12 Gift Ideas to Inspire Creativity in the Kitchen

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It’s well known that a diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is good for you in many ways. Fortunately for American food, culinarians have moved beyond canned vegetables and white loaf bread, discovering creative techniques to enhance recipes with nourishing ingredients.

Here are a few gift suggestions that may inspire your loved ones to be more creative in the kitchen:

  • A jelly roll pan (a metal sheet pan with a lip) works well for roasting vegetables. Roast extra to add to other dishes later, such as salads and burritos.
  • Spiralizer vegetable slicers turn fruits and vegetables into noodles. The texture created lends them to being utilized in ways you never thought of, such as thin spirals of zucchini being tossed with pesto and other fresh vegetables and served as a salad.
  • CorningWare type baking dishes with lids are great for steaming vegetables in the microwave. veggiesJust add some water to fresh or frozen vegetables, cook for a few minutes until desired texture, drain and then toss with olive oil or butter and seasoning.
  • A wok allows cooks to quickly stir-fry fresh or frozen vegetables and meat, top with stir-fry sauce, and serve over a grain, such as rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
  • Freshly ground pepper from a mill adds fresh flavor to salads and to cooked dishes.
  • Using a mandoline slicer is a quick way to evenly slice fresh produce into pieces that cook evenly and look great.
  • Every cook needs good sharp knives. A chef’s knife, paring knife, and bread knife are the basics. Along with a knife sharpener.
  • Purchasing 3 different colored cutting boards allows you to designate one for poultry, one for meat, and one for fruits and vegetables to help avoid cross-contamination.
  • A cool apron protects clothing while enhancing your self-image.
  • A personal smoothie blender allows you to make a smoothie in the same container as you drink from while on-the-go.
  • Thermometers (oven, refrigerator and freezer, food) reduce the risk of food borne illness by ensuring appropriate storage, cooking and food temperatures.
  • A fruit and vegetable scrubber brush is an important tool for clean produce.

veggiesThis recipe utilizes a scrub brush for cleaning and a mandolin or knife for slicing vegetables on a cutting board to be roasted on a jelly roll pan:

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Most any type of vegetable may be roasted, with the exception of veggies containing a high amount of water, like lettuce and cucumber.

Here are a few combination suggestions:

  • Carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, and shallots– when done, top with a squeeze of orange and orange zest.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots – fun tossed with ground cumin.
  • Asparagus is great roasted, then topped with lemon zest.
  • Bell pepper and onions – a flavorful addition to sandwiches and many entrées.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cut chosen vegetables into uniform pieces.
  3. In a bowl, toss vegetables in enough vegetable oil to lightly coat, along with your seasoning of choice.
  4. Spread onto baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Avoid overcrowding.
  5. Bake until golden brown and fork-tender, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The amount of time depends on the vegetable chosen.