For the Holidays

I Love Trader Joe'sAll sorts of intriguing books and events have come to my attention lately.

If you need a gift for a Trader Joe’s fan, try the “I Love Trader Joe’s Around the World Cookbook.” Yes, we all know that much of what you find at Trader Joe’s is ready to heat and serve (or just serve), but there are tons of other dishes you can create with their raw ingredients, and chances are the price is oh-so-right.  These recipes do indeed span the globe, and I always think that is one of TJ’s strengths, they pay careful attention to ethnic food trends, so you can always take the latest trendy flavors home with you.

Speaking of convenience, there’s an inexpensive new cookbook out with recipes based on the Mediterranean bar at your supermarket (hint: it makes good use of the brines and vinaigrettes the antipasti come in). Tara Brennan, author of “Scoop It, Chop It, Cook It,” was at Wegmansearlier this month.  I just could not post in time, but they do have an excellent Mediterranean bar there, so they could be your go-to place if you haunt the “MedBar,” as she calls it. She is VP of a company that makes many of the items found there, so she’s the expert. (Looks like amazon is not really selling the book themselves, but look for copies near the MedBar at Wegmans.)

When I wrote about cookbooks for In The Kitchen last December, I included “Shinin’ Times at The Fort,” with recipes from the late Sam Arnold’s landmark restaurant near Denver, Colorado, a replica of the 1883 Bent’s Fort.  Mr. Arnold also hosted a long-running public television series (1968-1983) about the foods of the West, “Sam Arnold’s Frying Pans West,” which has now been memorialized in a cookbook/DVD set (with 10 episodes on the DVD) that is perfect for anyone who enjoys edible history lessons.

If you are interested in attending a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, check out Tre Piani, and remember they really live it up (with you) on New Year’s Eve, too.

More gifty items –

Donna and Company has a selection of holiday chocolates ready for your favorite chocoholic. Don’t miss out on Cranberry Orange, Vanilla Honey, Pumpkin Caramel, Egg Nog, and Tiramasu. I buy mine at Whole Foods, but you’ll also find them at Olsson’s Fine Foods on Palmer Square.

Don’t miss the December 3 open house at the newly renovated Taste of Crete in Hillsborough, a chance to try Ester’s Psarakis’s excellent products and plan your holiday gift baskets.

Ahhh, elements, how do I love thee?  If you’re counting the ways, give a gift card, and upgrade it with a special gift bag of goodies hand-selected by Chef Scott Anderson and Sommelier Justin Kuruvilla.

CHC Kindle editionAnother great gift – Canal House Cooking has reprinted their charter set of Volumes Nos. 1, 2, and 3, signed them, and enclosed them in a slip case.  If you’re really late to the party, you can also get Volumes Nos. 4, 5, and 6, similarly packaged.  I keep giving gift subscriptions to my friends, they are just irresistible – and the new Volume No. 7 that just arrived in my mailbox, full of Italian holiday and winter recipes – oh boy!!

And I just noticed that there is a mini-version of their Italian series available on the Kindle for just $3.82 (see left), a great way to sample this wonderful series, although if I do say so, it’s worth having the paper volumes because they are beautifully designed and produced. I have a thing for nice paper and bindings…

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