Bestow upon your friends a certificate to Local Mission Eatery’s cooking labs, and you may just get a little something in return. Volunteer to be their test subject after they’ve collected trade secrets from local culinary pros like Shauna Des Voignes of Knead Patisserie or Susan and Wendy Lieu of Socola Chocolatier.
$40–$50 at Local Mission Eatery, 3111 24th St., 415-655-3422, localmissioneatery.com
This Staub Marin-blue braiser means your food-loving friends can finally lose the lame hand-me-down kitchenware and graduate to cooking like the pros. The honeycomb surface keeps food from sticking, and the cast-iron construction is oven-safe up to 500 degrees. Perfect for winter cooking, it practically begs for beef Bourguignon and a hearty red wine.
$190 at Sur La Table, surlatable.com
To the chef who values quality, give the gift of Pariani hazelnut oil. It’s made from Tonda Gentile delle Langhe hazelnuts (don’t try saying that three times fast) that are grown on the sunny hillside of Langhe, Italy by only the best small producers. Think of it as the holy water of hazelnuts.
$36 for a 40-milliliter bottle at Market Hall Foods, 5332 College Ave., Oakland, 510-655-0911, markethallfoods.com
Recipes for Happiness
These beautiful cookbooks will make any kitchen look fancy, even if just for show. Author and seasoned NYT food columnist Amanda Hesser spent six years cooking her way through The New York Times’ recipe archive and highlights more than 1,000 of the paper’s best in The Essential New York Times Cookbook (W.W. Norton & Company). Along those lines, The Sunset Cookbook (Oxmoor House) pulls together more than 1,000 dishes from the magazine’s history, including West Coast favorites such as Baja fish tacos and Santa Barbara tri-tip.
$40 and $35, respectively, at amazon.com
If Martha Stewart-like homemaking doesn’t fit into your schedule, let the local ladies behind Slow Jams do the hard work for you. They use hand-cut chunks of yellow peaches and flecks of vanilla bean to make an out-of-this-world vanilla peach conserve. Your friends won’t mind that it wasn’t you who was slaving away in the kitchen.
$10 at Bi-Rite Market, 3639 18th St., 415-241-9760, eatslowjams.com
Serve up your favorite Pinot using this aluminum wine tray from MuNiMula. Its sleek, minimalist design fits most standard wine bottles and holds four glasses. Your sophisticated presentation will not go unnoticed.
$98 at SFMOMA, 151 Third St., 415-357-4035, sfmoma.org
After months of searching, you finally found the perfect warm lentil salad recipe. But it serves six and you want to make it for two. Fear of dividing fractions and botching the dish ensue. Solution: this handy-dandy recipe divider magnet, which does all the math for you.
$11 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, 555 Ninth St., 415-252-0490, bedbathandbeyond.com
Handmade in San Francisco, this retro modern FluffyCo bottle opener is cleverly screen-printed with the word “open” and is designed for easy wall installation to give your kitchen that hip, restaurant vibe.
$34 at the Curiosity Shoppe, 855 Valencia St., 415-671-5384, fluffyco.com
‘Tis the Season
Music to your macrobiotic friend’s ears—this Pie Bird Press seasonal produce calendar keeps it clear when fruits and vegetables are in and out, so that he/she doesn’t have to keep track of what’s sprouting when.
$35 at feltandwireshop.com
Foraging too fierce an endeavor? Mushroom Adventures is the easy answer to the new trend of growing your own at home. From blue oyster to crimini and Portabella, these ‘shroom kits include everything you need to raise multiple crops for six to twelve weeks.
Starting at $37 at mushroomadventures.com
To the coffee lover keen on graphic design, give the gift of this Pantone primary espresso set. These four porcelain cups featuring iconic Pantone color chips are paired with white saucers and will never go out of style.
$45 at SFMOMA Museum Store, 151 Third St., 415-357-4035, sfmoma.org
Photo Credits: Locavore: Courtesy of Local Mission Eatery; Parlani: Kristen Policy P hotography; Slow Jams: Karen Yeh; Wine Tray: Courtesy of SFMoma; Stabu Braise + Cookbooks: Karen Yeh (2)