We would have no objection to being on the receiving end of any of the spectacular, home-crafted gifts in the beautiful Gifts Cooks Love. It is better to give than to receive, however, and anticipating the joy of lavishing these creations on friends and loved ones makes us want to tie on an apron and head for the kitchen. We have used the word home-crafted, not home-made, for these are special gifts, and each one comes with ideas for gift wrapping, even for creating multi-gift kits. Consistent with all the books in Sur la Table's library, the recipes are among the most elegant, and the recipe instructions, penned by Diane Morgan, immaculately written and easy to follow.
There is a wide variety of gifts to make, and suggestions for going one lavish step further by creating gift kits in which a particular food theme finds fulfillment, whether it is a cheese kit with purchased cheese sitting snugly next to home made Green Tomato Chutney and/or Aleppo Pepper-Peach Chutney, Panforte, Rustic Rosemary Crackers, Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans. You might like to give a Grill Kit with Smoky Tomato Ketchup, Backyard BBQ Rub, Aleppo Pepper Chutneys. Many home crafted gifts find their places in different kits, allowing the cook to personalize for different friends.
Every level of kitchen expertise is accommodated, as are the varying interests we develop in the kitchen, and the 40 recipes inside Gifts Cooks Love are certain to please all palates any time of year. There are several no-cook delicacies, such as Home-Churned Butter (no churn needed), Popcorn Seasoning, an exotic Moroccan Spice Blend or the tastiest Backyard BBQ Rub. Going further into expertise, there are techniques for preserving fruits, dehydrating fresh mushrooms, smoking and curing meat and fish, and creating spirited beverages. Try such recipes as Orange Cardamom Marmalade, Salmon Gravlax, Rustic Rosemary Parmesan Crackers Blueberry-Blackberry-Basil Margarita Puree, Limoncello, Jalapeno and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter. The latter is cooked in an iron pan which may be part of the gift. There is great flexibility in the way each gift is used.
The book starts with chapters on the gift-giving kitchen, the gift-giving pantry, decorative packaging, essential tips & techniques for preserving and dehydrating. It moves on to chapters for the luscious gifts themselves: Sweet Preserved Gifts, Savory Preserved Gifts, Smoked, Cured & Dried Gifts, Baked Gifts, Confections & Chocolate Gifts, Drink N-Cook and Make-a-Gift Kit.
There are exceptional photographs by the talented Sara Remington throughout.