I recently was looking at the Wall Street Journal and saw a roundup of gift ideas for the holidays. It had some fun suggestions including music selection from Mario Batali that he plays in the kitchen while he works.
So I thought I would put out there a few ideas of my own to recommend.
1) I love the Spicy Portobello Salsa from River Valley Ranch. I think if you put together a few choices of his salsa you won’t be disappointed.
2) I think buying local cheeses that are really good is a wonderful gift for people, especially if they are not well versed in what’s out there. It can be fun to kind of eat your way through the varieties, but when you buy them for someone else, it's better to be confident that you’ve picked ones that will be delicious.
Here are three of my favorites: Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Upland (the more aged the better); Raw Milk Cheese Spread from Brunkow (use it to spread on good bread or melt it with a little cream for mac and cheese (just don’t boil it); Piper’s Pyramid from Capriole Farm Goat Cheese; and if you’re a cheddar fan I like the Hook’s 6 year Aged White Cheddar.
Sofia Solomon from Tekla carries three of the four cheeses (312) 915-5914. At Green City Market you should be able to get the Capriole Farm Goat Cheese and the Brunkow Raw Milk Cheese Spread. If you are there, pick up a jar of jam from Florence Lazar to go with your gift!
3) At Prairie Grass Cafe we bake a Sticky Toffee Date Cake that is a recipe that Abby Mandel shared with me. It is rich, gooey and delicious. We make a 12 inch cake that you can buy for $60 dollars with a toffee sauce. Pour the sauce over the cake and warm it in the oven until it’s bubbling. Serve it hot, warm, or just gooey! Serves a lot of people. (847) 205-4433. ( you'll need to order it by Saturday Dec 17, 2011 for pick-up on the 24th)