To make the cook or cocktail master(s) in your life happy, you don't need to invest in an expensive appliance. Great ingredients, good recipes and a terrific olive oil (with a side of Olive Leaf Jelly) can do the trick. We wouldn't call these stocking stuffers. They'll be one of the good
f you've been to the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market at the Quarry on Basse Road off U.S. 281 on Sunday mornings during the past year, you've seen Well Seasoned Cuisine, which sells these traditional drinks with a global history -- but made new again by chefs Cynthia Guido and Cathy Tarasovic.
These fruit vinegars are excellent for cocktails, but also for hot holiday punches and as a cooking ingredient as well.
Last Sunday Well Seasoned served tastes of an Apple Spice Shrub drink that was warm and steamy, made with apple cider and an ounce of this fruit shrub. (All of the drinks sell for $15 per bottle, and as you can see from the recipe below, a little can go a long way. Well Seasoned suggests three bottles as a gift package and there are more flavors, such as peach, ginger, strawberry. See their website here
for more information about Shrub Drinks as well as other culinary services and products.
Apple Spice Shrub
4 ounces Shrub Drinks Apple Spice Shrub
1 ounce Shrub Drinks Apple Spice Shrub
1 ounces fresh orange juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juices
1 cinnamon stick
Optional: Rum, bourbon or brandy are all good with this hot cider
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and heat until simmering. Serve in a mug garnished with a cinnamon stick. Stir in the optional rum, bourbon or brandy, to taste.
Franklin Barbecue sauces
Rain and cold, sun and heat -- lots of heat -- haven't done much yet to the lines out the door and down the street at Franklin Barbecue in Austin. We braved a drizzly day to stand in the line (two hours) and have three-meat plates and sample some of Aaron Franklin's side dishes and sauces. Our favorite was the Espresso sauce, but there are two others that are plenty good -- and they are all available on supermarket shelves in San Antonio. So, if your foodie friend does his (or her) own great smoked brisket at home, these would be a welcome gift.
Olio Nuovo from Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard -- and much more
The first-pressed Olio Nuovo is back at Sandy Oaks again, and this year's harvest was not only a very good one in terms of fruit, but also in terms of the quality of the oil, says Saundra Winokur, the owner of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf.
In addition to picking up a bottle of this luxurious oil, used by San Antonio chefs and culinary enthusiasts, you can browse the well-stocked gift shop at the olive orchard and find items for the body and bath, including handmade soaps and skin products. Dishes, serving ware, cookbooks, tableware and more are available, including beautiful items made of olive wood.
Sample some of the treats made and served at The Kitchen at Sandy Oaks, and pick up a calender of upcoming events, including the very popular Passport Dinner Series.
Last but not least, take a tour of the orchard and nursery and pick from among many varieties of olive trees to take home to plant.
To read more about Sandy Oaks and get directions to the orchard, which is about a 25 minute drive from downtown San Antonio, visit the website here
. Sandy Oaks products are also sold at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturdays at the Pearl Brewery.
Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market Community Cook Book Volume 1
This new cookbook is available on Sundays, from 9-1 at the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market near Whole Foods at the Quarry, on Basse Road near U.S. Highway 281. It's a collection of recipes from a wide variety of culinarians, including chefs, market members and customers, as well recipes from the market's founders and directors, Heather Hunter and David Lent.
Hunter, the editor of the book and compiler of the recipes, says the cook book celebrates the farmers market's second anniversary and promises the recipes will "inspire and sate even the most discerning palates."
This sounds like like a great gift idea to us. The following recipe is one that has been popular at Green Vegetarian restaurant and comes from the chef and owner Mike Behrend. The book costs $20 and is available at the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market.
Green's Famous Kale Salad
Kale for sale.
2 bunches kale, stems removed
Chop kale into bite-sized pieces, place in a large salad bowl and set aside
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or less, to taste.
Combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a saute pan. (I use a bit less red pepper flakes than called for, but add it according to your taste.) Simmer the mixture over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove pan from heat and immediately pour the hot mixture over the kale; mix well to thoroughly coat all of the leaves with dressing. Allow salad to sit for 10 minutes or more before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Recipe from chef and restaurateur Mike Behrend/Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market Cook Book