Prices vary, but you can find a good one for less than $50, widely available
VIC FIRTH MAPLE ROLLING PIN
Everyone should have a good, basic rolling pin in the kitchen. These are solid rock maple and are fitted with stainless steel ball bearings for smooth, effortless strokes.
26 to $50, http://www.vicfirthgourmet.com
DIGITAL PROBE THERMOMETER
Whether you're watching a roast in the oven or boiling sugar to a specific temperature on the stovetop, a digital probe thermometer makes it easy to stay on top of what you're cooking in the kitchen.
$20 to $30, widely available
This set of four hand-printed block prints of Asian vegetables from Berkeley artist Rigel Stuhmiller is inspired by the fresh-picked produce of the world-famous Chino Ranch near San Diego. She also has a lovely 2013 farmers market calendar featuring watercolor illustrations of 75 fruits and vegetables.
$160 for the set of four; $15 for the calendar. Go to http://www.etsy.com and search for drenculture, Stuhmiller's store.
LA CHAMBA BLACK CLAY COMAL
Perfect for heating tortillas, it also makes terrific quesadillas. Give one side of the tortilla a light spritz of olive oil, then lay it on the comal and add the fillings. It's also great for roasting chiles or tomatillos. Because of its concave shape, it's best used on gas stoves.
$29.95 for 12-inch comal and $39.95 for 13-inch comal, $39.95 at Toque Blanche in Half Moon Bay, (650) 726-2898, http://www.mytoque.com
BOWL FROM HEATH CERAMICS
These wide, shallow bowls and platters are used to serve each course at Farmshop in Brentwood. They come from Heath, the Sausalito company that has a store in Los Angeles. Chef Jeff Cerciello favors luscious colors like coral and a blue that showed off the food and felt very special.
Heath Ceramics, 7525 Beverly Blvd. (between Sierra Bonita and Gardner), Los Angeles, (323) 965 0800, http://www.heathceramics.com
JAPANESE WOK FROM HITACHIYA
These steel woks, hand-hammered in Yokohama, heat up fast, have a silky finish and clean up well too.
$58 to $102 at Hitachiya, Rolling Hills Plaza, 2509 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance, (310) 534-3136, http://www.hitachiya.com
DOUBLE-LID DONABE RICE COOKER