Kate updates her Holiday Gift Picks, presents appetizer recipes and glamorous garnishes from her new book Great Bar Food at Home; reviews a new cookbook about the Pacific Northwest; and picks easy Food Gifts you can make. Finish your holiday prep with Kate's Holiday Recipe Headquarters and What to Eat This Month.
by Kate Heyhoe
Check out new gift reviews every few days at Kate's Gift Picks, and you can find gifts by price at our Holiday Gift Guide. Plus, we're targeting green, eco-friendly gifts at the New Green Basics site. So shop the smart way, and leave the digital driving to us. (Come back often: we add new products throughout the month.)
From Martha Stewart Living Radio to local stations all across North America, I've been talking up Great Bar Food at Home, my newest book. Reviewers agree: This is a luscious gift for the holidays. It makes a perfect present for your hosts, and tucks easily into carry-on luggage. But see for yourself, at Great Bar Food, where you'll find outtakes and sample recipes from each section of cocktail, wine and beer bites:
Make your holiday dishes look as festive as the season-almost effortlessly. Whether you're serving a few guests or just yourself, eye appeal is the magic ingredient that makes all food taste better. Consider these tips for easy garnishes...
Hand-made food gifts bring joy to everyone, near and far. Start with elegant Golden Caramels (adorned with real gold leaf), luscious Fruit Vinegar Gifts, or to guarantee big, wet, sloppy kisses, whip up a batch of Holiday Dog Biscuits. For special tips on packaging food gifts, and more gift-able recipes, read my guide on Gifts to Make.
"Pacific Northwest" is the new "California cuisine." At the risk of sounding pretentious, I mean this in the most complimentary way. And after flipping through Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining, you'll see what I mean.
Decades ago, the term "California cuisine" evolved out of a love for the state's bountiful freshness, from seafood to produce to cheeses and meats, and of course, to wines. Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower and other vocal luminaries stood at the epicenter of the movement, which quickly seeped into the national consciousness like red wine on a crisp white tablecloth.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest quietly nurtured its own legion of culinary crafts men and women. And while it's never gotten the same degree of glamorous coverage, the region rises and shines just as brilliantly. In fact, part of its characteristic charm lies in its lower-key demeanor, inviting aficionados to take an active part in unearthing its delectably hidden secrets.
Fortunately, Braiden Rex-Johnson knows just where to find them. Like the layers of an onion, she peels back surfaces to reveal the special little goodies that flourish between the award-winning wines, pristine salmon, and perfect berries (the products which register most readily with non-Pacific Northwesterners).
Rex-Johnson has long chronicled the area's food and drink resources as journalist and author, penning a couple of books on Seattle's Pike Place Market. In Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining, she introduces us to, as the subtitle aptly reflects, "The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Colombia." And with every tale and taste, you just know she's been dying to share these particular details with the world for a very long time.
If you've ever been to these places, rekindle your experiences with Lavender Biscuits (British Columbia), Idaho Lamb Medallions with Plum Brandy Jam, Hazelnut-Crusted Chicken in Cherry-Wine Sauce (Washington), and the cornucopia of clams, seafood, goat cheese, nuts, breads and regional wines that fill the local larders. Or, if you're a stranger to these parts, this is a mighty compelling invitation to get acquainted with all things Pacific-Northwest. Skip the trip to California this year, and head north, though the lush images, personal stories, perfect wines, and regional foods that make this lovely new book as much a diner's as it is an armchair traveler's delight.
Holiday food takes the cake, and the spotlight, this month.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created October 2007
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