There is nothing more welcomed during the holidays than home cooked gifts. If you have a signature cookie recipe or appetizer make it to bring as a hostess gift or place under the tree for unexpected guest. If you really like the person, place a card with the recipe attached! I try to concentrate on things that I know will be appreciated at a time when all of us have so much entertaining to do and so little time to do it.
You will remember that this summer, when the strawberries were in season and on sale, I suggested you get started making jam so you would have a few gifts out of the way. Well, if you didn't, there is still time this week! Below, I have given you a choice of a few things that would be very welcomed at this time of the year. There are cocktail recipes, bread to enjoy for breakfast on Christmas Day and even something simple like pasta sauce for the home you are visiting and the hostess who is going through all the trouble of entertaining you this year! At least she wont have to make dinner one night. If you want to go all the way, get a wicker basket and include a box of premium spaghetti, real Parmiggiano Reggiano a baguette and a nice Chianti.
Beautiful containers can be purchased for a reasonable price at Marshalls, Target and other discount stores. Going the extra mile will make anything extra special. Just think Martha Stewart in the wrapping department.
Most of the recipes are in this blog or the sister blog My Kitchen By The Lake. There are a couple that have links to websites or blogs I like.
Here's a few suggestions:
Spiced Pecans - Wonderful with cocktails
Chicken Liver Mousse - Keeps for at least a week in refrigerator
Kentucky Beer Cheese - Great to have in the fridge
Fresh Strawberry Preserves - Summer in December!
Candied Orange Rinds - Wonderful alone or with espresso. Great directions on this site!
Tomato and Basil Sauce - Who wouldn't appreciate this!
Pumpkin Bread - Afternoon tea for the unexpected guest. Freezes beautifully
Amaretti Cookies - Hard to find anywhere but NYC!
Goat Cheese Log - Leftovers make great addition to an omelette
Individual Pound Cakes - For breakfast, tea or dessert
Photo above: Martha Stewart.com
Photo Carolyne Roehm