Holiday Gifts, Goodies and Gourmets
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Books are: Summer Fruit: A Country Garden Cookbook, published by Collins, Preserving the Taste and Breakfast All Day: 150 Recipes for Everybody's Favorite Meal, both published by Hearst. Waycott-s products can be found at Clementine in Century City (310-552-1080); and La Brea Bakery (323-939-6813)
HOMEMADE APPLE PECTIN
Tart, slightly underripe green apples are the best choice for making pectin. They are easily available, inexpensive, and don't impart a strong flavor of their own. When using homemade pectin, there is no need to add more sugar than is needed to bring the fruit just to a point of sweetness, unlike commercial pectin products which depend on the "more-sugar-than-fruit" ratio to jell. Pectin is a natural substance of high molecular weight found in varying amounts in many fruits that causes a mixture to jell. One the highest concentrations of pectin can be found in underripe green apples. Adding homemade pectin stock to fruits which are deplete in natural pectin, will not impede the flavor of the original fruit and will help bring the fruit mixture to a "soft-set" without excessive cooking.
A COMMERCIAL PECTIN IS NOT INTERCHANGEABLE WITH HOMEMADE PECTIN!--
Making pectin at home is a simple process, much like making jelly. The pectin can be frozen in 1 or 2-cup portions which is the likely amount needed for a recipe.
- Green apples, washed, and cut into eighths (do not core or peel) and placed in large stock pot or soup kettle.
2 cups water for every pound of apples
Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until apples are tender.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour pulp and all juice through a jelly bag, or line a large bowl with dampened cheesecloth, pour in apples and juice, gather corners of cheesecloth and tie in a knot. Suspend and allow to drip into bowl overnight.
Next day, measure apple juice and pour into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue cooking until juice is reduced by half. Refrigerate and use within 4 days, or pour into containers and freeze for as long as 6 months.
CHUNKY ORANGE AND GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE
Makes 4 cups
- 2 large ruby grapefruits
4 Valencia oranges
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Cointreau), optional
Cut 2 of the oranges in half horizontally. With cut side down, cut the halves into slices 1/8 inch thick. Then cut the slices through the rind into segments not more than 1 inch . You will have many pie-shaped pieces. Add these to the pan with the zest. Stir in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to stand overnight, covered, at room temperature, making sure all the fruit is covered with the water.
The next day, add the sugar to the pan and boil gently for 30 minutes. The orange peel and zest will look somewhat translucent and glazed and the liquid will have thickened slightly.
Meanwhile remove the peel and any spongy white pith from the grapefruits. Cut the pulp in half and remove seeds. Place in food processor fitted with metal blade. Peel and seed the remaining oranges and add them to the processor. Pulse until all the pulp and membranes are broken up. Stir this mixture into the pan. Continue cooking over medium heat for 30 - 45 more minutes, stirring often. The marmalade is done when the whole mass appears glazed, thickened, and a light amber color. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in the liqueur, if using, and remove form heat. Ladle into 4 eight ounce hot, sterilized jars and seal with new lids and metal bands. Cool to room temperature and check seals.-
Lou Pappas is the author of The Christmas Candy Book published by Chronicle Books.
About 4 dozen candies
- 1 1/3 cups pitted dates
2/3 cup apricots
1 cup almonds, toasted
1/3 cup raw pistachios
1/3 cup candied ginger
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
About 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or brandy
Demerara sugar, turbinado sugar or confectioner's sugar (optional)
Place the dates, apricots, nuts, ginger, and orange zest in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add just enough lemon juice or brandy to enable the mixture to stick together and process to blend.
Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar to coat evenly, if edsired. Place on the prepared baking sheet and let airdry until no longer sticky, 1-2 hours.
Store in airtight container with waxed paper and layer the balls in between the sheets. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Classic Chocolate Truffles
Makes 16 to 18 candies
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Sift the cocoa powder inoa small bowl. Using a 1 inch scoop or melon baller, form the chocolate mixture into balls and drop onto the prepared baking sheet. Then roll each chocolate ball in the cocoa powder to coat lightly and return to the baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen, about 2 hours.
Melt the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate. With the oil in the top of the double boiler over hot, not simmerin, water, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove the chocolate balls from the freezer, and line a second baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a fork, turn each frozen chocolate ball in the melted chocoate to coat evenly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. If the chocolate cools too much, reheat it and continue coating the balls.
Refrigerate until firm, about 15 mintues, before serving. To keep, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Teri Gelber is the co-producer of Good Food. Here are her suggestions for making gifts at home.
- 4 thick skinned lemons, or Meyer lemons
1/2 cup kosher or coarse sea salt
juice of 4 more lemons
1 medium mason jar to fit the lemons tightly packed
Cut them into quarters, not cutting all the way through so they are still attached. Stuff each with plenty of salt and place in a clean, sterile jar tightly packed. Leave for about 3-4 days at room temperature.
Open jar and press them down more. They should have softened slightly. Pour in the lemon juice, to cover them completely. Store for a month at room temperature before using.
After a month, open the jar. If mold has developed, scrape it off. To use the lemons: Rinse off the salt, scoop out the pulp and discard. Use only the peel to flavor roasts, stews, soups, and tangines.
Oat Biscuits with Cheese Platter and Mostarda
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, stone-ground, plus extra for dusting
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2. Transfer to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk and using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
3. Turn the dough out on to a work surface lightly dusted with wheat flour. Knead a few times to gather into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a surface lightly dusted with wheat flour, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick, flouring the surface of the dough as necessary. Using the cutter, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the biscuits. Gather the scraps and cut out the remaining dough. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet 1/2-inch apart. Chill for 10-15 minutes, until firm.
5. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
(Italian Fruit Chutney)
Makes about 3 cups
A great winter gift for friends and family
- 1 pound pitted soft prunes, quartered
1/2 pound pitted dried figs, quartered
1/2 pound dried apricots
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, toasted lightly
1 sprig rosemary
2 sticks cinnamon
2. Cover and on lowest heat for about 1 hour and 25 minutes until the fruit is soft and almost falling apart. Do not allow the mixture to reduce to a thick puree. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent it from sticking or scorching.
3. Remove from the heat and take out the cheesecloth and discard. Cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Serve at room temperature with cheese, or roasted or boiled meats and poultry.
Serve the oat biscuits with 3-4 lovely cheeses on a plattter.
I suggest a great Vermont Shepard's cheese a holiday English Stilton, an aged French goat cheese, and a nutty rich Teleggio
- 1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) whole unblanched almonds
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole unblanched hazelnuts
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
1 1/4 pounds dried preferably organic fruits, any combination of black currants, white raisins, black mission figs, white figs, sour cherries, plums, pears, peaches, nectarines or cranberries and apricots and candied ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
Spread the nuts on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Shake the pans halfway through to ensure that the nuts toast evenly. Allow to cool a few minutes. Gather the hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skins.
Turn the oven down to 300 degrees. In a large bowl combine the nuts with the cinnamon, ginger, cloves,nutmeg, pepper, flour, and cocoa powder.
Cut the fruit into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the nut mixture.
In a small saucepan combine the honey and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat without stirring. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush the sides of the pan to dissolve the sugar granules. Cook until the sugar reaches the 224-240 degrees (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove immediately from the heat and pour into the fruit mixture. Stir to combine as best as possible. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
With buttered hands, press the fruit mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 1 hour, until the edges look set and the top is slightly puffed. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.
Run a knife around the edges of the pan and remove the sides. Store at room temperature. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, Panforte will keep for several weeks. To serve, slice like a pie into very thin wedges.
Yield: 12-20 slices
- 4 cups uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1 cup chopped unblanched almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups dried fruit- apricots, figs, cranberries, cherries....or whatever you like, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup raisins or currants
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted -- if you like that
Stir together the oats, seeds, nuts, millet, flax seeds, wheat germ, and spices.
Heat the oil, maple syrup, and honey in a small saucepan. Combine with the oat mixture and toss well. Spread on cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once to evenly brown. When lightly browned, remove.
Add the dried fruit and raisins and toss well. Store in airtight container for up to 1 month or longer in the refrigerator.
Tina's Garden Pickles
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 whole dried red chiles
3 cups water
1 cup champagne vinegar
2 bay leaves
2 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters with the root end intact
4 cauliflower florets (about 4 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 medium carrots (about 4 ounces), peeled and sliced on the extreme bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices or 5 baby carrots, cut in half vertically, with an inch of the green stems still intact
1 small fennel bulb (about 4 ounces), (with outer stalks removed, and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 stalk celery, peeled and sliced on the extreme bias into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 small red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
Place the above ingredients along with the water, vinegar, thyme, salt, and garlic in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shallots, cauliflower, carrots, fennel, celery and bell pepper. Allow the mixture to cool and pour it into a jar or bowl. Refrigerate the pickles for at least 24 hours.
Yield: About 2 1/2 cups
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
12-20 medium-sized whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 whole dried red chiles
1 small lemon
1 small orange
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Two sprigs fresh thyme
8 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
2 bay leaves
8 ounces (Approximately 1/2 cup) Kalamata Olives
8 ounces (Approximately 1/2 cup) Morrocan oil cured olives
4 ounces (Approximately 1/3 cup) Lucques or Picholine olives
4 ounces (Approximately 1/2 cup) caperberries, optional
Using a vegetable peeler, slice off a 4-inch-long, 1-inch-wide piece of lemon peel, using only the colored part, not the white, bitter pith underneath. Repeat with the orange.
Add the garlic cloves, chiles, lemon peel, orange peel, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, olives and caperberries to the oil, stirring to combine.
Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Body Salt Scrub
- 1 part apricot kernel oil
1 teaspoon or so of vitamin E oil, optional
1 part abrasive such as a kosher salt, sea salt or hawaiian salt
3 to 5 drops of essential oil of your choice, such as lavender, rosemary or rose essence
Mix well with a fork. Place in jars.
Scrub in upward motion then rinse in the shower.
Careful because it makes the floor slippery.
Put in pretty jars to give to friends.
Store in the refrigerator if you plan to keep it longer than a month.
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