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Food Gifts


Pam R
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A good friend's 21st birthday is coming up, and after much deliberation I've finally decided what gift to get him. He loves great wine and great food, although he isn't a snob about it (at 21 it's too expensive to be a snob). I've narrowed it down to some cool ingredients (e.g. truffle oil), something that's great without necessarily going into a recipe (e.g. fantastic local cheese), some useful kitchen tool, or really anything related.

The problem is that apart from those examples I gave, I'm stumped for variety. The plan is to buy something he wouldn't typically buy for himself that can either be eaten by itself (or with minimal other ingredients, such as the cheese) or incorporated into other recipes without requiring the culinary acumen of a master chef. He'll eat anything -- obscure isn't a problem, as long as it's tasty!

Or to phrase it another way, what food should every self-respecting food lover enjoy at least once in their life?

I dont know your friend, so I dont know what type of foods he likes, or what his living situation is.. But if he has a backyard, buy him a smoker. Besides a great gift, most likely you will get some BBQ out of the deal..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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A good friend's 21st birthday is coming up, and after much deliberation I've finally decided what gift to get him. He loves great wine and great food, although he isn't a snob about it (at 21 it's too expensive to be a snob). I've narrowed it down to some cool ingredients (e.g. truffle oil), something that's great without necessarily going into a recipe (e.g. fantastic local cheese), some useful kitchen tool, or really anything related.

...

If you know what kitchenware he already has, some possibiliites are: a microplane grater, a japanese plastic mandoline-type slicer or a great pair of professional tongs (many uses, including turning meat in a pan).

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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If you're thinking about doing something with a combination - such as a local cheese with a cheese board or plate for serving, you might want to take a look at www.deandeluca.com. Last I heard, they don't ship outside the U.S., but they always put together some great gift packages. Just click on the "gifts" link, and you can see what they've got. Checking these out may provide some ideas for putting your own gift together from local sources.

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somewhere on this board, in some thread or another (a food blog, I think), someone gave a website with australian bush spices for sale.

Someone better at the search function than I might be able to find the thread....

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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What about a bottle of aged balsamic? It's the ultimate splurge ingredient IMHO and it has the added benifit that it never goes bad so he doesn't feel obligated to use it right away but can save it for special occasions.

PS: I am a guy.

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Really good fleur de sel

Aged Balsamic Vinegar

A special oil- truffle is good- how about hazlenut or something?

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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  • 2 months later...

It was the Limoncello thread that got me going on this one.

I like to make food gifts for friends and family at Chrismas (and other excuses) and things that can be prepared well ahead are a bonus, because everything gets frenetic enough closer to the date.

My new son-in-law loves everything lemony, and limoncello in particular (and it will certainly keep better than lemon pie, his other main favourite!), so I was delighted to find the limoncello thread.

I often do liqueur fruits such as dried apricots in amaretto, and there is a recipe for lime slices in (I think) curacao that I mean to try this year. I've made selections of dry mixes and rubs, and done them up with other stuff in hampers too. I've even made a Christmas version of my home made granola, with red dried cranberries and green pistachios to fit the theme, and put it in pretty jars.

What do you all make? Either prepare in advance or last minute (because even with the best planning, last minute things happen)?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I made these a couple of years ago for a few friends, they went down quite well, especially if the jar is an nice one.

"SAND ART" Brownies in a Jar

Add to a wide mouth preserving jar (750ml) in this order:

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 + 1/8 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white choc (chopped)

1/2 cup nuts

This should pack nicely into the jar.

Include a decorative tag with these instructions for making the brownies:

Combine contents of jar with:

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Pour into a greased 9x9inch pan. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

Recipe here Sand Art Brownies

Edited by Cadbury (log)
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I made these a couple of years ago for a few friends, they went down quite well, especially in the jar is an nice one.

"SAND ART" Brownies in a Jar

Add to a wide mouth preserving jar (750ml) in this order:

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 + 1/8 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white choc (chopped)

1/2 cup nuts

This should pack nicely into the jar.

Include a decorative tag with these instructions for making the brownies:

Combine contents of jar with:

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Pour into a greased 9x9inch pan. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes.

I had a recipe for a gingerbread mix - I had forgotten it (eGullet is wonderful for my memory) ... wonder if I can find it ...?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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For me, it's at Purim time that the baskets go out. Fitting the contents to the recipient's taste, I choose one bottle and at least two home-made prepared foods, one from each category:

Bottles:

limoncello;

cherry liqueur (in vodka for most folks, in Jim Beam for very close friends);

hard lemonade

Jars:

chutney, usually apple/walnut but could be mango or apricot;

pesto;

pickled peppers (went over really well last year);

tomato jam

Home-baked and frozen ahead of time if I'm organized, otherwise baked in the early hours of the day:

potato kugel;

noodle kugel;

challah

sourdough walnut bread (for the particularly deserving :rolleyes: )

Dried:

oven-dried tomatoes (I like to dry all the colors and varieties the summer crops offer, to mix in jars or present separately, as the fancy takes me);

a spice mix of sage, thyme a small proportion of rosemary and even less of summer savory;

a mixture of dried wild springtime greens for soup: nettles, mallows, dandelions.

You have to know your client: some of my friends would say "Eeeuw" to tomato jam, and some wouldn't know what to do with the dried greens. Some I know would appreciate the fine liqueur, and on some it would be wasted (they get the hard lemonade). I guess everyone makes similar calculations when putting gift baskets together. I tend to include less of the sweet foods. At Purim time everyone is flooded with candies and cake.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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Bottles:

limoncello;

cherry liqueur (in vodka for most folks, in Jim Beam for very close friends);

hard lemonade

sourdough walnut bread (for the particularly deserving  :rolleyes: )

Miriam

I'd love the cherry liqueur recipe - and what is "hard lemonade"? is it a sort of cordial that you dilute with water?

As for the sourdough comment, I can appreciate that - after a lot of years of trying, there are some people I just dont do hampers for, it is a waste of effort, although I hate to admit it.

[My MIL makes the BEST lemon curd (= lemon butter) but we dont let her get away with it only at Christmas - she has to make it regularly! Sometimes she makes it into passionfruit butter, which is even better]

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I am so confused, Foodie :huh: . I know that US/Australia weather is opposite, but are our holidays opposite, too? It's only June in America and our next holiday is Independence day. :raz::raz::raz:

To make up for my teasing, I actually do have an idea. I make this really good and easy Sponge Candy. My (English) stepdad likes it when I dip it in melted Cadbury chocolate, because then it tastes like a Crunchie (or a Violet Crumble). I also think that a selection of fruit curds with some short pastry tart shells would be a great gift. Happy Holidays! :biggrin:

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I am so confused, Foodie  :huh: .  I know that US/Australia weather is opposite, but are our holidays opposite, too? 

Can on be free enough to celebrate the birth of Jesus on the Fourth of July? :laugh: wouldn't that always fall on December 25? :rolleyes:

Methinks that The Old Foodie probably is so conscientious that she makes gifts well in advance of the actual date ... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I really don't think that one needs a holiday to give a food gift to a lucky recipient. In fact, isn't it much nicer to receive an unexpected homemade gift in .. say... July or August? :wink:

Miriam, I'd love to know about the cherry liqueur too.

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I really don't think that one needs a holiday to give a food gift to a lucky recipient.  In fact, isn't it much nicer to receive an unexpected homemade gift in .. say... July or August?  :wink:

Miriam, I'd love to know about the cherry liqueur too.

Obviously, I was joking, but what you said makes a lot of sense, Pam. How great would it be to have someone turn up at your door in July and say, "I was thinking of you and made you something wonderful" ? Love in action! I might try this. HMMMM.

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Here are my two cherry liqueurs, one, Vishniak based on vodka, and one, based on bourbon, called Cherry Bounce.

Vishniak

1 750-ml. bottle of cheap vodka. Don't use the good stuff; its flavor would interfere with the cherry-ness of this drink.

4 cups - 1 quart or 1 liter - pitted, sour cherries. Sour cherries only, please - the sweet work too, but the flavor of Vishniak is much brighter and fresher if sour are used.

2 cups sugar

Method (veery esoteric): mix everything in up in a Mason jar or similar; close up but stir to dissolve the sugar several times a day till the sugar is dissolved; once that's accomplished, store the closed jar away in a dark place for four months. Strain the cherries out; serve. Best left alone for a year, if you can resist it. I haven't been able to wait a year yet.

You may vary the flavor by adding small amounts of cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean, or using part honey instead of the sugar. I take out a cup or so of the finished liqueur and infuse my aromatic in a separate jar, just to experiment. So far, I've liked it unadorned, just the cherries, the sugar, and the hooch.

Cherry Bounce

adapted from a recipe given on the GotMeadsite

Fill a glass jar with whole sweet cherries (rinsed but unpitted). Pour in enough bourbon to fill the jar. Stir it with a wooden spoon or chopstick to break up air bubbles; pour in more bourbon, enough to cover all the cherries. Close up the jar and allow the cherries to macerate for 4 months. Strain the cherries out into bottles or another clean jar, to allow the sediment to settle. Once the liquor is clear, syphon or pour it off the sediment and bottle. Let it age 1 year.

Notes: You may bottle into gift bottles, or allow the liquor to age in bulk. Either way, don't leave more than a finger of headspace between the surface of the fluid and the bottle closure.

If you think you will prefer a sweeter liqueur, use sour cherries and add sugar, using the same method as the Vishniak liqueur above. Start with 1 cup and continue sweetening to taste. Many prefer their Cherry Bounce sugarless.

So you see, the Vishniak is ready sooner. To me, though, the Cherry Bounce is even more divine.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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I'd love the cherry liqueur recipe - and what is "hard lemonade"? is it a sort of cordial that you dilute with water?

To answer about hard lemonade: it's an alcoholic lemonade, about 5-8% abv. Not for children! Very light and refreshing, and if you just keep casually pouring out glassfuls of it on a hot afternoon, by dinnertime you may find yourself singing bawdy songs, leering at your guests, and having to be hustled off to bed by your exasperated spouse. :blink:

It's made with frozen lemon concentrate, water, more sugar, and wine yeast, a good strong one like Premier Cuvee or Champagne. I had a couple of gallons of frozen lemon juice taking up room in the freezer, so I'm attempting a hard lemonade from fresh juice now. It's tricky stuff; the highly acidic environment is not encouraging to yeast and fermentation. But my current batch is foaming along; if it's not strong or sweet enough, I'll go ahead and add some frozen concentrate. Now why am I rambling along about this? In the States, you can buy hard lemonade all ready. Here in Israel, nobody's ever heard of it. I bottle mine in plastic half-gallon jugs and it goes very quickly.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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I am so confused, Foodie  :huh: .  I know that US/Australia weather is opposite, but are our holidays opposite, too?  It's only June in America and our next holiday is Independence day.  :raz:  :raz:  :raz:

To make up for my teasing, I actually do have an idea.  I make this really good and easy Sponge Candy.  My (English) stepdad likes it when I dip it in melted Cadbury chocolate, because then it tastes like a Crunchie (or a Violet Crumble).  I also think that a selection of fruit curds with some short pastry tart shells would be a great gift.  Happy Holidays!  :biggrin:

These sound great - similar to what I would call Honeycomb, but I think the recipe I have made in the distant past had Golden Syrup in it, not corn syrup. I will definitely try this.

I am confused about a lot of things myself, but I'm pretty sure Christmas is in our summer and your winter ..... but dont quote me on that .... It can be so hot here in Queensland that a lot of people have a "Christmas in July" weekend, just to be able to enjoy "traditional" (for the Northern hemisphere that is) food. At real Christmas we are more likely to eat lots of seafood and salad.

Still .... If you want Limoncello for Christmas gifts, you have to start early.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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I am so confused, Foodie  :huh: .  I know that US/Australia weather is opposite, but are our holidays opposite, too? 

Can on be free enough to celebrate the birth of Jesus on the Fourth of July? :laugh: wouldn't that always fall on December 25? :rolleyes:

Methinks that The Old Foodie probably is so conscientious that she makes gifts well in advance of the actual date ... :wink:

The Old Foodie THINKS and PLANS making gifts well in advance, but usually ends up in a last minute scramble! This year I am determined to make the Limoncello for my SIL, so I must get organised early!

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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To answer about hard lemonade: it's an alcoholic lemonade, about 5-8% abv. Not for children! Very light and refreshing, and if you just keep casually pouring out glassfuls of it on a hot afternoon, by dinnertime you may find yourself singing bawdy songs, leering at your guests, and having to be hustled off to bed by your exasperated spouse.  :blink:

How could anyone not want to rush out and buy lemons to make hard lemonade, after a promo like that!

In return, to keep those children from wanting the grown up version, here are a couple of recipes for fruit cordial which can be diluted down to taste. I haven't made either of these in many, many years - which you can tell as we have used metric measurements here for decades!

Orange Cordial

4 large oranges, juice squeezed and rind shredded or grated.

2 lb sugar

2 1/2 pints boiling water

1 oz. citric acid

Mix the juice, rind, sugar and citric acid. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. When cool, strain and bottle. Dilute to taste.

Lemon Cordial

4 lemons, juice squeezed

2 lb sugar

1 1/4 pints boiling water

1 oz tartaric acid

Make as above. Dilute to taste.

Edited to add: Three consecutive posts on the same topic. I seriously need to get my thoughts organised before I start writing. I dare not add my apricots in amaretto recipe now, but after a suitable interval, will do so if anyone wants it.

Edited by The Old Foodie (log)

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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  • 3 months later...

My boyfriend and I make settlement on our first house next week. We're excited to be taking this step in our lives but realize that we're going to have to make some adjustments in order to make our mortgage payment each month. First and foremost, we'll have to majorly tone down on our usually lavish holiday gifts (we celebrate Christmas and Hannukah.) We're leaning towards homemade gifts this year and I was hoping to include some yummy edible options. Any suggestions for holiday cheer from the house-poor lovebirds?

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Artisanal Christmas Prezzies

I feel very, very old. I started this thread in 2002, when I had scarcely a grey hair or a heart murmer.

People gave me terrific ideas.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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