In lieu of the usual list of stuff the Accidental Locavore would like to play with, this year I decided to make a list of things — books, gadgets, appliances — that I have and keep going back to. As I write this, I realize that a lot of it, most of it in fact, was given to me, so in the spirit of giving back, here’s my list for you:
- My Sansaire sous-vide machine. I really think this is the crockpot of the twenty-first century. It does a lot of what a slow cooker does, and you can always “cook’ something like a steak and finish it off later. While it’s not so good with some vegetables (stuffed squash was a disaster), it’s great with fish and meats!
- To go with the Sansaire, you’ll need a vacuum sealer, but you need a food sealer anyway. It’s really a miracle with anything you want to freeze and lately I’ve used it to seal granola and nuts.
- The Ball canning machine. Granted, it needs a lot of real estate for storage, but if you can find the space, it’s totally worth it! It truly has made a canner out of me and I’ve got a shelf full of goodies, we can eat all winter. Oh yeah, in addition to space for the canner, you need a shelf for all your finished products!
- A scale. Yes, even if you’re not a baker, a scale is a big help. I use mine for lots of things; multiplying or dividing ingredients if I’m scaling recipes. And for my copies of the Ottolenghi books, it’s invaluable as they’re UK versions and all metric!
- Anything GIR, but especially the big spoon, little scraper and the silicone lids. I use at least one of these every day and can’t imagine life without them. Now if they’d finally do a sponge, I’d take a dozen red ones!
- When I’m not using the GIR scrapers, I’ve gotten hooked on the Speegee. It was in one of my subscription boxes from Mary’s Secret Ingredients (another great gift idea). It works really well as a scraper, but because of its length, levels frosting (if you bake) or pans of granola and is a great multi-tasker.
- Another great gadget from Mary’s latest box — the Pourfect set of measuring spoons. While I initially scoffed at them, they’re now my go-to measuring spoons, especially the 2-tablespoon one. Not only do you have a ton of different sizes, the slick bowl of the spoon really allows whatever ingredients to slide out easily; I used them with some sticky Thai curry and it came right out.
- Nopi. Ottolenghi’s latest, it’s a beautiful book, that I haven’t made anything from yet, but I’m looking forward to playing with it soon (and have all the ingredients for the Vine Leaf Beef Pie).
- My Paris Kitchen. I’ve written about this before, but if you don’t own it, you should. This is probably the most-used cookbook I have (okay, maybe Julia still reigns) and after a year or so, there are still lots of recipes I want to try.
- Adventures in Comfort Food. From one of our favorite restaurants in Maine, a good down-to-earth collection of interesting recipes with Kerry’s crazy takes on the classics. Besides a lot of good food, I like that most of the recipes are for 1-2 people.
- iPad Air 2. While not technically a cookbook, it’s what I use to store recipes and write blog posts like this one. And while I don’t yet own the Air 2, it might be time to give my iPad a retirement party…hint, hint, Santa Baby.
What’s great about it is that you can make stuff (like chicken) ahead of time and finish it off quickly when you have time. Besides the Sansaire there are a couple of more updated ones that you can control from your phone if you’re not afraid your duck confit will get hacked…
Just passed a restaurant in Singapore yesterday that offered sous-vide chicken. I have never heard of it referring to a cooking treatment and thought that it was a mistake. Seeing the post, I am very tempted to try it and, if I like it, purchase the Sansaire product.