You asked so we’re answering. You want to know what Josh Applestone suggests for holiday gifts — besides our gift certificates. So here’s a non-exhaustive holiday gift guide of things Josh likes to give, including pans, salt, cookbooks, some local goods, and more.
Ideally a well-stocked kitchen has three kinds of pans, used for different kinds of cooking. All these pans can be treated the same and are naturally nonstick when cleaned and maintained correctly. Locals can shop for them at Warren Cutlery.
*Cast iron pan — Many brands make cast iron pans. They’re inexpensive and last forever. You can even find them for cheap at antique stores and re-season them. Josh uses cast iron to bake.
*A wok — Josh has an old Helen Chen version that’s both solid and not too expensive. The perfect pan for our stir-fry beef.
Knife sharpening — The ultimate gift for anyone who likes to cook is to sneak their knives out of the house to have them professionally sharpened.
Chinese dumpling colander with a long handle — This is perfect for anyone using ground meat to DIY dumplings, and for about 100 other uses.
Bamboo cutting boards — You can chop and slice on wood or plastic, yes. But bamboo, a sustainable wood, is usually less expensive than most cutting boards. Josh likes the way the boards are made for the price point.
Pizza cutter — If you’re bothering to make your own pizzas, which you should, you need a cutter.
Good measuring cups — This seems like a no brainer. But not everyone has a good set. The OXOs are good, not too expensive, and they hold up.
You can never have too much salt (fleur de sel or Maldon), vinegar (try a nice sherry vinegar), or good olive oil. They’re never not a great gift. Check out the selection locally at Blue Cashew.
There have been a lot of great new cookbooks this year and we’re both reading them and giving them as gifts. A few of these are from friends as well as from restaurants I traveled to this past year and enjoyed. But I also love some classics as presents — plus books by local Hudson Valley writers who are also beloved customers. You can buy these directly from the chefs and writers, you can get them at a local bookstore, or you can buy or order them from a chain. Up to you. Here’s my current list, though it changes frequently:
Marc Vetri’s Mastering Pasta
Julia Turshen’s Feed the Resistance: Recipes and Ideas for Getting Involved
Jim Lahey’s My Bread
We’re surrounded by a lot of great farms and people just generally making good stuff here in the Hudson Valley. Beer lovers would enjoy anything from Arrowood Farm Brewery and/or Suarez Family Brewery. Fans of all things fermented should check out the raw vinegar as well as the chili sauce from Lady Jayne’s Alchemy. And anyone who eats on the go could use a reusable utensil set from Otto’s Market.
Got any good gift ideas we’re not thinking of? Get in touch.