Last year, I was inspired by Oprah's "Favorite Things" to do a series of posts with some of my favorite food and cooking-related gift items. Since the posts were pretty popular last year, I thought I'd continue the tradition. Of course, I can't hand out free items like Oprah can, but hopefully I can inspire a few gifts for the foodies and entertainers in your life. Enjoy!
Awhile ago, I acquired the book, My Bread by Jim Lahey. For those not in the know, Jim is the guy that pioneered the No-Knead Bread movement when his original recipe was published by the New York Times. The recipe, which turns out a crusty chewy artisan loaf with the minimum of work, was an instant sensation. There have been hundreds of new recipes produced by others based on the method since then.
This book is great for someone who already likes to cook or bake who may not have thought they could produce a great loaf of yeast bread. You'll surprise yourself with Jim's no-knead recipe and your friends and family will be in awe. My personal favorite is his No-Knead Ciabatta variation.
Incidentally, this book would be great paired with a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, which is the secret to getting that perfect crackling crust.