D'Artagnan Cassoulet Kit; $68.76
With the dollar still so weak, you might not be able to send good old Dad to France , but this hearty casserole of garlicky sausages, gamey duck confit, meaty pork belly, and heirloom French beans is the next best thing. According to celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, traditional foods-dishes that take time to cook-are making a comeback. For the aspiring gourmand, this kit from the nation's leading purveyor of high-end, all-natural, and organic meats hits the spot regardless of the season. Kit serves 6 to 8 people and includes: 6 legs of duck confit, duck demi-glace, duck fat, duck and Armagnac sausages, garlic sausage, ventrèche (French pancetta), and Haricot Tarbais beans.
Leeners Deluxe Cheese Kit; $89.95
Whether Dad only has an hour to stretch and pull some fresh mozzarella or a few weeks to craft delicious aged hard cheeses like Cheddar and Gouda , this kit-one of the most comprehensive available-has everything he could need. With it, he will be able to follow recipes for more than 30 different types of cheese using store-bought milk in the home kitchen and without a lot of expensive equipment and extras. Kit includes: Rennet tablets, mesophilic starter, thermophilic starter, mild lipase powder, calcium chloride, citric acid, flaked salt, fine cheesecloth, cheese press, digital thermometer, cheese wax, waxing brush, recipes, and Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making book.
Ball Home Canning Basics Kit; $48.88
If you thought Dad liked to brag about his grilling skills, just wait until you see him showing off his homemade condiments. From salsa and relish to tomato sauce and chutney, this canning basics kit comes with all the equipment he needs to start preserving and pickling. Throw in a personal tour of a local green market to help him stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Kit includes: Boiling water canner with jar rack, 6-pint glass preserving jars, 6 lids with bands, magnetic lid lifter, jar lifter, head space and bubble remover tool, jar funnel, and Ball's Guide to Preserving.
Don't let Dad be intimidated by the industrial appearance of this starter kit for aspiring brew maestros. Just know he might need to clear out some space in the garage. Other requirements: a large boiling pot, bottles, and, perhaps, an enthusiastic lab partner. First project: a straw-colored True Brew Continental Light with full malt body and hop aroma. Perfect if he enjoys Heineken Light. A variety of ingredient kits are available should he graduate to other styles of beer. Kit includes: 6.5-gallon fermentor, bottling bucket with spigot, bottle filler, thermometer, rack and fill kit, hydrometer, capper, bottlebrush, sanitizer, ingredient kit (malt extract, hop pellets, and other powdered starter ingredients), and The True Brew Handbook.
Cameron Stovetop Smoker Kit; $59.95
Smoking is a healthy way to keep proteins and vegetables moist and tender while infusing them with flavor. Dad can start with his favorite type of meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables-from whole sides of salmon and duck breasts to earthy portobello mushrooms and asparagus-and, with the help of this kit, transform these simple fresh ingredients into what would otherwise be costly gourmet delicacies. The smoker can be used on the stove, grill, or even campfire. Kit includes: Heavy-gauge stainless-steel stovetop smoker, four kinds of wood chips (oak, hickory, cherry, alder), and a 32-page recipe book.
To bake up a crusty loaf of San Francisco's famously rustic sourdough bread, Dad doesn't need a trip to the Bay Area, a fancy oven, or even a 4 a.m. wake-up call-he just needs the right tools and a little bit of patience. Sourdough Breads has assembled all of the necessary equipment, including the authentic sourdough starter made with natural wild yeast and lactobacillus from the San Francisco hills. Detailed instructions and unlimited e-mail support while baking set this kit apart. Kit includes: Starter, wire-bail jar, stirrer, beaker, cotton towel, bowl scraper, dough divider, dough-rising bucket, razor knife, cornmeal shaker, instant-read thermometer, kitchen timer, heavy-duty bread bags, instruction booklet, and recipes.
KitchenAid Pasta Culinary Kit; $149.99
So, your dad thinks he's the next Mario Batali? This culinary kit from KitchenAid will have him turning out fresh pasta-sheets of eggy lasagna, perfectly uniform spinach fettuccine-like a pro in no time. The included pasta roller and fettuccine cutter attach to any KitchenAid stand mixer, which will handle all the turning, making Dad's job-simply feeding squares of dough through the attachments-a cinch. Kit includes: Pasta roller attachment, fettuccine cutter attachment, pasta server, slotted spoon, egg pasta mix, and spinach pasta mix.
Weston Original Jerky Kit; $59.99
Give Dad something he can really sink his teeth into: Homemade jerky is an economical and healthy choice. With the 1-lb. capacity jerky gun, equipped with an easy-squeeze trigger, and three-tier drying rack, Dad will be making his own delicious, nutritious jerky-beef, turkey, or wild game-in batches big enough to share. The attachments give him lots of options, from the rounder snack sticks (think gourmet Slim Jims) to the flatter jerky strips. Kit includes: Original Jerky Gun, Jr., 4 stainless-steel attachments (1/2" single snack stick, 1/2" dual snack stick, 1/8" x 3/4" single jerky strip, 1/8" x 3/4" dual jerky strip), funnel and stomper, seasoning kit, 3-tier nonstick oven drying rack with drying tray, and an easy-cleaning brush set.
Pacific Rim Sushi-Making Kit; $29.99
Buy Dad dinner, and he'll eat for one night; but give him a kit that lets him make sushi, and he might never need to order take-out again. This kit comes with all the basics-from nori (roasted seaweed) to prepared wasabi. Dad need only supply fresh fish and vegetables before he starts rolling. A helpful pamphlet provides information and tips. Two more comprehensive kits, including items such as a Hangiri Wood Bowl, Rice Paddle, Nigiri Sushi Press, and cookbook, are also available on the site. Kit includes: Sushi rice, nori, sushi ginger, prepared wasabi, soy sauce, rice vinegar, white sesame seeds, and a sushi mat.
Pizza is practically a matter of civic pride across the United States , but not everyone has access to a local Ray's, Sally's, or Gino's. If Dad is serious about making his own pies, he should have nothing but the best equipment. This kit comes with professional-grade tools, including a pizza stone that evenly distributes heat and draws moisture out of the dough, ensuring a crispy crust. Forno Bravo has also put together a series of gourmet kits to provide Dad with the right flour and tomatoes, the perfect olive oil, and authentic Sicilian oregano. Kit includes: 13 5/8"-round, 3/4"-thick professional-grade pizza stone, 12" x 14" wooden pizza peel, 10" x 8" steel pizza peel, pizza cutter, and serving tray.
With the included spices and a few store-bought peppers, Dad can get right down to the science of custom-blending his own sauces-from mild or subtly sweet to massively fruity or flamingly hot. A pamphlet features a pepper glossary, recipes, and tips so that he can select the right fresh peppers, mix up his own pepper base, and season his concoctions to taste before bottling them all up. His chili, chicken wings, and guac will never be the same. Kit includes: 6 spices (allspice, black cumin, curry powder, achiote, Jamaican jerk, ginger), 3 bottles, instructions with pepper glossary, recipes, and handling and safety tips.
Dad can easily stir up-and, more importantly, take credit for-his very own ice cream social thanks to this culinary kit. The KitchenAid ice cream-maker attachment (mixer not included) chills in the freezer overnight, so all Dad has to do is whip up the batter-using the provided vanilla mix or a recipe of his choice-and pour it into the freeze bowl. Just 20 to 30 minutes of hands-free churning later, he can scoop out and enjoy soft-serve ice cream drizzled with the included chocolate sauce. Kit includes: Ice cream-maker attachment for stand mixer, ice cream scoop, vanilla ice cream mix, and two packets of Hershey's chocolate sauce.
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