Live Well
December 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for the Foodies in Your Life

As is my annual tradition, here’s a list of gift ideas for the foodies in your life. I’ve never been a fan of kitchen gadgets and yet every year I end up falling prey to clever marketing tactics and purchasing something that promises to make my life in the kitchen faster and better (last year it was the Instapot). Invariably, my shiny, new gadget never gets used. And, while I briefly considered asking for an airfryer this year, I quickly decided against it, knowing that it would end up in a cupboard in the basement, as did so many other gadgets. Here are a few other ideas:

  • I like to make HOMEMADE GIFTS. Some of my favorite ideas are: chocolate truffles, pain d’epices (French spice cake) or other tea cakes, or cookies.
  • One of my go-to ideas is to give a selection of foodie MOVIES OR BOOKS. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites:
    • Big Night (1996)
    • Chef (2014)
    • Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
    • Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
    • Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
    • The Lunchbox (2013)
    • Chocolate (2000)
    • Delicious! By Ruth Reichl
    • The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
    • The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    • The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
    • The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch
  • I also like to get FOOD PACKAGES from Farm to People (www.farmtopeople.com) or Goldbelly (www.goldbelly.com). Alternatively, you can create your own by purchasing a selection of cheeses, jams, and crackers from your local farmers market.
  • Of course, one of the season’s NEW COOKBOOKS is always a great idea. Here are some of the ones I have my eyes on:
    • Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi – While I love all the Ottolenghi cookbooks, I find some of his recipes can be quite involved. I’m looking forward to this book which focuses on fewer ingredients, and recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less.
    • Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan – Because I love everything Dorie Greenspan.
    • Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman – If this book is as good as Chrissy Teigen is funny, then it’s sure to be a hit!
    • Now & Again: Go to Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen
    • You and I Eat the Same by Chris Ying
  • As I mentioned before, I am trying to stay away from kitchen gimmicks but these gadgets seem pretty neat and the best thing is they are ECO-FRIENDLY AND SUSTAINABLE:
    • Avocado Huggers by Food Huggers
    • Bee’s Wrap Assorted 3 Pack, Eco Friendly Reusable Food Wraps
    • Stainless steel (or silicone, or bamboo) re-usable straws
  • For the person who has it all and more, you can always MAKE A DONATION in someone’s name. Here are a few worthwhile charities:
    • Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. www.feedingamerica.org
    • Share Our Strength (SOS) is a national organization that works hard to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. www.shareourstrength.org
    • City Harvest takes meals that would otherwise go to waste and distributes them to the needy of the five boroughs. www.cityharvest.org
    • Farmer Veteran Coalition cultivates a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. www.farmvetco.org
    • Wholesome Wave empowers under-served consumers to make better food choices by increasing affordable access to healthy produce. www.wholesomewave.org

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Cook Well

Sweet Potato Gratin

One of my favorite winter dishes is Potato Gratin. I’ve started
making it with sweet potatoes and it’s just as delicious!

Serves 6

Butter, for pan
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 garlic clove, grated
Pinch of grated nutmeg
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8” thick slices
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish.
  2. 2. In a small pot, bring heavy cream, rosemary, sage, garlic and nutmeg to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
  3. 3. Arrange one layer of potatoes in the baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, 1/3 of heavy cream mixture, and 1/3 of Gruyere cheese. Repeat for another two layers, making sure that there is enough Gruyere to cover the top.
  4. 4. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until top is browned* and bubbling and potatoes are fully cooked (you can check that the potatoes are cooked by inserting a knife and testing that the potatoes are soft).
  5. 5. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

* If the top browns too quickly, cover the dish with foil and keep cooking until potatoes are soft.