Gifts from the Soul of the Kitchen & Kathy Casey Food Studios Holiday Open House

In case you missed the live show on KOMO AM 1000, you can listen to it again online.

Giving or Getting something handmade as a gift is always a special treat. When time wasn’t as precious, these gifts were abundant, from homemade fudge and fruity liqueurs to almond bark, candied citrus rinds and a plethora of cookies!

With time a bit more scarce these days, I’ve whipped up a nice batch of simple, striking holiday edibles, since — let’s face it — not all of us started this gift-making back in July!

And what you package in, also, is a huge part of the overall effect. With fabulous stores such as Packaging Specialties — for ties, baubles, ribbons and tiny boxes, and places like Pier One — for terrific bottles, jars and fancy metallic cloth gift bags, it’s hard not to come up with something pretty fabulous looking as well as tasting, too!

With items such as the Crimson Cranberry Ginger Vinegar I like to print a tiny recipe or message on my favorite ways to use it. (It’s great in a holiday vinaigrette!) Then it’s off to Kinko’s to make copies on transparencies (clear, see-through film). Cut them into bottleneck tie-on tags and before long your hand-made goodie looks like a million bucks!

The Spicy & Sweet Hazelnuts are best packaged in a pretty jar or decorative tin to keep the air out so they keep their crunchy freshness. And if you make a few extra they are super great to have on hand as a nice nibble for unexpected guests.

I also dug up a recipe for crescent cookies from my mom’s recipe collection. It is super-simple—mix, slice, shape and bake—but soooo yummy. This classic is usually made with almonds but I have embellished it instead with toasted pine nuts and candied orange peel for an Italian twist.

And if your not in the mood to get crafty yourself – then head over to Kathy Casey Food Studios on Saturday December 12th for our open house (11:00 am – 7:00 pm)  – we’ll have plenty of goodies to stock your favorite foodies stocking. From little Spiced Apple Cakes to  Fennel Spiced Walnuts, “Over 21” Fruitcake made with Maker’s Mark, to Dish D’Lish Seasonings and Nectarine Rose Preserves…. so sexy to serve with cheese! We’ll have loads of groovy gifts for sale as well as I will be signing copies of my book Sips & Apps. And of course we’ll be sampling some tasty treats from Sips & Apps like Bacon Blue Cheese & Pecan Cocktail Cookies!

So come by and see us:
Kathy Casey Food Studios Holiday Open House
Saturday December 12th
11:00 am – 7:00 pm
5130 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

I hope to see you for some Holiday Cheer! – Kathy

Crimson Cranberry Ginger Vinegar
Makes 6 cups

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
4 big slices of fresh ginger root, without skin
1 large shallot, peeled and quartered
6 cups white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Arrange the cranberries, ginger slices and shallot attractively in 2 clear glass wine bottles (you can skewer the cranberries, if you like, on long wooden skewers).

In a non-aluminum pan, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil. Immediately pour the liquid into the bottles, filling them 1 1/2 inches from the top. Let cool to room temperature, then cork. Let sit a minimum of 2 days before using. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 – 3 months, or refrigerate for up to 6 months.
Copyright © by Kathy Casey

Sweet & Spicy Hazelnuts
Makes 3 cups, about 3 – 6 little gifts

1 pound hazelnuts (about 3 cups)
1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly roasted and skin is starting to come off. Remove from oven and cool. Rub skins off nuts with a clean, non-fuzzy dish towel.

Reduce oven heat to 250 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water until foamy. Add the hazelnuts and toss to coat. Transfer the nuts to a strainer, shake and then let drain for at least 2 minutes.
Place remaining ingredients in a large, clean bowl, and mix well. Add the nuts and toss to coat thoroughly.
On a large baking sheet with sides, spread the nuts out in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir with a spatula, spread the nuts out again and bake for 25 – 30 minutes longer, until dry.
Loosen the nuts from the baking sheet. Let them cool to room temperature on the sheet. Be sure to let these nuts cool completely and become crisp before putting them away.
Divvy up the nuts into small tins with tight-fitting lids or cute glass jars with clamp lids, 1/2 – 1 cup in each.
They can be stored for up to one month in an airtight container.
Copyright © by Kathy Casey

Lovely Lavender Sugar
Makes about 2 cups, 2 – 4 gifts

1 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender flower buds
2 cups granulated sugar
small, decorative, wide-mouth bottles with corks or lids
dried lavender sprigs
raffia or gold ribbon

Mix together the lavender buds and sugar in a bowl. In a clean, smell-free, dry, coffee or spice grinder process sugar mixture in small batches until like powdered sugar in consistency.

Divvy up the sugar into clean, dry, decorative jars. Cap, then tie gold ribbon or small pieces of raffia around lid of jar in a decorative manner. Use a glue gun or Elmer’s glue to attach a couple of lavender sprigs to the top of jar if desired.

Uses: Put into your favorite shortbread or sugar cookie recipe. Sprinkle onto fresh berries or stir into lemonade.
Copyright © by Kathy Casey

Roman Crescents with Pine Nuts and Candied Orange Peel

Makes 32 cookies

1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 tablespoon very finely minced orange zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup very finely minced candied orange peel
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 6 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer nuts to a dinner plate and refrigerate to cool quickly.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar together for about 3 minutes, or until well mixed. Add the candied orange peel and mix for 1 minute more. Add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the cooled nuts.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, and roll each piece into a log 12 inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until chilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each log into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a 3-inch-long cylinder then shape into a crescent. Place crescents, spaced apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, toss each cookie in the powdered sugar, then return to the rack to cool completely. When cookies are completely cooled, toss again in the powdered sugar.
Copyright © by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy Casey on December 10th, 2009  |  Comments Off on Gifts from the Soul of the Kitchen & Kathy Casey Food Studios Holiday Open House |  Posted in Uncategorized

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