Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Food Gifts

If you love to cook, why not make edible gifts for friends?

This holiday season (which happily lasted deep into January!), my husband and I made limoncello, salarom and chocolates for our friends. With some labels from Staples, we were able to dress them up a little, too. In an effort to be green, we used recycled bottles that we collected the last few months.

Limoncello is an Italian lemon-flavored vodka. We actually made two batches. The first one, with a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis, had entirely too much water and tasted terrible. I salvaged it by boiling it down and making a lemon syrup for cakes, teas, etc. The second batch called for less water and less sugar. Limoncello should be served cold and after dinner.

When you make limoncello, you inevitably have batches of lemon left since the recipe only calls for the rinds (sans pith.) I squeezed the lemons and saved the lemon juice. I froze some in small batches and made lemon pasta and lemon muffins with the rest.

Bolognese salarom is an Italian salt mixed with dried rosemary and garlic. I didn’t follow a particular recipe, but instead looked at the jar I had and mixed the ingredients until it looked right. This salt is great for an olive oil dipping plate, meats or really anywhere else you use salt.

To make the chocolates, I crushed candy canes and flavored the lollypops. The ducks were decorated with yellow colored sugar. It was very easy to melt and mold the chocolates. Wilton has an easy guide on their website. I purchased the lollypop sticks, plastic covers and decorating tools at Michael’s.

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