Vitamix Professional Series 200 ($448.95)
However good their blender is, it's not as good as the Vitamix 1723 Professional Series 200 ($448.95), unless of course, it is that blender. With a ridiculous 2 hp of power, an unbreakable 64 ounce polycarbonate container, a tamper for pushing down stubborn vegetables, and a fully analog control dial that lets you adjust the speed from slow mix to pulverize-the-crap-out-of-anything-turn-Chunk's-hand-into-Goonie-mush and every state in between, this, my friends, is the blender that dreams are made of. No, it's the blender that makes liquid blender soup out of the blenders that dreams are made of.
Progressive International Stainless Steel Magnetic Measuring Spoons ($14.29)
Sure, everybody's got measuring spoons, but betcha you don't have a set like the Progressive International Stainless Steel Magnetic Measureing Spoons ($14.29). Let's look at the features. First, each has two heads (a round one and an elongated one), meaning you can measure dry and liquid ingredients in the same recipe without having to rinse and dry in between each measurement. Lightly flattened cups allow the spoons to sit upright on a counter without spilling the contents (no more transfering missed ingredients into bowls!). Finally, magnetic stacking means they stay firmly attached, without rings, loops, or other annoying clips to undo every time you need to separate one.
Max Burton 1800 Watt Induction Portable Cooktop ($67.29)
There's no beating gas when it comes to perfect control and instant reaction time; it's the ideal burner. But induction has got it licked in a few categories. First, it's lightning fast. Energy is very efficiently converted from magnetism to heat, bringing pots of water to a boil in a fraction of the time your electric coil burner takes. Because energy is transferred directly from the magnet to the pot, there's only a minimal amount of excess heat lost to the kitchen air. Finally, portability means that you can set up a full-powered burner wherever there's an electrical outlet, giving you extra capacity at home, or a place to cook when you're on the road. The Max Burton 1,800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop ($67.29) is the best model I've seen for the money.
Bernzomatic Trigger Start Torch ($36.90)
Forget the sissy butane crème brûlée torches. The Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch ($36.90) is a high-output propane torch head that's perfect for rapidly caramelizing sugar, charring fruits, searing meat, or just plain burning stuff. You can order the head off of Amazon (or other sources), but the propane canisters can't be shipped. Check your local hardware store.
Sous Vide Supreme ($399.99) and Sous-Vide Supreme Demi ($299.99)
Sous-vide cooking, the process by which foods are cooked in hermetically sealed vacuum bags in water baths held at very precise low temperatures, has been a seminal technique in improving the quality of restaurant food for years now, and it's finally hit the mainstream home market. The original Sous-Vide Supreme ($399.99) was the first home water oven on the market. You can now get it in a smaller size (and sleek black finish) with the Sous-Vide Supreme Demi, priced $100 cheaper. Essential for perfect food? No way. A useful tool in your kitchen arsenal? Absolutely.
Food Saver ($66.75)
Sure, you'll need a vacuum sealer to cook food in your new water oven, but a brand new FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealer ($66.75) is useful for so much more. I like to season whole steaks, pork chops, and chicken breasts, seal them, then throw them in the freezer. They keep for months and months with no freezer burn, and when I want to cook them, I can drop them directly into my water oven. Soups, stews, brases, vegetables, and ground meats can be sealed in the bag, then flattened and frozen to maximize surface area. This leads to rapid freezing and defrosting (not to mention optimizing storage space in the freezer), for better quality food on the table much, much faster.