Last week we started making little food presents for our favorite people instead of buying stuff with money we don’t have. In addition to giving folks a little warm fuzzy when they dig around in the fridge, it’s also clearing out our Mason Jar hoards and giving us something to do with our idle, stressed out hands.
We love our families, both genetic and chosen, with all our hearts but the holidays are far from easy. Between travel and conflicting personalities and personal histories: feeling like a sane, balanced human who is capable of charm, rational thinking, and patience is fucking rare. Not that’d you’d ever guess in a million years, but we’re both kind of control freaks. This time of year challenges those inclinations big time. Focusing on being loving towards the people who, despite being in our hearts, make our ass clench while we do something productive soothes our crazies and makes the impending hangs feel more manageable.
Preparing and packaging these gifts are our coping mechanism, our tiny meditation, to have one area of control that is also an act of devotion to the people who, um, challenge us. A Lot.
Also helping get through the season is consuming the shit that we make. Namely, Lime and Thyme Simple Syrup. With lots of gin and a shot of seltzer. It is truly a Christmas Fucking Miracle.
- For Vanilla: the guts of 1 Bean per 4 cups Sugar.
- For everything else: 1 tbsp per 4 cups Sugar.
- Dump in a jar -> Shake it up -> Put a bow on it.
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split but not scraped, and 1 tsp whole Black Peppercorns
- 2 sprigs Thyme and 2 thumb-sized chunks of Lime Zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
- 1 Cinnamon Stick and 2 thumb-sized chunks of Orange Zest
- Making Simple Syrup is as easy as boiling 2 parts Sugar to 1 part Water. You don’t even have to stir. For every 3 cups you want to add the following to the Water before it boils.
- For the love of all things holy: let it cool down completely before 1) removing the flavorings or 2) trying to pour it into tiny containers. No one likes a sticky mess, and even fewer like a sticky mess that burns the ever loving shit out of you.
- 1 lb Hot Peppers of your choosing– seriously anything. Serrano, Poblano, Jalapeno– with seeds, stem, and white pithy stuff from the inside removed. We used half Red Jalapenos and half Green Jalapenos. How fucking Christmasy.
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 Onion, very roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp Salt
- Preheat your oven to 375°. Toss the Peppers, Onion, and Garlic in Vegetable Oil and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until everything is soft and browned on the edges, about 30 minutes.
- Let the pan cool enough to handle without hurting yourself, and transfer the Veggies into a large pot. Cover with 2 cups of Water. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Let it hang out until it’s dropped to room temperature and CAREFULLY PUREE with a stick (or regular) blender. Add the Vinegar and Salt, bottle, and store in the fridge for up to a month.