We are honored to introduce a guest blogger and friend to Tokki, Taylor Hartanov, author of Hartanov Happy Hour, where she shares her favorite recipes, hosting ideas and everyday obsessions. In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, Taylor and her family have been inspired to find new ways to connect with friends and family. She has found that baking special treats and sharing them during this time, has helped her connect and spread some cheer. She generously shared some of her favorite recipes and ideas for food gifts to drop off on a doorstep. Enjoy these recipes that are all wrapped in a tokki wrap to be easily and thoughtfully delivered on a doorstep as two gifts in one. Welcome Taylor and thank you for sharing!
Hello and thank you for including me on the tokki blog. My profession is dental hygiene and when I’m not working at the dental office you can find me reading cookbooks, researching new restaurants, or creating a menu for my next dinner party. My husband and I love hosting and together we make a pretty good team. I invite the people and come up with the theme, and he bartends and cleans it all up! But life has changed a lot, with a newborn baby at home and our whole world currently in shut down, we are forced to be creative about how to connect with our friends and family.
Social distancing is unprecedented and who knows when we will get to meet coworkers out for drinks or grab dinner with friends? The highlights of my past few weeks have been chatting with neighbors that I have never talked to before, zoom calls reconnecting me with old high school friends, and parking the car in my sister’s driveway to chat up from a distance. Because we are all forced to slow down and stay home, I have truly seen my neighborhood, friends, and family come alive and connect in a new way.
Baking and cooking during this time have been my therapy and healthy outlet. I want to help others and love my neighbors, but everyone has varying challenges right now. The one thing they need and everyone loves to receive? Food! I believe that now, more than ever, a handmade gift goes a long way and very well could be a bright spot in someone else’s anxiety-filled day. Making treats in your kitchen and wrapping them up is a gift that anyone would love. Not much of a chef? Head to the store or even better your local farmers market for a few simple ingredients that will create a lovely product. Here are some of my favorite recipes and ideas for food gifts to drop off on a doorstep.
1. Homemade Cookies + Maldon Sea Salt
Cookies are my love language and make a great gift for you (hello cookie dough) and friends, coworkers, or neighbors. People are pleasantly surprised by the added touch of flaky sea salt on top of my cookies. I use Maldon salt to provide the perfect finish to my sweet treats as well as many savory dishes. Maldon salt feels very fancy but is inexpensive and can be found at many grocery stores. Gift Maldon salt with fresh cookies to friends and soon enough they will start adding it to all their dishes as well! These Olive Oil cookies are absolutely fantastic and a little sea salt on top brings out the best flavor!
The smell of freshly baked granola is intoxicating. It evokes slow peaceful mornings accompanied by a delicious cup of coffee. Granola is a wonderful food gift as it is easily customizable to accommodate different diets or food allergies. My favorite granola recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. It will have your whole house smelling like a freshly baked cookie!
3. Roasted Nuts
Savory roasted nuts are incredibly delicious, and I personally have the best recipe for a Zesty Coconut Lime version. Ok, I am biased, but these roasted nuts are so so good and have the added benefit of being super healthy! They are the perfect snack to send to your gluten and dairy-free friends. I think these roasted nuts would be the perfect gift to send to a friend who is participating in the Whole 30 as a little encouragement snack!
Zesty Coconut Lime Roasted Nuts
-2 cups nuts (my favorite are walnuts and pecans but sub in whatever you have)
-zest of one lime
-juice of one lime
-2 Tbls coconut oil
-1/4 tsp cayenne powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp paprika
-1 tsp kosher salt
-preheat oven to 325
-Combine all ingredients in a glass pyrex dish or baking sheet
-Bake in the oven for 30-45 or until browned to your liking
-Stir nuts every 10 min to incorporate melting coconut oil and meld all the flavors
For other great ways to send support & gratitude, check out our quarantine candles.
4. Oil and Vinegar
This gift is a doubleheader: you can bless someone with the fixings to make a wonderful salad dressing and support your local market! Pick up oil and balsamic vinegar from a locally owned cheese shop or food market and wrap it up in a Tokki for a stellar gift. You could include a loaf of warm crusty bread from your local bakery because if you haven’t dipped warm bread in a rich plate of olive oil and vinegar, then you aren’t doing it right! If you don’t have access to a local bakery, you could include instead my recipe for balsamic vinaigrette. Many people still buy salad dressing at the store but with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, you have pretty much everything you need to make swoon-worthy salad dressing.
-1/3 Cup Olive oil
-1/4 Cup Balsamic vinegar
-1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
-3/4 Tsp Maple syrup (The real kind!)
-1/4 Tsp Minced garlic (I use the pre-minced garlic jar from Trader Joe’s)
-Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
-Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake to mix!
-Grab a piece of lettuce and dunk it in the dressing. Taste it and see if you want to add anything. If it’s too punchy add a little more olive oil to mellow it out
-This dressing should keep for about a week in the fridge so save any leftovers
Well, it’s obvious that you didn’t make this gift unless you did which would be amazing and I am in awe of you! Gifting wine to your friends is just about the nicest thing you could do right now in these corona times. Even better, support your local wineries during this difficult time and many of them are offering free shipping or delivery. I am from Washington and am spoiled with incredible local wineries to choose from. A few of my current favorite wines to give as gifts are the Syrah from K Vintners and the Va Piano OX Red Blend. I found both at Costco!
I hope this list gives you some inspiration to get out there and start gifting! The world needs our kindness right now and guaranteed any one of these gifts wrapped in a tokki and left on a doorstep will brighten someone’s week.