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What is your favorite new item of cookware this year?

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For me it's very obvious. I love our new Breville die-cast two-slice toaster. It's attractive, makes perfect toast...but it's the high tech automation that won it over for me. Everything is controlled with push buttons. The toast lowers automatically, can be raised for a quick look by pushing the "peek" button, can make the toast darker by pushing the "a bit more" button, and lets you know how the toast is progressing with a row of leds. It's pricey and has ridiculous features that no one needs, but it works perfectly and is fun to use!

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  1. For me, it's a toaster too, an old, but beautiful, Dualit, bought at a yard sale for five bucks. Nothing automatic about it, but toasts like a dream. I may never get so lucky again!

    1. 7.5 quart enameled cast-iron dutch oven.

      Now use it constantly and don't know why I went without so long.

      1. I purchased a real wok(not non stick, or electric), got it seasoned, and have been enjoying it very often.

        1. My new Cuisinart 2 qt. ice cream maker.

          1. I love, love, LOVE my new 12-cup Kitchenaid food processor in Empire Red. Okay, I've only used it to make peanut butter so far, but I LOVE the look of the thing! It matches my favorite purse and my toenails.

            Now, if I could find a lipstick in the same shade!

            1. It's a toss up between the Breville panini maker and the wok. Both were gifts and both have gotten a work out.

              6 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                What kind of wok did you get that you like so much?

                1. re: roxlet

                  The smaller bowl and "combi whip" for my Kitchenaid 600 mixer. The bowl is about half size and is great for whipping cream or egg whites and for making smaller batches of just about anything. It's made my favorite kitchen appliance even more versatile.

                  1. re: janeh

                    I second the vote for the combi-whip. I love it and use it often!

                  2. re: roxlet

                    The Breville panini .maker looks really nice. If I didn't already have a Krups (which works just fine), I would get the Breville. Breville makes great appliances.

                    Please tell us about the wok you love so much!

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Ditto the Breville panini maker. It's saved me hundreds of dollars because I'm completely satisfied with a quick, easy homemade sandwich. I use it 3 to 4 times a week easily.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Roxlet...please tell us what kind of wok you got that you like so much. I'm in the market for a new one and am considering all options including both stovetop and electric woks. Anyone have any experience with electrics?

                      2. For me, it's been a couple of new knives: a french-made, carbon-steel chef knife from Sabatier (Sabatier-K brand, for those interested) and a Shun Elite paring knife. Both are part of my intention to simplify my kitchen into a "less stuff, better quality" type of environment. I like to streamline my cooking process, while accumulating cookware that is better at getting the job done.

                        1. The best thing I purchased this year was a brand new 10pc KitchenAid cookeware set that I got off Craig's List (on-line garage sale) for $70 reg price over $300 and my little proctor silex rice and veg steamer. I already have a big veg steamer I use daily, but I love the fact that I no longer have to baby sit the rice.

                          1. An almost antique pure nickel saute pan, 3 quarts, weighing in at a whopping 7 lbs. In years of browsing through auctions and garage sales I've never seen anything like it.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ThreeGigs

                              Pure nickel? I'm curious, why pure nickel? Is it just the novelty of having something different? How does it cook?

                              1. re: mateo21

                                It's a little of everything. I know that, during the early 1900s, solid nickel pots and pans were available. My pan was made by Joseph Heinrichs for the Hyde Park hotel/restaurant in New York sometime around 1910-1920. Heinrichs was a metalsmith in New York who made a lot of the cookware and servingware for hotels like the Waldorf Astoria (the original one that was torn down for the Empire State building). Most of his pieces were copper and silver, or silver soldered brass.

                                Because of the demand for alloying metals in WWII, most solid nickel cookware, which was uncommon to begin with, was scrapped for use in steelmaking. Thus very, very few examples survive today. So it's something of a 'rarest of the rare' piece. I can find any of the rarer pieces of Griswold, for example, available for purchase, although the price may be steep. But a solid nickel pan? Rare, and a conversation piece.

                                Yes, I cook with it occasionally. It behaves, heat-wise, almost exactly like a thin cast iron pan. But... no seasoning to worry about. It's not as non-stick as a carbon steel surface, but it's a lot better than stainless steel. Also, no rivets to clean around. The handle is also nickel, and appears to have been welded or brazed on. Dishwasher safe, metal utensil safe, steel wool safe, oven safe to the melting point of whatever is holding the handle on... I can see why commercial kitchens back then would have liked these things. No maintenance like tin-lined copper, won't crack or shatter if dropped like cast iron, more durable than aluminum, etc. The downside is the weight. It's heavy. Think 4mm copper heavy. But still, even if the functionality isn't super-remarkable, the uniquness definitely makes it my purchase of the year.

                                1. re: ThreeGigs

                                  Sounds neat, you don't happen to have any photos of it, do you? I'd love to see it! Thanks for the informative post!

                                  1. re: ThreeGigs

                                    I have one! Mine is a large stockpot. It says '#8H" on the bottom, so I'm guessing it's 8 quarts (?). I got it from my mother (she's 84 now), who got it from HER mother and father. My grandfather worked as a janitor and cook at some schools in St. Louis (where they lived) during the depression, and that's where she says they got it. The stamp reads:

                                    JOS HEINRICHS
                                    CORP
                                    NEW YORK
                                    PURE NICKEL

                                    and it's near the lip of the pot.

                                    My grandmother used it all the time, and my mother always used it for making spaghetti sauce, and that's exactly what I used it for Saturday when I made a batch, too. I have to watch it when my brothers are around, though, as they would likely steal it from me with no remorse whatsoever!

                              2. i have the Breville toaster, it is good. But I have to say Swiss Diamond, Swiss Diamond, Swiss Diamond.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Candy

                                  What in the world is Swiss Diamond?

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    It's a brand of non-stick cookware. I love my 12 inch frying pan.

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      http://www.swissdiamondstore.com/ I love this stuff. I am slowly replacing a lot of cookware with it. No hot spots, life time guarantee cleans up in a snap, oven safe, you can use metal utensils. What more could you want?

                                      Next on the shopping list is a Kyocera tomato knife.

                                      1. re: Candy

                                        Can you brown meat or fish in it? Most non-sticks are very bad in this regard and therefore most cooks/chefs use them only for egg dishes.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          Absolutely.

                                          1. re: josephnl

                                            I've been looking at Swiss Diamond frying pans to purchase. My understanding is that they are not coated with a non-stick coating. They use man-made (no risk of conflict diamonds) diamonds in their surface and their surface acts much like a non-stick pan only you can get fond and crust with it which as you point out is difficult to impossible in a typical non-stick pan. I don't think it is as heat sensitive as non-stick which is not supposed to exceed a certain temp and may release cancer causing agents at high temps. These and their rave reviews are all good reasons for me to try one.

                                          2. re: Candy

                                            The Kyocera tomato knife and the ginger grater are my favorite "new"
                                            things in 2008.
                                            The favorite "upgrades" have been a four burner grill with rotisserie.A
                                            tough,larger,easy to clean food dehydrator.

                                      2. I am just going to go with my plain old Le Creuset lasagna pan. I had 2 pyrex crack while broiling, no worrying about that with this one. And The glazed enamel makes it basically nonstick, everything comes right off! My other faves are vintage pyrex mixing bowls.

                                        1. I haven’t purchased any big-ticket items this year, but I have purchased a few really inexpensive items that have made me very happy. All are specifically designed for Asian cooking, since I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, and were bought in Chinatown. First, at the suggestion of another ‘hound, I bought a Chinese ginger grater. Works brilliantly, and I can’t believe it took me so long to buy one (thanks, beetlebug). Next, not for cooking but for cleaning up, a super-cheap (and really ugly) half-round bristle brush to clean my wok. Discovered it’s better than anything else I’ve ever used for all my cast iron, too. Finally, a metal disk steamer insert that fits my wok perfectly. I’d been jerry-rigging a steamer out of chopsticks with a plate on top. Now, for less than 2 bucks, I’ve got something that really works.

                                          1. My Kitchen Aid immersion blender. I thought they were gimmicky, but it's easier to clean than my blender. Plus, I've done away with the fear factor when blending hot soups.

                                            1. The Aerogarden is amazing! I make my own salsa with the Mexican seed kit.

                                              Not sure if this qualities as cookware.

                                              http://www.cookware.com/Indoor-Garden...

                                              1. Hi-heat rubber spatulas.

                                                7" Santoku knife.

                                                1. To contribute to this thread would be mighty hard for me, as I am currently working for a kitchen store and am having a lot of wonderful chances to buy some very nice cookware. :) Although most recently, I picked up a Yoshikane 240mm gyuto which is amazing!

                                                  1. I have a few favorites as this is the first year I have really spent money on kitchen items and made an effort to cook. So here are my choices, in no particular order:

                                                    1. Cuisinart Chef Pan (great pan for one-pot cooking for 1-3 people)
                                                    2. 7" & 9" Santokou knives (Wow, I never knew knives and slicing/cutting felt good)
                                                    3. Waring Pro Mini-FP (Until I can afford the Cuisinart W/S Elite, this little thing does the job)
                                                    4. Quesadilla Maker (Quick, convenient and better than take-out)

                                                    okay...one more (LOL)

                                                    5. Chicago Mini Roaster (Small pan with grate; excellent when cooking 1 or 2 portions.)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: cityhopper

                                                      Once again - who knew it was possible - a gadget that makes my KA stand mixer even nicer to use. It's the "sideswipe", which looks like a medieval instrument of torture, but which swipes batter from the sides and bottom of the bowl - no more need to stop the motor and clumsily (maybe just me) use a spatula to try to do that job.

                                                      1. re: janeh

                                                        It's great isn't it? I have much the same called "BeaterBlade" Same Idea. I also got the pasta roller set and I'm as happy as a pig in a puddle.

                                                    2. A Lodge Signature grill pan. It's really brought my life (or at least my steaks) to the next level.

                                                      1. Okay, I still love my Swiss Diamond but have acquired a few pieces of Chantal copper fusion. Oh than is fine stuff. It is enameled inside and out and has a core of copper and carbon steel. It cooks very efficiently and quickly, cleans up like a dream, is oven safe and better yet is perfect on induction burners. That is next on my list to buy. I have a five burner gas cook top but the induction is calling to me. My best Chantal piece is the 11" covered chef's pan, runs about $189. I call it my everything pan because it does everything. It shaped slightly like a wok and there does not seem to be anything it cannot handle. Dishwasher safe, but no need, It cleans up like new y hand or DW, Loaned it to my MD who priclaimed himself an ALL-Clad guy. He bought a Swiss Diamond and likes that and then I loaned him the Chantal copper fusion. He likened it to cooking on a grill and is no longer interested in AC.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                          I bought Kathleen a cute Chantal pot that looks like it will do well on my induction burner. We'll give it a try and report back. (Crazy price at TJ)

                                                        2. The new Vario coffee grinder from Baratza. Excellent grind quality. Super easy to switch between, say, espresso and French press and back without losing your settings. Relatively quiet. Relatively unmessy. Compact. Good looking. While I have a few niggles, they pale into insignificance beside the overall achievement: the first-ever high-quality all-purpose home grinder. For a coffee geek like me with limited counter space, it's a dream come true.

                                                          Am also pretty happy with my Breville variable temperature kettle. Brewing tea at the right temperature makes a huge difference and not having to measure the water temp is a huge convenience.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                            Good to know. We've been dreaming of updating our coffee grinder and have been interested in Baratza grinders. We have a capresso burr grinder and I'm wondering how much we'd notice the difference. Ours is loud so the note about it being relatively quiet is reassuring. It's hard for me to replace an item when the one we have isn't broke. What were you using before?

                                                          2. The best things in life are free. My dear brother gave me two knives recently that I would never in my life get for myself, or even to know to get it. It's a Tojiro Pro Nikel Damascus F1031 180 mm Gyuto and a F1039 240 mm trimming knife.
                                                            *http://item.rakuten.co.jp/fresca/1000...
                                                            http://item.rakuten.co.jp/fresca/1000...
                                                            I'm loving the lightness of the Gyuto. It's a totally different experience cutting now. Before, when I've used sharper knifes the weight and balance made it feel quite dangerous. The Tojiros felt so smooth and easy. Now, cutting through tofu is still like cutting through tofu, but cutting through potato,carrots, daikons... are all like cutting through tofu, too. It is such a pleasure. The veggies cook differently, too, because the surface area is soon. Definitely cutting shallots and onions don't make me cry any more.

                                                            1. I really haven't added cookware, exactly -- but I did give in and finally get a rice cooker. It really is convenient, although totally unnecessary when you are used to making rice in a pot.

                                                              1. I found another cast iron fry pan stashed away in the attic, such a smooth surface; and a tea toast slicer from the 50's. It cuts a normal piece of sliced bread in half. Best thing since sliced bread.

                                                                1. This year I bought a Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven. DH and I took our time choosing it for ourselves, and we have not been disappointed. I use it daily for toasting and baking.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    I've thought about buying the Cuisinart Toaster Oven by myself, but now that I've seen the Breville Smart Oven, I am paralyzed. The Breville looks amazing, and the folks at Williams Sonoma tell me that they have sold a bunch, and hear back only raves.

                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                      Its so hard to choose, isn't it? I bought the Cuisinart TOB-195. We looked at a lesser model, but finally sprang for that one. I think I read some reviews online, but found very little. I do use it daily. I baked potatoes in it this week. I do toast, 4 slices at a time frequently. I like the way it does bagel halves. I'm sure that either appliance would be fine. I hope you enjoy whichever you decide on.

                                                                    2. re: sueatmo

                                                                      We had a white one for ages. Just moved into a new home and it just didn't work in the new kitchen so we handed it dowm to the boy and got a new ss model. It's a great appliance! Also got a 22" Weber kettle that has me obsessed with grilling pizza (a work in progress) and smoking pork.

                                                                    3. I don't make much money and am trying to save for a condo or house of my own, so my favorite purchase are lower end than what most people here have named, but 2 of them are fun and one I really needed.

                                                                      I bought a fondue pot for a Christmas party Yankee Swap, and was very happy to end up getting it back. Just used it for chicken taco dip at a New Year's party. It was great for making the right amount and keeping it warm at the party.

                                                                      I bought a creme brulee kit at Target. I haven't used it yet, but a friend used it to caramelize sugar on cheese tarts when we cooked for 128 people together last month. The tarts were beautiful. I can't wait to play with it.

                                                                      The needed item was a knife set that I redeemed credit card reward points for. It is only Farberware, but better than the knives I would have had to use from my medieval group's kitchen gear (those are all super-dull and we haven't had a chance to sharpen or replace them yet). These fit my hand well and are for now sharp enough. I don't know how long they will last once I get my own place and use them daily.

                                                                      1. For Christmas this year I got an amazing instant read thermometer (pictured here: http://bbqlikeapro.com/wp-content/upl...

                                                                        )

                                                                        Already I don't know how I lived without this. It reads in less than 3 seconds, the readings are spot on and with the huge display it's so easy to read. I will never cut into a piece of meat to check doneness again. (errrr, not that I ever did before.... riiiiight)

                                                                        1. A handsome mandolin! Found it a garage sale for five bucks. I've been wanting a good one for ages, but didn't want to spend 100+ dollars for it.

                                                                          Homemade veggie chips, here I come!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: southernexpat

                                                                            I re-discovered cast iron, this year, and went a little nuts. But, I'm happy, too. I've acquired a nearly complete set of large logo, smooth bottomed vintage Griswold skillets (sizes 3 thru 10), lids for the #8, 9, and 10 skillets, a nice, long Griswold griddle that fits the long middle burner of my new (YES YES FINALLY!!! GAS) stove, a #7 and a #10 Griswold "tite top" dutch oven, and--a gift from a collector friend--a beautiful but possibly not particularly useful Gris cast iron waffle iron.

                                                                            And a pretty decent MIU stainless steel mandoline.

                                                                            1. re: Prairie Gal

                                                                              I've had to resort to using the coat closet to store all the cast iron I've managed to accumulate. A couple of years ago, for some odd reason, I wandered into a huge army-surplus store, and among the acres of shelving, I found a massive pile of new Lodge cast iron. When I asked the fellow on duty how much they cost, he said - I dunno, how about a buck each? I went berserk.

                                                                              Even at full retail, cast iron cookware is relatively inexpensive. The main 'cost' with it is time, patience, and care - something probably most of us have in abundance.

                                                                          2. i got an electronic pressure cooker about four months ago. love it!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              I had one for a few years and loved it too. It fizzled out on me. I miss it a lil bit.

                                                                              My favorite new cookware item?
                                                                              Sadly, a citrus press. I bought one for the first time in August. I figured it was just another stupid kitchen gadget, but I should have bought one 20 years ago. I use a lot of lime juice. No more tired hands from squeezing.

                                                                              I'm hoping my new favorite item for this current year will be whatever food proc I decide on.

                                                                            2. My son gave me all of the Kitchen Aid pasta attachments for Christmas!

                                                                              1. a really BIG frypan...14" French steel. Steak au poivre for 8, no problem!

                                                                                also my ancient espresso maker died and rather than upgrade to an HX I got (from my daughter) a Bialetti and a Bon Jour frother. If you like capas and lattes, it is a quick and easy and relatively cheap solution. Just nuke the mik in my latte cup and froth it. By the time I am done, the Bialetti has made a couple of decent shots to pour in

                                                                                1. For me it has to be my new Large Big Green Egg.. I am totally in love with it.

                                                                                  Second place would have to be my new Cuisinart Elite 16 cup Food processor

                                                                                  1. Gotta be the Calphalon double grill pan I got for my birthday! No more going out on the patio to clear snow so I can use the Weber. Grill marks indoors! What a concept!