While most of us cook on a regular basis, not everyone enjoys it—it can feel like just another chore. But often, people who enjoy cooking really enjoy it, whether it’s the methodical process of following a recipe or experimenting to make it even better.
So, if you know someone who loves to cook, chances are he or she will love some new kitchen gear this holiday season.
But what do you get a budding sous chef who has everything? Consider a high-tech cooking gadget or connected appliance. And, no, we’re not talking about ultra-expensive smart fridges or the latest-and-greatest stoves. Here’s our list of tried-and-true cooking gear that can turn any kitchen into a smart kitchen.
No matter how perfect your recipe is, it can all go to hell if it’s not cooked at the right temperature. Your chef friends will get a kick out of the $199 Pantelligent, a Bluetooth-connected smart frying pan with a built-in temperature sensor. Its companion app for iOS and Android devices has an onboard recipe collection, so just select a recipe, tap your phone against the Pantelligent’s handle to sync, and then get to work.
The app walks you through the entire cooking process, using the pan’s temperature sensor to calculate the precise cook time for your meal. The app will tell you when the heat is too high or too low so you can adjust accordingly (which, fair warning, can be annoying if you have a really finicky stove). The app even tells you when to flip or stir, depending on what you’re making. Beginners will love the step-by-step directions, and more seasoned cooks will love creating recipes for Pantelligent’s cookbook.
The pan itself has a non-stick coating, is nice and lightweight, and is easy to clean. It can be used on any gas range or electric stove (just not a fancy induction cooktop). Most importantly, the results are fantastic. I’ve made eggs, salmon, risotto, seared tuna, and steak using Pantelligent’s recipes, and everything turned out delicious. The salmon was my favorite, since the pan’s sensor made it nearly impossible for me to overcook it.
Click and Grow
Fresh herbs and garnishes can add a ton of flavor to a dish, so a no-frills herb garden makes an excellent addition to any kitchen. The $60 Click and Grow is about as no-frills as you get—it’s an herb garden for people who hate gardening. This small planter box can hold three Click and Grow plant pods at a time, and includes an LED light and built-in water reservoir.
When you plug in the Click and Grow, its LED light will turn off and on at regular intervals to provide your plants with just the right amount of light. Same with water: Fill up the reservoir, and the Click and Grow will handle the watering. It’s basically a fool-proof system. When the tank is running low, the light flashes off and on rapidly, almost like a strobe light. You’ll never accidentally kill a basil plant again.
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