Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Manatee Cookie Cutters, Spatulas, Roasting Pans, Coffee Grinders, Cooking Up a Storm

November 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment

If you’re looking for some great gift ideas for cooks that don’t cost a fortune, consider these — some of my favorites. I’ll be telling you about others in the weeks leading through the holidays, so check back.

copper manatee cookie cutter

A copper manatee cookie cutter. (I made molasses “Joe Froggers” cookies for a story in the December issue of The Coastal Star newspaper — and used this cutter.) Florida friends will like this one. Check out their flamingo and seahorse cutters as well.

silicone spatulaA silicone spatula. This is one of the most-used tools in my kitchen. The shape of this Tovolo is ideal for cooks — it has a curved side for getting the last scrape from dough bowls (sorry kids!) and a flat, pointed-end side for getting to the bottom of a jar of mayo or sauce. I can saute with it without it melting — I use mine for omelet-making, too, or soft-scrambling eggs.


A Silpat baking sheet liner. I don’t know how I baked cookies without this non-stick mat that the pros use. I  first saw it in the bakery area at the Four Seasons Palm Beach. It’s environmentally friendly — you’re not throwing away parchment paper — its equivalent – after every few batches of cookies. I can cut cookies directly on it, lift off the excess dough, and not have to worry about breaking the antlers off my reindeer cookie getting them to the pan. Get two so you can have one going while the other is in the oven. (The large sheet fits my quarter-sheet baking pans.)

A really good roasting pan. For years, I used a stainless pan with only a lip for a handle, with a flimsy fold-up rack that collapsed once, sending hot grease onto my forearms. Then I got smart. For beef roasts, big hens, ducks, small turkeys — this one from Calphalon can’t be beat. it’s rack is very sturdy and the pan is stable, too. You can get a non-stick version that’s cheaper, but I don’t like non-stick pans — the gravy-making is a lot more difficult in them. Plus, I like the browned potatoes that come out of this pan, when roasted under the beef or duck (My, my! It’s only a couple times of year — won’t kill you).

A burr coffee grinder. I’m a coffee nut. But beans are expensive, so I shop around for great beans at good prices on the web. Once I get them, I use a burr grinder to grind them. You really shouldn’t use a flimsy spice grinder — it heats the beans and really does a lousy job anyway. (They’re great on cumin seeds and other small spice nuts, though!) Cuisinart is the one I use at home; I’ve also bought the Breville for gifts and it’s just as good.

The cookbook, Cooking Up a Storm — Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Read my review here. I like it because it’s an heirloom-recipe collection, and I’m all over preserving recipes from our past.

Tags: Two Forks Up! Food Finds

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Amy // Oct 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    That Calphalon roasting rack would be a nice addition to my Calphalon cookware. I’ve probably owned every kind of cookware ever made and ended up yard saling or giving away most of it….except the aluminum junk. I wouldn’t give that to my worst enemy! Any way I ended up with all clad stainless. I posted a good article I found on it on my blog at http://infiniteseriesgroup.com/great-info-on-all-clad-stainless

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