Kelly the Culinarian: Prep chef: Holiday food gifts

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Prep chef: Holiday food gifts

As my mother always says, food is love. To continue with premature holiday postings, I want to give you a heads up on two really great books about giving food as gifts. The reason I bring this up so early is that some of these gifts need to steep or sit for a month or more, so time to get cracking.

The first is "Homemade: Delicious Foods to Make and Give" by Judith Choate. This beautifully photographed book is separated into types of foods, including breads, relishes and pickles and drinks. This recipe for limoncello is one I'd like to try:
5 pounds organic lemons
8 cups vodka
6 cups sugar
6 cups water

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the lemon peel. Pour vodka into a one-gallon container, add the lemon peel and cover. Place in a cool, dark place for one week.
Combine sugar and water over medium heat and bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Then add to the vodka mixture and stir to blend. Strain the mixture through a sieve into clean containers and refrigerate for one month before serving or giving.

The other book I picked up from my local library is "Gifts of Food: 160 Delectable Recipes and How to Wrap Them" by Susan Costner. This book doesn't have any photos, but has many drawings to explain things such as how to braid challah or wrap cookies. This book is arranged by gift appropriate for various seasons and has a separate section on how to wrap various food products. I liked the section on how to seal bottles with wax; it would be a great accompaniment to the limoncello above. I really like her recipe for individual Irish soda breads, which would be good for both the holidays and St. Patrick's Day.

4 cups unbleached flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups dried currants

1 egg

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and butter, working into consistency of oatmeal. Add sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and currant, stirring with your fingers. Beat egg and buttermilk together, then form a well in the dry ingredients for the wet ingredients. Stir well until blended; form into ball.

Knead on floured surface until smooth, three to four minutes. Divide into 16 buns and place on greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly and dip a sharp knife in flour, then make "x" s on top of the buns. Cook 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, cool on a rack

Those are just some of the great recipes and ideas in these books. Check out what your local library has to offer as well. Remember, time is a wasting away until the holidays!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping in today at Maryannaville, Kelly. I got a kick out of your comment only because I'm a bit older than you are and I remember the days of thanking veterans my age. Boy oh boy, did we have fun! ~:o)

I have many recipe books that were passed down from one generation to the next. I have recipes that you just wouldn't believe. Most of the recipes are from the old country of eastern Europe. Oooh la la, this stuff is low in cost and good in the tummy, too.

I'm placing you in my blogroll just so I can keep in touch with you if that's ok with you, too.


Kim said...

I'm getting hungry just reading these recipes Kelly....
I will keep my eyes open for the books and I will bookmark these recipes :)

*waves at mville*

Anonymous said...

**waving at Kim

I just stuffed my face with Sole. I stuffed it with crab meat and shrimp with the usual bread stuffing and Oooo lala was it good!

Vida said...

Kelly, thanks for stopping by my blog... Your Limoncello recipe is almost the same as mine except you use an awful lot of lemons compared to mine, I wonder if it will make it even more lemoney... sounds good to me... Vida x x x

Dagny said...

Thanks for stopping by. And Irish soda bread? That brings back some bad memories. This past St. Patty's Day my coworker made some for her students and mine. I ended up with a few puking kids. Ewwww! Don't really know why as I ate some myself.

EriQa said...

Hi Kelly thanks for dropping by :) Your recipes are just yummy but I was thinking do you have a good eggnog recipe that's easy to do?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Hi Kelly - I had no idea you could make limoncello at home - sounds like it would be fun and worth a try!

Anonymous said...

I love homemade gifts, and I love limoncello.Always have a bottle of it in my fridge:)

Betty Carlson said...

Thank you for your message and good luck on your blog.

My niece is a journalism student too -- University of Oregon.

I think blogging is a great way to hone your writing skills on a regular basis!

Diane said...

Hi Kelly
What a nice blog! Thanks for the gift ideas. I especially like the Limoncello recipe - some I have bought are too sickly sweet - yours sounds fab!
I shall be adding you to my blogroll so I can find you regularly!

ZoeyBella said...

My favorite food related gifts are the Hickory Farms baskets. I've been lucky enough to get a few of them over the years. Maybe not as great as what you're going to make, but they still rock my world.

Akelamalu said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog and taking the time to comment Kelly. :)

That sounds like a delicious recipe and I'm always on the lookout for good recipe books.

LianneK said...

Coincidently, I've just started on my little vanilla project, to be given away to friend's during Christmas. It is my first time doing so, and its amazingly so easy to do. The other item I had wanted to make all along as it is not available here was, .. yup ... lemoncello! So thanks heaps!

FH said...

Great books. I bought a Jar mixes book although I don't need to give anybody gifts, it is interesting to look and make some Jar mixes!:))

madre-terra said...

Hey Kelly,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll keep up with yours and all your food adventures.
A couple of years ago our best friend wanted my husband to make him some raspberry vodka. We went and picked the raspberries and my husband blended them with spices and vodka and let it sit for about 4 - 5 months. was fabulous. We almost didn't fork it over.
But husband consistently forget to write down his recipes:(
Every year we give jam (I make) and ceramics (he makes). Keep an eye out at my post because I promised my friend that I would give her my 'rhubarb marmalade' recipe.

Gloria Baker said...

Kelly, my mother say the same about the food!!! Thanks for come to my blog. I like your blog.xxGloria

Max Coutinho said...

Hello Kelly,

This is such an interesting blog :)! I shall return :)!

Thank you for dropping by my blog, and leaving a comment; I hope you return *bowing*!


Cris said...

Hi Kelly, those books sound great... I love giving food as gifts!

Tracy said...

Boy is there a taste of Christmas happening here! Thank for stopping by my blog today, it was great to meet and come find your place here. You have a fun blog--I'll be back! Thanks for the great book tips. Can never have, or read, too many cookbooks ;o) Happy Day!

Liz said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks for dropping by... Happy Tuesday :)

FarmHouse Style said...

A couple of weeks ago Giada was making some recipes that called for limoncello. She made a cockatil with it and she used it in the frosting of some cupcakes. I didn't know what it was. Now I do:)

Thanks for stopping by to visit me today. I hope you will come back again.


Fruity said...

It's always nice to have some good cook or food book around. Great idea

winedeb said...

Hi Kelly, thanks for stopping by to see me! Wow, hard to believe the holidays are upon us. Thanks for the great gift ideas! I need them:)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have that book! :)
The one by Judith Choate, I mean - but I have never made anything from it.

bj said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my is so nice to meet you.
I love cooking so I think I'm going to really enjoy your space.
I want to make some homemade Khula this yr for gifts so I've got to get started on that. I have a most delicious recipe from a friend. I love the "tried and true" recipes.
Come back to see me...

SteamyKitchen said...

The first book sounds like a great book - I love limoncello and didn't realize it was that easy to make!

Queenie said...

My son is mad about lemoncello, I believe this came about from spending all his uni holidays over in Italy. I'm not to fused, but always buy some when he's over to visit, I might try the recipe!
Thanks for popping over to my blog.

Diane said...

Hi Kelly!If you check my blog you will see I have tagged you - hope you don't mind!

KellytheCulinarian said...

Diane -- I'd love to get check it out, but your profile is blocked! Please post a link to your blog.

Kathy said...

Kelly-It's never to early to start looking at ideas for food gifts. Planning is half the fun! Thanks for the book recommendations.

Thanks for stopping by FoodCompanyCookbooks too!

dottycookie said...

Food and gifts in one ... what could be better?!

Janice C. Cartier said...

Thanks for stopping by. I love limoncello, some chilling in the fridge right now. Ciao bella and buona fortuna...Centurion training? You brave one. And smart move there.
All best,

daphne said...

ooo.. i love recipes! thanks for sharing this one.

backStreetGluttons said...

You have got us into the right year end coming holiday mood !

Nupur said...

Love this post! I'm going to look for these books. The limoncello sounds heavenly :)

Diane said...

Hi Kelly
Sorry about that!
Some Blogspot blogs allow me to enter my URL and link using the 'other' option but I think if anonymous comments are turned off it also turns off the 'Other' option, so it makes me comment using my gmail address and so I can't link to my blog (if that makes sense!)
Anyways, my URL is