Gifts to Savor, Bite by Bite — Recipes for Health
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
This year I’m giving edible Christmas gifts, and I’ve already begun to make them. I’m focusing on flavored oils and marinated things right now, as they’ll benefit from a few weeks of steeping.
Recipes for Health
Martha Rose Shulman presents food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and to eat.
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Recipes for Health: Susan Loomis’s Lemon Olive Oil (December 6, 2011)
Recipes for Health: Pili Pili (Spicy Herb Oil) (December 7, 2011)
Recipes for Health: Harissa (December 8, 2011)
Recipes for Health: Sweet Peppers Conserved in Oil (December 9, 2011)
In addition to this week’s recipes, some of my past Recipes for Health would also make great gifts. I’ve always enjoyed making huge batches of granola and sending nice-looking bags or jars filled with it to family and friends. This year, though, I had another idea: packaging dry ingredients for pancakes and other baked goods with labels that specify the wet ingredients and instructions for mixing, like a cake mix. The reason people buy mixes is to save the time it takes to measure and sift ingredients, so why not take, for example, the dry ingredients called for in my Oatmeal Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes, put them in a nice bag and put a label on the package that says: “Beat together 2 extra-large eggs with 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 3 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the pancake mix. Add berries, chopped fruit or dried fruit as desired.” You could do the same for muffins, like Buckwheat and Amaranth Muffins, cornbread or scones. Same idea; mix up the dry ingredients and package them, then write out the missing ingredients and instructions on your homemade label.
Marinated Goat Cheese
These are especially nice to have on hand for adding to salads and quick toasted open-faced sandwiches. Place a round on a piece of bread, pop it in a toaster oven and toast 3 to 4 minutes.
For a 1-cup wide-mouth jar:
1 teaspoon mixed red, black and white peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves, broken into pieces
About 3 ounces goat cheese (in a log)
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
1. Place the peppercorns, garlic cloves and bay leaves in a clean, sterilized wide-mouthed jar. Pour in a film of olive oil.
2. Cut the goat cheese into rounds 1/2 inch thick (I get neat rounds using unflavored dental floss to cut through the cheese). Place one round in the jar and drizzle on some olive oil. Stack the remaining rounds, drizzling oil onto each round before topping with the next. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the jar and pour in olive oil to cover the goat cheese rounds completely. Cover the jar and leave at room temperature for several hours, then refrigerate.
Yield: 4 or 5 rounds of marinated goat cheese.
Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”