Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Real Food Rehab Holiday Gift Guide: Louisa Neumann

Welcome to the Real Food Rehab Holiday Gift Guide! For the next three weeks you'll be introduced to a group of artists, authors, chefs, great home cooks, au courant shopkeepers, food artisans, farmers, food writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs from around the country and around the world. I've asked them to submit, in their own words, their picks for a food-related gift they'd love to give or receive this holiday season. These are people I respect and admire, not only for their excellent taste, but for the brave and beautiful work they do in the world. Taking your creative gifts, passions and beliefs and turning them into successful business ventures takes fortitude and courage and each of these people share that in common. And now, without further ado, I bring you The Gift Guide...

WHO Louisa Neumann is a cooking instructor and recipe developer living in Portland, Oregon. She was taught to cook by a woman in Burgundy, France and a few others in Louisville and Boston. She enjoys blogging on Stumptown's emerging wild and crazy food scene at her blog, The Portland Pickle.

THE GIFT Let's face it: We're all broke this year, right? So do yourself a favor and lay off your battered and bruised Mastercard this holiday season. I'm all about being cheap but not seeming cheap this year. That's why this idea at Twig and Thistle caught my eye. For your kids' favorite teacher, coworker, or the neighbor who collects your mail while you're away consider this DIY gift. For just a few bucks assemble your own S'mores Kits. Put a finer touch on it by using high quality chocolate and make or buy artisan marshmallows. Have fun with the packaging, too. Use colorful ribbon and clear boxes to show off your goods. If you're not into s'mores, try your hand at canning. Consider canning sweet meyer lemons, which are in peak season right about now. Preserved meyer lemons are the secret ingredient to many Moroccan dishes, so why not include a few recipes with your confiture gift.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Portland, Oregon

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? I'm inspired by the fact that I'll never know it all and also by my students, old and young.

GO-TO DISH WHEN COOKING FOR YOURSELF? I love preparing delicious dishes with otherwise humble ingredients. I tend to make something and run it into the ground - I recently did that with Nigella Lawson's zesty pasta with mushroom, garlic, lemon and thyme. It's the easiest and most refreshing pasta. I love it, love it, love it. But I need a break from it.

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