Gifts from the Kitchen

December 6, 2011

Rose 2My Christmas tree is up and it smells so good!!!!  I'm so happy to see it in my living room every day.  It's like a very good friend that comes to greet me, warm me, help me celebrate the season and the end of every year.  I have tons of ornaments and it usually takes me a couple of days to decorate it just right.  When I'm finished, I can't get enough of it!  It is such a gift to have something so beautiful and fragrant in my house.

This month's newsletter is all about gifts you can make in your kitchen.  Although I always love bringing a bottle of great wine to thank my party hosts, there are lots of times I want to share something from my kitchen, so I often bring an edible gift.  The three recipes below are guaranteed to delight!  What I love about all of them is that they are not just good for the holidays, but are great for giving all year round.  They keep really well too.  So make a bunch and before you head out to your next party, grab one from your stash then get ready to wow your friends!

Another great gift from the kitchen is Roasted Garlic Olive Oil.  You can find my method for making this wonderful condiment in the archives of my past newsletters.  Click here and scroll to the bottom of the archive page to find it. I'm also giving lots of kitchen gift recommendations on the LAFW Facebook page.   Follow this link and become a fan to get daily updates from our kitchen. 

Happy Holidays Everyone and All The Best for 2012!   


Preserved Lemons 

Preserved LemonsIn the yard of every home I've lived in Los Angeles, there has been a lemon tree.  So I've come up with lots of ways to use them...lemon curd, lemonade, lemoncello and my favorite, preserved lemons.  I love to make these beauties and give them as gifts!  They are not only pretty in a glass jar, but they're are also wonderful to cook with!  I slice them thin and bake them with salmon or whirl them into pestos and hummus.  They are super easy to make, but they do take some time, so get started now if you want to have them around for holiday events and hostess gifts.

Here's what you do...
You need two clean quart size, wide mouth canning or mason jars. Quarter 6 to 8 lemons* from the top to with in 1/2 inch of the bottom, opening them up like a flower. Sprinkle some Kosher salt on the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit.  Place 1 tablespoon of salt on the bottom of each jar. Pack in the lemons, adding more salt and spices between the layers. To each jar I add a cinnamon stick, 3 whole garlic cloves, 5 coriander seeds, 4 whole pepper corns and a bay leaf. Press the lemons down to release their juices, while making room for more lemons as you go. The juice released from the squashed lemons should cover them. If not, add more lemon juice to cover. Do not add water. Leave some air space at the top before sealing the jar.

Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, turning the jars upside down each day to distribute the salt and the juice evenly. Let ripen at least 7 days and up to 30. After that, store in the refrigerator. Preserved lemons will keep in the fridge for up to one year.

*The lemons on my tree are rather large. You may need more lemons
depending on the average size of the variety you are using.

Brandied Berries

Brandied BerriesThis is a beautiful recipe from Alice Waters' Cookbook Chez Panisse Fruit.  It is so simple and as you can see very dramatic!  When the berries are finished, you can use them in so many dishes.  I especially like to spoon them over vanilla ice cream, fold them into whipped cream and serve with some flourless chocolate cake or pop a raspberry at the bottom of a Manhattan for a fun twist.  When the berries are finished, you can use the infused brandy in sauces for meats (especially delicious for a pork roast) and desserts. 

To make, just fill a quart size mason jar with a quart of berries, then pour 1 cup of sugar over them.  Fill the jar with just enough brandy to cover the berries, leaving a little air at the top.  Close the jar and let it sit for four days, shaking the jar occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves. The berries will keep in the brandy for up to one year.

Walnut-Thyme Honey

This gorgeous recipe whips up in 20 minutes and most of the ingredients should be in your pantry.  If you can't find the chiles de arbol at your market, substitute a pinch of red pepper flakes; however the jar will not be as colorful.  This fragrant and tasty honey is super delicious with salty cheeses like Parmesan and Gruyer and a beautiful addition to any cheese platter.  Also, try it with some prosciutto or goat cheese on little crostini for a quick appetizer.  

cup walnut pieces
cup orange blossom honey
cup walnut or extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus two sprigs*
teaspoon of lemon zest
whole dried chiles de arbol

*rosemary may be stubstituted for


 Source: Bon Appetit, December 2011

Walnut-Thyme Honey

Preheat oven to 325F.  Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, stirring occassionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.  Coarsley chop and then set aside.

Whisk honey and oil in a medium bowl to blend.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Fold in walnutes, thyme, and lemon zest.  add chiles.  Divide between two 8-oz jars.  Cover and chill.

Will keep in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks. Before using, let it come to room temperature and stir.  

WANT TO USE THESE TIPS AND RECIPES IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you do not alter the information in any way and include a credit that reads "by Rose LeBoeuf,, Interactive Cooking Classes, Parties, and Corporate Team Building Events for Groups Looking for a Fun and Unique Dinning Experience." 

 LA Food Works Events 

 Ideal for Team Building, Holiday Parties, Client Entertaining, Birthday Parties, Showers and Private Gatherings. 
Let LA Food Works make your party one which your guests will not soon forget!
No previous cooking experience required!
Just willingness to put on an apron,
get your hands a little messy,
indulge in some great food
and have lots of fun playing in the kitchen!
We also happily design Custom Cooking Parties. If you have a group of 10 or more foodies who love great food and playing together in the kitchen, contact us and we will design a custom menu or theme class for you and your group.

Our interactive cooking parties both unify and entertain...perfect for any occasion that requires great food, interesting activities and lots of fun!


For information or to book your event, contact Rose LeBoeuf at 310-288-0100 for an event planning kit, pricing and availability.