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Handmade Holidays: Food Edition

Here’s the gift I best remember from last Christmas: Two jars of pickled quails’ eggs that my sister gave me. I also remember—with longing—the orange Bundt cake she made for our grandma and the ceviche she gave our dad. If you like to cook, then you know the pleasure of feeding someone else: Food is love in one of its most elemental forms. And food gifts are also great because you’ve probably got a good idea of what the recipient likes to eat—the same cannot necessarily be said of knowing, for example, how the recipient likes to smell. Once you’ve realized that, yes, food makes a wonderful gift, you’ll probably come up with plenty of ideas of your own, but I’ve scoured the web to find a few recipes that look delightful to me. Here they are

Mushrooms in oilLet’s start with pickles. So easy! So delicious! Martha Stewart has a nice pickle primer with recipes that might inspire you to experiment. From pickles, it’s just a small step to stuff preserved in oil. If you search for “preserved in oil” or “conserved in oil,” you’ll find a ton recipes. These mushrooms look pretty awesome to me, as do these peppers. After oil, of course, we turn to vinegar. This balsamic glaze is gorgeous, and infused vinegars are simple and pretty. And, while we’re on the topic of infusing, I would like to mention homemade liquors and cordials. If you try this honey and saffron liquor, please make a bottle for me.

Gum dropsCandy is classic. Again, Martha Stewart is a great source for ideas. Check out her basic bark recipes if you want something easy and sure to please.  The grownups on your gift list might appreciate some no-bake rum balls. Brown sugar-rosemary walnuts sound like a glorious combination of sweet and savory. And these gum drops! Just look at them! Imagine them in unexpected flavors—herbal, maybe?

Santa cookiesThis list would obviously be incomplete without cookies. This Santa cookie wins the prize for sheer adorableness, but Martha Stewart’s holiday icebox cookies are pretty sweet, too. I’m a big fan of icebox cookies, especially when I need a large quantity of cookies. The other thing that’s great about icebox cookies is that you can give someone frozen or chilled dough so that they can make fresh cookie themselves after the holidays. I can personally vouch for the wonderfulness of these chocolate-black pepper cookies. And, as long as we’re turning on the oven, both Heidi Swanson and Nigella Lawson have incredibly enticing gingerbread recipes.  



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December 15, 2011 | Permalink