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You avoided the Black Friday sales and managed to focus on work all of Cyber Monday, and what do you have to show for it?

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Give the Gift of Kitchen Smarts

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You avoided the Black Friday sales and managed to focus on work all of Cyber Monday, and what do you have to show for it? You haven't put a dent in your holiday gift buying, that's what! Lucky for you, we have lots of suggestions for the cooks, bakers and cocktailers on your list. Last week we covered nine cookbooks and this week, we're back with more.

Tonight you can shop and get your drink on over at the Palace Ballroom. Their annual Cookbook Social is from 4-7 pm and $20 gets you a glass of wine and samples of dishes cooked by 13 local cookbook authors. Books (and more booze) will be for sale.

Tom's Big Dinners: Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends (by Tom Douglas, hardcover $32.95)

Packed with recipes for everything from refined dinners to down-home cooking, this Tom Douglas cookbook brings the expertise of his restaurant kitchens to your home. Like his other cookbooks, Big Dinners showcases a bounty of seafood and other Northwest ingredients, while also including recipes for Boston Baked Beans and Collard Greens. There are photos of some of the cooking techniques, like how to de-vein shrimp, but I wish there were more. Like how to clean a Dungeness crab.There are great suggestions for wine pairings however, as well as great additions of wine into some recipes, like a homemade Balsamic-style vinegar made with Merlot. All in all, this book inspires readers to host big parties, with good friends and great food.

Give: Perfect for the host with the most...for ongoing inspiration.

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The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together (by Lorna Yee and Ali Basye, $22.95)

This fun book geared at new couples, weaves stories and advice from seasoned couples alongside recipes like Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup and Coconut Curry Crab. There are plenty of modern variations on traditional classics as well, such as chicken pot pie, meatloaf, lasagna, and potato salad, all designed to serve two. The book is broken into clever chapters like "For Better or For Worse," which includes budget options for salads, soups and sandwiches. Not all options are budget friendly, but all offer up the promise that couples that cook together, stay together.

Give: Newlyweds and other lovebirds.

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Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater (by Matthew Amster-Burton, $14.95)

Matthew Amster-Burton turns conventional wisdom on its head in this book about how to raise an "adventurous eater." He debunks myths about feeding toddlers sushi, peanuts and salt. And, he cites updated reports stating that sugar doesn't make children hyper, all while maintaining a wicked sense of humor and an extra helping of humility. He admits to not having it all figured out though, and that his daughter doesn't like vegetables either. The thing about this book is that, while being part memoir, it is three-quarters recipes. And the recipes are great: Pad Thai, Green Chile Enchiladas, Pretzels, and Shrimp and Grits that all include tips for cooking with "little fingers," if it's appropriate for the recipe. Even for those without children, Hungry Monkey is a fun read and includes good recipes to boot.

Give: Parents with foodie tendencies; Or, aunts, uncles and grandparents with an agenda.

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Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods (by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, $29.95)

This cookbook is a combined effort by all the Edible Communities publications, including our own Edible Seattle. While the entire ethos of these publications is cooking local, a surprising number of recipes in this book - like those from Vancouver, San Francisco, Pennsylvania, and New York - still work well with Northwest ingredients. Seattle contributed a recipe for Jess Thomson's Harvest Cake, and stories about Maria Hines, the Lummi Island reefnet salmon, and local food hero Jon Rowley.

Give: Locavores and new Seattle-area residents.

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Tini Bigs Big Martinis (by Keith Robbins & Patrick Haight, hardcover $19.95)

Tini Bigs is an institution among Seattle cocktail bars. They are famous for their 10-ounce martinis, yet humble enough to call themselves "Seattle's Second Best Cocktail Bar," (You all know the best bar, right?). Their cocktail book has some questionable recipes like the Jolly Tini, which is made with a Vodka that's been infused with green apple Jolly Rogers (at least it's better than watermelon Jolly Ranchers). There are some fun recipes however, like the Key Lime Martini, which garnishes the rim of the glass with graham cracker crumbs, and a Hangover Martini, which is like a Bloody Mary, but with a 2:3 ratio of vodka to Bloody Mary mix.

Give: Cocktail enthusiasts with a sweet tooth.

 
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