Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Food Gift Ideas

I sent this out in my latest newsletter and forgot to post to the blog. Enjoy!

Marinated Goat Cheese Jars from

· 1 (8-ounce) goat cheese log
· 1 red bird's-eye chile
· 2 strip(s) lemon zest, pared from 1 lemon
· 2 bay leaves
· 1 sprig(s) fresh oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon(s) fennel seeds
· 2 clove(s) garlic, halved
· 2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil

Cut goat cheese log into 4 equal pieces; form into balls. Pack all 4 balls in a sterilized wide-necked jar. Cut chile in half, through the stalk. Add chile, lemon zest, bay leaves, oregano, fennel seeds, garlic to jar. Pour in olive oil to cover cheese. Seal jar and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

Citrus-Marinated Olives from

2 lemons
1 orange
6 clove(s) garlic
1/4 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
2 pound(s) assorted brine-cured olives, drained

From each lemon, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel; place in 1-quart saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from lemons, and place in large bowl.
From orange, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel and add to saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from orange, and add to lemon peel in bowl. Peel garlic and cut each clove in half; crush with side of chef's knife.
Add garlic, oil, and thyme to saucepan, and heat on low until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
Place olives in bowl with grated peels. Pour oil mixture over olive mixture, and toss to coat well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate olives at least 24 hours to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally. (Or place olives in large self-sealing plastic bag, turning to coat olives well. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag on plate and refrigerate olives, turning bag occasionally.)
Spoon olives into tightly sealed containers or jars for gift giving. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month.

Chili Lime Peanuts

6 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups unsalted cocktail peanuts

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F. Whisk lime juice, chili powder, salt and cayenne in a large bowl.
Add peanuts; toss to coat.
Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Holiday Spiced Pecans

1 pound pecan halves
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread pecans on a large baking sheet. Roast until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.
Combine brown sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer the roasted pecans to a large bowl, drizzle with oil and toss well to coat completely. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss again.
Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Choco-Nut Bark

2 cups semisweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds and cashews, plus more for garnish

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Combine melted chocolate and nuts in a medium bowl.
Scrape the mixture onto the foil and spread it into an approximate 12-by-9-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle with additional finely chopped nuts, if desired.
Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Hope you like these recipes/ideas! Let me know how they turn out! I'm planning on making them as soon as I can!

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