Call me romantic, but there is something about savory foods that makes life more spellbinding when the weather gets chilly. No matter the climate outside, as long as I have the cooker and oven preheated, there is no reason not to make some fresh delicacies at home. Even on a tight budget, I still make a trip to the grocery store and in a few hours, my kitchen will be beckoning with a pile of mouth watering delicacies. Homemade edibles may not be easy on the pocket. But they represent a warm heart that cannot be bought by money. All that is needed is the right recipe to transform even the most boring menus into charming packages. Check out my short guide on the best Christmas treats for your family.
Spiced candied nuts are a classic way to dress up simple ingredients without a fuss. I usually start with lemon syrup and spare a little for later use. On crispy citrus-candied pistachio, I sprinkle the syrup- something I accomplish effortlessly. There is another way to spice up the nuts, i.e. with cayenne pepper and ground ginger. These two spices provide a savory kick to chocolate pecans that have been coated with crispy egg white. I also like the same treatment on smoky-candied almonds combined with smoked paprika and a few herbs. When I don’t want the sweetness of the candied nuts, I make some cashew nuts spiced with olive-rosemary.
I love the white and brown rice ground into flour and molded into mushy designs of penne rigate. Similarly, I find quinoa pasta and chickpea pasta irresistible. I have to get some whenever I pass by the grocery as they remind me of a gluten-free lifestyle. Corn, black pea, and red lentil pasta are the other forms of gluten-free pasta. But they differ in taste and should be sauced differently. This season I want to start with chickpea pasta. Even when overcooked, it retains the shape and hardly sticks together after drying. Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate it from the real chickpeas but it is chewier. I wouldn’t say it overpowers the pasta sauce, but its flavor is hard to ignore.
Popcorn has always been a favorite treat for my family. It is my mom’s weekend snack whenever she’s catching up with her TV shows. She happily eats popcorn in a big bowl on her lap. It gets chewy and a few weeks ago she had to see a dentist to have kernels that made their way to her gum removed. She was in pain and the dentist said it would have been worse if she waited another day. We are now cautious about popcorns but we have found a way to treat ourselves better. This season I will be making caramel corn combined with nuts and forming them into balls. But this time I must be around to remind mom to eat slowly and floss afterward.
When I have limited time in the kitchen, I grab some goat cheese and slice it into sizeable portions that can be rolled into balls. After marinating them in thyme, bay leaves, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil, I notice a change in smell. The result is a citrusy and herbal savor with little effort. Since it is a holiday, I expect that the cheese will be finished in a week. But I am sure my folks will be digging in sooner than I expect.
I want my kids to enjoy ice cream without getting their hands sticky. So I pack some cereals into paper cups then pops by inserting wooden pop sticks. I can as well dip the cream cones in chocolate that is already melted and coat the edges. They can stand in coffee mugs or juice glasses. Then I add the butter and marshmallows, stirring until they smoothen. After removing it from the heat, I stir in the cereal mixture. With my buttered hands, I sculpt the mix into balls and pack them into the ice cream cones. My kids love these and I can change the ingredients to match their preferences. I’m also considering strawberry muffin cones and toffee-peach pies.
The festive season is finally here! I can’t wait to make some savory food gifts for my friends and family. Provided I have some pennies in my account, my family must celebrate this holiday in the best way possible. Think of any candy cane flavor and cookie under the sun. I have a handful of such recipes for gifting loved ones. Follow my Christmas recipes- they are homemade, thoughtful, and edible.