There are a bajillion possibilities, but I will concentrate on two classes of knives: gateway knives and step up knives in the gyuto style. The gateway knife is under $100 and will whet your appetite for Japanese knives. You could live quite happily with it forever, or you may want to get a better quality knife—the step up knife. Step up knives generally range from $200-$300, (you can go as high as $1000, but you're no longer paying for cutting performance; you're paying for art.). Note that many knife makers have several lines of knives at different price points with different steels and quality.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It just lists a few of the more common recommendations.
"So I opted for the awesomeness of this Japanese steel you were talking about. I mean that Tojiro DP gyuto is cheap! ... What? I can't just sharpen it with a pull through sharpener? I can damage the blade with the steel that came with my Henckels set? I need "special" sharpening stones? How much are we talking here? MORE THAN THE KNIFE COSTS? WHY DID I LISTEN TO YOU?!?!?!?!"
When Jen and I first got married, I registered for Wusthof knives because, of course, they were so much superior to Henckels. I knew there were better knives in the world, especially from Japan, but they seemed to cost my firstborn, and I didn't really know how to buy them in the first place, so I was happy with my selection. Soon after (but not soon enough to return the Wusthofs) the Japanese invaded a Bed Bath and Beyond near you with a little help from Alton Brown. I had a strong case of Shun-lust, but being the practical, thrifty person that I am, I made do.
Fast forward *cough* years, and Jen says something to the effect of, "maybe we should get another chef's knife so that when we're both needing it, we don't have to keep waiting." Naturally I knew that this was my chance to acquire a Japanese knife. So a week of underslept nights later, I purchased my first Japanese knife. (Review to come.)
I will be documenting what I found in a series of posts, so that I don't have to do it again, and perhaps it will help you, dear reader, acquire a Japanese instrument of cutting joy more quickly than I did.
This is Jen's new go-to snack and meal course. There are tons of variations on this, but this one is ours. If eating the garnish doesn't seem appealing, it didn't to me either, but this salad really is quite good. It also holds up in the fridge very well.
Video of me prep chefing the veggies.
We got this recipe from Jen's mom who found it in a cookbook in her library, but has never been able to find it again. They are surprisingly good considering they have evil sucralose in them.
Many people are intimidated by guacamole. Here's the Heymanator, sure-fire method of getting awesome guacamole every time.
Tom Woods is one of my favorite speakers (and authors). He's a libertarian historian with a PhD from Columbia (undergrad at Harvard) if that's possible to believe. He has an interest in economics and is especially good at explaining the implications of economics on historical events. He is very entertaining. If you're only going to listen to one of his speeches, the one embedded below is the one (just because of the first two stories).
Download: Tom Woods 33 Questions Speech
If you like what you hear, then I'd suggest listening to all of his speeches on Mises.org (free RSS feed). Once you've exhausted those, you should consider signing up for his Liberty Classroom where you can here additional lectures series by him and other like minded professionals.
This little concoction is the product of Jen's experimentation with Thai curry paste. It's quite flavorful and with a light, fresh taste, and unusual vegetable composition.
This is an adaptation of Alton Brown's Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt Recipe. You can use store bought yogurt, but that's expensive, so I make my own.
Everyone loves chili. Here's my original take on the stuff. I now make my own chili powder according to Alton Brown's Homemade Chili Powder recipe. This chili is mean mean not because it's hot, but because it's so good you can never go back. The recipe is very flexible and can give you anything from a non spicy stew all the way to inferno hot.