Make a gift this year instead of buying one
November 16, 2006
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and soon everyone should just about be finished with all the leftovers.
Christmas is still a month away, and now is a good time to start thinking about a gift that you might be able to make, with a lot less trouble and stress than actually going shopping for one.
Every year, I receive lots of gifts that my friends have made. In the picture you see a Pannetone made by Jo Saulisbury. She has been making them for years, and gives them away during the year – especially at Christmas.
They make for a special treat toasted in the morning with a little homemade jam.
Every year, I receive lots of gifts that have been lovingly made by friends who are very busy but manage to find the time and energy to solve their gift-giving dilemma.
It’s usually the same thing every year, and after a while, you not only look forward to it, you expect it. I love all the homemade goodies that we receive and use throughout the year.
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My friend Laurie Oswald makes a seasoning salt. If we run out before we’re due for one, we give her a call. Kim Sayre makes a toffee that is to die for, and gives bags to all her customers and friends.
Even people who are not known for their cooking expertise have something that they make. Paula Tlachac makes a party mix that she gives out, and what a treat to have a ready-made snack in your pantry.
We get a cheesecake and some wonderful olive oil every year from one of our good friends, and I serve the cake on Christmas Eve.
Even if you don’t have the inclination to whip up something, maybe there is a product that you have tried and would like to share. Our neighbors, the Malleys, give us a Jack Daniels cake every year that they send away for, and it’s quite tasty.
So try something a little different this giving season: Give a gift from the heart instead of the store.
2 cups milk, scalded
1 package yeast
6 cups flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 teaspoon anise extract
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup glaced fruit
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 egg with 2 T. water
Cool milk to lukewarm. Add yeast, stir until dissolved. Beat in 2 cups flour. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and anise. Add milk mixture until smooth. Work in remaining flour mixed with salt and nutmeg. Knead on well-floured board. Place in greased bowl; rub top with olive oil. Cover. Let rise in warm place until light.
Mix fruits and nuts; work into dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Grease and let rise again. Knead then shape into loaves. Makes 4 small or 2 large loaves. Arrange on greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg mixture. Cover. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees F, small loves for 30 minutes, large for 40 minutes. Crusts should be dark.
This next recipe is an easy one and goes great with homemade cookies.
Mocha Espresso Mix
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (squares or bars), shaved or grated into small pieces
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine chocolate, dry milk and espresso powder and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended. Spoon mixture in clean, dry glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
Directions to go on jar: “Spoon 2 tablespoons espresso mix into cup, add 6 ounces boiling water; stir. Serve with whip cream, if desired.”
On a personal note
This month, Carson City lost one of its best, Dr. King.
When my husband, Ralph, and I first opened Marrone’s, more than 20 years ago, we were young and inexperienced and did a lot of on-the-job learning from our mistakes.
Ralph was never a line cook until we opened the restaurant. In our first week, Dr. King and his wife, Christine, came in for lunch. Dr. King ordered a grilled ham and cheese.
Ralph made the sandwich, and when I went to pick it up, it was swimming in Whirl (the stuff you brush lightly on the food so it won’t stick to the grill). I picked up the sandwich and squeezed some more out on the plate.
I asked Ralph, “What are you trying to do, kill Dr. King?”
He proceeded to throw the sandwich against the back wall and make Dr. King a much better sandwich with a lot less Whirl.
It was our little personal joke for many years, and every time we would see the good doctor, Ralph and I would give each other “the look.”
Years later at the doctor’s retirement party, we finally shared the story with the Kings. What a wonderful person he was.
• Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.