Creative Holiday Gifts
Most of my friends are huge foodies that scour the internet for new recipes and go to the boutique olive oil store to pick out their favorite bottle of the stuff. In short, they already have everything they need. So I decided this year I would make them something simple, so simple that they probably wouldn’t get around to making it for themselves: herbed vinegars and flavored honeys.
These two things can be beautiful to look at as well as a great addition and compliment to tons of dishes – from salad dressings to desserts.
Making herbed vinegar is easy and relatively painless. I find the hardest part is sterilizing the bottles. This can be done by boiling the glassware in a big soup pot or putting them in the dishwasher for a full cycle. While your bottles are sterilizing you should gather your ingredients – fresh herbs and vinegar.
The herbs should be fresh, free from dirt, and hearty (no browning leaves or moldy spots) and the vinegar should be apple cider, red wine, white, or rice wine (not distilled).
Add whichever herbs pique your tastes, or try combining herbs for even more flavor. If you make the rosemary vinegar, try it on potato salad. Add some olive oil, minced chives, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper for a fun change of pace to a classic dish.
- Bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic
- Garlic and ginger
- Dill, garlic, and peppercorns
- Place fresh, cleaned herbs in sterilized bottles and pour heated (not boiling) vinegar to fill.
- Cork or lid.
- For the best look, I like to let the herbs steep for a few days and replace them with fresh herbs that look much better.
Making infused honey is just as easy. The spicy ginger honey is especially tasty. Use it to glaze tofu or chicken, and then toss that with rice noodles, bell peppers, and soy sauce.
- Mint and vanilla
- Orange, lemon, or lime (use the zest only)
- Spicy ginger (use dried chili flakes and fresh ginger)
- Cinnamon and clove (use whole sticks and cloves)
- Sage or thyme
- Heat up honey in a saucepan with the herb or flavor of choice.
- Let steep for one hour.
- Strain and pour into sterilized jars. Label and tie a pretty bow around it. Voila!