Just got a gift card? Need ideas for a holiday wishlist or a registry? Here is a list of non-essentials that are fun to own and make great meals.
1. Pizza stone
We have many great pizza joints in Jonesboro, but nothing beats homemade pizza baked on a pizza stone.
2. Pizza peel
We don’t own one yet, and I can’t wait until we do. The homemade pizza would be much easier to manage if we had a convenient way to transfer it from the oven.
3. Pasta machine
Fresh pasta sounds like a challenge, right? In fact, it’s fairly simple, requiring only flour, eggs, and a bit of practice.
4. Sauce pan
The straight sides on this pan mean that the sauce heats evenly. I’ve been able to make some mean cream sauces for pasta.
5. Small pots with lids
Nothing is more efficient if you need to cook a half cup of grains, boil an egg, or heat up syrup for homemade granola. The smaller surface area means that small quantities have less chance of burning than in a larger pot.
6. Specialty knives
My favorite knife is the boning knife that my parents gave me for Christmas. It’s great for work that requires precision, such as removing the rind from a cantaloupe or (more obviously) prepping meat.
7. Grill (or griddle pan)
As a native Texan, I’m picky about meat. I pretty much like it grilled, or not at all. I once owned an electric griddle, but nothing beats an open flame. If you live in an apartment, the next best thing is cast iron.
If you need to slice produce paper-thin, nothing works better. Just be careful–the blade is sharp!
9. Food processor
I’ve written about the pros and cons of food processors on the appliances page, but if you’re looking for a splurge you can’t do much better. Fresh pesto is one of the fastest ways to make a meal shine.
10. Waffle iron
Admittedly, you don’t need a waffle iron unless you like waffles. But if you do, you aren’t going to be able to have them without one. I currently own a non-stick Belgian waffle maker, which works fine, but growing up we had a square waffle iron with removable cast iron plates. That machine made the best waffles I’ve ever eaten.