People have been asking me how to get their hands on the Bonne Femme Cookbook in time for the holiday. Check with local Barnes and Nobles, or your local bookstore. If they’re sold out (as they may be in Minneapolis, where we sold out of books at both Cooks of Crocus Hill events), I have another suggestion for you: Wrap something else up to put under the trees, and tuck in a pretty note that says that a copy of the Bonne Femme Cookbook is being shipped directly to the recipient.
A few ideas:
* French Green Lentils: I know, lentils sound like a really boring gift. But French green lentils, from Le Puy, are not. You can find them at Whole Foods and many specialty food shops, and they’re wonderful–beady little gems, dappled blue and green, that keep their shape wonderfully even after cooking. They really are a treat, and I call for them in three great recipes: A French Green Lentil Salad (side dish), a Le Puy Lentil-Sausage Soup (main dish), and a Shrimp and Green Lentil Salad (also a main dish).
* Piment d’Espelette: This spice powder looks a little like paprika, but is made entirely of ground Espelette chiles, grown in the Basque regions of France. It’s a spicy-sweet chile and adds so much to recipes like my Piperade, Basque Chicken, and a Basque Sausage-White Bean Stew–all in the book. (I give a paprika-cayenne substitution in the recipes, but this powder is a real treat). Find it at spice shops and specialty-foods stores.
* A Gift Certificate from Your Favorite Local Cheesemonger: That way, your gift recipient can buy the three French cheeses I use the most: semi-ripened chèvre, Sheep’s Milk Cheese from the Pyrenees, and Comté. (Again, in my book, I give viable substitutions, but these excellent cheeses are available in most markets these days, and they, too, are real treats).
You could also give Madeleine molds (so that the recipient can make my pretty Madeleine tea cakes) or perhaps a bottle of Beaujolais Villages (not Beaujolais Nouveau), both for cooking and easygoing bistro-style drinking.
* Send an Instant Delivery Amazon E-Gift. This is sheer Amazon brilliance: You buy a gift card that gets delivered immediately to your recipient. The email shows them a copy of The Bonne Femme Cookbook as your personal pick for the gift. However, they can choose another book (or another item) of the same value, if they wish. They’ll get it instantly. To check this out, go to my Amazon book page and scroll down, nearly to the bottom.
Happy Holidays, everyone!