Williams-Sonoma for my birthday - what to get?
Last weekend for my birthday, my boyfriend gave me a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma, and we'll be going next weekend to pick something out. I was browsing their site and decided on a Chemex coffee maker, something I've been wanting for a while -- and then he admitted that he got that for my birthday too, and it's arriving in the mail today!
I'm pretty set for coffee accessories these days -- I use my Hario grinder and kettle along with a Melitta filter, and now I've got a Chemex on the way.
As for other kitchen stuff, I'm happy with my knives -- I alternate between Forschner/Victorinox chef and paring knives and a Wusthof chef's knife, depending on the job.
Things I'm interested in --
A medium-to-large-sized cutting board. Something big enough to be a comfortable workspace, but small enough to easily wash in my sink. My John Boos 18" round by 3" tall Chinese-style chopping block is ridiculously huge for my little kitchen. Any favorites?
As cookware goes, I've got a covered 12" nonstick pan I'm pretty happy with, an old 10" cast-iron pan with a stainless steel lid I bought at a restaurant supply place, an 8" uncovered nonstick pan, and my bf's decent-ish, SS, plastic-handled saucepans (1-qt, 2-qt, 3-qt, 5-qt). We've also got a smallish crock pot. I'm thinking I might do well with one of these:
And so, I'm basically trying to decide which thing will provide me with maximum improvement in cooking enjoyment -- a dutch oven, frying pan, or cutting board.
What would you do, chowhounds?
Dutch oven. Get a piece of quality cookware that will last you a while. Very versatile and holds heat very well. I made some dal last night and it sat there for an hour and it was still piping hot when I served it. Even though the heat was off. I used the Staub that you linked but I usually prefer the Le Creuset as it seems to stick less.
"And so, I'm basically trying to decide which thing will provide me with maximum improvement in cooking enjoyment "
Get the one which you don't have. I think a cutting board is important, but I also think you don't have to spend alot for it. So you can buy your cutting board elsewhere unless you spotted one you want.
A carbon steel pan is great, but it seems you have a a few pans already. It sounds like you don't have a Dutch Oven, so maybe it will impact you the most. Of course, it also depends how you cook too. If you don't do/enjoy slow cooking, then maybe it is not the best item.
"What would you do, chowhounds?"
A couple of deBuyer carbon steel mineral pans or a good Dutch oven..