I’m preparing my holiday gift packages, listening to Esquivel’s Merry X-Mas from the Space-Age Bachelor Pad to console myself. Word from the mountain is that the Retrogrinch has mandated a moratorium on Christmas jazz and novelty tunes. Guess who’s getting a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce for lunch? Locally made and organic, too. (Am I the only one who pondered actually turning this line from the Grinch song into an appetizer — sauerkraut, sauteed boletes with a bit of cream, crushed almonds, puff pastry?)
Anyhoo, I have a sleigh full of jam and pickles to give away, and as I’m packing them up for shipping, I started wondering what other homemade gifts were being given this year. Are you making your own food gifts? Is this an old tradition for you or a new one?
I also wanted to direct Pacific Nor’westers looking for ideas to check out the post I made a few months ago about Oregon/PNW food gift possibilities. The comments section has more ideas. I’d love to list as many ideas as possible, so if you know of local products or ingredients you include in your own gifts, please add your own comments! Also check out the links to the right to read other food blogs from PNW writers with fantastic ideas. (Edited to add: Some PNW cheese possibilities are here, courtesy of the cheese whiz at the excellent Pacific Northwest Cheese Project.)
For the record, the 2008 Culinaria Eugenius Cannery Catalogue follows. All fruits and vegetables are local and either from my garden or a nearby farm, except the Grinch pickles, which fittingly (?) were made from cucumbers shipped in from CA to our neighborhood Asian market.
- Oregon Albacore Tuna. Young, fresh, single-piece, troll-caught days before I canned it, no mercury issues!
- Pickled Green Tomatoes with Celery. Kosher-style, with vinegar.
- Grinch Extra Sour Pickles. Fermented cucumbers stewing in their own salty juice, extra garlic.
- Purple Cauliflower Pickle. Brilliant magenta color comes from purple cauliflower.
- Mixed Pickle. Dilled garden vegetables: kohlrabi, green beans, cherry tomatoes, Hungarian peppers, ripe jalapeños, cauliflower, garlic.
- Sauerkraut with juniper berries.
- Vegetable Salts. Carrot and celeriac.
- Willamette Valley Dark Fruit Honey Jam. Wild blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries with meadowfoam honey. Low sugar.
- Lingering Autumn Cider Jelly. Willamette Valley fresh cider, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa nibs, hint of chili pepper. Low sugar.
- Strawberry Pinot Gris Jam. Benton strawberries, Sweet Cheeks 2006 Estate Pinot Gris syrup, hint of Szechuan pepper. Low sugar.
- Oregon Strawberry Elderflower Jam. Benton and Honeoye strawberries, elderflower syrup. French-style (no pectin).
- Tayberry Jam. Pure, unadulterated, musky, complex tayberries, a blackberry-raspberry cross.
- Raspberry Apricot Preserves. Willamette raspberries, apricots. French-style (no pectin).
- Apple Cranberry Sauce. Mixed local apples, Bandon cranberries. Low sugar.
- Brandied cherries. Sour pie cherries, Courvoisier.
A personal note to my friends and family reading this: let me know which ones you’d like, if you have a preference! I can mail everything but the Grinch Extra Sour Pickles, which are refrigerated, but I’m driving to San Francisco and plan to bring a cooler. Love, me.