If you happen to be into chick flicks, which I am, then maybe you love the Christmas movie The Holiday as much as me? (Unfortunately I have to watch it alone, because it doesn't meet my fiancé's manly standards.) In one scene in particular, Kate Winslet offers to whip up some "Christmas fettuccine" for Jack Black, who is in need of some much-needed cheer.
For much of the year, I have to limit my special purchases at the farmers' market to a jar of honey here and a bag of local nuts there. But this time of year, I go wild. I love giving locally-made foods to friends and family for the holidays. Not only does it support my favorite farmers and artisan producers, but I get to share a little piece of my corner of the globe with people who live far away.
Shopping for new cooks is a real pleasure. There's so much excitement and optimism to work with! You could probably rattle off a list of must-haves in the kitchen (our Essentials posts do just that) but gifts for new cooks require a little more finesse. They should be practical, yet inspirational, something to not only outfit them for successful cooking, but also get them excited about doing it! In this gift guide we offer suggestions for essential and long-lasting tools that'll make cooking that much easier (a good chef's knife, a cast-iron skillet), as well as a few amped up basics (a jaw-dropping butcher block, a hand-carved wooden spoon) and specialty ingredients to entice them (high-quality olive oil and finishing salts).
There are many reasons why having a quick holiday meal in your back pocket, so to speak, is handy this time of year. There are the folks who stop by unannounced, but more often than not, it's simply a crazy time of year and sometimes the simpler the meal, the better.
Ok, your Christmas tree will probably do better decked out in lights than it would on your plate, but pine needles are indeed edible and they can be a really fun ingredient to play with this time of year. Pine needles have a minty, fresh, and yes, pine-like flavor that make an intriguing component to everything from a roast to a round of cocktails. Have you ever experimented with this ingredient?
People who like kombucha really like kombucha! We probably all have at least one friend who can't seem to get through a day without downing a bottle. This holiday season, give them the gift that truly keeps on giving: a kit to brew batch after batch of their very own kombucha.
I suspect that I won't need to do much convincing with this recipe. I also suspect that your guests won't need much convincing to try a slice. It's cake. Made with eggnog. Glazed with sweet boozy icing. An extra pinch of nutmeg and a special baking trick with a whisk are all you need to put this holiday treat right over the top.
For holiday decorating, turn your attention to your fruit bowl – with a bit of string, a knife, and perhaps a handful of cloves, you can make colorful and fragrant ornaments, garlands, and candles. We even found a festive use for leftover citrus peels!
How are you packaging your food gifts this year? We've offered a few suggestions to wrap edible gifts, including using wax paper or paper ice cream containers. But for a really pretty (and practical!) presentation, wrap those gifts up Furoshiki-style.