Anyone who knows me knows that eating is my absolute passion.  I’m grateful to work in catering so I can eat for a living since sometimes crafting is a way to distract myself from thinking about my next meal.  So, if there’s a way to combine food and crafts, I’m all for it. 
The pic above was a Christmas gift for my Mom and a few other bakers in my life: a kit to make your own bread, but without kneading.  The amazing techniques come from Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Baggett, one of Amazon’s Top 10 Cookbook Customer Favorites of the Year.  The slow rise method means that you don’t have to spend all the time and energy kneading the dough to get amazing results at home.  The kits were easy to put together:
Just a few kinds of flour (I found mine at Lifethyme Natural Market on 6th Ave), sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a packet of yeast.  I had read that Ball stopped making their classic canning jars, but fortunately it was a myth! and I found them at Fishs Eddy, a cool store by Union Square and also in Brooklyn that specializes in commercial quality dishes, glassware and other tabletop pieces from hotels and diners across the country.  I wrapped each jar in a snowflake dish cloth from Crate and Barrel (since I had quite the snowflake theme this Christmas) and attached a note with the recipe.
Another Christmas gift was the re-creation of an ice cream sundae that my boyfriend and I had in San Francisco on his birthday trip this summer.
Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop is in the Mission District and I’m so glad we trekked out there because we found Sam’s Sundae.
If you can’t read the sign up there, it’s: chocolate ice cream, organic bergamot olive oil, maldon sea salt and whipped cream, wow!  Such an interesting combination, it was unlike any sundae we’d ever had before.  So, for Christmas I found the ingredients.  I like the idea of giving (and then eating) a memory.
The chocolate gelato was just from my local grocery store, but the Maldon sea salt was from Whole Foods (after I called and they said they had it, I arrived and they didn’t have it, but they then found it in the back), and the bergamot olive oil was so hard to find that I went to Amazon.  They seem to be sold out of the one that I bought, but go to the link and there’s a different one available now.
And a last word on Whole Foods: today I called to see if they had kumquats and they said, no definitely not, maybe by Friday.  For some reason I still felt that they’d have them and I’m glad I went over because they had plenty.  So, I also bought honey, ginger and whole cloves to make preserves from Su Mei-Yu’s The Elements of Life: A Contemporary Guide to Thai Recipes and Traditions for Healthier Living.  These kumquat preserves can be saved in the fridge for months and steeped as a tea, can heal a terrible cold just about overnight.  And check out the book to find out if your element is earth, wind, water or fire, and how you should eat to best balance your type.