What were your favorite products in 2013?

Food52 wants to know: What were your favorite products in 2013?

We'd love to know what you loved in the following categories:
- Pantry staples (What tomatoes do you swear by for Marcella's tomato sauce? Which bag of flour do you buy?)
- Kitchen tools
- Appliances (in any room of the house!)

Can't wait to hear everyone's responses!

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  • 53 Comments

53 Comments

dymnyno January 20, 2014
I always love the latest cookbooks that I acquire the best.(out of about 2000) My new favorites are The Cowgirl Creamery Cooks from my hometown and The Model Bakery Cookbook from my current home.
 
AntoniaJames January 19, 2014
Clearly not a new product, as they are an heirloom variety, but new to me and an instant favorite: Good Mother Stallard beans. So flavorful. Worth the premium pricing. ;o)
 
Avisha P. January 14, 2014
Rediscovered my pressure cooker and it's really facilitating my eating more vegetarian (legume) meals. Manresa cookbook is gorgeous and inspiring - David Kinch has a beautiful and restrained Japanese touch. Indiana black walnuts in honey - they work with everything. May kale and brussels sprouts never go out of vogue.
 
luvcookbooks January 14, 2014
I already answered this, but I have to come back and say: Seattle chocolate! Bought a bar at LaGuardia and went on the web to order more. It is SO delicious, also vegan and gmo free. Pricey but worth it, esp they have a white chocolate bar flavored with orange and chili. I don't even like white chocolate but this bar converted me!
 
ATG117 January 13, 2014
Califia pure almond milk. Harmless harvest raw coconut water. Coconut oil as a makeup remover and nighttime moisturizer, and as a sub in baking. Rye flour and oat flour. Noosa yogurt. Always in love with maille Dijon (just never gets old). Ditto re a microplane.
 
AntoniaJames January 9, 2014
Homemade vanilla extract using rum, not vodka.

“Preservation Kitchen,” by Paul Virant, published in 2012 but not discovered by me until early summer 2013. I bought West’s “Saving the Seasons,” which I like for the non-recipe content (and the recipes are good, too), but I like Virant’s book even better. He’s a one Michelin star chef in Chicago who preserves dozens of items, in interesting ways, which he uses in the restaurant. The book includes recipes from the restaurant in which the preserved items are used. So much wisdom, so many great recipes. I used over a dozen of them. His pumpkin butter, made by roasting butternut squash, spices and dairy butter in the oven, could easily be my favorite new recipe discovery of the year.

Anything from Oaktown Spice Shop. (They’re five minutes away. I go there almost every week. I’d live there if I could.)

Corn flour in artisanal breads (30 grams to 345 grams of other flours), courtesy of William Alexander (interesting, witty, non-professional baker and author of “52 Loaves,” a fun read; I recommend his method for creating a wild yeast levain), who learned of this trick from Dan Lepard. Wonderful how one simple change can make such a difference. ;o)
 
Amy January 8, 2014
Invested in a Vitamix. It's great and does what it said it would. Ended up a pro model and it's a bit bulker than I'd like. Thanks to the space shuttle (husband got a lot of OT moving power lines) I got a set of AllClads. The Homesick Texas cookbook and a pressure canner. Pensey's spices and especially their concentrated beef, chicken, and seafood stocks.
 
LE B. January 9, 2014
amy, aside from my cuisinart, kitchen aid mixer, and knives, All Clad is the best investment I ever made (25 yrs.ago) OMG- great cooking and a cinch for clean up. Congrats on that very smart purchase!
 
creamtea January 8, 2014
Gorilla Coffee (from Brooklyn) Sumatra. Or Sumatra from the Columbus Circle Whole Foods. They roast it once a week.
 
petitbleu January 8, 2014
Tamaki Gold rice--it's by far the best rice I've ever eaten.

Genmai-cha--green tea with toasted rice. I've become enamored of its toasty, smooth flavor.

Flaky sea salt--we love Jacobsen, but any flaky finishing salt that adds a nice crunch will do.

Quince--I had never tasted it before this year, but I've fallen in love with its delicate, floral flavor. I know it's an ancient fruit, but it seems to have been rediscovered. At least by me ;)

Buckwheat honey--honey with almost molasses-like notes

Saving the Seasons by Kevin West--by far the best canning and preserving book to hit the shelves in a good long while. Highly readable, educational, and entertaining with solid recipes, no gimmicks.

Tartine Book 3--I'm completely bowled over by it. They taught me how to successfully make my first sourdough a few years ago, and now they're going to guide me through making whole grain sourdough breads. I'm in love.

As for coffee, we've been using our Aeropress for a few years now and still love it. We only drink a cup of coffee apiece in the morning, so this works perfectly for us and it brews damn fine coffee to boot. We also take it with us whenever we go on a road trip (grind the beans before you leave, and all you need is hot water from a gas station to make great coffee) or on vacation. Oh, and it's great for camping, too.
 
bigpan January 8, 2014
A jar of Chili Crab Sauce from Raffles hotel in Singapore. It was soooo good I ordered a case to be shipped.
Went another year without buying any gadgets. In fact, tossed out about 2 dozen wooden spoons. I discovered the 10 inch one works just as good as the 8 inch or 12 inch. Toss, toss, toss.
Nespresso ! I started to drink coffee again after 20 years - decaf mind you. We now travel with it...car trips that is.
And, I continue to advise everyone to invest in a good vacuum packer. I used to toss out dozens of ziplock bags from the freezer not knowing what was inside. No more.
 
Greenstuff January 7, 2014
When it comes to coffee, we're living in interesting times. Some of my friends have gone over to pods. Me, I've retreated to a Hario hand grinder and French press.
 
EmilyC January 7, 2014
I couldn't agree more re: coffee! In my fantasy world, I'd never step close to pods and would probably make my coffee every morning just like you're doing. But those darn pods are just so easy (and good enough quality IMO) that I've relented. I definitely find Nespresso to be much better than other pod-based products like Keurig.
 
pierino January 7, 2014
Brava!
 
EmilyC January 7, 2014
They're not necessarily new discoveries, but here are my favorite products from the past year:
--Nespresso with milk frother: can't imagine life without it.
--Duralex glasses in various sizes: they stack, they're good for hot or cold beverages, they get used every day.
--mortar and pestle: a little elbow grease makes for the best pesto and salsa verde.
--Le Creuset large spatula spoon: I reach for it all of the time. So much better than any other heat-resistant spatula I've used.
--orange and lavender bitters: easy way to make a glass of cheap bubbly a little more interesting.
 
wahimom January 7, 2014
To be honest, the most valuable thing we discovered last year is that kefir is not just loose, drinkable yogurt, and that you can make it at home easily and that it is totally utterly wonderful!
We also found that muffin tins work amazingly well for making pasteles
 
Kate December 31, 2013
The 7.5 oz short glasses from Provisions that I just got have become a new fave...holding wine, coffee, and - shamelessly - mise en place.
 
Lucia F. December 30, 2013
Instant Polenta. God I love it!
 
Diana B. December 30, 2013
Thanks, Pierino! I was happy to see "Jerusalem" on that list, but sorry Kevin West's canning and preserving cookbook didn't make the cut.
 
Diana B. December 30, 2013
I second the vote for cheese paper. I also love pine bud syrup, encountered in a chat with Blue Chair Fruit owner on "The Splendid Table" - what it does for pear jam has to be tasted to be believed.

Pierino, I couldn't get anything out of that long link you posted for Eater National - it just wants me to log into Outlook. Please post the link so we can all take a look - thanks!
 
pierino December 30, 2013
Diana B, here's the link again http://eater.com/archives/2012/12/12/the-21-essential-cookbooks-and-food-books-of-2012.php If that doesn't work you can go to the Eater National website and search "21 Essential Cookbooks".
 
HalfPint December 30, 2013
Forgot because it was so recently purchased:

Best food-book purchase in 2013:
"Pretty Good, Number #1" by Matthew Amster-Burton. A highly entertaining book about eating and food in Tokyo. Now all I want to do is go to Tokyo and eat my way around it.
 
HalfPint December 30, 2013
Best thing I bought in 2013:
Ghost chili salt and Chai Mix, both purchased at Oaktown Spice Shop.
 
louisez December 30, 2013
A spare bowl for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer
 
Greenstuff December 30, 2013
Cheese paper. It's pricey, but as my favorite French cheesemonger admonishes, "Pas de plastique!"
 
creamtea December 29, 2013
My Chamba clay pot; I love it so much for cooking beans and stews I bought a second for beans only. A little Chef'n manual can opener--easy to use and reliable.
My Viking hand mixer (prize from Food52!) And my Cuisinart food processor.
 
Amandadp December 29, 2013
I bought sherry vinegar for the first time and I love it! Particularly in tomato sauces. Spaghetti and meatballs has never been so good!
 
Bevi January 8, 2014
I love sherry vinegar as well. Also, I fell in love with flavored olive oils - blood orange topping the list.
 
Mo3b December 28, 2013
Started using TCHO unsweetened chocolate in recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate. Amazing! Also, replaced my old blender with Waring Pro blender. I make almond nut milk and it is so creamy and smooth now.
 
Mo3b December 28, 2013
And my Pillivuyt cake plate from Provisions. Stays on my counter everyday. I use it for cakes, cookies, fruit, etc. Luv it!
 
allans December 28, 2013
I finally acquired a rice cooker and use it almost daily. Really helps on busy nights
 
allans December 28, 2013
I finally acquired a rice cooker and use it almost daily. Really helps on busy nights
 
Greenstuff December 28, 2013
Thanks to a Hotline discussion, I got a bottle of Huilerie Beaujolaise Vinaigre De Citron, a very pricey but wonderful lemon vinegar from France. We just used the last drops on some lentils.
 
susan G. December 27, 2013
A really clever and truly useful utensil, the Joseph Joseph Uni-tool actually does all the things it promises -- spatula with drainage, spoon and scraper, serrated edge. Only next time I'll buy it close to home.
And on the stove front, a bit of efficiency. Cook a pound of dried beans in the pressure cooker, pack them in 'can sized' containers (1 1/2 cups), then make a soup, a spread, a chili, a salad... or whatever, and I have meals and leftovers. Sounds (relatively) simple, and it is, and I am actually doing it!
 

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148 December 27, 2013
My favorite product this year was going back to 'muscle' and thoughtfulness for food.
Making Sauerkraut with just cabbage, salt and a jar. Taking some time to use cheaper choice cuts of steak and properly salt them and rest them for turning budget items to better items. Planing menus to use left overs effectively. Using the bread machine to mix and rise the bread instead of baking it...for pizza dough and keeping that ready to use for using up left overs.

I seem to have to plenty of 'products' and food toys, I'm not even using my rice cooker anymore. I'm rediscovering old ways of doing things and it's pretty good.

 
ZombieCupcake December 27, 2013
-Bananas and nut butter (I have ate over a dozen bananas and one jar a peanut/almond butter ever week this year)
-Spatula my mother bought me for my Birthday
-The kitchen aid mixer that she sent to my house by accident, but bless her let me keep. Only have had it for two weeks and been used at least 4 times per week. (life changing)
 
catalinalacruz December 27, 2013
Cupcake, now that you are in love with your KitchenAid mixer, check out the spatula paddle. It replaces the standard mixing blade and does away with having to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. The blade has its own spatula edge that continually scrapes the bowl with every rotation. I love it!
 
cmcdonn December 26, 2013
Bamix immersion blender
Berlinger mandoline
Van Leeuwen Artisan ice cream (Ginger, green tea, and gianduija)
 
luvcookbooks December 26, 2013
love van leeuwen ice cream
 
Meaghan F. December 26, 2013
So many good ideas from these replies!! My new pantry staple from 2013 is definitely Pasta Valente brand dried pastas; sold in my average suburban grocery but not sure about overall availability. Nothing but veggie powders and wheat flour in it, but it tastes just like regular pasta and cooks in 3 minutes. Plus, crazy good for you: over 25% iron per serving and lots of vitamins. Every time I get someone to try it, they end up a convert.
 
luvcookbooks December 26, 2013
Pierino, thanks! I have a Korean house guest visiting in the next few weeks and she will be going grocery shopping w me at the Korean grocery store. The book might be just the right thing to prepare me!
 
pierino December 26, 2013
Just be careful around Choi and Chang and Yang Soon. These guys are anything but traditional. They are all Korean but their cooking is seen through the lens of the American culture they grew up with. They are a trio of total nuts.
 
catalinalacruz December 26, 2013
Organic coconut oil! It has become my main cooking oil, making crispier cookies and more tender cake. In baking, for every one cup of oil or butter called for, I substitute 1 cup LESS 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. In baking recipes, the only time it has not worked as a substitution is in shortbread, probably because butter is the standout flavor associated with shortbread. It adds a subtle aroma and flavor to Asian dishes, like stir-fries and curries. Also great for making popcorn, rice, and cooking fish fillets and shrimp. I'm never without it.
 
LE B. January 15, 2014
cruz, i would think that coconut oil from Indian markets-would be a lot cheaper than from Whole Foods, but you say 'organic'. why? have you tried the Indian product? thx.
 
M.McAwesome December 26, 2013
Pantry staple: Better than Bullion is the best thing I have picked up. It comes in a few different flavors and so far I have tried the chicken and the beef. Both have been good even in very simple soups. Of course this doesn't completely replace from scratch stock or broth but it is great to keep around for those sudden soup cravings!
 
Rkelly3042 December 26, 2013
Love everything I bought from Provisions, but my favorite is the little wood box grater. I use it daily. Love my Veg Trug for growing veggies and herbs just a few feet from the kitchen....and, well my best friend my iPad mini... Wait is that the UPS man I hear now???
 
Timothy S. December 26, 2013
A classic Mirro-Matic pressure cooker.
A rotisserie cage for grilling.
An enameled cast iron grill pan.
Staples:
Buckwheat flour
Diced tomatoes with chilies
Homemade infused olive oils
$0.99 16 oz Lime juice concentrate from Dollar Tree
 
karen Y. December 26, 2013
Flavored olive oils - especially lemon and basil
 
luvcookbooks December 26, 2013
Mostarda di uva and Violet Mustard, available from Zingerman's

Haven't used yet, but candied citron in half lb piece, available in Little Italy in the Bronx, and candied angelica, available on line-- if you are really interested, I will trace back and tell you.

Smoked paprika, both hot and sweet.

All kinds of rice, including Vietnamese sticky rice. Got the special pot and straw cone to steam it at the Asian store, across the street from Poe Cottage in the Bronx.
Vietnamese coffee single cup brewing system. $3.50 or so, also available at the Asian grocery store, and no moving parts, makes a deep rich cup of coffee. If you put condensed milk at the bottom, you have sort of the same coffee you get in Vietnamese restaurants.

Appliances. I am a Luddite but inherited my mom's KitchenAid this year (so sad). Noticed it has a dough hook. I have never used a stand mixer but want to make good use of this one. Suggestions and thoughts welcome.

Buy Red Pack diced tomatoes. Wish I had a big enough garden to bottle my own tomatoes.

Chocolate for quick dessert: like Scharffenberger's Nibby Bar, luv Nunu's chocolates, like Russell Stover (sorry, folks), love Mondel's on the Upper West Side even though they don't make nougat (try the lemon and orange creams and you will be happy, also their thin mints).

Trader Joe's frozen single serving vegetarian entrees for my son the big eater. Also their California dried apricots for my older brother. Trader Joe's dried pasta.

Whole Foods in Yonkers carries a great local grain producer, Cayuga, that makes flour, pasta and breads.

Breads from Hot Bread Kitchen, Orwasher's, and the Finnish Rye place that sells at greenmarkets.

This is just too local, have to stop. Happy New Year! What will you be cooking this year? That's another Hotline ?, isn't it?
 
pierino December 26, 2013
Meg, okay here's a list from Eater National https://snt145.mail.live.com/default.aspx?id=64855&rru=inbox#n=1702053182&rru=inbox&fid=1&pdir=NextPage&paid=3a0bbdeb-68e7-11e3-b03a-002264c2496c&pad=2013-12-19T19%3A53%3A34.590Z&pidx=2&mid=5a341dd1-6835-11e3-9492-00237de4a79e&fv=1

With regard to the books I mentioned "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking" is really more of a memoir of family told through food. There are a few recipes toward the back but not many.

The Roy Choi book is absolutely outrageous. Even more so than Chang's "Momofuku". He has a recipe using Shun Ramyun, the Korean style ramen that sells for under $2.00 a package. These Korean-American guys will take you places you never thought you would go. They've broadened the horizon.
 
LE B. January 15, 2014
ah man, you are sooo lucky w/ that candied citron. I've only ever seen crummy stuff and that vendor is closed now anyway. i candy my own orange and lemon, but AFAIK, we ain't got no citron in boston. i really want it for one thing- Panforte. I can buy a really excellent house made panforte in boston but boy it is expensive, and i am capable of eating way more of it than others :-} Meg, have you ever found retail feuilletee?
 
pierino December 25, 2013
Well, I finely got around to buying a Zojirushi "fuzzy logic" rice cooker which works pretty well. I also bought a giant a... 13 cup KitchenAid food processor for those days when I have to cook for 20 or more people.
Pantry; Limerock walnut butter from Paso Robles. I bought it locally but you can order it through Zingermans.

Out of category but worth mentioning: books! L.A. SON by Roy Choi. This is a memoir with recipes. It's the L.A. I remember and love. Also another memoir told through food, MASTERING THE ART OF SOVIET COOKING by Anya von Bremzen.
 
luvcookbooks December 26, 2013
Pierino, happy to get your cookbook recommendations, afraid to go to the store without a list. :))
 
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