It's always a lot of fun for foodies to shop for food lovers. Kitchen gadgets, specialty foods and, of course, cookbooks always make great gifts. And when you can pair a couple of items, the present is even more coveted.
Here are some ideas for holiday gift ideas paired with cookbooks published this year:
• For the grill master on your list or if you're giving grilling tools or a grill pan, a great companion cookbook would be Weber's on the Grill: Steak & Sides by Jamie Purviance (Oxmoor House, $14.95). This cookbook is all about grilling beef and the sides that go along with it. You'll find recipes for tri-tip, rib eye, flank steak or porterhouse. The best thing about these recipes is they are written for any type of grill, including stovetop, gas or charcoal.
• If you're giving cookware, Seared to Perfection by Lucy Vaserfirer (Harvard Common Press, $18.95) is a good choice. If you watch any cooking shows at all, you'll know the phrase "searing seals in flavor" and know that's a good thing. This cookbook offers a plethora of recipes for everything from beef to scallops, duck and chicken. Vaserfirer covers the basics of searing.
• For someone going gluten-free, the Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free cookbook by Karen Morgan (Chronicle Books, $24.95) is a great gift for those sweet cravings. It would be a lovely book with a new set of muffin tins or loaf pans. Inside you'll find recipes for everything from biscuits and muffins to pies, cakes and cookies. In addition to gluten-free flour, recipes call for sorghum, rice, millet and other flours. The recipes are perfect for any skill level.
• Gardeners will enjoy Cooking From the Garden by Ruth Lively (Taunton Press, $29.95). It always seems as though the food you grow yourself tastes better than store-bought. An abundance of anything, though, like tomatoes or peppers can be overwhelming. This cookbook offers fresh recipes for everything from the garden. There are great recipes using tomatoes, spinach, herbs, citrus, broccoli, fennel and more. Chapters include salads and dressings, soups, side dishes, breads and sandwiches, main dishes and desserts and sweets. Pair the book with a dozen packets of vegetable and herb seeds.
• Busy cooks will appreciate the new cookbook from celebrity chef Sandra Lee. The Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Complete Cookbook (Wiley, $29.95) has 1,001 everyday recipes perfect for the busiest of people. Recipes are grouped by categories, and each section is separated by a tabbed divider so you can find what you're looking for right away. Lee includes international, slow-cooker and one-pot meals, as well as main dishes, desserts and table setting ideas. It is filled with basic information, making it a great starter cookbook. Consider pairing it with a beautiful casserole dish or a Dutch oven.
• If you're giving bakeware, add a copy of United Cakes of America by Warren Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95). This delightful cookbook features cakes celebrating every state, plus gives some history about the cake or state. Not all are cakes, though. For example, one of the offerings for Indiana is Hoosier Pie. There are roughly three recipes for each state.
• If you and your kids cook together, check out Cake Pops by Angie Dudley (Chronicle Books, $19.95). The baker behind Bakerella.com shows how to make more than 40 little treats shaped like snowmen, chicks and more, all out of cake. Step-by-step instruction as well as ideas for presentation, decorating and melting chocolate make a day in the kitchen fun. Pair this book with cake-decorating equipment and a selection of sprinkles, jimmies and nonpareils.