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Maison Rustique

Making Food Gifts

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I have decided to make some food gifts for the holiday this year and want to get started. I am thinking of flavored vinegars and oils, maybe some jams or spreads. Do any of you do this? What do you make? Tips? I've thought of various sorts of sauces and condiments, but not sure if that is overly ambitious. I'd love to hear from some of you who do this with more creative ideas than I've had so far.

 

Thanks!

 

P.S. For vinegars--just buy wine vinegars to start with or make my own???

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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One year I made hot chocolate mix as per a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  I also made chocolate marshmallows to go with it.  It was very well recieved.

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There's a an excellent thread over at this link that you can mine for ideas.

 

Almost every homemade gift I've given has been well received, so I'd encourage you to pursue your ideas.  When I receive homemade food gifts, I always appreciate recommendations for using them. 

 

I used to put together baskets of baked goods and everyone got a small fruitcake.  Then the anti-fruitcake articles that always pop up around the holidays put me off but a lot of people have asked so I should make them again.

I like to troll the thrift stores for cocktail or liqueur glasses and to give along with a bottle of homemade limoncello or tequila por mi amante or some other homemade liqueur  and a cocktail recipe or serving suggestion. 

 

 

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Homemade gifts are always the best received, since they show you put your full efforts in them. So I would suggest to avoid buying pre-made stuff.

We are in full summer, so it's the best time for making jams and preserves of all kinds. I would suggest to make the biggest variety you can, then decide basing on the receiver. Every person has his/her own preferences, so it's better to try to understand what's best for each one. Simple example: a person who likes light tastes will get a simple peach jam, a person who likes strong tastes will get a mango + lime + chili jam. Lots of fruits and vegetables during these weeks, so better making the more you can, keeping in mind to make some for yourself too.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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I have several ideas....might be kind of a long-winded post from me lol.  

 

I was in charge of making customer baskets to give at the holidays for years and years.  I wish I would have started a thread here when I first began, but here is a link to some of what I did .  I was worried that the homemade breads would seem cheap or hokey, but people loved them.  On that note, Ronnie's side of the family begs me to make them homemade white bread as gifts each Christmas.  Back in 2011 (I'm sure there is a picture on here somewhere, but I found them on my phone faster) I made a ton of sugar cookies and bagged them individually.  Got raves about those.

 

thumbnail_IMG_0099.jpg.551876a535ea036f2ca904657f519eec.jpg

 

On the cookie note, this thread has lots of great recipes and ideas.

 

The last few years I've made a batch of @ninagluckeggnog.  Ronnie's brother loves it.  You want to start it at least in October so that it has time to mellow out a bit.  Need to get another batch of that started pretty soon.

 

The summer of 2016 I was inundated with jalapeños and decided to make that the gift giving theme.  They are naturally perfect for Christmas--red and green :)

 

I canned pickled jalapeños, cowboy candy, jalapeño jelly , jalapeño mustard  (be sure and reduce the sugar--it's too sweet otherwise IMO)  Link to the recipe is in this post  and jalapeño cranberry jelly .  The jellies are excellent over cream cheese as is the cowboy candy.

 

I have to run out for a bit.  I'll keep thinking.  That preserving thread has tons of good ideas too.  :) 

 

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4 hours ago, ElsieD said:

One year I made hot chocolate mix as per a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  I also made chocolate marshmallows to go with it.  It was very well recieved.

 

Homemade marshmallows are a fabulous idea.    They are really singular since even artisan marshmallows are difficult to find and often not too great.    I remember some hauntingly good mocha ones given us one year.    May have to try to make some myself.

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eGullet member #80.

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As Shelby says, there are  a number of eG threads on the subject.  I've been making gifts for years now for all the folks who provide services for us in some way.  Confections of various kinds, the most popular being the Enstrom Copycat toffee recipe (well, with some changes, of course, :P ).

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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18 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

I like to troll the thrift stores for cocktail or liqueur glasses and to give along with a bottle of homemade limoncello or tequila por mi amante or some other homemade liqueur  and a cocktail recipe or serving suggestion.

 

 

Clearly I haven't had enough caffeine yet, because my first thought was to wonder what you might say to a thrift store to push its buttons and get it riled up.

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Know your audience and who eats what. I like the idea of something non-perishable instead of more cookies that need to be eaten right away, also some savory options. How about chili oil, spiced nuts and cheesy crackers?  One brother always makes Chex mix at Xmas, not fancy but I love it.  

 

Shrubs with seasonal fruit and vinegar are a nice alternative to jam, fruity but lower sugar. I never eat the jam people give me, but I’d drink a shrub. 

 

 

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Thank you all for these wonderful ideas! I ordered some pretty bottles, but need to think about some nice jars and/or tins. 🙂

 

Will start working on a list of recipients and potential things to make so I can start planning and prepping. I'm so proud of myself for actually thinking about it now. I usually wait until mid-December and then realize there isn't time to do it.

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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I did remember something I want to make and just ordered everything I need. Trader Joe's had Flower Pepper (black peppercorns with lavender, rose, cornflower and calendula) for one lousy season way back when. My sister and I both fell in love with it. Someone put together a recipe for it and I found it. Have just ordered all the flower petals I will need to make it. The recipe I found makes about 24 cups, which is way more than I want to make, so I am cutting it way down. I hope it will turn out OK!

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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27 minutes ago, Maison Rustique said:

I did remember something I want to make and just ordered everything I need. Trader Joe's had Flower Pepper (black peppercorns with lavender, rose, cornflower and calendula) for one lousy season way back when. My sister and I both fell in love with it. Someone put together a recipe for it and I found it. Have just ordered all the flower petals I will need to make it. The recipe I found makes about 24 cups, which is way more than I want to make, so I am cutting it way down. I hope it will turn out OK!

 

I'm sure it will and everyone will love that you made it.

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Ah, just had another idea.    David Libovitz wrote several years ago about eau de vie de cacao.     As far as I can trace, it's not made by anyone at the moment.    So DH and tried our hand at making our own faux version.    Simple vodka + cocoa nibs, combined in a bottle and left to marry.     Our product is, if I say so, quite lovely.     I used a healthy splash in a dense chocolate sherbet and it was divine.   T

 

There should just be time for this to work by the holidays.    NOTE:  this is obviously NOT like creme de cocoa.   It is an alcohol that tastes strongly of chocolate, could be used also in a savory.    Like calvados.

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eGullet member #80.

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10 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Shrubs with seasonal fruit and vinegar are a nice alternative to jam, fruity but lower sugar. I never eat the jam people give me, but I’d drink a shrub. 

 

 

 

You are the second person this week who has mentioned "shrub" when talking about alcoholic drinks.  What is a "shrub"?  (My tired brain is only thinking landscaping... so ...._

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1 minute ago, JeanneCake said:

 

You are the second person this week who has mentioned "shrub" when talking about alcoholic drinks.  What is a "shrub"?  (My tired brain is only thinking landscaping... so ...._

 

Basically sweetened fruit purée preserved with vinegar, kind of a syrup but less sweet. Makes a refreshing non-alcoholic drink when mixed with club soda. Use maybe an ounce of shrub per glass of soda. Can certainly be used with alcohol as well. 

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I have just made a big batch of flower pepper. Looks beautiful and smells so nice! I thought I'd see if I can find cute (but inexpensive) grinders to put it in for the gifts. Bottles for vinegars, shrubs, etc. have arrived. Will start working on that after Labor Day holiday.

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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I've done holiday gift baskets for my kids' inlaws, and other friends, for several years. Contents vary over the years, but have included:

 

1. Jams and jellies

2. Pub cheese

3. Chicken liver pate (note, for that and the pub cheese, you need to include directions to keep them refrigerated)

4. Pickles of all sorts, including pickled quail eggs and small knockwurst chunks

5. Chutneys, spreads and sauces. I did a big batch of Vivian Howard's Blue Q barbecue sauce and canned it one year.

6. Meringue cookies

7. Rice krispy treats

8. Pralines

9. Fudge

10. Chocolate bark

11. Quick breads

12. Flavored butters

13. Bagels

14. Homemade bread

15. Homemade crackers

16. Candied nuts

17. Eggnog (someone on here, maybe @BonVivant?) shared an eggnog recipe a couple of years ago. It's pretty wonderful, but damn, it's strong! I believe if I make it again, I'll cut back on the booze. One reason i like to make it is that it amuses me to watch the reaction of the liquor store when the old lady strolls up and wants Everclear.

 

I generally aim toward the out-of-the-ordinary. Pickled quail eggs are a big hit, as is bacon jam and homemade crackers. 

 

One year, I made Eudora Welty's white fruitcake. It was awful -- doughy and not tasty. So I froze it, sliced it thin, and made biscotti out of it. That was pretty good.


Edited by kayb (log)
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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On 8/10/2019 at 2:15 PM, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Simple vodka + cocoa nibs, combined in a bottle and left to marry.

 

I did this a few weeks ago with Kirkland American Vodka, Tj's cocoa nibs and some coffee beans.   Oh, the eau coming out of that bottle when I sniff it!

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I just made Caribbean Rum Cake. for my soon to be 93 year old Uncle Augie.  He says he doesn't want to wait until Christmas "because you just never know".  LOL.  What Uncle Augie wants, he gets.   He's also getting some of the Munavalgekook I made earlier from leftover egg whites.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, lemniscate said:

 

I did this a few weeks ago with Kirkland American Vodka, Tj's cocoa nibs and some coffee beans.   Oh, the eau coming out of that bottle when I sniff it!

Try to hang on to some.   It only gets better.    Then add a splash to chocolate desserts, cakes.     A couple of tablespoons will keep ice cream from getting too hard.     (Of course, you can always have a nip or so with coffee after dinner.)

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eGullet member #80.

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Just reporting in. I didn't get my vinegars started as early as I wanted, but I did get them going. I tried some experiments - Vanilla with strawberries (using TJs freeze-dried strawberries) and vanilla with lavendar. Will be anxious to see how they turn out.

 

Yesterday was our annual Christmas lunch party with a local hardcore food group. We do a gift exchange. My gift was a grinder filled with the Flower Pepper, a bottle of Vanilla Vinegar, a bottle of Lemon Rosemary Vinegar and a jar of Thai-spiced peanut butter that I bought on Amazon (iI popped up when I was looking for something else and I couldn't resist. We have our parties at a wonderful place in KC (Waldo Thai) and everyone in the group loves Thai food. At the last minute I made some of those super-simple Pretzel Turtles and put them in a little box to add to the gift. The recipient was so thrilled! She messaged me all night after she got home telling me how excited she is to try everything.

 

Now, the bad part of this was that my sister and her husband were also at the luncheon. I hadn't told her about anything I'd made because she is getting all that stuff for Christmas, too. I was hoping it would be opened far enough from her that she wouldn't see, but it was right by her. She didn't say anything--pretty sure she figured it out. LOL.

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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How are you progressing? I do baked goods - my standards that people start hinting about around Thanksgiving to make sure they are on the "nice versus naughty list". Starting my deliveries today so they don' t get overwhelmed right at Christmas week. Serious Eats has a good summary of some of their simple (most) but interesting ideas  https://www.seriouseats.com/roundups/homemade-food-gifts

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