Gifts from the Kitchen

Lorie Fangio with Slice of Heaven Cooking School and A Taste of Paris Culinary Adventures says crafting holiday gifts from the kitchen is a great way to stretch your holiday dollar. Making your own gifts is fun! The key is to wrap up the goodies in inventive ways.

Citrus Olive Oil

1 orange
1 lemon
2 cups olive oil

Using a sharp knife remove the rind from the lemon and orange in strips leaving the pitchy white part behind.  Push rind into a clean jar and pour oil on top.  Let oil steep for 3-4 days, before straining oil.  Store the citrus oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Walnut Thyme Honey

¾ cup honey
1 cup walnuts toasted and chopped
4 sprigs thyme
½ teaspoon lemon zest

Whisk the honey and zest until very well mixed.  Place cooled nuts and thyme sprigs into a clean jar.  Pour honey over the nuts.  Store the nut mixture in the refrigerator for several weeks before using to allow flavors to meld.

Spicy Nuts Mix

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup almonds, whole
1 ½ cups cashews
1 egg white
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon oranges zest
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non stick cooking spray.  In a small bowl combine the salt with zest and spices.  Beat egg white until foamy and add seasonings, mix well.  Stir in nuts and toss to coat.  Lay nuts out in a single layer on prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes checking them often.  Store nuts in air tight container once completely cooled.

Chocoholics Delight

1 cup chocolate covered almonds
1 cup chocolate covered cherries
1 cup chocolate covered pecans
1 cup chocolate covered orange pieces
1 cup chocolate covered raisins

Mix all ingredients and tore in a jar

Jalapeno Vodka

2 cups vodka
1 large jalapeno pepper

Score the pepper 5 or 6 times from stem to end being careful not to cut all the way through to the seeds. Pour vodka into a clean jar or container, add pepper.  Shake 2-3 times a day for 1 week.
Remove pepper or leave it in for more intense flavor.


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