Need new "big gift" kitchen tool/appliance
The girlfriend wants to get me something nice for the kitchen for my birthday, but I'm blanking on ideas. A few we were kicking around:
-Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer: Cool idea, but takes up alot of space and I'm not sure how much I'd use it...do you all use it mostly for breads? I do alot of no-knead bread making, so I wouldn't need the mixer for that, and do pizza dough by hand, and sweet breads like banana with a hand mixer. Seems like the Kitchen Aid wouldn't get used enough.
-High quality auto meat grinder: Another cool idea, and very convenient, but not sure if it's unnecessary since I already have an old (1905) hand crank grinder. I use it, but notice that it sometimes puts out "globs" of meat rather than grinds...not sure if this is due to the meat not being semi-frozen enough however. Would the auto grinder be that much of an improvement?
-Sausage stuffer....worth it? Practical? Can't we stuff by hand?
Other ideas like floated around, but seemed unnecessary. VitaMix is cool but I already have a blender.
Any wild ideas we didn't think of? Thanks in advance!
These are not big items so may not be suitable for your needs but I thought I would mention them anyway...
Gel mats - we have three and LOVE them!
Pasta maker - ours is the attachment set for our KA stand mixer
I know you mentioned VitaMix and the fact that you already have a blender but a VitaMix does SO much more!
I have a very small apartment kitchen with limited counter space, but if my KA stand mixer broke tomorrow, I'd replace it immediately. I don't do a huge amount of baking, but when I do, I want that machine handy. I also have the meat grinder (used to make sausages more than I do now, but have begun grinding nearly all of my own meat), the sausage-stuffer attachment (see previous), and the pasta rollers (homemade pasta was a revelation, and I rarely buy the dried stuff anymore). Buy the KA and you can get three of your ideas in one.
I agree with chefathome that a VitaMix is much more than just a blender. But if your blender does everything you want it to do . . . .
Do you have a good-sized freezer? Do you cook and/or shop in bulk? Do you want to? I'm really annoyed with myself that it took me so long to get around to buying a FoodSaver. Makes an extraordinary difference in the freezer- and shelf-life of so many foods and ingredients.
How esoteric do you want to go and what's her budget?
If you're into modernist cuisine, Julabo sells excellent FusionChef immersion circulators and tanks, and there are rotavaps, sonicators, antigriddles, countertop centrifuges.
On the old school side, a 390 mm Masamoto HA-series takobiki could be good for a giggle. Or a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker (the big one). Or a konro grill, though you'd probably want to do the grilling outside.
I think Chefathome's idea of a gel mat is great. There are also similar products beside the offical gel mat. KitchenAid Mixer would be great if you bake a lot. What about a nice kitchen knife? Not a physically big item, but a good one can cost some.
I think the kitchen aid would be worth it. It makes baking easier and more enjoyable, so maybe you would do it more? I don't make much bread, but I love it for cookies and cakes, its so much easier when you can just set it to cream the butter and sugar and walk away, then come back and add the other ingredients. Its nice to have both hands free. Plus it really comes in handy if you bake a lot for the holidays.
How about an induction hob? I have been thinking about one just to see what induction is all about but I don't really know if it would get used.
Do you drink a lot of coffee? How about a Keurig? I have had mine for about a year now and I love it.
Do you have a good enameled dutch oven?