Gifts from your Kitchen (plus: recipe for candied chipolte pecans)
I am lucky to be on the Top 50 blogs for www.delish.com. It is a fantastic network of online food and lifestyle content (Hearst Magazines and MSFT). I love browsing their slides of ideas---if ever I need inspiration for carving a pumpkin, making quick holiday appetizers or creating gifts from my kitchen DELISH is a worthy resource. Check it out for yourself: a series of 23 slides to peek through tagged 'Homemade Holiday Gifts.' I especially love their idea/pictures of Chai Spiced Tea, Fish Poaching Kit (Pink Peppercorn Spice Kit) and Homemade Tomato Sauce.
I have always had a sub-category (under HOLIDAY) on this blog deemed 'food gifts' or 'gifts from my kitchen.' I recently upgraded this feature to its own, full-blown category: Homemade Gifts. More and more, when holidays, dinner parties and friends' birthdays approach---my brain goes straight to the kitchen, to gather ideas for gift-giving.
Gifts Cooks Love: am loving this book! I just might not be able to give this one away... it lingers between coffee table and kitchen bookshelf... full of ideas for kitchen-made gifts. I ADORE making gifts from my kitchen. You are my friend? A family member? A nice neighbor? Lucky you, guess what I am making to give:
Back to the book: Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving is authored and promoted by Sur La Table---a boutique kitchen shop based in Seattle's Pike Place Market. I love this store... and you would too. I did have to chuckle; the beginning of the book covers all the equipment and tools and extraneous kitchen 'stuff' you need to create these thoughtful kitchen gifts. Because: they are a kitchen store and you should buy all the accouterments there... but I quickly moved past the buy-this-here pitch, because the ideas are inspired and the photos are eye candy (I literally did make the candied pecans---and YUM---recipe below).
I love that they included canned tuna, recipes and instructions to assemble a box of s'mores (homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolates), beautifully packaged cake-pops and of course: liquors (though, their limoncello recipe is THE SAME as mine that I posted YEARS ago... don't you think they should give me credit?).
For a recent all-pomegranate party, I gave little boxes of candied chipolte pecans---as take-home party favors. They were a hit:
Candied Chipolte Pecans slightly adapted from Gifts Cooks Love (p. 125) makes 5 cups.
1/2 stick butter 1-2 tsp chipolte chili or red chili powder (not the flakes) 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 large egg whites, room temp. 1 pinch plus 1 tsp kosher salt 5 cups whole pecans
Oven to 300; rack in center. Rimmed baking sheet: place butter on sheet and melt (not brown). Combine chili powder, brown sugar and vanilla in bowl. In separate bowl: whisk egg whites until foamy, add the pinch salt and beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar in slowly, beat on high to make meringue. Fold in nuts to coat; spread on cookie sheet (don't stir nuts). Bake 20 minutes, stir, bake 15 minutes, stir and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Bake 45 minutes more, stirring each 15 minute interval. Remove from sheet to cool.
Note: fantastic in salad with blue cheese, and apples or pears, maybe cranberries. I combined them with dried apricots and pomegranate seeds for a baked brie appetizer that was delish.