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The 2011 Gift Guide for Home Cooks

The 2011 Gift Guide for Home Cooks


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Etsy Apron — Great Goods

For the cook who collects aprons (yes, I might be one of them). This adorable apron is perfect for swapping out the dirty, greased-stained apron when guests arrive.

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks

Available in both cherry and walnut, these wooden butcher blocks are assembled in a brickwork pattern that provides more stability and strength. Plus, these types of cutting surfaces tend to be easier on your knives. Though it is an investment, the quality and stunning look of the blocks are well worth it — especially when you receive it as a gift (hint, hint).

Foodie Fight Rematch

Jane Bruce

Have a food lover at home who claims to know everything? Or want to teach your kids a little more about food? Challenge them to a round of Food Fight Rematch. It's perhaps one of the more well-researched and difficult games we’ve found ourselves playing (more than a few TDM editors have been stumped by this triva game).

Wood Hen Mortar and Pestle

Pretty to look at and easy to use, this wooden mortar and pestle is great for grinding spices, herbs, teas, and nuts.

All-Clad All-American 3-Quart Casserole Pan

For the 40th anniversary of All-Clad, the company is showcasing this versatile All-American Casserole Pan that can be used for anything from baking casseroles and sautéing vegetables to frying. It’s stovetop-to-oven capability makes it perfect for searing, braises, and one-pot meals. Available in both tri-ply stainless steel and copper-core, it’s attractive enough to bring to the table, saving you a dish to clean.

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Jane Bruce

One of the more ubiquitous ingredients in Vietnamese cooking, fish sauce is used in many Southeast Asian dishes and sauces to add depth and flavor. Unlike many brands that are laden with MSG and watered down, this bottled sauce comes from a secret family recipe, without any preservatives or MSG. Even if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with this style of cooking, try experimenting with this rich sauce at home to add more complexity to your dishes.

Herb Grower

If you’ve ever purchased fresh herbs for a recipe and after using a few sprigs of, let’s say thyme, have found that they’ve quickly gone bad in the refrigerator, fret no more because this is the perfect tool to solve all those worries. The unique design is geared toward prolonging the life of fresh herbs, so you don’t have to worry about your basil browning before you can use it the next evening. Plus, the arrangement can be displayed in the place of fresh flowers.

Kuhn Rikon Classic Paring Knife Set

Coming in a colorful set of three, these knives are perfect for prep work like peeling vegetables or chopping garlic and are great to bring with picnics or lunches because of their protective cases. Plus, a little color never hurts in the kitchen.

Shun Fuji 7-Piece Knife Block Set

On the higher end of gifts on this list, the new Shun Fuji knives are handcrafted in Japan. They won the “Kitchen Knife of the Year Award” at the 2011 U.S. Blade show for best new product quality and design. Inspired by the Japanese knives often used by chefs, these knives were developed for experienced cooks who are used to the lightness and sharpness of Eastern-style blades. The handles are crafted from dark tagayasan wood (the dense wood that’s traditionally used in Japan to make samurai sword handles.) If buying the whole set isn’t in your budget, try splurging on the chef’s knife.

G3 Studios Wood Pepper Mills and Salt Grinders

Handcrafted in Michigan, these all-wood pepper mills and salt grinders are available in simple, natural wood patterns, as well as in more complex and intricate designs.

Le Creuset 4 1/2-Quart Dutch Oven

Instead of purchasing the orange-flame Dutch oven for your braising fanatic, opt for this more subtle eggplant-colored pan instead. Perfect for slow-cooking, the enameled cast-iron cookware is built to retain and evenly distribute heat to ensure consistent results. It also translates well when used for serving at the table because of its carefully constructed shape.


8 great affordable knives to gift your favorite cooking enthusiast

High-quality knives are a must-have in the kitchen. In fact, there are a number of essential blades every home cook should have in their knife block, such as a chef's knife, paring knife and serrated knife. More advanced cooks might want products like a utility knife and santoku knife, as well. Oh, and don't forget a sharpener to keep all your cooking utensils in tip-top shape.

All of these tools make prepwork easier and safer while elevating the quality of homemade dishes. On that note, why not give the gift of a great knife to the ones you love this holiday season? While you could easily spend hundreds on a kitchen knife, there are also a number of impressive budget-friendly tools out there that will make wonderful gifts.

These are some of our favorite affordable knives you can buy today, all of which earn top marks in both professional tests and customer reviews:

  • Overall pick:Misen chef's knife
  • Budget pick:Victorinox Fibrox Pro chef's knife
  • Chef's knife pick:Mercer Culinary Genesis forged chef's Granton edge knife
  • Paring knife pick:Mac Knife professional paring knife
  • Serrated knife pick:J.A. Henckels International classic serrated utility knife
  • Santoku pick:Brigade Kitchen santoku knife
  • Knife set pick:Victorinox Swiss Army chef's bundle knife set
  • Sharpener pick:Work Sharp Culinary Kitchen knife sharpener

The 2011 Gift Guide for Home Cooks - Recipes

Holiday Recipes
Find inspiring menu ideas and recipes for festive party fare and memorable feasts for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries and holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Easter and 4th of July. World Cuisine Recipes
Looking for Chinese appetizers, Mexican main dishes, or Italian desserts? You'll find hundreds of recipes for popular foods from around the world in our World Cuisine Collection.

Welcome to CooksRecipes, online as a free cooking and recipe resource since 1999.

CooksRecipes over 23,000 kitchen-tested recipes for every meal course and occasion. Find inspiring ideas to help in planning weekday meals, holiday parties, special event dinners and more at CooksRecipes.com. (Check out our Family Favorite Recipes Collection, the name says it all!)

Smoky Ham with Strawberry-Chipotle Sauce - The sweet and spicy strawberry-chipotle sauce adds a festive, springtime flair to the traditional Easter holiday ham dinner.


Holiday Gifts

Find the holiday gifts you're looking for, whether you're celebrating the winter holidays or other occasions. Explore the curated collection of seasonal merchandise that makes any holiday special: something fresh for Valentine's Day, playfully eerie for Halloween, a special gift for an Easter basket, a host or hostess gift for a summer BBQ party or Thanksgiving dinner or beyond. Plus, don't forget that perfect present for Christmas. From Christmas mantel decor to ornaments for the tree, there are Christmas gift ideas that capture the spirit of the season. Even if you choose a Christmas present idea that isn't related to the holiday, celebratory decor is fun to include in stockings or gift baskets.


Dragonfly Bakers and Bumble Bee Spice Specialists will generate excitement for children learning to bake. This unique 74 page-hardback book includes 31 recipes with easy to follow directions. Fun, colorful illustrations combine recipes with family baking activities, fun facts, vocabulary words and suggested children’s baking literature.

Teachers, parents, youth leaders and mentors will find educational resources abound. A valuable resource to teach kids self-sufficiency in the kitchen while inviting questions and providing answers through this new learning tool! Everyone will share in the tasty success of learning to bake! Includes 60 minute CD.

Enjoy this free sample resource from Baking with Friends!

Children love playing with play clay. Your kids might be getting restless after a long winter, so play clay provides an excellent activity to do if the weather isn’t quite right for playing outside. Have fun with with mixing colors and making all sorts of unique designs. You’ll enjoy seeing your children’s imaginations at play!

Download this Rainbow Sugar Chart for food coloring fun!


Create A Family Keepsake With Personalized Cookbooks

With Shutterfly photo books, it's easy to ensure that grandma's favorite dish lives on. You can choose from a variety of great, easy to read templates and layouts with decorative embellishments and Idea pages to make your custom recipe book one-of-a-kind. We help you organize your photos to best present your favorite dishes, and allow you to showcase your ingredients and emphasize the process. Along with images of your tasty creations, fill the pages with your family photos and the special occasions you share these meals. A family recipe book is a great gift for Christmas, birthdays, or when catching up at family reunions. When you make your own cookbook with special memories and treasured photos, you'll have something to pass on to future generations of cooks!


Pure, Simple and Real

Whitewater Resort in the Selkirk Range is renowned for its spectacular scenery, deep snow and Fresh Tracks Café. Despite constant pleading from customers, recipes for dishes made famous there were as unattainable as snowflakes in July. Even the café staff was sworn to secrecy. Now, Whitewater Cooks opens the kitchen doors. With this eagerly anticipated book, home cooks can re-create chef Shelley Adams’ signature dishes. Readers will enjoy over 70 recipes from the café’s selection of top sellers — from warming soups to desserts — indulging in culinary favorites.


Crazy-Easy Christmas Cookies

Whether you’re an expert-level baker or a beginner who doesn’t know the difference between baking powder and baking soda, you need these easy Christmas cookie recipes in your arsenal. Especially now that there are only a few days left until Christmas. If you haven’t started your holiday baking yet, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

December calendars are packed with parties and travel, so it can be hard to bake one batch of cookies, let alone the requisite assortment for a cookie plate. Chowhound to the rescue! We developed five cookie recipes (and two candy recipes) that had to fit three criteria: super easy, super delicious, and beautiful to boot.
Related Reading: The Best Gifts for Fans of “The Great British Baking Show”

There’s no rolling out dough, no icing required, no candy thermometers, no multiple steps. Internally, we referred to this as our “slacker cookie plate.” But anybody who eats these will think you’re a winner.

Click each cookie below to go to its recipe, or keep scrolling for a list.


EatingWell Vegetables guides both vegetable lovers and novices through the world of produce, including must-know basics, shopping notes, growing advice, and cooking tips on 100 common and less common vegetables, from arugula to yucca. Organized alphabetically by vegetable, the book includes information on seasonality and the health benefits of each vegetable, as well as more than 250 recipes with complete nutrition analysis, all tested by the EatingWell Test Kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon, $35


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More DIY Christmas gifts

16. You won’t believe how easy it is to make these these cute pineapple bookends from DIY Candy.

17. Everyone loves cookies, but there are so many treats around during the holidays that giving a Cookie Mix Gift Sack is a great way to go. From It’s Always Autumn.

18. Whip up a batch of 10 minute Pumpkin Spice Soap from Happiness is Homemade.

19. This t-shirt produce bag from Delia Creates is one of the coolest easy DIY projects I’ve seen!

20. Print out the 12 daytz of Christmas for a fun DIY gift for your husband or boyfriend that you guys can enjoy all year long! From Somewhat Simple.

21. This tutorial from Sugar Bee Crafts shows you how to make a sweet photo pendant in just a few minutes.

22. Make homemade drawer sachets with this tutorial from Craftaholics Anonymous and get multiple gifts made in a snap!

23. Today’s Creative Life shows you how to make whipped body butter for a quick and easy handmade Christmas gift.

24. Learn how to make handwarmers from Rae Ann Kelly for an easy homemade Christmas gift that’s both cute and practical.

25. If you’re really short on time, give a gift card and add some handmade flair with these pretty pop-up gift card holders from Karen Kavett. Video tutorial included.

For even more DIY gift ideas, visit these posts:

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