Here we are again, on my favourite day of the week: Wish-list Wednesday and my round up of must-have items from around the internet. This week, I'm focusing on my top 5 things I think you need in your foodie kitchen! These are items that I think make a kitchen great, that make a dish extra tasty or that are just dang nifty. If you're a proud foodie or someone that aspires to be one, go ahead and put on your french linen apron, pour yourself a cup of single-batch, locally roasted espresso and lets get to it!
FOOD52 Genius recipes cookbook:
This cookbook is at the top of the foodie must-haves list because it's amazing! It truly is a compilation of genius recipes, that are simple, tasty and quite frankly idiot proof. They have things like tomato-onion-butter tomato sauce, which is literally an onion cooked in crushed tomatoes and finished with butter---it's delicious. There are others like no-knead bread, and roasted chicken which are superb, but there are also interesting twists on classic dishes that give them new life. To me, this is a book that should be in everyone's kitchen.
Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla:
I received a bottle of this amazing bourbon vanilla extract for Christmas, from my sister (Thank you Erin!) and after using it in a cake recipe I was hooked. Later, I looked it up and realized that this stuff is like magical fairy dust! Most of the cooking world agrees that vanilla extracted by soaking it in bourbon is the best method with the most flavourful result, and that Madagascar vanilla bean pods are superior to other varieties, but the Nielsen-Massey brand is really spectacular. It's a little pricey, at $12.00 for 7 ounces, but well worth it. It's so intense you don't need much or if you're like me and love vanilla you can add a lot and make it the star of the dish!
indoor herb garden:
I love this design by Ikea. It's simple, but has a vintage vibe that really appeals to me. I think that every foodie's kitchen should have an indoor herb garden, and I question your true foodie-ness if you don't! Having fresh herbs on hand is essential, and I think it helps in creating dishes that really stand out. Who hasn't felt that soft scrambled eggs were elevated when finely chopped chives were sprinkled on top or that a curry really brightened up when a couple of snips of coriander were thrown in? If you like this one, like I do, go ahead and purchase it here: Ikea indoor garden set.
If you know me, then you know that I have a serious soft-spot for vintage wine decanters. I love the fact that there are so many variations, styles and that they serve a brilliant purpose too-- helping cheap wine taste palatable! Just kidding, but it really does create a special ritual and ambiance around serving wine when you can decant it and serve it in such a beautiful vessel. Decanting wine is very valuable to most wines, it gives them time to breathe, develop their flavour profiles and open up. I'll be doing an entire article on the value of decanting wines in the next month, so stay tuned for that. But, in the mean-time, head out to your local thrift-store, flea-market or garage sale and pick out a little gem to serve your wine in at your next dinner party.
Artisanal salts are as varied in color, texture and flavour as the regions that produce them and I think another crucial staple in a foodie's kitchen. When going into the kitchens of top restaurants around the world, one thing you'll find in common is that they each have a salt or a few salts that they feel like really compliments their dishes. It's amazing how a coarse grey sea-salt can bring out the brininess in a filet of salmon when sprinkled on at the end of cooking or a crunch of pink Himalayan salt can bring out the juiciness of a roast chicken. The best part about artisanal salts? The are completely affordable and pretty easy to source. Kosher salt for example is only a $1.99 at most grocers, grey flaked Maldon salt $8.00 for a large bag--you can even buy some on Amazon if you can't find it locally. A great North American brand that I recently did a shoot for, No. Six Depot, has a beautiful, coarse, grey sea-salt from France --You can check it out here-- or visit their website here. Moral of the story: Next time you are finishing a dish, don't forget to sprinkle a little salt on it.
Parting words of wisdom:
Being a foodie doesn't mean you have to have a million gadgets, expensive ingredients or snooty one-off items, it just means you love food and want to bring out the most of it's inherit integrity and flavour. I've found some things that I think make a kitchen great, but to each chef his own, just get in there and cook. (but maybe you should put on that french linen apron first!)
Over at Autumn Wood Stlylist HQ we are packing our bags and heading to the beach today! We have our vintage floral cotton blanket, our 1950's red enamel cooler and a ton of beers (gluten free that is) So, wish us luck and lots of bronzage. Of course when we're not sunning ourselves at the beach, we'd love to be a part of your next shoot, catalogue or our life-goal cookbook! Shoot an email or go to our Contact Us page and tell us all about it!