Now I am not a book person I rarely have time to read but if the book is geared towards improving my ability in the kitchen, you have my attention.
The one book I got last year that I have used the most is Herb Mixtures & Spicy Blends By Maggie Oster. It sells for $11.93 at Amazon so not an expensive gift.
Create handmade mixtures of your favorite herbs and spices that add a delicious new zing to your favorite dishes. Maggie Oster presents more than 100 recipes compiled from herb shops and farms across America that showcase a wide variety of techniques for getting the most of out of your seasoning. Learn how to make Cajun, Thai, and Indian blends for seafood, game, poultry, and beef. Discover the delicious secrets of tasty homemade salad dressings and herb butters. Spice up your life and enjoy the flavor!
The reason I love this book is I have struggled with adding herbs and spices to my dishes. This book has given me more confidence to spice up what ever I am making. The recipes are easy and you can make up a batch of herb blends to keep in the cupboard. I store mine in small 1/2 pint canning jars which works will for me. It has saved me time and money, along with improved my cooking ability.
Spices are expensive and most people don't use a lot of them for that reason. The Co-Op offers bulk pricing on many of the herbs and spices that you will need for the recipes in the book. Check out their web site Country Life Natural Foods. They deliver to this area every other month, so if you are interested in joining the Co-Op click here and add your information so you will be on my list. I will send out a reminder when the next order is due with instructions on what to do.
Great Spice Gift
Dry Chimichurri Rub
In Argentina, this mix of herbs and spices is combined with oil and vinegar and used as a sauce for grilled meats, but I use it on any thing just like Americans do ketchup.
Recipe (makes 3/4 cup)
- 3 T. dried oregano leaves
- 3 T. dried basil leaves
- 2 T. dried parsley flakes
- 2 T. dried thyme leaves
- 2 T. coarse salt (omit if you like)
- 1 T. ground black pepper
- 1 T. dried savory leaves (or marjoram leaves)
- 1 T. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 to 2 tsp. dried crush red pepper
Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl, store in an air tight container in a dark cupboard. To make a marinade use 1/4 c. rub with 1/2 c. olive oil and 3 T. red wine vinegar.
You can rub the dry rub all over a tri-tip roast before roasting or sprinkle over fish fillets before pan searing. Sprinkle on vegetables before roasting in the oven. Use the dry mixture with a little buttermilk, or yogurt for a salad dressing.
If you make up the marinade, it will keep in the fridge for a long time but can be used on anything you want to kick up. I like it on my eggs in the morning. As a salad dressing, or over pasta to add flavor.
Put the dry mix into some pretty containers with the recipe and uses for a perfect gift.