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Video: Unique kitchen items for aspiring chefs

updated 12/14/2006 6:41:28 PM ET 2006-12-14T23:41:28

If you know someone who loves to stir the pot — in the kitchen that is — then you're in luck. Chef Kathleen Daelemans, host of public television's "Cooking Thin and Loving Food," was invited to appear on "Today" to stir up a few unique and useful kitchen gadgets for your aspiring chefs. Check out her ideas and you may just find the perfect gift to finish your list:

My true love gave to me…
A brand new kitchen! You don’t need a home-improvement loan or a contractor to give your kitchen a whole new look and feel. Give the busiest room in the house an instant “Mari”-makeover! Known for their brilliant prints and luxurious designs, Marimekko linens will take your kitchen from drab to fab faster than you can say what’s for dinner. Fans of the Finnish company know of it’s hard-to-find reputation.  Look no further than your keyboard. Skagenhus.com carries every single item Marimekko.fidisplays on their web site, but doesn’t necessarily offer for sale in the U.S. 

Specializing in all gifts Scandinavian including everything shown this morning, check out the most gorgeous culinary aprons this side of Finland — tablecloths, placemats, wooden serving trays, plates and coffee mugs no one in the neighborhood will have. If it’s Marimekko you’re searching for click on Marimekko.fi to browse and Skagenhus.com to buy. If Skagen Hus doesn’t have what you’re looking for they’ll get it for you. Unique gifts and linens from $10.

Turn down the lights       
No table is complete without luxurious candles. Gathering around the table with family and friends in a room bathed in candle light is one of life’s most special occasions. Belle Fleur combined the perfume of rare botanicals and delicate florals into long-lasting fragrances that will turn any room in your home into a lush oasis. If you’re looking for a decadent gift beautifully wrapped for under $50 go to bellefleurny.com and choose from four scents.

Homemade over-the-top gorgeous gift baskets
If you’re a closet wannabe Martha Stewart with no time and no patience and no ability to cook from scratch or no time to cook, be a cyber chef. Without getting out a glue gun or a single pot and pan, a few clicks at the keyboard is all it takes to whip up one-of-a-kind custom “gift baskets” for those you love. Sit, shop and click, click, click away. While you’re waiting for the mailman, stop by your local craft store for a roll of cellophane and a pre-made bow.

To prepare a culinary gift basket of your own, set aside a handsome piece of cookware. From chefscatalog.com — All Clad on the cheap! Long thought of as the BMW of cookware, All Clad is offering some excellent deals this holiday season.

  • The 12 Quart Stainless Steel Four Piece Multi-Cooker is great for cooking pastas, soups and stews. The steamer insert is an excellent way to whip up fat free vegetable “stir frys” and for steaming beautiful cuts of fresh fish. Available for $99 dollars at chefscatalg.com.
  • For those in the culinary know or not All Clad’s Three Quart Stainless Steel Sauce Pot with Loop (helper handle) is the only mid-size pot you’ll ever need. From Chocolate Sauce to Turkey Gravy it’s the perfect size. Priced at $158, it’s definitely worth saving up for. Available at chefscatalog.com.
  • An 8-quart stock pot is the cornerstone piece of every cook’s culinary arsenal. Everyone canlive without All Clad, but if the cook on your list is in the kitchen more often than not, this pot is worth the investment. All Clad doesn’t wear out and will never need to be replaced. Versions from $150 to $400 at chefscatalog.com.To find out more about All Clad products visit Allclad.com or call 800-All-Clad.

If you’re on a tight budget, shop the back of T.J. Maxx, Home Goods and Marshalls for marked down kitchenware.

To fill your “gift basket” with culinary gold whisk in a handful of gorgeous gadgets. Kitchen tools and culinary gadgets from the Sarut Group, thesarutgroup.com and AR+COOK(pronounced Art and Cook) “the Nike Air of kitchen tools” make great stand alone gifts, stocking stuffers and “basket” fillers. Inspired by the air in the soles of running shoes, AR+COOK has incorporated a similar technology to kitchen tools by infusing air into the handles of their products. The core of these super cool utensils is zinc. The metals weight allows the tools to work more efficiently, reducing the need to exert excessive force when completing whatever cooking task is at hand. From $12 available at select Macys.

No stranger to PR (their gifts have been featured in Oprah magazine and People just to name a few) the Sarut (pronounced Sa-roo) Group focuses on sourcing natural, innovative and timeless gifts for every age group. The quirky gifts in their collections are chosen for their ability to inspire, educate and entertain buyers and receivers. From toasters to carrot peelers to mini refrigerators they’ve got gifts for every budget. Visit sarut.com.

Affordable rare cookbooks
The Cookbook Store in Toronto Canada specializes in International titles hard to find in the United States. The owner of this cozy corner shop has created a living room feel making visitors feel right at home. Guests are encouraged to linger, ask questions and thumb through the books. The store’s collection is as unique as the most avid cookbook collector’s. You can find The Cookbook Store’s titles on the Internet, but supporting this culinary version of the MET guarantees your invite to every season’s exhibit of titles new and not yet discovered. Books from $10 at cook-book.com.

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Ten teas for tasting
A cup of fine tea perfectly brewed is as decadent as a rich slice of cake. But what’s a tea novice to do? Click onto todd-holland.com and get lost in the world of rare teas. Famed for their ability to demystify loose leaf tea so that their customers will find themselves well on their way to a good understanding of tea in all its varieties, the team at Todd Holland takes every opportunity to infect their customers with their contagious enthusiasm for choice, rare teas. Fine teas and functionally charming tea accessories including tea pots, tea towels and tea sets available at: todd-holland.com.

Gifts from $10:

Nine neighbors knocking
Unexpected company is status quo for the holiday season. Whip out one of these handmade in Bethlehem olivewood cutting boards available at: hcef.org.

Priced at only $15 they make the perfect hostess gift and the basis for an easy-to-whip-up, impromptu holiday gathering. Keep Archer Farm’s cocktail hour collection of savory snacks on hand (available at Target stores nationwide) and you can relax and unwind with your guests. Every penny of the proceeds from the handmade olivewood collection goes to support Bethlehem charities: hcef.org (gifts from $10).

Eight herbs for cooking
The simple addition of fresh herbs to salads, soups, steaks and stews can turn ho-hum meals into five-star suppers. The AeroGarden is the world’s first kitchen garden appliance. You don’t need a green thumb to grow fresh herbs, vine-ripened tomatoes and vegetables right on your kitchen counter all year round. $149 at aerogrow.com. The sticker shock wears off when you consider that the AeroGarden is a an investment in your health and a great way to teach your children about the cycle of food from seed to plate. (Note: The AeroGarden is only for use with proprietary seed kits produced by AeroGrow International.)

Seven guys a grilling
Guaranteed to buy you a few nights off from cooking, the classic Weber grill is enough to entice any man (or grill lover) to cook. Show your support for our troops by purchasing Weber’s 80-page grilling cookbook, "Command of the Grill: A Salute to Steak." One hundred percent of the proceeds from the $10 cookbook go to four charities that directly benefit U.S. Marines wounded in the line of duty and the families of those who have fallen: Fisher House™, Wounded Warrior Project, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The book can be purchased for $10 (plus tax and shipping) by visiting weber.com, commandofthegrill.com or by calling the Weber Grill-Line(SM) at 1-800-GRILL-OUT®.

"Command of the Grill: A Salute to Steak," features grilled steak recipes by active, reserve and famous former U.S. Marines. In addition, the cookbook also features grilling advice and tips from Weber, profiles of the four benefiting charities, and grilling guides for steaks and vegetables.

Beer Can Chicken Kit
Steven Raichlen wrote the book on beer can chicken — literally. This ingenious device from his collection makes the process easier and virtually fail proof. Square construction gives you greater stability. The bird won’t tip and the beer won’t spill. All stainless steel, so it won’t react with food or rust. Metal holder adapts to both beer cans and the unique stainless steel canister, which you can fill with wine, fruit juice or other flavorful liquid. Metal drip pan collects meat juices for sauces and prevents dripping fat from erupting into flare-ups. Available at: homedepot.com

Munchies for the master griller
Try some chips and salsa from Frontera Grill. Rick Bayless has produced a line of snacks great for giving or receiving. Perfect for holiday entertaining and for football season. Calorie counters, there’s outrageously delicious items for you too. Priced from $2 and available at major retailers nationwide or visit fronterafoods.com

Cook-a-bye baby
No one says cooking has to be a boring chore that ignites stress and rage in some and cravings for carryout in others. Make your kitchen an oasis from everyday life. If you’re a fan of television and film, install an easy-to-hook-up, under-the-cabinet flat screen TV. From $99 at target.com.

Music fans fill your kitchen with vibrant, detailed sound that will revolutionize the way you experience cooking. A tabletop system as elegant as it is easy to use, the Bose® Wave® music system is available for under $500. For more information visit bose.com.

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