I’m on a holiday hangover. Not the booze fueled kind but rather the hangover you feel when all the preparation is done and the good times are over. It’s always over so fast and leaves me wanting for more. I want more holiday!
Christmas involves my two favorite things on planet earth – family and food. We spent a lot of time with our family and we ate A LOT of great food.
I also like giving food to my family and friends as gifts. I love homemade gifts.
First up on the homemade gift list is jam (of course). And this year I went with what seems to be the most beloved flavor among my family – The Triple Threat.
Strawberries + Red Raspberries + Black Raspberries
I did a pretty big batch (5 lbs. of fruit) and it’s all gone. Hopefully my grandma, brothers, in-laws, and in-laws’ in-laws enjoy it.
Another gift I love giving is rendered duck fat. Have you ever enjoyed breakfast potatoes cooked in duck fat rather than butter or oil? If not, you really need to eat these potatoes. They are heavenly. Perfectly crisped on the outside and soft in the middle. Oh man. Awesome.
Anyways, if you cook a duck or cuts of duck you can often strain and save the remaining fat. If you don’t have a duck but you still want the fat you can often buy hunks of unrendered fat and render them yourself. It’s super duper easy.
I picked up several pounds of unrendered fat (read: white blobs of fat) from DiFeo’s Poultry Market before the holiday. I added the fat to a big skillet and added juuuuust enough water to barely cover it. I set the stove top to medium high heat and let it simmer away. Eventually the water will all evaporate and the skin and other bits will crisp up like cracklins and your left with pure duck fat.
I strained out the cracklins and other imperfections and ended up with quite a bit of gold.
Note: I am not too good to say I salted and ate about half the craklins. Mmm.
After I strained it I poured it into mason jars and then let it cool.
This is the jar I saved for myself. 🙂 I’m off work until January 2 and I see some killer breakfast potatoes in our future!
And speaking of breakfast – I also did a batch of pumpkin waffles for my brothers.
You may remember that I was pretty obsessed with Birdsong Farm’s luxury pie pumpkins a while back. I took a cup out of the freezer, added it to some waffle batter, and made some pretty killer pumpkin waffles. I froze them in gallon freezer bags and hopefully my brothers will enjoy them.
My final homemade gift this year was Irish Cream. Kinda like homemade Bailey’s but way, way better. I set up my blender and added Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla & almond extracts, and a pinch of cocoa powder. Then I blended the hell out of it, bottled it up, and shared it with family and friends.
This stuff is really, really, really good. Thick and rich with a hint of booze. Of course, you can make this as strong or as weak as you’d like and it’s awesome regardless so I suggest you make a batch right now!
I also really love receiving homemade gifts and this year I got some real gems. My co-worker gave me homemade candies and a jar of hot cocoa mix (a mug of which I’m enjoying right now!), My sister-in-law gave us homemade caramels and some killer Earl Grey shortbread cookies. And my brother-in-law gave us a bottle of his homemade wine. And not the homemade wine that no one wants to drink cuz it’s gross and doesn’t taste like wine. Jason has the gift. It’s real wine and it’s delicious.
But my very favorite homemade gift this year was the terrarium my youngest brother made me. Check this thing out.
Hahaha! Awesome!! I am so stoked about this thing. I love it.
I hope if you celebrate Christmas you had an awesome one. I did. Now, I’m going to go enjoy my hot cocoa in front of our Christmas tree and pretend it’s not all over.