A Wild Cookbook
Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi, noted Valley forager and herbalist, offers 100 tasty recipes using wild plants (like lemon-balm blackberry custard), so it’s a boon for any gardener-cook who may know a weed is edible, but doesn’t know how to use it. Wendy Hollender’s lovely botanical illustrations make the book coffee-table worthy. www.foragingandfeasting.com
Here’s a fact: Every cook needs a mandoline. When I was shopping for one several years back, a famous local chef (hello, Peter Kelly!) recommended the Japanese Benriner model, which comes with three different blades and a plastic finger-guard thing. Instructions are in Japanese, but it’s easy to figure out.
Natural, house-smoked goodies from Mountain Products Smokehouse in LaGrangeville include cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Or give a membership to their Food of the Month Club: $493 will give your grateful recipient up to four items a month, delivered to their door. www.mountainproductssmokehouse.com
The guys at Samaki in Port Jervis are true artisans when it comes to smoking fresh fish — their smoked salmon is the one raved about at Manhattan’s Russ & Daughters. Lemon pepper smoked salmon, pastrami smoked salmon, Vodka-dill smoked salmon, smoked trout — any of the dozen or so choices is a delicacy. Check the Web site, then call 845-858-1012 and a nice human being will take your order. www.samakismokedfish.com
Brandy and Cigars
Forget the cigars, they’ll kill you, but the Apple Jack from Black Dirt Distillery is a healthy tonic, I’m willing to bet. The distillery, an offshoot of the Warwick Valley Winery, ages its apple brandy in oak barrels for four years until it’s smooth. The latest batch, released in September, has light honey-spice notes and beats that famous stuff from France, if you ask me. It’s available at a few local liquor stores, or check blackdirtdistillery.com.
For Furry Friends
The cookies and cakes at Beacon Barkery will get any pooch drooling, and contain no sugar or other canine no-nos. You’ll also find fishy treats for the meow crowd. www.beaconbarkery.com
Happy holidays, everyone!