Christmas is getting closer and I have another week of food-related gift ideas to share with you.
In the past two weeks we’ve covered nut-based snacks and breakfast foods, but this week I wanted to take a step back away from prepared foods and look at ingredients instead. Because while you might have a lot of friends that really enjoy eating the foods that you make for them, there are also those food-lovers who are really in their element when they’re the ones doing the cooking. So I thought of these as some pre-ingredients that they can experiment with, and if you’re lucky, be the benefactor of them testing them out.
For example, first up, a barbecue spice rub. A dry rub is great on so many different preparations of meat, but I bet I only go through the trouble of making my own dry rub from scratch a handful of times per year. This is a very classic recipe with lots of salt and brown sugar, and some heat from paprika, black pepper and a smidge of cayenne (which you can increase if your recipient likes meats on the spicier side). Now a spice rub can seem like a small gift, but why not pair it with a gift certificate to a local meat market where they can get an exceptional piece of meat? (Note to friends: I would LOVE this as a gift.)
If barbecue isn’t their thing, try a rosemary lemon sea salt blend, which would be great on chicken, fish or pork. It’s oh-so-simple, but to the recipient who opens the little container and gets a whiff of this mixture, it’s like being transported to a beach deck somewhere in August. Summer in a bottle — that’s an excellent gift idea.
Speaking of rosemary, I found this recipe for a rosemary-infused olive oil, and thought that’s another great way to help a chef feel like they have a little extra luxury at their disposal. If rosemary isn’t your favorite flavor, try another dried herb, but do some investigation from a trusted source like the cooperative extension before trying to make flavored olive oils from anything that hasn’t been dried first. Apparently botulism is a potential risk in additives that still include water.
And finally, this one was so unique that it really caught my eye, but it’s a recipe for a highlander mustard, a Scottish recipe for a spicy little condiment (and yes, it does have whiskey in it). This would be great to give as a hostess gift, maybe with some of Carroll’s delicious cheeses. It requires no cooking, just a little time to let the mustard seeds sit in liquids to get them a little softened before blitzing all the ingredients in a food processor. I need to go find some little jars for this ASAP.