1 – Local Farmers Markets Goodies
This is my favorite gift on my list! Buying local is so important because you support local farmers, cooks, and artisans. Here is SoCal, we are lucky enough to have many different markets to choose from, with a variety of local deliciousness – but even if you live in a cold part of the country, there are always local options you can seek out. Here are some resources to help you find your local farmers market. Fill a basket with some huge pomelos (and other citrus fruits that are in season right now), pomegranates, dried figs, honey, olive oil, jam, apple butter, cheese, and the list goes on and on. It doesn’t get much better than to take a bite of a perfectly ripe piece of fruit.
2 – Local Bookstores for Cookbooks
I love pouring over cookbooks, reading stories, and getting inspiration for recipes. Bookstores are few and far between these days, but there are still some great ones out there if you seek them out. They will only continue to be there if we support them! One of my favorite bookstores in LA is Arcana: Books On the Arts. This place is a gem, with so many special and rare books on the arts, which also include an enticing collection of unique cookbooks. The owners are passionate about their well curated collection. Check them out.
3 – Das Cookbook and Spaetzle Maker
German cooking….California style – that’s the description on the cover of this fusion cookbook authored by Hans Rockenwagner, LA chef/restauranteur . There are many wonderful classic German recipes in this book: pretzels, spaetzle, schnitzel, rosti, and lots of German desserts. But there are also so many fresh salads, hashes, and soups, as well as unique creations like quinoa benedict and shrimp grilled cheese. Any foodie would love this book – throw in a spaetzle maker and you will make someone very happy.
4 – Food Lab
J. Kenji Lopez is the food scientist behind SeriousEats.com, one of my favorite websites. He used to work at Cooks Illustrated and takes that same approach of testing recipes out – except that he takes it much further and he cooks more interesting things. This book covers basic things like foolproof soft-boiled eggs, but also delves into the depths of sausage making. At nearly a thousand pages, it’s a compendium that deserves a spot on your cookbook shelf (or in my case, shelves – I know, I have a problem).
5 – Lucky Peach: 101 Easy Asian Recipes
The self-proclaimed “inauthentic” cookbook from the editors of Lucky Peach (David Chang’s offbeat food magazine) easily won me over. I’ll be making adobo, red roast pork, korean grilled chicken, moo shu vegetables, miso clam chowder, slow cooker Pho, sichuan pork ragu, and egg custard tarts regularly. There are so many great recipes in this book that it sort makes me want to cry. Forget takeout food, instead takeout this book for someone you care about.
6 – Jewels from My Grove: Persimmons, Kumquats & Blood Oranges
This is a timely book since all of those fruits are just coming into season. This super special, independent book is from a farmer in Fallbrook, CA. A few examples of the refreshing recipes are Tunisian Chicken Wings with Blood Oranges, Cool Persimmon Soup, Persimmon Chipotle Risotto with Scallops, and Kumquat Ginger Rugelach. The pictures are stunning and the recipes offer a twist on traditional dishes.
7 – Poffertjes
Puffer what? Poffertjes are Dutch mini pancakes topped with a giant slab of salted butter (yes!) and powdered sugar. They are freakin delicious. I had them a few months ago at a food truck called Sweet Amsterdam. I do not have a sweet tooth, but I LOVE butter, and along with the earthiness of the buckwheat flour, I was hooked. What makes these pancakes different from regular pancakes? They are made with a mix of AP flour and buckwheat flour, they contain yeast, and they are cooked in a dimpled pan (similar to abelskiver pan, but not as deep). After hunting all over the internet, I found the nonstick poffertjes pan from Fantes Kitchen Market (which has lots of other cool stuff as well). There are many recipes out there in cyberspace, but I bought the mix on Amazon so that I would have something to compare it too. Apparently, most people in Amsterdam use the box mix! I’ll be working on a recipe that I’ll put on the blog in the future. This gift is for the foodie that has everything – except a poffertjes pan!
8 – Molecular Gastronomy “Made Easy” Starter Kit
Here’s another awesome gift. This kit takes the mystery out of molecular gastronomy with simple ingredients and tools for making foams, “caviar”, etc. Get this for someone you know who loves science and food. Would be a great gift for older kids too.
9 – Spiralizer
These spiralizers are all the rage now. I resisted until I recently had a delectable dish made with roasted zucchini noodles with a tahini sauce and butternut squash and I became a believer. I’m not giving up pasta anytime soon, but I think this has so much potential for some special dishes. You can make your veggies look pretty, and you can be your kids’ hero by making curly oven fries. This was simple enough for my kids to use. This makes a great gift for someone you know, or for yourself. Think about it. You deserve it.
10 – Tasty Food Science Bakeology Game
For the wee foodies in your life, this Bakeology game looks like so much fun. “Explore the chemistry of baking with six delicious recipes.” It’s educational and the kids can eat what they make. Super cool.
*Still need more ideas: Check out my Holiday Gift Guide from last year!
*Please note that I do not get paid for my opinions and I have not received any of these products for free. These opinions are all mine and I mean every word of it.