|Gifts from the Kitchen|
Hanukkah and Everyday
This holiday season we are focusing on gifts from the kitchen. What nicer way to say "I'm thinking of you", then with a homemade treat, made by you, from your very own kitchen! A homemade gift reflects time, effort, thoughtfulness – a boatload of adjectives – and it does save on expense. Get the whole family into the act, and it can be a fun activity.
We love to make mixes and pack them in assorted glass jars/ containers/small paper bags/cellophane bags and tie with a colorful ribbon or raffia. We add the recipe plus, if applicable, a recipe suggestion printed on a nice recipe card or colored paper - and away we go!
Inexpensive containers can be found at the craft shop, the grocery store (Ball Canning jars for example), the Dollar Store; just use your imagination. Affix pretty decorative labels to the jar/container/bag and include the name and storage information. If you want to add that "extra something" to the gift, we have included suggestions below.
Cappuccino Mix: For coffee lovers, this is the perfect gift. There are so many ways to gift this. Pack the mixture in a small canister; we like to also include a nice cappuccino cup and a bar of chocolate to shave over the top of each cup. For a really big bang, include a bottle of kosher Frangelico liqueur or Heering Coffee Liqueur – great to add some to the hot cappuccino. Of course, the recipe for the mix and how to use it are included in this delightful gift.
Dutch Baby Pancakes: Mix up a batch of this oven-baked pancake mix, put into a glass container with a lid, and add the recipe card. For a special gift, include a jar of pure maple syrup or a shaker of confectioner's sugar.
Ranch-style Dressing and Dip Mix: This mix can be used to make a dressing for salads or a dip for fresh veggies or chips. When making this versatile mix, be sure to use dried spices that are not out-dated. Gift this in a small spice jar or cellophane bag tied with raffia with the recipe attached. If you want to really get fancy, add a nice salad bowl and wrap it all in colored cellophane.
Herbes de Provence Mix: A combination of French thyme, oregano, rosemary, and basil, this herb blend is used in the Mediterranean region of Provence in France. It can be used when sautéing vegetables, in grilling or baking poultry, or on pizza. Gift this in an airtight jar with two recipes – one for the mix and one for using it in a Ratatouille Casserole.
Focaccia Mix: This delicious Italian flatbread is a delightful accompaniment to soups and appetizers. Paced in an airtight container, it is the perfect companion to Minestrone Soup Mix (below). Gift together or separately, add a bottle of red wine, a jar of pesto and hopefully, the recipient will ask you to stay for dinner.
Minestrone Soup Mix: Soup is the perfect comfort food. This gift mix is packaged in two containers as the macaroni is packed separately. The ingredients for the soup look very appealing layered in a glass jar. This can be gifted with the Focaccia Mix above and can also include a bottle of red wine.
Beer Bread Mix: This is one of our favorite recipes and is perfect for gift giving. Easy to make and versatile, Beer Bread does not require rising time and, with a few added ingredients, the flavor of this bread changes. Just add a can of beer – hence the name – to the mixture and it is all set to go. Beer adds a nice yeasty flavor but unflavored seltzer can be substituted. Include a bottle of beer or seltzer along with the Beer Bread Mix, which can be packaged in an airtight container or bag.
Syrian Rice Pilaf Mix: Rice Mixes make wonderful gifts and will be greatly appreciated especially on busy days. Delicious with chicken or beef, this blend is similar to the rice pilaf available on grocery shelves. This would look beautiful wrapped in a clear cellophane bag tied with a lovely ribbon.
Recipes are from The Perfect Mix, Diane Philllips (Hearst Books)
December 5, 2012