Shoots & Leaves
If one of your resolutions this year is to eat more green (good) stuff – like salads and fresh veggies – then you’re in luck. I’ve scoured the best of the best to spot seven amazing salad-themed gift ideas, perfect for showers, housewarming, hostess, and thank you gifts.
Lettuce Knife – $5.95 via Trudeau Corporation (click ‘Where to Buy’ for stores)
I peered into my mom’s drawers one day and came across a large-sized plastic knife, not unlike the one pictured above. Upon asking what it was for, she explained to chop lettuce. While it may seem silly to have a separate dull knife for lettuce, there’s actually a science behind it: stainless steel can damage the leaves of your lettuce, causing it to go brown (particularly for what’s left behind if say, you’re whipping up a side salad for two). This knife’s singular purpose still manages to cut through for a perfect, light salad, without the damaging side effects.
Salad Servers – $69.99 @ Unveil Secret
Made from untreated wood branches and stainless steel, these beautiful serving utensils are truly one-of-a-kind. Perfect for hauling out when you’ve invited the boss over for dinner, these are instant conversation starters that will seriously deck out your table to the point where it’s photo-worthy.
5-Blade Herb Scissors – $5.99 @ Stokes
Chop your herbs in a flash with these nifty ten-bladed scissors. Simply wash your leafy greens and use these special scissors to snip fresh mouthfuls of chives into your salad, or oregano into whatever main course your serving up. A whiz to use and easy-to-clean, these are a busy chef’s dream utensil.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Salad Spinner & Herb Spinner – $52.81 – $54.99 @ Amazon.ca
Whip up your salad into a frenzy with this beloved brand’s awesome salad spinners that forgo the tired old pull-string method in favour of a sleeker, smarter pump that won’t break down after a few uses. Although the plastic models are a little bit cheaper, I like the stainless steel for its durability, and the fact the casing bowl can actually pull double-duty as a serving dish.
Chef’n Emulstir – $16.95 @ Kitchen Virtue
This nifty kitchen gadget is actually on my registry – once you know what it does, you’ll probably want to add it to your wish list too! If you know anything about salads, it’s that the quickest way to pile on the calories is with dressing. That is, unless you opt for a lighter homemade dressing – which couldn’t be easier to prepare. This emulsifier makes it oh-so-simple with recipes printed right on the bottle, and a hand-activated wand to keep your salad topper from separating.
Pure Red 9 3/4″ Salad Bowl – $149.99 @ Bed, Bath & Beyond
Of course a salad-themed serving post wouldn’t be complete without a bowl, and after looking at dozens of options, I finally landed on this crisp white bowl with a splash of vibrant red. I chose it because whether or not you opt for the matching tableware, this is a statement-making piece that will bring any dinner table to life, far more than a bouquet of cumbersome flowers ever could. Plus can’t you just picture it with those salad tongs I selected above? Gorgeous! A picture perfect wedding gift idea.
Salad of the Day (Williams Sonoma): 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year by Georgeanne Brennan – $39.95 (list)
I’ll admit, I sometimes eschew ‘salad recipe’ sections in my cookbooks because it all seems so basic – chop / slice / mix / toss. Then it’s usually my fiancee that suggests he’d like something light for dinner, and I make one of those salad recipes, and I’m floored by the complex flavours and textures that can come from a few basic ingredients (processed foods need not apply) mixed in just the right way. Hot on the heels of their successful Soup of the Day cookbook, culinary authorities (and their prolific cookbook author pal Georgeanne Brennan) Williams Sonoma have stepped up to the plate by creating a year’s worth of salad recipes. If you want to be religious about it, flip open to today’s date and you’ll find instant inspiration, often tied to the seasonal availability of vegetables / suitability of the weather (i.e. grilled salads – liked Grilled Peach, Arugula & Goat Cheese – pop up in the summer). And trust me when I say, you will not get bored. I really don’t see how you can when the options are diverse as a Pasta Salad with Spring Asparagus & Snap Peas suitable for a potluck or a light side salad like Chopped Salad with Olive Oil & Lemon to pair with your next dinner party entree to protein-packed meal-sized salads (like the BLT & Poached Egg Salad) for vegetarians, omnivores, and vegans alike. And if we’re talking eye candy, prepare to get a toothache (eyeache?) from the expert food styling on virtually every single page. This is a book for foodies, and a book for salad lovers, and a book for people just looking for inspiration for the oft-overlooked but oft-rewarding salad course. I especially love it as a fab Mother’s Day find, a shower gift for your ‘shedding for the wedding’ bride, or simply a reward for yourself after a month of cutting back on carbs and moaning at the sight of a head of lettuce. There is a better way. Trust me.
Have I achieved what was once thought impossible? Are you CRAVING salad as much as I am as I type these words? If yes, you’ll be pleased to hear I’m giving away four copies of the Salad of the Day Cookbook. Here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by February 5th with your favourite salad recipe (or type) AND your favourite salad gift idea featured in this post.
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around February 6th to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Tweet about this giveaway – and mention the featured cookbook by name – up to five times over the contest period to earn up to five bonus entries! Just be sure to leave links to your tweets in the comments below.