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Gift Guide: Top-Ten Holiday Food Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

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Here’s a gift guide to making the holidays happier with delicious food and drink:

1.Gift Certificate to “Cooking Sessions” at The North Fork Table & Inn.

First reported in Edible East End, (http://www.edibleeastend.com/features/the-north-fork-table-inn-the-cooking-sessions-january-edition/) Two of the featured chefs in this Examiner’s book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, Chef Gerry Hayden and chef Kevin Penner will ahem, mix or blend, their love of music and their passion for cooking. Key ingredients are local, sustainable food – and fun!

“We are music and ingredient fanatics, so we decided to blend the two to echo the improvisational jazz scene of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Our plan is to pick a theme for each session and riff on it,” chef Kevin wrote.

Eight Sessions are scheduled for Saturday afternoons in January and February at the North Fork Table and Inn. http://www.nofoti.com

First Cooking Session kicks off January 4, with Browder’s Birds’ Holly Browder and a lively discussion of what came first: the chicken or the egg! http://browdersbirds.com

Classes will start at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and run for about one and a half hours. Cost per class is $90 or $300 for all four in January. Call the restaurant at 631.765.0177 for more information and to register.

2. An autographed copy of “The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbookhttp://tiny.cc/g9ihbw

The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook celebrates the distinctive cuisine of Long Island and the Hamptons.

Brimming with food stories from the region’s best locavore food chefs and the growers who inspire their homegrown menus, more than 100 tempting recipes, and stunning photographs of the iconic dishes, authentic & sustainable ingredients, and the majestic land and seascapes that are the romantic hallmarks of the area’s food culture.

Featuring profiles on Long Island’s best pasture-to-plate and fin-to-fork chefs who, with their dedication to connecting to the land, to using locally grown or just-caught & seasonal food, produce menus that boast delicious homegrown flavors.

Oh, and what would really be nice: A gift certificate to each of the outstanding restaurants featured in Homegrown Long Island. Think of it like a Passport to seasons of spectacular dining. Santa can’t lose with this enduring gift. Here are just some of the featured restaurants from the Homegrown Cookbook:

18 Bay, 1770 House, Almond, Amarelle Restaurant, The American Hotel, CoolFish, Cuvee Bistro & Bar, The Frisky Oyster, Grey Horse Tavern, Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Kitchen A Bistro, Kitchen A Trattoria, The Lake House, The Living Room, Loaves & Fishes, Mitch & Toni's American Bistro. Nick & Toni's, North Fork Table & Inn, Mirabelle Restaurant, Satur Farms, Scrimshaw, Starr Boggs, Swallow, Vine Street Café

3. Membership in Farmigo, the first online farmers market—offering local, fresh food delivered within 24 hours of harvest to neighborhood pick-up “markets” managed by community Farmigo Champions. www.farmigo.com This Farmigo gift is kinda’ a no-brainer that can be given to every locavore food fan because the Membership is Free! Look like a Santa Mr. Big Stuff with this gift!

4. A KitchenAid® Professional Mixer. It’s a sleek workhorse made of polished stainless steel with an ergonomic handle is an icon for home cooks – who cook and bake like a pro. http://www.kitchenaid.com Ten Speeds and 12 attachments, multiple beaters and bowl options. And it’s pretty.

5. A Gift Certificate for KitchenSurfing. This culinary service connects “talented, local chefs with local, seasonal, delicious ingredients and a host or hostess. Want a holiday dinner or a New Year’s blowout? Or brunch for family and friends. Nervous about Gluten-Free or Allergy recipes? Dietary needs are readily solved with KitchenSurfing – they even tempt with the Culinary Adventures offer.

Whatever the dining dream, KitchenSurfing is a one click, put a fork in it: “Done.” Select a cuisine, a chef, a price point – read the chefs’ Reviews and profile – and just like that – a customized menu and memorable meal. Planning a meal like this is fun, too.

www.kitchensurfing.

6. A subscription to Edible Magazines. Edible publications -- Manhattan, East End, and the newest kid on the Edible food block: Long Island – are published six times a year; the online news keeps readers informed of local food and drink events in between. Subscribe now and get a Free gift subscription to give. https://www.sovhomestead.com/psacomplete/edible/em.php?tracking_code=Banner

Subscribe to “Other Edibles” for only $10 more.

7. Gift bag and/or a gift certificate from Indie food curator, the online food source, Mouth. Here there is infinite variety of sweet and savory food hand-crafted by independent food makers. Mouth even offers an introduction to their food artisans with their “Meet the Makers” online profile. Think of it like a “Match.com” only this is for previewing the Makers food story. Also cool is the “This Just Happened” option that captures and pins online food shoppers browsing. www.mouth.com

Here are a few samples of some outstanding gift ideas from this online indie food purveyor:

Winter Morning Kit:

Mouth writes: Parents who were up all night hunting for AAA batteries and a Philips screwdriver definitely need to drink a good, strong McClure's Bloody Mary. Just add vodka, garnish with a tasty pickled green bean, and enjoy the best tomato-y cocktail ever. Then woo the little ones away from the toy loot with a warm mug of Nunu's hot chocolate, with a cheery minty treat for stirring. They'll be distracted long enough for parents to breathe, check to see if the snow is sticking, and finish that drink.

This tasty collection makes a fabulous holiday gift for a Christmas and New Years mornings, and of course don't forget about Snow Days and Sundays.

MCCLURE'S SPICY BLOODY MARY MIX

RICK'S PICKS MEAN BEANS

HOT CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS MADE BY NUNU CHOCOLATES

INDIE PEPPERMINT STICKS MADE BY RALEY'S CONFECTIONARY

Or how about the Oinkalicious Bring Home the Bacon gift package?

Option 1 includes:

MAPLE BACON PEANUTS BY THE REDHEAD

BACON CARAMEL POPCORN FROM RONI-SUE CHOCOLATES

A 4-PACK OF RONI-SUE'S MAPLE BACON LOLLIPOPS

"BACON" PICKLES FROM UNBOUND PICKLING

Option 2:

A 4-PACK OF RONI-SUE'S MAPLE BACON LOLLIPOPS

BACON-INFUSED MAYONNAISE MADE BY EMPIRE MAYONNAISE

MAPLE BACON PEANUTS BY THE REDHEAD

A BACON TOFFEE CRUNCH BAR FROM NUNU CHOCOLATES

BACON CARAMEL POPCORN FROM RONI-SUE CHOCOLATES

A JAR OF BACON JAM

"BACON" PICKLES FROM UNBOUND PICKLING

(Yes, this Examiner reviewed Mouth earlier this year: http://www.examiner.com/article/watch-your-mouth-artisanal-indie-gourmet-online-shopping-center-foodies-love?cid=db_articles

And anything from Food52 http://food52.com Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ online food community claims to …help…”people become better, smarter, happier cooks.” They do. Through their food community, Provisions online market and pantry, recipes (chocolate crostini!), cooking contests, Apps, and cookbooks. Love the Nick & Nora glass, holiday sandwich wraps, and Chiles of the World. http://food52.com/provisions/collections/gift-cards-for-everyone

8. A trip to the Plaza Hotel. From Eloise to the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, The Plaza is a confection of dining and drink magic heightened by the glamour of the holidays.

Eloise’s Rawther Fancy Tea Parties on December 26 & 27th and their New Year’s Dance Party. http://www.theplazany.com/shops/eloise-at-the-plaza/

The Christmas Day Menu:

http://www.theplazany.com/pdf/holiday/Palm_Court_Christmas_2013.pdf

Not to be outdone, Villard Michel Richard http://www.villardmichelrichard.com

Villard Michel Richard at the New York Palace offers an exquisite Christmas menu for Kids and their adults: http://www.newyorkpalace.com/cms/pressroom/villard_bistro_kids_christmas_menu_12_4_13_v3.pdf

9. Arancini Balls -- The Rice Balls handmade by Dave in his teeny Bushwick, Brooklyn Kitchen are authentic, delicious arancini – which is Sicilian street food. Made with Italian Arborio rice (think risotto) and filled with inspired and traditional fillings including crab, or ragu (meat, peas and cheese) or Nutella.

One cannot stop eating these crisp on the outside, hot and oozing on the inside treats. Plus you get to say the Arancini Brothers’ tag line “We’ve got balls” in mixed company -- it brings a smile to all. http://arancinibros.weebly.com

10. Donate to City Harvest: The organization helps to feed more than one million New Yorkers every year. http://www.cityharvest.org/donate-funds “Every dollar helps rescue and deliver four pounds of food.”

This Examiner volunteers her time to this extraordinary operation – from food rescues at New York hospitality events to end-of-day Greenmarket growers to distribution at neighborhood distribution front line – City Harvest fights hunger. Making a tax-deductible donation helps make it all work. There is a lot to benefit from becoming a part of this food community: Great Food Good Hearts Restaurant guide is available from their web site, and Holiday cards too. http://www.cityharvest.org/restaurant-guide

Wishing all a very happy and delicious Holiday filled with Food & Drink!

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