Christmas season is upon us, and the obsessing about presents is underway. I've seen about 15 gift guides, some food-specific, some not, with ideas for the food lover, the wannabe foodie, the horrible cook, the cool-chef-dad, the apron-clad mom, and everyone in between.
This isn't really a gift guide -- it's really just a haphazardly-compiled list of things I'd love to have. But all the same, here goes:
This is the first cookbook from Cleveland chef Michael Symon. I haven't seen the book, but the one recipe I made from it -- tomato blue cheese soup -- was hands down the best tomato soup I've ever had. If the rest of the book has recipes like that one, I'm sold.
By now you've all heard me wax poetic about David Chang's New York restaurant empire, Momofuku. The food at these restaurants -- and I've been to three of them -- is some of the best I've had in New York, and you know it's good when, in a city with as cut-throat a restaurant culture as Manhattan, the man's managed to open up five joints in no time, all of which frequently have lines at the door. This cookbook (which I've peeked at several times) brings Chang's mastery of flavor into the home. His proportions are spot-on, and he makes deliciousness from such simple ingredients. I made his soba with scallion dressing, and what looks like a big pile of scallions with brown sauce all over them turns out to be a phenomenal bowl of noodles. I'm hungry for more.
This is the first in a series of what will be four cookbooks, one for each time of year. The books are written by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton, who are as skilled in the art of food photography as they are at developing damn good recipes. I've peeked in these cookbooks at BN, and they're just gorgeous. The book evokes that feeling I get toward the end of a lazy summer weekend afternoon, when the sun is setting over my neighborhood and the air is cooling off, and the most important thing I have to do is sip a good glass of wine.
The second volume, devoted to fall and winter. I haven't seen it yet, but it's gotten rave reviews.
A gift certificate to Cowgirl Creamery
Cowgirl Creamery is my favorite cheese shop here in DC (also in SF). It has a large selection and the most helpful staff, and I always find something new. Notable discoveries include Tomme de Bordeaux, Soccotenere (a creamy semi-soft cheese with truffles), and Cowgirl's own fromage blanc with herbs.
I love the rustic, almost gritty texture of this chocolate. It's not smooth like the well-tempered bars we've all come to love, but it's got real texture, and it tastes fresh and light and almost fruity.
I also want a roasting pan, but I'm still not sure what kind. If you've got a recommendation for a good one, leave it in the comments.
That's all that's on my list. But even higher on my list is being able to spend the holidays with the people I love most. That, I can already check off my list.