I'm here to help. I've got some super organic presents and some incredibly delicious treats just loaded with more fattening stuff than any one person should ingest in a year (hey, it's the holidays, so sue me!). I've got kitchen gadgets and books and really interesting foods. I have products made from sustainable wood and products made from glass. And, best of all, I have gifts you can just buy and have sent so you can avoid the holiday lines.
So stay tuned, because this week is going to be a fun ride!
Let's start with presents for the almost vegetarian cook (and baker!).
- Mauviel copper beating bowl and stand. If I wanted to really indulge a baker, this is what I would get. Light, beautiful and made from copper, this unlined French bowl reacts with egg whites to make them more stable. In other words, it is what bakers dream of when they dream of the lightest, highest, most ethereal egg whites ever.
- Ikea Burken jars. Every cook I know has far too many spices. And every cook I know yearns for some way to finally, definitively, get those spice organized. Ta dum! Ikea to the rescue with these sweetly simple, generously sized, and reasonably-priced jars. G'wan, get some for yourself.
- Reusable Produce Bag Set. You get ten reusable unbleached cotton produce bags, two ExtraLife disks and twenty Evert-fresh produce storage bags for keeping produce fresh, longer. Good for the environment; good for you. Everybody wins.
- igourmet.com Chefs Choice Gift Basket. You got your Wildcrafted Balinese Long Pepper, you got your Pimenton de la Vera (Spanish smoked paprika), you got your Black Truffle Olive Oil and Balsamic Glaze from Modena and . . . well, what you got here is a cook's dream packed in a shiny mixing bowl. And they deliver (woo hoo!)
- igourmet.com Bakers Delight Gift Basket. Hey, if they like baking better than cooking, no worries. Because igourmet fills a bowl for bakers, too. In this one you can find everything from Belgian Callebaut Bittersweet Baking Chocolate and Scharffen Berger Natural Cocoa Powder to Madagascar Vanilla Beans, China Star Anise, and even a Culinary Torch to caramelize sugar on your Crème Brûlée. (They also have incredible cheeses, if you prefer that. I've written about them, here.)
- Zingerman’s Tale of Two Oils Gift Box. Containing two Italian oils - the first a gentle, light, golden oil ready to soothe a weary brow and the second a spicy, bold oil that flirts shamelessly - and an enormous Paesano Bread to try them on, if you dare! And did I say deliver? Yep! They do!
- Zingerman's Artisan Market Gift Box. While we're shopping Zingerman's we might as well grab another goodie; this time a box just crammed full of a treat-size Sourcream Coffeecake, great Farm Bread and tarragon-spiked goat cheese ready to schmear on top, a heavenly-scented bag of freshly roasted whole bean coffee, and, oh now I'm hungry!
- The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes. Published by Houghton Mifflin, there is more than 100 vegetable recipes, twice that number of dessert recipes, recipes for salsas and sauces and crackers and soups, information on vegetables and baking and, it is all too wonderful, I just can't go on.
- Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads. And now for the baker in the family, this William Morrow book (we have another great cookbook by this publisher tomorrow) is a collection of wonderful, wonderful Mediterranean breads. What might take an almost vegetarian by surprise is that there are some breads in here that call for meat. I'd recommend you tell your gift recipient to just skip those and head straight for, oh, say a nice focaccia. And I'd tell them to call you just as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- How I Learned to Cook. Published by Bloomsbury USA, we've got 40 chefs and 40 tales of mishaps and mistakes in the kitchen. After a hard night of cooking, there is nothing more than any home chef wants than to curl up with a nice book about, what else, cooking!
Vegetarian recipe: Turkish Flatbreads with Spinach and Cheese
For the dough
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and shaping
1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt or sea salt
For the filling
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
21/2 cups finely shredded spinach (about 3 1/2 ounces)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Gradually add just over 1/3 cup warm water to the well, bringing in the flour as you go along. Knead to make a rough ball of dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough for about 2 to 3 minutes more to make a smooth, firm dough.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Cover with a wet but not dripping kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the cheese and parsley.
Sprinkle a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out a ball of dough to a circle about 12 inches in diameter, lightly sprinkling with flour every now and then. Sprinkle a quarter of the spinach over half the dough. Cover the spinach with a quarter of the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the fillings to make a half circle. Prepare the remaining boreks in the same way. Heat a nonstick griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Transfer the boreks, one or two at a time, to the hot griddle or pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly crisp and golden. Transfer to a serving plate and brush with melted butter. Serve immediately.
Vegetarian Emeril Lagasse recipe
Exactly one week today, I have a great treat for the almost vegetarian cook . . . a vegetarian recipe from The Food Network chef: Emeril Lagasse. So stay tuned . . .