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Inspiration & Solutions
 

5 Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen

If the way to a person's heart is through their stomach, then you're going to get a lot of love in return with these thoughtful gifts from the kitchen. Put on that apron, clean and clear the counter, get your tools in order, and let's get started!

Hot Pepper Jelly

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers, seeded, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 10 large jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 package of Fruit Pectin
  • ½ tsp butter or margarine
  • 5 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

Directions:

  1. Prepare jars according to preferred canning method.
  2. Place peppers in 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Add vinegar. Stir in pectin. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar.
  3. 3. Return to full rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  4. 4. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within ¼ inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Seal with preferred canning method.

A crafty gift with kick best enjoyed with crackers and cream cheese.
Pull the entire thing together with some twine and a Kraft paper card.

Bloody Mary Cocktail with Sweet & Spicy Bacon Rimmer

Yields: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • tomato mixer
  • infused vodka or tequila
  • selection of garnishes such as celery, pickled okra, olive, pickled green beans, or Cost Plus World Market Pickled Garlic

Rimmer Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp bacon salt
  • 2 dried Thai chilies, ground in a spice grinder

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the rimmer ingredients together and place on a small plate for rimming glasses.
  2. Wet the rim of a double old-fashioned glass with a squeeze of lime.
  3. Rim with rimmers.
  4. Fill the glass with ice and pour in a 2 0z shot of either the infused vodka or tequila.
  5. Top off with the zesty tomato mixer, stir and garnish as desired.

Sure to cure a holiday hangover, this before-noon drink
is a must-have at every holiday brunch table.

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 lemons to make 3 ½ cups of processed fruit (directions below)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 6 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp butter
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin (or your favorite pectin)

Directions:

  1. Clean and prepare jars for your favorite method of canning.
  2. Remove colored part of peel from lemons using vegetable peeler. Cut into thin slivers and set aside. Peel and discard remaining white part of peel from fruit. Chop fruit pulp, reserving any juice; set aside.
  3. Place peel, water and baking soda in saucepot. Bring to boil on high heat.
  4. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add reserved fruit and juice and 1 cup of sugar to peel mixture; cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Measure exactly 3 ½ cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.
  6. Stir remaining 5 cups sugar into fruit mixture in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  8. 8. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within ¼ inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Seal using your favorite method of canning.

Bottle up the sweet taste and refreshing aroma of Meyer lemons with this easy-to-make canned marmalade recipe. Personalize with a kitchen jar label or seal.

Mason Jar Cookie Mix Gift

Yields: 4 dozen cookies (in 1 jar)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Mix the salt and baking soda with the flour.
  2. Layer the ingredients into a 1-quart-wide mouth jar, starting with the flour mixture and then brown sugar, white sugar, chocolate chips.
  3. To keep cleaner lines layer each ingredient in with a spoon and gently pack down each layer before adding the next.

Enclose a card with the following mixing and baking directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup of unsalted butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix in cookie mix.
  3. Drop teaspoons of dough, spaced well apart, onto a cookie sheet with parchment.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
  5. Cool on wire racks. Use decorative twine, cards and paper to make complete the gift.

In the cookies of life, true friends and loving family members are the chocolate chips. Top off this sweet gift with twine and a handwritten note on the gift tag.

Home-Brewed Beer in Amber Glass Bottles

Yields: Approximately 10-12 bottles

Give the gift of beer to a friend with a taste for hops or their own home brewing aspirations. Take home an Irish Stout, American Pale Ale or Hefeweizen Craft Beer Kit that makes home brewing simple and fun to do, and store each perfect pour in one of our Amber Glass Bottles.

Each kit includes all the beer brewing ingredients, including a 1-gallon glass jug, racking cane, plastic funnel, rubber stopper, 3-piece airlock, thermometer, tubing with thumb clamp, burlap brewing bag, sanitizer and a step-by-step instruction manual.

This holiday, gift the gift of beer and invite a friend to imbibe in something crafted right out of your kitchen. Cheers to that!

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