December 6, 2013

Home-Made Food Gifts

Delight yourself and your loved ones with the gift of nourishment this holiday season.

Dried Fig Compote

2 pounds dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup bourbon
8 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
pinch salt
Peel of 1 lemon, plus ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons raw honey

Place figs, bourbon and 4 cups boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl; cover surface with a plate to submerge figs. Let sit until figs are plump, about 1 hour; set aside.

Heat cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add figs with their soaking liquid, salt, lemon peel, and juice.

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 20-25 minutes.

Add honey.

Divide finished compote into prepared half pint jars, apply clean lids and rings and place in an oven, heated to 180 degrees and turned off immediately before adding jars.

Let stand in closed oven overnight. Voila! These will last on the pantry shelf for 8 months.


Nut and Grain Crackers
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a spice grinder, grind:
        1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
        1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
        1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover oatmeal, quinoa, rice, or millet. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.

If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake at 200 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Allow to cool completely before breaking into cracker pieces and storing in plastic bags.

Healing Morsels

based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

1 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
½ cup cashew or almond butter
¼ cup honey (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom powder
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth.
Add coconut and nuts - mix in well.  Mix in enough coconut to make dough thick.
Roll the dough into small balls. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for 3 weeks.

Nutty Paté

Chop 2 large yellow onions.
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.
When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, and turn burner down to medium-low.
If you have leftover red or white wine, add a couple splashes. If not, just add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Then, cover the skillet.

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add thyme, salt and black pepper. Simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.
Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

While onions are cooking, place ½ cup walnut halves/pieces in a skillet.
Toast on medium heat, tossing often with a spatula, for about 3 minutes or until walnuts are lightly browned.

Once onions and walnuts are cooked, place them in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons olive oil.
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Taste for salt.

Keeps in fridge for 5 days.

Enjoy with biscuits, on toast or as a dip for carrot and celery sticks. This makes a lovely appetizer with nut and seed crackers.

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