William Sonoma Cooking at Home and Bon Appétit Desserts
These two huge books deliver big bang for your bucks. The first, authored by Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams Sonoma, and Kristine Kidd, a former food editor for Bon Appétit, includes 1000 recipes and is priced at $34.95 (Weldon Owen Publishers). The other, written by former Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild, boasts 600 delectable confections and costs $40 (Andrews McMeel Publishing). As a bonus you get a year’s subscription to the magazine with your purchase of the Bon Appétit book. Both are available in bookstores and at Amazon.com.
Glass Tumblers from The Conran Shop
These extra thin, sleek tumblers would make a great present for those who love to entertain. I have found multiple uses for them. They’re great as chic glasses or as cups for desserts like sundaes. I also use them as vases. I fill them with flowers and arrange several on my holiday table. They are $4 each. You can find them at www.conranusa.com. (search for Gio clear glass tumblers) and at The Conran Shop in ABC Carpet and Home in New York (on the lower level). At the New York shop they even have these glasses attractively packaged in one of their boxes.
A real extravagance, this sea salt scented with bits of black truffle, packs a lot of flavor. My colleague, Elinor Klivans, told me about it, and now I’m hooked. Sprinkle it on popcorn or scrambled eggs. Season polenta with it, or rub it on a good steak. This small bottle would be a great stocking stuffer. It’s $28 at Williams Sonoma (www.williams-sonoma.com) and also available at other cookware and food stores.
A Round of Stilton Garnished with Dried Fruits and Nuts
This is a “make-it-yourself” gift. Buy a round of English Stilton about 1 inch high at your favorite cheese shop. Then place it on a wicker tray and garnish with some pine or other Christmas greenery. Surround the wheel with dried almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and dried apricots, cherries, raisins, and prunes. Wrap in cellophane and tie with ribbons. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to give it to the lucky recipient. A 1-inch round of Stilton purchased at Whole Foods cost me $48.