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    Default Article: Gifts from the Kitchen

    Gifts from the Kitchen
    By Martha Matthews

    Flavored vinegars and oils are quite popular theses days. They make a very thoughtful gift for a hostess, for a housewarming, or for Christmas. If you've priced them though, you know that they aren't cheap. You can make your own version of these trendy little items with a few simple ingredients. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    VINEGARS

    Flavored vinegars and oils add an extra kick to marinades, sauces, and dressings. If you are looking for an elegant and thoughtful gift to make for Christmas, try these savory blends that are sure to enhance any meal. If you grow your own herbs, this is a great way to use up any excess before the growing season is over. We hope you enjoy these unique blends.

    Vinegar Base

    1 small bunch of parsley
    1 teaspoon of peppercorns
    1/8 teaspoon of salt
    1 clove of garlic, peeled
    1 quart of your choice of vinegar: cider, white distilled, rice
    wine, white wine, or red wine

    Place the parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a 2 quart ceramic or
    glass bowl.
    Bring the vinegar to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the herbal
    mixture in the bowl.
    Cover and let the mixture stand for two days. Strain the mixture
    and decant into a sterilized bottle. Add one to three sprigs of the
    herbs of your choice. Seal the bottle with a cork or lid. Let
    stand for two more weeks before using.

    Flavor combinations

    Tarragon and lemon in white wine vinegar
    Chives, basil, and parsley in white wine vinegar
    Oregano, rosemary and thyme in red wine vinegar
    Lemon and dill in cider vinegar
    Garlic, chives blossoms and chervil in red wine vinegar
    Cilantro, jalapeño pepper and lime in white distilled vinegar (this
    one is hot)
    Lavender blossoms in cider vinegar
    Ginger root and cilantro in rice wine vinegar

    OILS

    1 teaspoon peppercorns
    8 to 10 sprigs of your choice of herbs
    Olive oil to fill the container you are using
    1 sterile bottle or wide mouth canning jar

    Place the herbs and peppercorns into the sterile bottle or wide
    mouth canning jar. Use a funnel to decant the olive oil into the
    bottle to cover the herbs. Seal and let stand for one month before using.

    Flavor combinations

    Lemon and dill
    Tarragon and chive
    Lemon and garlic (one of our favorites)
    Garlic, onion, and basil
    Basil and garlic
    Cilantro and Lime
    Rosemary and Marjoram
    Garlic, onion, oregano and red bell pepper

    Note: When using large pieces of fruit or vegetables, cut them into small wedges or pieces to fit into the bottle. Use bamboo skewers to hold the pieces together in the bottle.

    Use herb vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze pans.

    About the Author:

    Martha Matthews is the Editor of Christian-Homemaking.com, a web site with resources dedicated to Christian homemaking. She also has a free monthly newsletter for Christian wives called The Wives of Excellence Newsletter. visit http://www.christian-homemaking.com
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