So what's the only gift better than that? One that lasts a very short time because it's edible.
Speaking of gifts and cookbooks, in case I don't get around to writing more about them anytime soon, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love ($18.15) by New York Times columnist Melissa Clark and Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home ($17.50) by Nigella Lawson are wonderful—especially if you like reading about food as much as cooking and eating it. They both make me laugh out loud each time I pick them up. Nigella's oversized chocolate chip cookies received rave reviews (you know we love big cookies around here), and Melissa's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croutons is awesome.
I realize I'm a little late suggesting Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving in time for this holiday season, but it seems like things have been even crazier than usual around here lately. And besides, you know I rarely do anything on time—although I did actually manage to get my garlic in the ground on schedule this year for a change. Woohoo!
Anyway, Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving (hardcover; 192 pages; full color; cover price $25, available for $16.50 at amazon) is the latest book from national kitchenware retailer Sur La Table (Can you believe I've never been in one of their stores? I'm so deprived.) and the fourteenth cookbook for co-author Diane Morgan. Previous Sur La Table titles include Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients, Recipes (hardcover; 352 pages; full color; cover price $35; currently in the bargain section at amazon for $14.00) and Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts that Will Make You a Better Cook! $10.20 (paperback; 384 pages), a perfect little stocking stuffer or host/hostess gift, especially for a budding cook.
One of my favorite food books of the year is the beautiful, full color Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers ($23.10) by Sur La Table and Janet Fletcher. Anybody who has a CSA subscription or shops at the farmers' market will probably love it. The farmer profiles are so inspiring—just keep a tissue handy. I think I've ended up in happy tears over every single one.
What makes Gifts Cooks Love especially nice is that it offers more than just mouthwatering, year round gifts for cooks of every level. The gorgeous photos are full of crafty packaging and presentation ideas, and each recipe includes suggestions for gift-giving tips, as well as what to include on the gift card. For example, the Apricot-Bourbon Mustard gift card could say:
This Apricot-Bourbon Mustard was made on [give date] and can be enjoyed for up to 3 months, kept in the refrigerator. It makes a delightful sandwich spread and a great dip for hard or soft-baked pretzels, or use it as a condiment for cured meats and smoked or grilled sausages.
And the gift tips are: Tie each jar of mustard with raffia or ribbon and attach a gift card. To turn this into a gift basket, consider including a bag of twisted hard pretzels, or smoked sausages, cured meats, crackers, and a jar of cornichons.
The gift card for the Backyard BBQ Rub (from the No Cook Gifts chapter) even offers a recipe for grilled pork tenderloin. The last chapter of the book is called Make-a Gift Kits and is full of more clever ideas.
Making Cinnamon Coated Graham Crackers with my favorite rolling pin.
So far I've made the Rustic Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers and the Cinnamon Coated Graham Crackers (which you can turn into a S'Mores Kit). Although they didn't exactly come out picture perfect on the first try, they tasted great—and I didn't really want to share anyway. Next time I'm going to run the cracker dough through my pasta machine to make things easier.
Other recipes I have marked include Meyer Lemon Curd, Smoky Tomato Ketchup, Limoncello from the Drink Gifts chapter (who knew it was so easy to make?), Home Churned Lemon Herb Butter, Mini Apricot and Crystallized Ginger Banana Quick Breads, Eight Hour Butter Braised Onions (made in a slow cooker), and the Seven-Month Vanilla Extract, Bollywood Coconut Curry Popcorn Seasoning, and Moroccan Spice Blend from the No Cook Gifts chapter. There are even instructions for curing and smoking your own bacon and making salmon gravlax.
Sound good? Thanks to the publisher, I'm giving away two copies of Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving to Farmgirl Fare readers—and they can be shipped anywhere! To enter, simply leave a comment in this post, along with your e-mail address, telling us something about a homemade edible gift—your favorite one to make, the best one you've ever received, the weirdest one you've been given—anything. If you've written about a homemade edible gift on your own blog, you're welcome to include a link in your comment, and if you'd like to share a recipe with us, please do so!
**You must include your e-mail address in your comment in order to win.** (Or let me know if it's listed on your Blogger profile.) It won't be used for anything except to contact you if you're a winner. To avoid robot spammers (or whatever they are), you can leave it like this: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com. You can enter through next Monday, December 20th, and then I'll pick two random winners. One entry per person please. I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours actually appears. I can't wait to read your comments!
Other book reviews on Farmgirl Fare:
The Little Big Book of Comfort Food (readers talk pie!—and a Honey Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe from the book)
America's Best BBQ (I share my all natural barbecue sauce recipe and readers talk about their favorite 'cue)
Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire (readers share Laundromat stories)
Flyaway: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings (readers share their animal rescue stories)
Keeping the Feast (and how food helped readers through tough times)
The Laws of Harmony (readers share favorite food novels)
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (and what readers eat when alone)
Local Breads (and my favorite Four Hour Parisian Daily Baguette Recipe)
Cooking with Shelburne Farms (& Lamb Burgers w/ Red Pepper Olive Relish)
Comfort Food (readers share favorite comfort food stories & recipes)
The Cornbread Gospels (readers share cornbread memories & recipes)
The Artist's Palate (a beautiful cookbook for food and art lovers)
Falling Cloudberries (Greek Leg of Lamb & readers talk food/travel)
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (my favorite gardening book)
© FarmgirlFare.com, the always in need of more bookshelves foodie farm blog where I was sent review copies of the above mentioned books from the publishers. I only accept review copies with the understanding that I'm under no obligation to write about them (unless I'm part of an official book tour, which will be clear in my review post), and I only recommend titles that I really like and think you will, too.