CHEFS Catalog Gift Card Giveaway — Happy New Year!

I have a little New Year’s gift for you. To help you get your 2011 kitchen-related goals off to a good start, I’m giving away a $25 CHEFS Catalog gift card. Yay! Your gift will also include a little jar of good jam, chosen grab-bag style.

To enter this random drawing, leave a comment below telling me at least one new thing you’d like to do in the kitchen in 2011. We’ve finally fixed the stupid panel that kept falling off the front of the dishwasher and installed a wall-mounted fire extinguisher, but here are ten other items on my own kitchen list, in no particular order:

  1. Get a new gas range. (Ours is so psychotic! It fluctuates by more than 125 degrees at any setting.)
  2. Install new overhead lighting so I can tell the difference between my thumb and the fruit I’m cutting.
  3. Waste less food. Keep composting.
  4. Get back to working one weekly shift in the kitchen at the St. Vincent free dining room in San Rafael.
  5. Paint the cabinets red.
  6. Thoroughly explore the Joy of Cooking. (Thanks, mom, for getting me what I wanted for Christmas!)
  7. Get a chinois sieve.
  8. Find some great new podcasts to enjoy while jamming. (I particularly like The Moth, Selected Shorts, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!, but I’d love to branch out if you have other suggestions.)
  9. Look for a good solution to the problem of plastic kitchen garbage bags.
  10. Get an energy-efficient, stand-alone freezer for the basement.

I’ll pick a winner on January 9. When you comment, please be sure I know how to reach you. I want you to win, but if I can’t figure out how to contact you, I’ll draw again. Include an email address in your comment if necessary.

Good luck!

We have a winner: Congratulations to Anduin! Here’s a little summary of the wonderful things everyone is planning to do this year. Thanks, all, for entering the giveaway!

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53 comments to CHEFS Catalog Gift Card Giveaway — Happy New Year!

  • The Mom

    I want to master cheese making and making my own pasta.

  • caroline

    i want to do so many things! #1: stop using added pectin in jams!
    but cheese and pasta making sounds really good too… I also want to start cooking with more foraged ingredients, like nettles and mushrooms.
    Happy 2011!

  • Emskyrooney

    We just got a stove-top smoker so we'd like to learn to use it (we've mastered the charcoal smoker already). We also recently purchased a chest freezer for the basement- my goal is to make 2 of every casserole/lasagna/etc. that I make from now on and keep one on stand-by for nights when we both work late…

  • kaela

    I want to find better balance in the kitchen. I get sort of obsessed with one thing (jam, anyone?) and do it over & over & over.. and then we don't have fresh bread for 2 months.

    A friend gave me Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my birthday in September – and I have yet to crack it! On my list to explore that, and cook from it, in the New Year.

    Here's to a year of lots of great fun, cooking & conversation! Happy New Year!

    (oh, and p.s. A chest freezer WILL change your life. Just sayin.)

  • evonne

    i want to get a better setup for canning and cheesemaking…. and get my little goat bred so i can milk her… that counts as a kitchen goal yes??

  • Anonymous

    Floors. We still have vinyl floors and that has to change. On the cooking front, I'd like to continue to explore vegetarian cooking this year. Rosemary who can't remember passwords so always has to be anonymous.

  • Heloise

    My kitchen goals for 2011 -
    Eat good home-prepared food and write at the same time = learn the crockpot (a favorite of other writer friends) and bring in a personal chef once a week.

    Reduce reduce reduce plastic…so I'm very interested in hearing if they have a moisture proof alternative to plastic kitchen bags.

    I also love The Moth. Discovered it one night on NPR and got so excited I posted it on fb. hahaha

  • VAinWI

    Expand the "U" in my kitchen, there's just not enough room for 2 to cook at the same time.

    Install bulk storage for flour, etc.

    Painting the cabinets red? I love it. :)

  • congamama2

    First things first! Clean my pantry ( :
    I also hope to put in a new cooktop on the stove.
    Go thru cupboards and get rid of all those things that have been lurking in the back corners, unused, for a year or more!
    Start meal planning!!!

  • congamama2

    woops! my e mail is

  • DeliaDalton

    I want to try and make pasta, master jam and find those round labels for the jar tops (I can't find those little devils anywhere!)


    Organization! I just moved into a new apartment and well our kitchen is very small. I would love to get some storage solution pieces for my cabinets and something to create storage above the refrigerator.

  • Heloise

    Oh, one more. Learn to cook with herbs!

  • Gini

    I'm going to clean out all the cupboards of items we don't use but somehow feel are necessary, so I can store my huge new pressure canner appropriately. :)

  • Christy Joy

    I really want to learn how to make my own pasta – especially ravioli! There are SO many options for the filling! :) :)

  • The Morton-Jones Family

    I want to recreate our favorite takeout items into easy homemade recipes!

    And I want to prepare a bunch of meals in advance and freeze them for when we don't have the time, or the will, to cook!

  • Serina

    I want to get a steam juicer to be able to have concentrated fruit juices and broths that can be home-canned without the pulp.

  • Anonymous

    I'd like to get my hands more in the dirt and my head away from this screen. I'd like to figure out how to maximize my limited patio and window space to create more growth with what I already have.

    hatchetgirl at hotmail dot com.

  • meg

    Make jelly! I've yet to try! Make more pasta. Eat less meat.

  • Kate

    I want to tackle homemade pasta! I also want to expand my garden :)

  • CallieK

    Re-cover my kitchen chairs!About 10 years ago, when I inherited my grandma's vintage kitchen set, I took them apart and recovered the backs and seat with a lovely print pattern. You can no longer recognize that pattern- it's time for a new design!

    Also I would like to continue to replace the plastic storage containers with something better- I've weaned myself off plastic wrap a few years ago, we resuse the few plastic bags that come into the house but the hard plastic containers are difficult to give up.

  • Donna

    So many things….We really want to put up a lot of tomatoes this year 200 pounds if we can get them. I want to use my pressure canner, I will admit it does intimidate me a bit and like many others commented make my own pasta.

    If I am lucky to be picked you can leave a comment on my site:)

  • Ellen

    I'd like to get my pantry organized. I have so many different jars shoved into every available space that I can never find anything when I need it! I know there's a jar of pickled canteloupe in there somewhere…but where?!
    ez at acmeplant dot com

  • Outi

    Great to find your jammin' blog. I have been canning since I was 19,
    that is 43 years!
    I listen to books on CD free from the public library, you can have them for 3 weeks , just like a regular book.

  • Julia

    I can't tell you how much I want to learn and do this year! The kitchen needs some major work, and money won't allow, so I'll just let that one sit. I'd like to be more dedicated and serious, all the while still having just as much fun as I always had.

  • Marisa

    Oh gosh, there's so much I'd like to do my kitchen. Really, the whole thing needs to be ripped out and replaced (45 years is a long time for cabinets and countertops to serve), but in the meantime, I'd really like bleach the counters, sand and oil my strip of butcher block counter and replace the floors.

  • puttingupwiththeturnbulls

    Firstly, we'd like to try coming up with more of our own original preserving recipes. But, we'd also love to try making our own sausages, cheese-making is on the list, as well as making beer.
    We definitely plan to forage more this summer and get ready to try the 100 mile challenge in the fall.

  • Two by the Sea

    I recently retired from a winery here on the central coast. 2011 will bring many changes. Back to the basics of making more herb and spice rubs as well as jams and pickles. I intend to volunteer for a few worthy organizations here including Hart, a cat shelter. I want to pull out cookbooks that I have been collecting for so many years and cook one thing a week from a different one.
    And lastly to quit cutting out recipes and sticking them in a folder that I never look at!

  • TZel

    I want to redesign my recipes to include less fat and sugar.
    bridgestranslation at yahoo dot com

  • devotedmomof7

    I want to learn how to make gnocchi…several kinds. I am going to try to make some with leftover butternut squash soup this week! Then, pumpkin gnocchi sounds too good, as well.

    I also want to waste less groceries through better planning. Trying to reinvent leftovers (like the butternut squash soup, for example) will be a big goal.

  • Margaret

    Paint the kitchen red – and add some complimenting wallpaper in the breakfast nook. I'd love a new stove, since we don't have an oven handle anymore and the burners have no power.

  • Jonna Ball

    My kitchen goals include a new dishwasher and over-sink light, as well as homemade pasta! And more homemade bread. And a bountiful kitchen garden. Hopefully my "experiment" with meal planning will turn into a bonafide habit, too.

  • Stephanie

    That's easy: my kitchen goal for 2011 is to try making fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut. I've been too afraid of the smells but I want the benefits of all of the good bacteria!

  • anduin

    Thanks for the giveaway Shae! I'm just discovering the world of dumplings, so for my 2011 kitchen goal I'd like to continue to learn to make these and other homemade pasta-type things. Also, homemade bread to put my jams on.

    For your listening pleasure, I recommend Radio Lab from WNYC and of course, This American Life. Both can be streamed for free.

    Thanks! anduink [at] yahoo [dot] com

  • Random Recycling

    Love your goals for the new year.

    On my list for 2011 is to try and make homemade yogurt.

    Emily @RandomRecycling

  • RuthAnn

    honestly, I'd settle for remembering to wipe the stove off every night! But I'd liek to get my sourdough starter going again and bake at least one loaf of bread every week.


  • Liza-bean

    Those are great goals! For me, in 2011:
    1) Perfect my pierogi skills…to continuously impress my Polish boyfriend and his family…
    2) Convince said boyfriend that onions and garlic are flavors to embrace, not dislike (what a wierdo!)
    3) Delve into the wonderful world of fruit-infused liquor.
    4) Use up the 5lbs of red and green m&ms I bought for christmas projects and never used…

    For your listening pleasure, I suggest you check out A Way With Words: Great show!

    Thanks! moore[dot]eliza@gmail[dot]com

  • wisegoat acres

    My goal is to can tomato sauce this year.

  • Livia

    I'm very close to buying a house – my very first ever. And so I need to put together a whole new kitchen.

    I've been putting off acquiring grown up pots (thick and heavy) until I had someone bigger to store them.

    I've put off owning a kettle and teapots until I had more storage space.

    So many things.

  • Jane

    I love the color red. I would love a gas red range for sure….not going to happen.

    My goals for 2011, this is sad. But I don't know yet. I have some simple things like work more a making some yummy liquors, make my own tortillas ans so on. I've done all of it so it's more getting back into it. With canning I want to do more pickle type being fruits, and veggies. Also meals I have a pressure canner and I need to use it more. I only use it maybe once a month sometimes more.Oh of course I want to make sausages again. I guess there are a few things!

  • Brooke

    I want to make my own pasta, I am in love with ravioli and want to try it at least once! I also want to cook more with my kids, eat more veggies and compost, compost compost! Keep up the great work.

  • Anonymous

    There is so much I'd like to do in the kitchen in 2011.

    Increase my number of canning projects & get more creative–ESPECIALLY with pickles & jams! I only made one type of jam last year and regretted it, especially come holiday time.
    Acquire a hand-cranked blender & hand-cranked pasta maker so we can be more energy efficient, save money (on both pasta and electricity), and enjoy more homemade foods.
    Focus more on edible wild plants.
    Learn more about Italian cooking so I can be just like my Nana. :)
    Downsize! I have too many crappy pots, pans, plates, bowls, & silverware that I've acquired as gifts from relatives, hand-me-downs from former roommates, etc. I live with one other person… there's no need for this much stuff.
    Only eat homemade sweets (with the exception of ice cream).

    I'm sure there are plenty more, but thanks for inspiring me to actually write out some goals. Thanks for always having great giveaways and wonderful blog posts!


  • Michelle

    1) Paint the walls and trim (I'm deciding between two color options)

    2) Install a faucet water filter

    3) Make one of your jams!

    Wishing you another productive year of canning in 2011!

  • Karla Holm Baker

    One thing I would like to do in our kitchen is put up a backsplash. We were going to install tile to cover the whole area between the counter and cabinets, so there are lines and measurements scribbled all over the walls. But we have lived here since 2006…and frankly, at this point, I'd settle for a 1×4 and some paint.
    The other thing I'd like to do is repaint the ceiling…where my stovetop espresso machine exploded and impaled itself in the sheet rock overhead. It is an easy fix, but we just always seem to find something else to do with our time. I'm tired of looking at it though.


    I want to learn how to do more things in my smoker- salmon and a turkey are at the top of my list. I also want to get a handle on the unorganized mess that is my spice rack. -Meg

  • The Cebulas

    HA! My entire kitchen needs to be gutted and remodeled! When we bought the house a year ago, it was with an agreement that the kitchen would be redone. House was built in the 60's, so was the kitchen ;) While we might not be able to do it all this year, I might start with a new stove & refrigerator. A bigger stand alone freezer for the basement would be great too. I finally started baking bread, so paste would be nice next. And maybe learn the art of canning jams & jellies without pectin, and more canning.

  • Denise | Chez Danisse

    Good question. In 2011 I'd like to try many new things in my kitchen.
    A few that come to mind:
    -Make Jook
    -Bake a Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
    -Make Gingered Chickpeas and Tomatoes
    Also, Chris wants to try to home brew some beer, so that just might happen.

  • 4given1

    I want to learn to use my pressure canner this year. And learn to cook different foods.

    4given1 (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Diana

    2011 is a promising year for me in the kitchen. My ten ambitions for the year…
    1. Yeast bread baking is a must this year. My goal is to make one loaf of bread a month, a different one each month. In January I am going to try cinnamon swirl bread. This was inspired by
    2. Jamming fruit is something I am comfortable with but canning vegetables, soup, and other foods is not. This year my goal is to get some of these food items in jars.
    3. We gave homemade beer and wine a try in 2010 and we decided to do the same in 2011.
    4. I need to score a couple of butchering knives this year–three to be exact (a 6" boning, a cleaver and a 7" fillet knife)
    5. My pantry is a mess so I will re-organize it.
    6. We have made a commitment to eat on $100 a week.
    7. We learned to identify wild mushrooms, now I want to harvest seaweed. Of course it is not just about harvesting what is in the wild it is also about learning how to cook with it.
    8. I keep seeing fruit rot on trees around my neighborhood. I am making a commitment to knock on doors this year and ask to glen unwanted produce. "Hi, I am your neighbor …I noticed the fruit on your tree, could I help myself to any unwanted fruit?" Ok, Ok I am working on it.
    9. I too have wanted to volunteer at a food kitchen but have been to chicken to do it. This year is the year.
    10. All my favorite recipes are on single sheets of paper (printed from the web, clipped from magazines or notes I have made). Last year I downloaded software to create my own archive but never got around to do any data entry. This year I will catalogue my recipes by uploading them as I make them (rather than sitting one day and doing all the work at once).
    Thank you for the give-away and the inspiration to get organized in my kitchen. Good luck to all with your goals.

    Oh I love listening to when I am in the kitchen. All podcasts are free on their website.

  • Anonymous

    My list is so long but here are few:

    –I could kick myself for selling my grandmother's Chinois. It was an item I didn't know what to do with and didn't use it, now I want one!
    –Jelly bag
    –Would love to have draws in kitchen to hold my pots and pans which would make life more easy reaching for one.
    –Wall oven
    –Organizing my spice draw with new glass jars is next on my list.

    Too bad we couldn't all get together and teach other what we desire to learn. I could teach pasta and ravioli making.


  • Kristyn

    I would like to do a lot in my kitchen/things related to my kitchen.

    1. Grow a vegetable garden this year so that I can eat fresh, homegrown foods.
    2. Get more canning done. I started last year and got a few jams, crushed tomatoes, and applesauce done, but I'd like to see more in my pantry.
    3. Reorganize my kitchen and organize everything.
    4. Learn some new recipes and organize my recipe book… it's a mess!
    5. Learn to cook with different spices and flavorings.

  • The Gastronomic Goddess

    This is kind of a loaded question, because I have quite a lot I'd like to do in my kitchen this year… :)

    1. Need to get a magnetic wall spice jar organization thing going on. I need to free up the shelf space currently being taking up by loads of jars.

    2. Figure out how to rig up my oven racks so that anything I bake doesn't bake tilted/unevenly due to uneven (old house) floor; we rent, so it's not feasible or possible to rip out the floor. It's something that makes me pull my hair out…

    3. Get some of those bags that you can grow tomatoes, etc. out of upside down! I want to can tomatoes this year, and having my own supply would be VASTLY cheaper. There ain't much yard space, living in the city, to do this (or sun).

    4. Become an "old hand" at making pie crusts from scratch. I have been scared/too lazy to do such before, but I think this is the year of the pie, and I want to whipping them out like it ain't no thang!

    5. Try canning pickles this year! Got the hang of jam this past year, but felt too overwhelmed to try pickling as well. But I'm hitting those cukes like white on rice as soon as they are in season/local!

    6. Be more proactive with cooking. To be frugal, and because they taste better, I'm trying to get the hang of soaking beans and such ahead of time so that I can freeze them and then throw them in the pot when making soup, and not have to rely on store-bought canned beans, etc.

    7. BUY AN EXTRA FREEZER! I love canning, but some things are just easier/taste fresher when simply frozen. I've gotten like Nigella and taking to freezing any little odd and end that I can, and using later, and I don't have enough space.

    8. Buying a butcher block table for my kitchen – I simply do not have enough counter space, and I am in desperate need.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! Happy New Year :)

  • Artemis

    1. Sort out storage in my new kitchen, which has hardly any cupboards.

    2. Get a harvest table for double-use for food preparation.

    3. MORE CANNING (as if I didn't do enough this year).

    Happy New Year!