By Judy Hevrdejs and Joe Gray, Tribune Newspapers
December 19, 2012
Does the dedicated cook on your list have every cookbook, every gadget? The try these last-minute gift ideas.
For a pictorial recap, please see our photo gallery.
Julie Waterman works flavorful ingredients (tart cherries and toasted almonds, citrus zest and ginger) into handcrafted bars at her Indulgence Chocolatiers warehouse in Waukesha, Wis. Our favorite: the nutty/tart Cranberry Pumpkin Seed 54 percent cacao fine chocolate bar. Indulgence also offers truffles, toffee, s'mores kits and cocoa mix. Mix and match the 3.5-ounce bars: three bars, $18; six bars, $32. For Christmas deliver, hurry: order online by Dec. 20 at indulgencechocolatiers.com
Add finishing sea salts to your culinary repertoire to amp up texture and flavor. Williams-Sonoma boasts a line of finishing salts (Australian Pink, Cyprus White Flake, Kilauea Black), with their Oak-Smoked Chardonnay Finishing Sea Salt a delicious introduction. Chips from oak barrels used to age chardonnay make the smoke. You make the magic, sprinkling the fleur de sel crystals over roasted vegetables (potatoes or eggplant, perhaps?), salmon and meats. A 5.7-ounce jar is $18.95 at williams-sonoma.com.
The playful colors of these supercute and diminutive offset spatulas (with blades just under 3 inches) by Kuhn Rikon lured us. The flexible, nylon, curve-where-you-need-to blades sealed the deal. The perfect size for icing cupcakes, they also step up at parties to spread tapenade or soft cheeses on crostini. The wee handles make them genius gifts for the young chefs on your list. $2.95 apiece at surlatable.com
Handsome and strong
Paella fans could fall in love with this hefty, "brutally tough" 15-inch seasoned steel (12 gauge carbon steel) skillet from Lodge Manufacturing Co., the Tennessee folks famous for their cast-iron cookware. The pan works indoors or out, on all heat sources except microwaves. It's $89.95 at lodgemfg.com.
Inspired by traditional Egyptian spice-nut-seed blends called dukkah, Gary & Kit's Napa Valley line has developed a trio of Dukkah Spice Blends: Classic Hazelnut, Savory Coconut and Toasted Sesame & Pistachio, with the hazelnut and coconut favored by our tasters. For snacking, dip bread in olive oil, then the spicy mix, or incorporate the blends into vegetables, salads, seafood and meats dishes. A set of three 2.5-ounce packets (one of each flavor) is $21 at cliffamilywinery.com.
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