Every year around this time I start thinking about the perfect gourmet homemade food gifts I'm going to craft with love and care, wrap with Martha Stewart-like flair, and distribute to friends and family who will marvel at my elegance and hospitality. But it never happens. Instead, I wind up nibbling on my friend Hilary's homemade, raffia-tied marshmallows while staring at her rosemary simple syrup in a glass carafe with handmade label—and thinking about how maybe next year I'll start planning a little earlier.
Now it's next year! And with the best of intentions, I've started my planning by searching the internet for the most interesting, delicious, easy, do-it-yourself gourmet gift ideas I could find. Will I actually make any of these when mid-December rolls around? I don't know! (Maybe I'll just send this list to Hilary and then mind-control her into putting my name on the manually letterpressed gift tags that, naturally, she's made from her own rose-petal paper slurry.) But let's not worry about that. Just check out these great gift ideas I probably won't make!
In no significant order:
1. Rosemary & Garlic Dipping Oil
Looking for creative host/hostess gifts for the holiday season? Bring a loaf of bread and a bottle of your own homemade rosemary and garlic dipping oil to this year's festivities.
2. Refrigerator Pickles
You don't need to fuss with traditional canning techniques or supplies to enjoy incredibly delicious homemade pickled vegetables. Our very own Pickled Cauliflower, Carrots, and Red Bell Peppers are beautiful, easy to make, and last in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Sriracha is a Southeast Asian hot sauce made of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. (Recognize these?) Your homemade sriracha can be used as a dipping sauce, stirred into Asian noodle soups, dolloped onto seafood dishes—even drizzled over scrambled eggs or spread onto sandwiches.
4. Flavored Simple Syrup
Fill glass bottles with colorful, homemade flavored simple syrup that can be used to make holiday cocktails. Include recipe ideas for your simple syrup, like this one for a Rosemary Greyhound Martini, or one of my personal favorites, a Basil Gimlet.
5. Flavored Salts
Making your own flavored salts is easy, inexpensive, and will cause your friends to think you're a very fancy foodie. They look beautiful, too. Check out these mouthwatering ideas that include flavorings like lemongrass, wasabi, and tangerine—as well as these intriguing recipes for dried mushroom and sun-dried tomato salts.
Harissa is a North African condiment made of chili peppers, garlic, and spices (regional versions vary) traditionally used to flavor stews, vegetables, and couscous. Provide some recipes that use harissa, including our Warm Moroccan Beet and Onion Salad, along with your homemade handiwork.
7. Infused Vinegars
Fill some inexpensive glass jars or small carafes with gorgeous, tasty infused vinegars. For example, try Ghost Chili or Cumin-Spiced vinegars; your favorite fresh herb vinegars; or this Rosemary-Lemon vinegar.
8. Grissini (Italian Breadsticks)
These lovely looking breadsticks, personalized with whatever seasonings you're in the mood for, can be made on one big Project Day and then frozen until you're ready to hand them out to this coworker or that hostess. Tell them to re-warm in the oven before eating.
10. Spiced Pecans (or other nuts)
In a related shameless plug: TLG makes the perfect holiday gift for your foodie friends as well as those who wish they could cook like foodies but aren't sure how. Happy holidays, everyone!