Seed starting kit

This set of three plastic trays comes with 30 soil pods for foolproof germinating of vegetable seeds. I used it to start bean, basil, tomato, and catnip plants in my kitchen windowsill. Transplanting is easy — just place the pod with the sprout into your garden soil or planting container. — MF

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Fantastic frother

Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of cold matcha lattes, and I’m using a terrific milk frother to make them: the Nespresso Aeroccino ($71). I pour in about 4 ounces of cold unsweetened almond milk and add a teaspoon of matcha powder, then press the button for 2 seconds (a quick press will automatically heat the milk, which my wife does for cappuccinos). In about 20 seconds, I have a delicious frothy latte. The frother is nearly silent and very easy to clean, because the stirrer is magnetic and pops right off the stem. — MF

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Faster way to make yogurt

If you don’t boil milk before using it to make yogurt, it will end up runny. But it takes time to boil the milk, then let it cool down before adding the starter. I recently learned that when using ultrapasteurized (or ultra high temperature) milk instead of pasteurized milk, you don’t need to boil the milk first. I’ve been using my Instant Pot lately to make yogurt. I just pour in a half-gallon of ultrapasteurized milk, stir in a tablespoon of yogurt, secure the lid, and press the “yogurt” button. Eight hours later, it’s ready! — MF

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Soft butter anytime

Hands-down my favorite purchase this year was this $19 butter crock. It feels like a luxury to always have soft butter available. It works better in cooler climates. I keep mine on the kitchen island away from the stove area and add an ice cube to the water every few days. — CD

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Favorite Bay Area grocery delivery service

There are plenty of grocery delivery services to choose from, but if you live in the Bay Area, I recommend Good Eggs. I’m never disappointed with the fruits and vegetables like I have been with Whole Foods in the past, or when ordering from Instacart. But mostly, I love discovering new local offerings, like delicious handmade pasta from Oakland or beautiful dried kitchen bouquets from Sonoma. Good Eggs deliveries always feels like a gift to myself. New customers can get $25 off their first order with promo code WELCOME25. — CD

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Juicy chicken recipe

This simple French Chicken in a Pot recipe made the juiciest, most flavorful chicken I’ve ever cooked. It took me less than 2 hours to prep and make. I also had most of the ingredients on hand so all I had to buy was the chicken and some of the veggies which totaled around $10. As someone in the comments said, “It’s idiot-proof.” — CD

KitchenClaudia Dawson
Small deep fryer

I don’t deep fry food every day, but when I’m in the mood for some sweet potatoes fried in coconut or avocado oil, I am glad I have this $25 Fry Daddy deep fryer. It’s small so it doesn’t need a lot of oil and it heats up quickly. I keep the oil in the fryer and put the lid on once it has cooled down and use the same oil the next time I use it. — MF

KitchenClaudia Dawson