Friday, October 15, 2010

More Great Food Gifts For Christmas

I looked up the true definition of homemade and this is what I found:

home·made (hōmˈmādˈ)
1.Made or prepared in the home: homemade pie.

2.Made by oneself.

3.Crudely or simply made.

There is that word again... ~simply~.  That word has so much power over me.  I am a naturalist by, well, nature.  My dad is the epitome of simple.  He lives extremely modest and with very little.  He chooses to and  I admire him for that.  So to feed my appetite for living simply I have found some more *homemade* gift ideas.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.   


Look at how beautiful these loaves of bread are.  Wouldn't this be a precious gift to receive around Christmas?  I know I would love it.  The smell of fresh bread drives me crazy! Here is a Country Bread recipe from Country Living.

Country Bread
1 package(s) dry active yeast
2 tablespoon(s) sugar
3 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2/3 cup(s) warm (110°F) milk
1/2 cup(s) old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1/4 cup(s) (up to 1/2) warm water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoon(s) old-fashioned oats, for sprinkling

1.In a medium bowl, combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup flour, and milk. Cover bowl with a towel; let yeast mixture rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

2.Using a food processor, grind oats into a fine flour. Add sea salt and remaining 2 cups flour; pulse to combine. With motor running, add yeast mixture, egg yolks, and olive oil. Drizzle in water until dough forms.

3.Remove dough and knead on a lightly floured surface until supple, about four minutes. Place in a large, well-oiled bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a towel; let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

4.Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down dough and knead for 1 minute. Divide into 4 equal portions; shape into loaves to fit into 5 3/4- by 3 1/4- by 2-inch pans. Cover pans with a towel for 20 minutes.

5.Place loaves on baking sheet, lightly brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining oats. Bake until golden, 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Something that would go great with that homemade bread would be some homemade butter.

Homemade Butter
4 cup(s) heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
2 cup(s) ice water

1.In a blender on medium speed, mix heavy cream and coarse salt until grainy milk curds begin to form, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, set aside ice water.

2.Pour milk curds through a strainer (discard liquid) and transfer to a chilled bowl. Pour 1/2 cup ice water over curds and, using a rubber spatula, press out any residual liquid, or whey. Drain water when it gets cloudy, then add more water (1/2 cup at a time), press out liquid, and drain. Repeat 1 or 2 times more until water stays clear.

3.Now you have butter. Divide it into four 3-ounce domed glass dishes (see image) or roll into logs and wrap in parchment paper; refrigerate.

I have heard that divinity is hard to make and I haven't tried it yet.  But when I saw how beautiful this was  I had to mark this as a must try.  I read that a good tip is to have everything ready before you get started.

Peppermint Divinity
4 cup(s) granulated sugar
1 cup(s) light corn syrup
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) peppermint extract
6 drop(s) red food coloring

1.Oil a 9" by 9" pan and a spoon and set aside. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan with 3/4 cup water and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes.

2.Beat egg whites to stiff peaks in a large bowl using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour sugar mixture into egg whites. Add peppermint and continue to beat until mixture is very thick and fluffy, about 12 minutes.

3.Immediately transfer to prepared pan and smooth using back of oiled spoon. Dot divinity surface with red food coloring and drag a skewer through to create a marbled effect. Let stand at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours. Slice into 1-inch squares. Note: For a simple variation, drop dollops of divinity batter onto an oiled baking sheet, then top with chocolate kisses.

Thank you for stopping by my corner of Christmas!! 

All of these beautiful pictures and recipe are from the Country Livings website. 


Terra said...

The divinity looks especially good.

Lily said...

The picture of the bread is so lovely that I think I can actually smell it :) Thanks a lot for sharing the recipes hun.


Ann Nichols said...

Oh... so glad to have found you!! I love Christmas too - as you can tell from my history blog, St. Nicholas and Christmas! Your site is just lovely and I look forward to following along with you! "Kindred spirits" are always a blessing to find!

Lila Rosana said...

Wow! Wonderful! I loved the post.