for a specific time. Then you finish the dish in a hot pan or grill for only minutes. As for meat, it comes out as a perfect medium.
I bought the Anova brand, and it is so easy to use, so don’t be scared. They have an app, and you just follow the steps. Pretty simple.
I’ve made 15 filet mignons at once in my sous vide, and it just made my cooking so easy. I’ll be using it again for Christmas Day for some flank steaks I’ll be preparing for the family. The Sous Vide Machine is a must-buy for any foodie out there. You can buy one here: Amazon for $99.
Seth McGinn’s Can Cooker Jr.
I’m a seafood boil king. I’ve got the 100-quart crawfish pot, the burner, and the cold beer to be successful.
While watching the YouTube channel Deer Meat For Dinner, the host used this can cooker. It’s a quasi-pressure cooker that prepares your boil in about an hour and fifteen minutes.
The corn and potatoes go in first. You lock the lid down you wait to see steam coming out of a hole up top. Once that happens, you lower the heat for about 20 minutes. After that, place your seafood in for another ten minutes or so, and you are done. The Jr. size cooker is big enough to hold enough food for a family of four. You can buy it here: Amazon for $84.99.
Nothing fancy about this gadget which is how I like things sometimes. Who needs a fancy electronic steaming device when you can just plop this on top of a pot of boiling water.
The bamboo steamer makes anything you want the old fashion way. It’s a perfect tool to reheat all your favorite Trader Joe’s specialties like any Buns, Shumai, and Dumplings.
Cooking vegetables, shellfish, chicken, and fresh fish has never been so easy and healthy. I recommend buying the parchment paper made specifically for a bamboo steamer. The paper keeps the food from sticking to the bamboo and helps with clean-up. You can buy it here: Premium Bamboo Steamer Basket for $32.88.
Artestia Cooking Stone
Our friends Kathy and Charles James gave us one of these stones about 15 years ago. It’s a stone you preheat in the oven and then keep it warm on your table with a Sterno or two. Precut the proteins and vegetables into bite-size pieces and cook them on this stone.
I’m a huge fan of the communal style of eating like fondue and Korean barbecue. If you don’t like to work for your food, this device is not for you. As a fellow foodie, you have to love cooking your food at your dinner table and just having a great conversation with friends or family.
I guarantee your family and friends will get a kick out of this cooking device. You can buy it here, Artestia Cooking Stone for $45.96.
Sushi Making Kit
During last year’s lockdown, my family and I self-quarantined for about two months. I wasn’t going anywhere except the grocery store or a drive-thru restaurant. I wasn’t about to pay all these delivery fees. I did my best to order food from local places, but it was expensive.
One of my true loves is sushi. I never had the confidence to make it, but I had nothing but time on my hands, so I decided to give it a whirl. I bought all of my equipment from an Asian Supermarket in Margate. You can buy a complete kit from Amazon, and they are very reasonable, under 50 dollars for the ones I’ve seen. The essential items are the rolling mat, sushi rice paddle, and a very sharp knife. An excellent knife can be costly, but you need a real sharp one when cutting your sushi. I found cutting the sushi was the most challenging part of this process.
What’s great about this gift is getting your partner, friends, and family involved with the sushi-making process. We designed our rolls: smoked salmon with cream cheese and cucumber roll, a shrimp tempura roll, and a Mai Kai Crab Rangoon Roll. All were excellent.
As I said, don’t be intimidated about making sushi. Just surf YouTube, and you will find many videos on making rice and many different rolls. You can buy one here: Sushi Chef Sushi Making Kit for $87.95
These items are relatively cheap and excellent stocking stuffers for the foodie you love. I know frozen meat and ice cream aren’t ideal in a stocking, but hey, figure it out. Now I’m not going to break down why you should buy these items; you just need to trust me. These are unique products that are extremely tasty.
I hope everyone has a great holiday season, be safe, and Stay Hungry!
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