Holiday Gift Guide

Our first ever NWS Holiday Gift Guide is happening!!

For well over a month now I’ve had a Google Doc open clicking over to it frantically as I’ve thought of the things in my life that make my toes tickle and my stomach flutter. The items on this list are things Gabe and I use, love and bring a little bit of shiny joy to our days.

I love love love giving gifts (I’m also a big fan of getting gifts). So much so that I will put off my holiday shopping because I’m always sad when the last gift has been purchased. Also, I’m terrible at keeping the gifts a surprise. Just ask Gabe. One year I bought his present on Christmas Eve and I couldn’t wait the twelve hours to give it to him on Christmas morning so I made him open it the moment I got home from the store. Speaking of Gabe, he is the best gift giver and so I am thrilled to have his input on this list. Seriously somehow he manages to give gifts that are perfect. So perfect you didn’t even realize you needed that gift and then you have it and life is a little better.

I feel like we covered a lot of ground with this list. Obviously there are a lot of food-centric gifts because if you hang out much around here then I’m guessing you like food. But we’ve also listed some of our favorites for the coffee lover, we have some seriously talented artists and good old fashioned baseball caps – that one is all Gabe but he sure does look adorable in his hat. We hope that these gifts bring some people in your life (or you) some of that sweet, simple joy.

Coffee Aficionado

NWS Gift Guide

1. Driftaway Coffee I’m a big fan of subscriptions for gifts. I mean how fun is it to get a gift that keeps on showing up at your house?! This coffee subscription starts with a tasting kit so that the following shipments are best suited to your taste. It is completely customizable and the coffee is great.

2. Coffee and Vinyl Pairings from Turntable Kitchen. Last year for Valentine’s day I gifted Gabe with a subscription to this service. I had intended on it being a three month gift but every month I love watching him brew a cup of coffee with local Slate beans then sit in his favorite chair while he listens to his vinyl record. It’s been almost a year and I have no intention of canceling anytime soon. Matt Hickey, the music half of Turntable Kitchens, carefully selects the music pairing each month and we’ve never been disappointed.

3. Aeropress Coffee Brewer $30 (Gabe’s pick) A space age coffee brewer for under $30? Yes, please. Usually when I’m traveling, I toss the aeropress in my bag. Easy to brew in a hotel or at the campsite. For a clean cup of coffee with minimal effort and cleanup, grab an aeropress.

4. Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug $20 (Gabe’s Pick) When I stop to think about the items in my house that I use on a daily basis my Stanley mug comes to mind. A few years back I inherited the classic large green thermos from my Grandfather that is great when out fishing all day or on road trips when sharing an entire pot of coffee. This individual thermos gives nod to the past but makes enjoying hot coffee possible for hours into my day. I toss it in the car and while little dented and scratched, my coffee never spills and rarely lasts long enough to get cold. I use the 16oz in green. Also available in Red and Navy!

5. Heath Ceramics – Stack mug $30 (Gabe’s Pick) Give your hands and lips something to look forward to in the morning besides your hot wife. These mugs have been making dining tables look good since the 1960’s and their quality ceramic keeps your coffee (or tea) warm. Hard to believe a mug this beautiful is microwave and dishwasher safe.

 

Passionate Cook

NWS Gift Guide

6. Nudo Adopt Give the gift of an olive tree! Seriously. Through Nudo adopt you can gift a friend an olive tree adoption. Your friend can choose the grove (there’s tasting notes with each area for easy selecting) where their tree lives then Nudo will send olive oil from that tree.

7. Portland Apron Company I bought one of these aprons at a pop-up shop that my friend’s host every year and this year I bought another. I wear it nearly everyday except when it’s in the wash – which is why I needed to buy another.

8. Earlywood – The flat spatula. I reach for these flat spatulas all the time. They are perfect for cooking and for serving.

9. Cast Iron Skillet This pan never leaves my stove. Once properly seasoned it can be used to fry eggs. It’s my chicken roaster, my frittata pan, my casserole dish, where I sear my steaks and at times it’s my cake pan. I even take it camping with me. Bonus: It’s only $15!

10. Marge Granola A morning favorite for every member of our family!

11. Opinel Pocket knife – No. 6 or 8 carbon blade $12 – $15 (Gabe’s Pick) Who doesn’t love a knife that can handle the campsite as well as the MoMa? This French beauty can’t wait to carve up your next picnic but will look good on your nightstand as well. The Opinel No8 (larger) or No6 (smaller) with a carbon blade would be my recommendation. They make a stainless blade that won’t rust, but I love the patina you can get on a carbon blade and they are sharp! (Grab one with an olive wood handle if you can find it.) And when your kids have enough fine motor skills to start writing their letters they can start whittling sticks. Opinel makes a great first pocket knife for kids with a rounded tip and easy-to-hold size.

12. Pure Maple Syrup Aged in Pappy Van Winkle Whiskey $38 (Gabe’s Pick) Pappy’s, for breakfast!?! For anyone who likes Bourbon and Syrup this is a no-brainer. So many possibilities with this stuff.

 

Cookbooks

NWS Gift Guide

Outside of the Kitchen

NWS Gift Guide

 

19. Le Labo Perfume Tubereuse 40 perfume. I had been on the hunt for the perfect perfume for several years. I’ve dragged Gabe into countless stores with me forcing him to smell my wrist until the cloud of dozens of intermingled scents drove us out. Then one day a package arrives from Le Labo. Now this is my perfume. It’s not overwhelming, floral but not so much so, light yet memorable. It’s my favorite thing to wear everyday. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but I’ve had mine for several months now and I’ve barely made a dent in the bottle.

20. 52 Lists for Happiness Book I love these lists for their soft reminders to focus on the good. It’s a great gift to give to anyone in your life. We all could use more happy.

21. Ebbets Field Flannel Baseball Cap $45 (Gabe’s Pick) This is not your grandpa’s hat… oh wait, it is (or was)!! I love baseball. But these guys take their love to a different level. They hand make replica baseball hats (and gear) of teams from the past. I encourage you to read some of the stories of the Chorizeros (yes, that’s “Sausage Makers” in Spanish). A Mexican-American minor league baseball team from Los Angeles in the 1950’s. Or the Seattle Rainiers which played in the Pacific Coast League in the first half of the 1900’s. I know I sound like an old man, but these hats are legit, and packed with stories. Also a great way to hear stories and make conversation with the old-timers.

22. Noonday Jewelry When you give a gift from Noonday it’s not just a beautiful accessory it’s also helping to provide for artisans all around the world. Multitasking is just about my favorite thing ever, in gift giving too. Dual purpose giving. Love it.

23. Autographed print by Seattle area creative Invisible Creature $30 (Gabe’s Pick) Good art can be affordable. I love this print by local creatives at Invisible Creature (Don & Ryan Clark). I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Don on a few projects and their work is inspiring to say the least. They’ve also designed toys (collectible action figures if you’re an adult male) and some rad wooden blocks. Our kids are older now, but I still keep our Stack & Scare wooden blocks at my office to entertain any little ones that stop by to say hello.

24. Blackbird Hekkes Incense Over the last year I’ve become a big fan of incense. Filling the house with a soft perfume helps me relax. It’s often one of the first things I do when the kids head off the school – the time when I most need to relax. This one is a favorite. Not to overwhelming and lasts a long time.

25. Oxford Pennant $25 (Gabe’s Pick) “It’s not a Pennant, it’s an Oxford!” If you know anyone who appreciates the spirit of American Sports Tradition (or just needs a kick in the tuckus), an Oxford Pennant is a great gift. They have a variety of cities, slogans, and sayings. Something for anyone.

 

Art

NWS Gift Guide

 

Gifts that Truly Give

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30. A Goat Yes, you read that right. And no, I’m not losing my mind. A dear friend of mine recently had the chance to visit Sri Lanka with World Concern. She saw first hand how a gift of a goat literally changed the life of an entire village in a short time. If you’re like me you’ve questioned the validity and usefulness of giving livestock from those catalogues that flood mailboxes this time of year. But after hearing my friend’s story and seeing her images from her trip. I’m sold and am so excited to, as a family, give a goat.

31. First Aid Arts If you’ve visited our shop you know that we’re huge fans of First Aid Arts. A portion of every purchase goes directly to them in support of their mission of using the arts to help victims of trauma. I deeply respect my dear friends and their organization and am so thankful for their heart in this mission. You can support them through our shop, their shop or simply by making a donation on their site.

Some of these are affiliate links but all are products we know and love.

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Molly’s Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

What an amazing season it’s been for cookbooks. Stacks have formed in every corner of the house, on the kitchen counter and threatened to tumble off the coffee table. I’m currently working on gathering a list of my favorites for those who are looking to add to their own collection or who have friends who love to find cookbooks under the tree. In the meantime let’s talk about Molly Yeh and her tacos.

Her book, Molly on the Range, is a fanciful glimpse into her farm kitchen. Her story takes you from Juilliard to a sugar beet farm (seriously it’s amazing) and weaves into that food often laced with tahini and always intriguing enough to get me bounding into the kitchen.

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These tacos are just such a recipe. I questioned their ease and doubted the ability for cauliflower to be worthy of a tortilla. I love it when a recipe proves me wrong and settles my fears with a hearty and flavorsome bite. It’s just the sort of meal that makes sense on a Tuesday or welcome at the table when guests fill the seats. When a braise feels like too much and you need an evening off from cream and cheese these tacos are your answer.

I’ve included the recipes for all three of the components for Molly suggests for these tacos but for ease or lack of a stocked pantry I’d imagine that a simple yogurt sauce and pickled jalapeños on top of the roasted cauliflower would also do nicely.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Molly’s Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos

From Molly on the Range

Makes 8 tacos

 

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon fish sauce*

1 1/2 pounds cauliflower florets

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons flavorless oil

8 flour tortillas (6-inch)

Tahini Sauce, to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, garam masala, curry powder, and fish sauce. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower out on the the baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, 30 to 40 minutes.

Thinly slice three-quarters of the onion. Dice the remaining one-quarter and set aside for topping. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.

Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. To assemble, fill them with cauliflower, fried onion, tahini sauce, raw chopped onion, cilantro and zhoug (if using).

*Molly’s recipe uses 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable or chicken broth base but I didn’t have any so I swapped in fish sauce. I think soy sauce would also add a nice umami punch.

Tahini Sauce

Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup tahini

3 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Kosher salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, water, and lemon juice until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Zhoug

Makes 1 1/2 cups

5 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, combine the jalapeños, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, a few turns of peppers, and the olive oil and blend until it’s the consistency of pesto, adding more olive oil if desired. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or spoon into ice cube trays, freeze, and thaw as needed.

*I cut down on the number of jalapeños and left out the cayenne so I wouldn’t hear my kids complain about the level of heat and also added lemon juice for more zing.

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