LIVE: Jacksonville officials update search for 2 firefighters missing since going boating in Atlantic Ocean last week

Give the gift of food: Some tasty gifts that are easy and inexpensive

MILWAUKEE -- Give a sweater and it might not be their style -- but give something tasty -- and it will satisfy their taste buds. Chef Alisa Malavenda joins Real Milwaukee with some edible gifts that are easy and inexpensive to make.

Some ideas for tasty gift giving:

  • Marinated goat cheese ( or mozzarella ) and Olives
  • Homemade Bloody Mary Mix with Pickled Veggies
  • The Morning After Hostess Basket filled with coffee, muffins and orange cranberry compound butter ( you can also add the bloody mix and make it double delicious)
  • Sugar Cookie Ornament Family Tree as a wonderful centerpiece
  • Mexican Wedding Cake Snow Globe
  • Teachers Pet Apple Basket with homemade caramel sauce and pecans
  • Cookie Cutter Brownies
  • Aromatic Salt Rub / Brine for your holiday meat.
  • Spiced Nuts
  • Chocolate “Salami”
  • Homemade Baileys Marshmallow with Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix or Assorted Marshmallows
  • Gingerbread in a Jar
  • Sangria in a Jar
  • “Mini Bar” in a Jar
  • Homemade Kahlua – you can also add this to the morning after basket

Note: Be sure to include either the recipe or directions for serving as a personal touch.

Also, a good idea to include if it has to be refrigerated or the shelf life.

These are a few of my favorite things:

You can copy these and print out the recipe cards to attach to your gifts.

Recipe : Marinated Goat Cheese

From the Kitchen Of :

  • 1 goat cheese log
  • 1 dried  chili or crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 strip lemon zest
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano or thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

Cut goat cheese log into 4-6  pieces and roll  into balls. Pack all the  balls in a sterilized wide-necked jar. Sterilize by putting in boiling water and letting air dry . Cut chili in half, through the stalk or just add a pinch of pepper flakes.  Add chili, lemon zest, bay leaves, oregano or thyme and  fennel seeds to jar. Pour in olive oil to cover cheese. Seal jar and refrigerate until chilled at least 4 hours.

Recipe: Olive Salad

From the Kitchen of :

  • ½ C olive oil
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • 4-6 garlic cloves , minced fine
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T fresh minced parsley
  • 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 C green olives , cut in half
  • ¼ C peppers, diced
  • ½ C carrots, sliced thin
  • ½ C celery, sliced thin
  • 2 T capers, drained and rinsed

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss well, cover and refrigerate overnight , giving it a stir occasionally. Place in sterilized jars and keep refrigerated. This is great to heat in foil in the oven and pour over cheese. Or just serve with some crusty toasted bread.

Recipe: Homemade Bloody Mary Mix

From The Kitchen Of:

  • 32 oz cans of V8 Juice
  • 2-3 T Dijon Mustard
  • 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 T Tabasco
  • Juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 t celery seed
  • 2 t ground black pepper
  • 2 t Kosher salt
  • 2 T fresh horseradish

Mix all ingredients together and store in a sterilized jar under refrigeration. Use more or less of the v8 and the horseradish to desired spiciness.

Recipe: Homemade Kahlua

From The Kitchen Of:

  • 2 C water
  • 2 C dark Karo Syrup
  • ¼ C instant Espresso
  • 1 qt Vodka
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 vanilla Bean

Mix water ,Karo syrup,  sugar and coffee crystals . Heat just until before boiling to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Cool completely , Add vodka . Pour into large jar or bottle and drop in vanilla bean – if you want you could break it up in smaller bottles and cut vanilla bean accordingly. Cap. Turn the bottle once a week. Will be ready in 3-4 weeks.

Recipe : Homemade Marshmallows

From the Kitchen Of :

  • 3 packets unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 c water, divided ( for bailey’s use ½ C Baileys in place of water for blooming gelatin )
  • 1 ½ C sugar
  • 1 C corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T vanilla extract or other flavor extract like peppermint for peppermint marshmallows )
  • ½ Powdered Sugar and ¼ C cornstarch for dusting

Use a fine sifter, generously dust a 9x13 baking pan with powdered sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Combine the gelatin and ½ cup cold water in the bowl of a kitchen aide or electric mixer fitted with the whisk. While blooming the gelatin make the syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and ½ C water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves.

Raise the heat and cook until the candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees. About 8-10 min. Remove from heat and with the mixer on lowest speed along the side of the bowl, slowly pour the sugar into the dissolved gelatin.

Turn the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, this will take at least 15 minutes.

Add vanilla or other flavor and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared pan, smooth it out and dust with more sugar mixture.

Leave out overnight (uncovered) so it dries out.  Turn the pan up side down on a cutting board

And cut into shapes or squares and roll them in more sifted powdered sugar. Store in a tight fitting container or in freezer.

You can dip them in white or dark chocolate and also coat with peppermint candy or chocolate shavings for a fancy presentation

Recipe: Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix:

From the Kitchen Of:

  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 C good unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ¼ C no- fat dry milk
  • 1 t salt

Combine all the ingredients to blend well and put in an airtight, sterilized container.

For other variations you can add a pinch of nutmeg or cayenne / chili.

This will keep for about 6 months .

To Serve: Place 2 T in a mug and add either hot water or milk just enough to mix smooth and then fill the rest of the way , stir and add marshmallows.

Recipe :  Orange Cranberry Honey Compound Butter

From The Kitchen Of :

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼  C dried cranberries , chopped
  • ¼ C local honey
  • 1 T grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • ( you can also add a T of cognac if you so desire )

Beat butter until fluffy . Add cognac if using . Add orange zest and honey and whip until combined and smooth. Add chopped cranberries and mix. On a piece of parchment paper . add butter and roll into a log. Tie the ends and Refrigerate

Recipe : Chocolate “Salami” Dessert

From The Kitchen Of :

  • ½ package of amaretti cookies or any kind of tea biscuit like lorna doones, crushed but in chunks
  • 5 oz unsalted butter, soften
  • 7 oz good dark or bitter sweet chocolate , rough chopped
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T amaretto or Kahlua
  • 7-8 oz mixed chopped nuts like hazel nuts , pecans , pistachio and walnut
  • 2 oz powdered sugar

Melt chocolate in a double boiler , until smooth .

Meanwhile chop biscuits and nuts , but not to fine as you want them to show up in your Salami.

After the chocolate is melted , let it cool a little ( not in the fridge ).

With a mixer cream , butter and sugar until fluffy , add eggs one at a time until well incorporated ( may look a little curdled , but it is ok. Add liqueur.

Sift the cocoa powder into the melted chocolate and stir . Add to the butter / egg mixture and blend well. Fold in the nut and biscuits until it is well incorporated and the cookies are coated.  Let it set in fridge for 15- 20  minutes and then place in the middle of wax paper or parchment . Roll in a log and refrigerate to set. Unroll and you can dust with icing sugar and use twine to tie like a salami .

 Recipe : White Christmas Sangria

From the Kitchen Of :

  • 1 Bottle of Pinto Grigio
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cranberry
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 orange
  • 1 Knob of Ginger
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • ½ C brandy

In a saucepan combine 1 cup of wine with sugar . add cranberries and cook for 45 sec. right before they are ready to pop. Strain and reserve simple syrup. Add rosemary , cinnamon stick and ginger and set aside to steep the flavors.

Add the remaining wine, syrup , cranberries and remaining fruit.

Chill overnight . Garnish with sugared rosemary branch.

Recipe: Grams Foundation Gingerbread in a Jar

From the Kitchen Of:

  • 2 ½ C all purpose Flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t all spice
  • 1 heaping T ground ginger
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ C butter, soft
  • 2/3 C molasses
  • 2/3 C brown Sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 C hot water

Sterilize 6 ball jars and grease and flour.

Preheat oven to 350

Whisk flour , baking soda , spices and salt . Set aside. Beat together butter, molasses , sugar and egg until well combined. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture until smooth and then gently stream in the hot water. Pour mixture 2/3 way up the jars and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While they are still hot seal the jars so they pop. These will keep for 1 week outside of fridge and 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Recipe:  Easy caramel sauce for apples

From the Kitchen Of:

  • 1C.  brown sugar
  • ½  cup half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk for about 5-6 minute until it gets thicker. Add the vanilla ( you could also add a little bourbon  and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a sterilized  jar. Refrigerate until cold.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.