I love the holidays, but as I age I find it harder to come up with interesting, unique and affordable Christmas gifts.
As nice as it would be to give or get a lovely Mercedes or Lexus with a big red ribbon on it, that’s just not in the cards at the Eckert house this, or any, year. More realistic, and right up my alley, are gifts of food and beverage!
With that in mind, and since this is the Kansas City Star’s food blog, I thought I’d share some thoughts on great local gifts for the foodie or foodies in your life.
First, how about the gift of a stress-free holiday, at least when it comes to cooking? I don’t know about you, but that sounds like heaven to me.
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A great place to start is the Kearney Culinary Academy, which is offering prepared holiday meals for you to pick up, take home and serve to family and friends. The meals are guaranteed delicious (I know, I had the beef tenderloin), and they’re both affordable and foolproof. To find out more, visit the KCA online at kearneyculinary.com.
Speaking of beef and of things that are delicious, there’s a first this holiday season from Kansas City’s own Hereford House — online sales for prime rib and side dishes!
Speaking from first-hand knowledge, the Hereford House prime rib is terrific. I had the 12 ounce cut recently, took some home, and just finished it up as a sandwich with some sautéed onions on a brioche bun with a little sharp cheddar cheese for lunch! I’m seriously thinking of placing on order for more right now!
Hereford House ages its prime rib 21 days. It’s USDA Certified Tender, which accounts for the top 12 percent of beef nationwide.
You can order either a half or whole prime rib roast from now through Sunday, Dec. 31. However, the good folks at the Hereford House say Christmas Day orders need to be placed by Dec. 20. To order online, head to herefordhouse.com. You can also order in person at any of the metro’s four Hereford House locations.
I love acquiring rubs, salts and sauces. My spice drawer and pantry are filled with them, and there’s always room for more. Anyone can run up to the local supermarket and pick some things out, but it takes a bit more effort to find the little local guy or gal mixing up something truly special.
Ever heard of or tried spicy chutney from Jyoti’s Kitchen? I hadn’t either until I met Jyoti Mukharji in person. Turns out this retired physician teaches Indian cooking in her home kitchen where she also makes her chutney, which is fantastic as a spicy alternative to mayonnaise.
How does Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce sound to you? Yeah, well, me too! And the sauce from Borgman’s Dairy Farm is even better than it sounds. I first met owner Janet Smith and tasted the Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce at the Cultivate KC “Dig In” Benefit last summer. It was love at first bite, and I can’t recommend that sauce or Smith’s Goat’s Milk Cheesecake highly enough! Visit them at borgmansdairyfarm.com.
I couldn’t leave this without a little love for that man or woman you know who just can’t wait for that new craft beer to be released.
There’s no shortage of craft breweries in the Kansas City metro, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that consistently brews more highly praised and sought after suds than Raytown’s Crane Brewing.
You’ll find a wide range of award-winning beers from Michael Crane and crew, but now, you can snap up the latest release of Crane’s Festiweiss, which Crane describes as a cranberry-ginger Berliner Weiss.
A few bottles will go a long way to spicing up your holiday season. You can visit Crane Brewing at their Raytown location or learn more at cranebrewing.com.
Finally, a personal favorite of mine, Boozy Botanicals Simple Syrups. Produced by “recovering attorney” Cheryl Bisbee, these uniquely flavored syrups are sure to spice up your cocktail creations, and they’re great in the kitchen too. You can find Boozy all over town and at boozybotanicals.com.
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays everyone!
Dave Eckert is a partner with Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based gourmet food incubator and co-packer. Before that, Eckert was the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and AWE for 12 seasons.