Quiche ring for blog

Photo by Donna

I am determined to get my shopping done NOW—so I can concentrate on the fun stuff on the days leading up to Christmas (eg Pork Pie, Brioche, Chocolate Truffles).  I started my shopping today at my own Open Sky shop (my first time ordering, very easy and free shipping!). The following are gift ideas for the cook in your life are very cool in that they’re not easy to find, incredibly useful, and eminently affordable gifts.

Want your lover to make you the above quiche?  Here’s the ring mold he or she will need for the proper depth and that voluptuous texture that made Keller refer to quiche as the sexiest pie.

I love the Mag Blok magnetic wall mounted knife holder.  It’s gorgeous wood and won’t ding your knives. Especially great for tiny kitchens where space is a premium.  You can’t get it from Amazon or Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table—so that makes it an especially unique gift, and it’s under 30 bucks. boiling water

I’m on a mission to rid the world of pot holders; my mom couldn’t live without them but I think they’re evil; they belong on Courage the Cowardly Dog but not in my kitchen.  I use these great side towels that I once could only get when I visited the Culinary Institute of America (they’re big, so I only need one towel to drain pasta).

The problem I have with so many pepper grinders is that their grind is too coarse.  When Michael Symon showed me his Peugeot pepper mill I had to have one. His chef de cuisine at Lola, Powder, nabbed his at Marshalls.  This is THE best pepper mill, in their opinion and in mine, another great gift. (I use the short black version, but they all have the same grind.)  Another thing to do with these is to have two of them and reserve one for grinding coriander, or a mix of coriander and pepper.

In the higher range, there’s no better gift to a new cook than the two knives, the only knives, you really need.  Here are the ones I use and adore, Wusthof. (You can see mine on the Mag Blok page along with a few other must-haves.)

And have a look at some of the other shops at Open Sky.  Want to know what Le Bernardin pastry chef picks as his juicer of choice? If I were buying one, I’d trust his choice of a Champion 2000+.  He says “it’s a workhorse in our kitchen.”

And I wouldn’t be caught dead with a pink rolling pin, so I don’t know why it fascinates me!  I think it’s that I want to know that person for whom a pink rolling pin is the only way to go.  If you know that person, Shannon and Alison, of cookingwithfriendsclub.com have one for you, here—yep, a pink rolling pin.   I use so much lemon juice and lime juice—I wouldn’t mind that lemon press they have either.  Donna?  Are you reading?

Open Sky is new concept, a company only months old and so they have given me 4 $25 coupons to use on purchases of $50 or more to encourage people to have a look.  This means you could get the Mag Blok and the Pepper mill for around 30 bucks.  I’ll email the first four people who ask for it in comments (I only have four so don’t ask if you don’t intend to use). Oh, and all Open Sky shipping is free.  Love that.

I intend to do more shopping posts soon, the next one on my favorite cookbooks of the season (not my own!).  Mise en place: get your shopping done now so you’re not in the weeds come the holidays!


33 Wonderful responses to “Cool Culinary Gift Ideas”

  • Shai

    Hi Michael,
    I’d love one of those $25 Open Sky coupons, I still have to shop for my sister, the chef!

  • Andrew


    I would also love one of the coupons. keep up the great work!

    PV2 Andrew Spencer

  • Robin

    Oooh, I’d love a coupon as well! So much cool stuff on there!



  • AJR

    Hi Michael,

    Count me in for one of those Open Sky coupons! I have the perfect home cook to use it for!


  • Mike Grau

    Damn, missed by just 3 minutes! But nice post…gives me a few new things to put on my own list!

  • Sarah

    Love that Peugeot pepper mill–the only downside is how often it needs refilling. I think my old-school wooden lemon juicer is still the best, though.

  • Andrew

    I love my Peugeot mill, a present from my sister. Fully adjustable and it looks great too!

    I hate pot holders too and those side towels look nice. I just wish they had a smaller amount for less. I doubt I would need more than two.

  • Elise


    After looking at your opensky site for gifts, what about saute pans? I have tried to find a good 8″ and 10″ pans for everyday use. What is your advice?
    Thanks and keep up the good work. The quiche looks magnificent.

  • Gina

    Great ideas. I’m trying to get all my shopping finsihed by this weekend so I can focus on things that matter to me like food and family. Great new blog design, btw.

  • Shogunmoon


    Over priced wedding gift registry stuff.

    Virtually any knife from Japan is superior. You can get Mac’s for less, globals for the same price, or Misono’s for just a bit more. All superior. All hold an edge much longer.

  • Jan

    How lovely. I was just returning to your site to search the archives for that post on quiche, thinking about that ring mold and how I would love to use it at my new job, just opening a new lunch service at a place that does pan-Mediterranean small plates. I hope I get to make real quiche with one of those ring molds. Great photo! Can’t wait to check out Open Sky!

  • ruhlman

    Elise, my pan of choice is All-Clad. Still trying to source them for my Open Sky store

    Shogunmoon: disagree. Wusthoff excellent. I too like Macs. Globals, not so much, they look cool but that’s it.

    on cutting boards, get good wood ones. i don’t take care of my maple board and it’s awesome. You take care of them by using them a lot.

    Ground coriander is great on so so many things. try it on lamb chops, in vinaigrettes, tomato sauces. it’s my second most used spice after peppercorns. I should do a post!

  • Chuck Shaw

    I’ve had one of those magnetic knife holders on my wall for 10 years and love it.

  • susan

    Coriander is probably my fourth most-used spice. Right now, I am on a freshly ground cumin kick. Cumin has moved into the number 2 spot. I do prefer grinding both cumin and coriander on an as-needed basis. The flavors just after grinding are intoxicating.

    Oh yea, No 3 is fresh thyme.

  • Dee

    I love the pink rolling pin. I’m not really a baker but I know a few people that would really appreciate it.

  • Fran

    Thank you and Donna for a photo of removing the quiche from the ring mold. I already found a proper ring mold but haven’t tried the (wonderful) quiche again yet. The photo gives me hope that I could remove it from the ring mold without a disaster, but any additional tips would be appreciated!

  • Bob

    Oh, it’s definitely shopping time – I live where there’s a Meyer corporate office (the parent company of Anolon, Circulon, Farberware, etc.) … and their annual warehouse sale just kicked off. Scooped up a $179 knife set for $80.

    Online, it’s at http://potsandpans.com/sale

  • kellymo

    Some months back, I got one of the two-in-one Amco presses from my mom who RAVED over it. At the time, I didn’t think I needed yet another gadget… and I was right. Once I used it, I got rid of every other juicer gadget in the kitchen.
    The 2-in-1 is great – has a plate in the middle to use for smaller limes and lemons so they won’t slide around in there. A little expensive but so heavy duty you won’t be replacing it any time soon.


  • Natalie Sztern

    I have to make a confession: prior to this post and the other on Open Sky and the towels M.R. uses instead of oven mitts and feeling shame (not really) at using this method myself, I thought about ordering the towels.

    and now my Sin: having to take my lung cancer ridden mother-in-law to the hospital for the umpteenth time yesterday I eyed the clean towels they use and they looked long enough to go round a big pot and wide enough for my big hands…so I took home 3. Guess what….they are almost exact in size as M.R…sorry michael I swear I was going to buy them….

    *I do not condone this kind of behaviour….but…

  • Mary

    Can you recommend appliances on OpenSky? I think my 11 y.o. fridge and range are going to go soon (dishwasher recently croaked and my sister tells me that appliances talk to each other).
    I can’t decide on french door or side by side… and the range options are impossible to choose from…

  • Andrew

    I just got done making truffles (as gifts), I’m about to make a pork pie for a work party, and brioche is also on the agenda for creme brulee french toast later this week. There must be something in the water in Ohio.

    When our first son was born, I had visions of using cloth diapers. We never did, so I had a bunch of unused ones sitting around. They make great, if unconventional, potholders.

  • Rob

    One man’s opinion: Mortar and pestle (a big deep stone set) is the only way to go for ground pepper.

  • heidi robb

    Loving the functional simplicity of the Mag Blok. That will definitely help free up limited counter space. Nice list, thanks.

  • Nancy

    Oh, Michael, (whine, whine!) Please put some color back into your blog heading. Every time I log on all I see are the ads on the left until my eyes finally fasten on Donna’s (still not as full bodied as they once were) photos.

  • Haideee Zinn

    Speaking of gifts, we are totally covered now we have Donna’s gorgeous calendars! They are stunning. Thanks so much!

  • Chris

    I am nearly sold on the towels…I can’t stand mitts–they’re cumbersome and I’m always misplacing them. Just having a hard time believing they’ll protect my non-asbestos hands. Are yours just super thick cotton towels? What makes them different from my regular kitchen towels?

    Thank you for all the inspiration. My husband and I have been making our own bacon since the BLT Challenge and have our first ham curing and plan to have it for Christmas dinner. I’m working on my Best Cookbooks of 2009 list for my Lost Arts Kitchen newsletter and Ratio will be at the top.


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