Most of us don’t have sodium citrate in our pantries, but we eat it all the time—the slightly sour-tasting salt is a common ingredient in club soda and soft drinks, some processed meats, and, perhaps most importantly for the home cook, American cheese. It gives cheese phenomenal melting abilities, creating a gooey, Velveeta-like cheese sauce that doesn’t break easily. And, now that it’s easy enough to order the stuff online, there’s no reason not to have your own stash at home. Perfect mac and cheese is just a teaspoon or two of sodium citrate away.
The last thing you want to do after buying a beautiful steak is ruin it by over- or undercooking. Luckily, Joule, the sous vide cooking tool from ChefSteps, makes that impossible. Joule holds the cooking temperature constant, so you can't mess it up. Go ahead and splurge on that ribeye—you know it will turn out exactly how you want it.
My wife and son give me a ton of grief about the amount of Diet Coke I drink. Luckily, the SodaStream my son recently gave me has made it that much easier to lighten up considerably on my Diet Coke intake. This one, the SodaStream Source, improves on the original model I had in two significant ways. First, you don't have to screw in the top of the bottle to the SodaStream—all you do is lock it into place. Second, it has a digital display that allows you to regulate the level of carbonation. So thank you, SodaStream—you've contributed to domestic harmony in my household, and you're saving me money in the process.
I love these plunger cutters, which cut and stamp cookie dough into adorably detailed lions, tigers, and giraffes (insert obligatory "Oh, my!" here). They're great for pitch-perfect animal crackers, but they're a super-cute way to jazz up your favorite sugar cookies, too.
We have a few of these around at ChefSteps, and we use them a lot—not just for coffee but for grinding spices, too. The ceramic burr mechanism is very precise and easy to clean, and you don't have to worry about it rusting. These grinders are also well designed and make great gifts.
Meathead is a friend of ours here at ChefSteps, and someone we really admire, so we were thrilled when he told us he was working on a book. He did a great job; it really cuts through all the crap and shares so much knowledge gleaned from true experiments. I highly recommend it for anyone who is into—or wants to get into—grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. In fact, I just bought a copy for my brother.
Whether you're serving cocktails for a group or just want to make your next beverage feel extra special, this jewel-themed tray yields surprisingly glittery, elegant cubes. Better yet, it's made out of silicone, so it can double as a chocolate or candy mold. I can totally picture adding a touch of food coloring to water for a fun, kid-friendly version of ice cubes, too.
This pie calendar is a work of art—it’s beautifully illustrated, and the letterpress printing just begs you to run your fingers over it. Anyone who loves pie will cherish this gift (and who doesn’t love pie?).
If you happen to plan a buffet in the middle of the ocean or in a hot tub, this is for you. It is basically a dainty life raft on which to display all the foods your guests may like to eat.