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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

I tend to stay away from sweet coffee drinks; I prefer cappuccinos and freshly brewed coffee with a little bit of cream. There are a few places here in the Mission that tempt me with their sweeter coffee drinks though. What makes Coffee Bar's vanilla bean latte and Sightglass's vanilla cold brew so great? Homemade syrup.

Big name companies use syrups to flavor their drinks with a ton of preservatives and artificial flavors. Lucky for us, delicious and natural simple syrups are easy to make at home. No need to pay $4 for a vanilla bean latte...you can make it right at home!

This is the perfect gift to bring to your best friend's holiday party or to your next dinner party as a hostess gift. The syrup lasts for two weeks in the fridge, meaning the hostess will be thinking about your generosity long after the party. Pour the syrup into a nice bottle, and tie it with a ribbon for show. 

Simply syrup is equal parts sugar and water. This recipe adds a vanilla bean to boost its flavor. You can find a mint simple syrup here. Add it into coffee, tea, or cocktails this holiday season.

Vanilla Simple Syrup

Makes one bottle

1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Take the vanilla bean and slice it open. Scrape out the seeds, and throw the seeds and the pod into a small pot.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup

Add in the sugar and water to the pot, and then heat over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Let the syrup cool in the pot, and then pour into a bottle. Tie with a ribbon. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Crispy Za'atar Chickpeas

Crispy Za'atar Chickpeas

Z knows better than anyone else that I love presents. For me, presents aren't just things, but rather highlight the time and effort someone took into finding you that perfect gift.

Presents don't have to be silk pajamas, jewelry, or a new scarf (though I won't say no to those either). I love small tokens of affection, like little packages in the mail filled with delicious treats, that always seem to arrive come the holiday season. And while you can spend quite a pretty penny at Dean and Deluca, you can easily create delicious food gifts at home on a realistic budget.

These crispy chickpeas are simply delicious, and one of the best food gifts to give and receive! Everyone can eat them (no worrying about dairy, gluten, nuts), and they are just the right amount of salty, crunchy, and addictive. Pour some into a cellophane bag, tie with a cute ribbon, and start mailing them to friends and family across the country. 

These chickpeas are so easy to make that I am also going to whip up a triple batch for Z's and my annual Channukah party. Finding a dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian snack option can be difficult, and these will be a great addition to any holiday party. 

Crispy Za'atar Chickpeas

Crispy Za'atar Chickpeas

From NYTimes

2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Za'atar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Spread chickpeas out on a paper towel. Pat dry, then let dry for an hour at room temperature. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread chickpeas evenly on the pan, and bake for ~ 30 minutes, stirring and rotating every 10 minutes. Chickpeas should be crunchy. 

Place chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, Za'atar, and salt. Toss, then enjoy!



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: San Francisco Foodie Treats for Under $20

During the holidays, I love to send family and friends some of my favorite treats from here in San Francisco as gifts. While not all of my family members are bonafide foodies, they do love a delicious meal and a fun treat. It's a great way to share part of my favorite city with loved ones. There's no better way to explore a city than through its food, and San Francisco has plenty to offer.

The best thing about food gifts is that you can find a high quality gift at a great price. All of these presents are under $20!

passion olive oil
Passionfruit and olive oil curd sounds delightful on pavlovas, ice cream, and more. $12 from Craftsman and Wolves.

The most beautiful and delicious sweet-and-salty chocolate bars for your sister. $7.95 each from Charles Chocolates.

tacolicious

Bring some Tex-Mex flair to your parents' holiday table with a delicious braising sauce from Tacolicious. $10.99 from Williams Sonoma.

0402MACH-2T

Fill your sister's house with the spicy and sweet smell of masala chai. $17 from Samovar Tea.

Sightglass Coffee is taking the world by storm, and your younger brother will love their fresh beans. $16.75 from Sightglass Coffee.
 

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