This is also the time to tell you about the Ice Bowl that will be the talk of your next cocktail party and that needs explicit directions. So we'll put it at the end of the chapter which also happens to be the end of the book. There have been several recipes suggested previously as nice gift ideas but here you'll find four more.
Some people feel that gifts "From the Kitchen of ..." may be construed as "chintzy"!
Not so. Not so.
Actually your friends that don't enjoy doing kitchen time will appreciate your gourmet touch. Just because one has an aversion to the stove doesn't mean he/she doesn't enjoy fine food.
And the gourmets among your friends will doubly welcome your culinary efforts. And for the friend who has everything and represents a real gift buying dilemma, it's unlikely he or she will have STRAWBERRY BUTTER, ALLSPICE MUSTARD or CURRY DIP, MEATLOAF CUPCAKES in the refrigerator or CHEF'S SALT among the condiments.
All of these you'll want for yourself so just make more and solve some gift giving problems too.
You'll find innumerable uses for CHEF'S SALT . . . in meat loaves on scrambled eggs, to combine with butter for use on steaks, baked potatoes. And spread it on French bread, wrap in foil and bake as you would garlic bread. A nice change. To make it combine 1 cup of iodized salt, 1 teaspoon each of paprika and freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each of celery salt and garlic salt. That's all there is to it.
I've given this as a gift using one of the Salt and Pepper machines found in gourmet shops. This is an acrylic combination salt shaker and pepper mill and makes a most attractive and useful kitchen aid.
For myself and friends with a sweet tooth, STRAWBERRY BUTTER is really delectable to use on
warm, feathery biscuit, pancakes and waffles or to sandwich between vanilla wafers for tea time cookies.
So easy to make . . . just combine on cup (two sticks of softened butter) with one-half cup of chopped, fresh strawberries and three tablespoons of confectioner's sugar. I sometimes add a bit more sugar.
Whip it in a blender or food processor or by hand until it is light and fluffy and prettily pink. Yields 1 1/4 cups. Keeps beautifully when refrigerated but there's rarely enough left for that sort of storage.
As a gift, find a pretty mug, fill it within an eighth of an inch of the rim, cover with foil and secure with a ribbon tied with a bow. You'll make someone happy and yourself, too.
Now for the easiest dunking sauce in the world. It's called CURRY DIP and to make it just combine your favorite mayonnaise (hopefully the home made version in the Memorable Miscellany chapter) with curry powder. Please buy the finest for this--visit your gourmet shop to be sure. Add enough to suit your taste, but the dip should come out a nice light mustard yellow color.
Use this for raw vegetables, thin strips of celery, carrots, edges of cucumber, cauliflower or broccoli flowerettes. And try it instead of mayonnaise when you next devil eggs.
If you are a mustard lover but not content with the ball park version of other commercial preparations and yearn for a gourmet flourish try ALLSPICE MUSTARD.
So simple to make . . . in a blender mix together a 4-oz. box (1 1/3 cups) of imported dry mustard (back to the gourmet shop for this) 1/2 tsp. ground allspice, 2 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/2 cup each of salad oil and cider vinegar. Yields 1 3/4 cups of a spicy mustard.
A small covered crock (like a commercially packed cheese come in) would be a perfect container both for home use and gift giving.
That does that for thoughts on kitchen gifts so on with two ideas for pleasing your family members and catering to their individual preferences all in one swoop as it were.
It seems that people who bake pies and cakes from scratch are in the minority these days but with the prices of both frozen and bakery desserts skyrocketing, the frugal homemaker may return to the baking oven.
One smart lady wanted to please both her husband and children in their choice of pies. So...she built
up the bottom of her pie crust right across the middle making a high enough ridge to keep the fillings from running together. She filled one side with blueberry for her offspring and the other with cherry filling for herself and her spouse.
There's a way with meat loaf, too, which finds favor with most everyone and most everyone has a favorite recipe. But have you ever thought of making individual loaves in your muffin pans and garnishing each with your family members preferences...some with mushrooms, some with crisp bacon and maybe some with melted cheese. Just aim to please and you will! (Editor's note: good for taking to a family with someone ill and have no time for cooking)
STRETCHED SHRIMP is a blessing with shellfish at unbelievably high prices. And this tip not only
stretched the shrimp but makes for a most delicious cocktail.
All you do is drain and toss a chilled and drained can of pineapple chunks with 1 tbs. each of finely chopped onion and pimento. Now add your cleaned fresh shrimp and pile into small seafood coupes and top with thousand island dressing or one of your choice. Serve with a lemon wedge. Proportions have been left elastic but keep the ratio of pineapple and shrimp about 50-50.
EASY PICKLING is a smart thought provided you never, never, throw pickle juice away. Accumulate leftover juice from sweet pickles in one jar and from sour or dill in another. Then use as the occasion demands as a marinade for leftover vegetables...green beans, beets, cauliflower, whatever. Serve them single or in combination on crisp lettuce garnished with green or ripe olives. A quick salad. or marinate rather finely chopped leftover legumes for a tasty relish.
It's pure luxury, don't you think, to have time to get a fancy breakfast? Also have time to enjoy it instead of gulping a cup of coffee (mine's tea) and rushing out the door? Make the most of such precious mornings and try ALMOND EGGS.
Just grease muffin tins and sprinkle a layer of toasted chopped almonds on the bottom of each muffin cup. Wrap partially cooked bacon around the sides and break an egg in each cup. Spoon one tbs. of cream and a tsp. of melted butter over the eggs. Sprinkle more chopped almonds on top. Bake at 350° for about 15 mins. or to your desired doneness...just set, a little runny or well done (the latter is mine.)
MEAT LOAF CUP CAKES
There's a way with meat loaf, too, which finds favor with most everyone and most everyone has a
bacon, maybe some with melted cheese? Just aim to please and you will.
Now onto the ICE BOWL
FROSTED ICE BOWL
An absolute conversation piece that's both beautiful and useful. Takes a little time but what results? It's
elegant with fresh shrimp perched on the crushed ice lip or fascinating with any dip that would benefit from chilling.
- 1 12 in. metal bowl (if the bowl has a pattern you will get a different result)
- 1 7 in. metal bowl
- Distilled water or boiled tap water
- Masking tape
- 2 trays of ice cubes
- Green food coloring (optional)
- Dried flowers (optional)
bowl. Smaller bowl may be weighted down including with water.
Let freeze until hard one or two days.
Remove the smaller bowl by pouring hot water until ice inside melts.
Put back in freezer.
Remove ice bowl from metal bowl by putting in hot water.
Put back in freezer.
Crushed ice can be used to decorate the ring, or ice cubes built up like brick.
Food coloring can be used to color ice.
Dried flowers can be frozen within the bowl.
Put ice bowl on a plate, decorate with parsley. Place vegetables or shrimp.
In a glass bowl put whatever dip goes with the shrimp and/or veggies and put in the center of the bowl.