Usually, I spent the summer canning vegetables from my garden as salsas and jalapeño jelly with the intention of setting aside a generous portion to be used as holiday gifts. Too often we have eaten up and shared with friends and family all that yumminess long before the winter even starts! But all is not lost, here are four savory recipes that are still doable, even in December. Following the recipes are tips for making your creations into gifts and ideas to expand them into gift baskets.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 ounces lean bacon, diced
- 12 ounces chicken livers, cut in quarters
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Dash hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, Italian parsley, or a few celery leaves
- About 1/3 cup melted butter
Makes 2 crocks
- In heavy-bottomed pan, melt ¼ cup butter over medium-low heat. Add bacon, chicken livers, garlic, brandy, salt, and hot sauce. Cover, turn heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until livers lose their pink color.
- Remove pan from heat. Cool about 10 minutes. Scrape into food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides a needed.
- Pack into crocks or ramekins, smoothing tops. Press a small sprig of thyme or a parsley or celery leaf on top of each crock. Pour melted butter over tops to cover. Chill until butter is firm. Pâté keeps, chilled, for up to two weeks.
- 1 cup yellow mustard seed, ground
- 2 tablespoons black mustard
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Makes about 1 ½ cups
- In small saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium-low heat. Stir often until mixture thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.
- Scrape into glass jars and cover with lids. Mustard keeps well under refrigeration almost indefinitely.
(Name your custom mix to make it personal)
Dried Bean Mix:
- 1 pound dried navy beans
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 1 pound dried green split peas
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 1 pound dried red beans
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons salt, Hawaiian pink salt preferred
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 6 dried bay leaves
Makes 6 mixes
- Dried Bean mix: in large bowl, combine all dried beans and peas. Divide bean mixture evenly between 6 containers, about 2 ½ cups each. If using jars, screw on lids. If using cello bags, keep upright until attaching spice blend. Set aside.
- Spice Blend: in small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, red pepper, marjoram, and thyme. Divide evenly between 6 small cello bags or small jars. Place 1 bay leaf in each container. If using jars, screw on lids. If using cello bags, keep upright until attaching to bean mixture.
- To attach: if using jars, use about an inch square piece of double-stick foam tape to attach small jar to top of large jar. Tie a piece of wide ribbon vertically around both jars, tying bow on top of small jar. Secure ribbon to bottom of large jar with packing tape, if desired. If using cellophane bags, place small bag on top of large bag, lining up edges at top. Fold the two bags together, folding the larger bag sides in, as you fold. Staple closed with two staples. If using large jar with small cello bag, gather top of bag and secure with twist tie. If using large bag and small jar, place small jar inside bag and fold closed and staple shut with two staples.
- Make instruction card for each mix, about the size of a file card.
(change the name as desired)
- 1 bean mix
- 8 cups water
- 1 smoked ham hock, optional
- 1 spice blend
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes, with juice
- Wash beans and place in large Dutch oven or soup pot. Cover with water and let soak 8 hours. Drain.
- In same pot, combine beans, 8 cups water, and ham hock, if using. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add spice blend, onion, garlic, and tomatoes with their juice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer two hours. Uncover and cook one hour. Discard bay leaf. If using ham hock, remove to a plate and let cool enough to handle. Shred ham meat and return to soup pot. Serve hot.
At a recent large tea reception, we served curried chutney cheese tea sandwiches. Having most of the ingredients on hand, I made the chutney from scratch and was bowled over by the taste. Homemade is SO much better than any commercially available version. I even converted a former “chutney hater” into a believer. Chutney is wonderful to accompany turkey, pork, or chicken and makes a yummy appetizer poured over cream cheese to spread on crackers. I’ve included both the chutney recipe, adapted from Saveur Magazine, and the sandwich spread recipe which I created.
- 2-1/4 pounds mangos, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ cup peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 late yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 stick cinnamon
Makes about 5 cups
- Combine all ingredients in pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about two hours.
- Transfer to glass jars, let cool, screw on lids, and store in refrigerator up to two weeks. To properly preserve by water bath canning, follow directions for soft spreads in Ball Canning Book.
- 2 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
- Dash of salt
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup chutney
Makes 1 loaf's worth of filling. In food processor, combine cream cheese, 1 teaspoon curry powder, salt, and shredded cheese. Pulse until combined, scraping down sides as needed. Add chutney and pulse 3 or 4 times. Taste for curry and salt and adjust seasonings. Do not over process. Store in glass container, covered and chilled, up to 4 days.