The 'holiday spirit' is something we gently refer to in our house as that irresistible feeling that occurs early winter season that pushes one to be overly perky. The year the term was given this meaning, my husband had a particularly bad case of it. This consisted of entering Neiman Marcus and purchasing an exorbitant (and very chic) Gucci purse along with a variety of other 'smaller' gifts. We don't roll like that. It was the 'holiday spirit.' Shopping, however, is not the only manifestation of this impulse. It is the gift wrapping job gone Martha Stewart - handmade papers, thoughtfully paired dual ribbons and that extra little butterfly to tie it all together. It is the over-decorating of the house, where no inch remains untouched by the magic of ornaments, santa hats, pine cones, glitter, and reindeers. It is going carefully orchestrated holiday cards, christmas carols, sweater parties, and the like.
But back to gift-giving. The 'holiday spirit' did not send me to the mall. It pushed me to buy a ridiculous quantity of garlic to make confit for Christmas gifts. Garlic confit in a 4 ounce Ball jar like this one is a perfect treat and a secret weapon in any kitchen. The garlic confit is amazing spread on a baguette, part of garlic mashed potatoes, as a garnish on a dish main course, and in a dressing where both the garlic and the oil work well. Make a label for the jar, and perhaps include the recipe and suggested uses as a holiday card.
Ingredients: 1 cup peeled garlic cloves and 2 cups canola oil.
Cut off the root ends of the garlic cloves and discard. Place the cloves small pan and add enough oil to cover them by about one inch. The garlic should all be submerged in oil. Place the saucepan over low-medium heat (use a diffuser if you have gas stove and some extra attention if you have an electric stove).
Place in your preferred jars, label, and gift away. Let the 'spirit' take over!
Photography by Jennifer Olson.