Xmas gifts 2008

In previous years I got all the hardcore kitchen equipment I needed – a good quality food processor (though I came to discover, while I was cooking Xmas dinner, that it has a crappy lid), a good quality blender and a good quality mixer – so my cooking items request for this year was much less greedy. And alas, I got the most important things I wanted.
My mother gave me her old (but barely used) toaster oven. It’s a Black & Decker and small enough to fit in our very limited counter space. It’s great because our old one is probably over 10 years old and had not been working well (i.e. burning toast) for quite a while. Now I can finally get rid of it! The only problem with this toaster oven is that it doesn’t come with a baking sheet – and I doubt I can find one small enough for it. That doesn’t matter for toast – but it makes it hard to use for things like toasting nuts. Hmmm – perhaps I could find a very small aluminum pan to put there? Or use tin foil to make a little mold? Any ideas?
bowls.jpgAlso from my mother, a set of pyrex mixing bowls I had asked for. All my mixing bowls are plastic and old – and I wanted something better quality (so, at least I can feel more luxurious when I cook) that had lids – so I can put whatever it is directly in the fridge. I haven’t opened these yet, but they look very nice and got good reviews.
Mom also got me a small (10″ x 14″) cookie sheet that comes with a matching silicone mat. It’s Cooking with Calphalon brand. I’ve never used a baking mat, and I’m hoping it’ll be good – it’d beat having to use expensive parchment paper or cleaning baking sheets. The cookie sheet is on the small size, but I think it’ll fit in the oven along side my regular large baking sheets.
Finally, my sister Kathy got me a set of CorningWare. It includes a 2.5qt casserole, a 1.5 qt one and a 16 oz one. Only the bigger one comes with a glass lid, which makes it appropriate for baking in the oven – but that’s the one I really needed. Alas, CorningWare has the weird pricing scheme in that it’s often cheaper to buy a set of dishes than just one. I’m not sure what I’ll use the little ones for. The little one would work for hot artichoke-spinach dip (I made some last night for Xmas dinner, and as I didn’t have one that size I divided it into smaller ramekins). Any ideas what the 1.5 qt one (which only has a plastic lid) could be used for?
And that’s it – not many food gifts this year, but then I didn’t ask for many 🙂 I did ask for a dutch oven, but I’m not really disappointed that I didn’t get one, as I’m not sure that I’d use it very often.
Could it really be true that I don’t need/want anything else for the kitchen? Nah – I did notice while cooking Xmas dinner that I do need more wooden spoons.
Oh, and I forgot, I need a butcher’s knife, a carving knife and kitchen shears.

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