I think you know you are an adult when you start getting dinner invitations without your parents in sight. I still remember my first dinner party, it was at my coworker’s charming one bedroom house in some obscure part of Virginia which was a rather long commute from my apartment in DC. It was a warm evening in September when I hopped on the metro for a forty minute ride and listened to Band of Horses on repeat on my mp3 player trying to prepare myself for an evening of tequila shots and beer pong. You see, I was under the impression that I was going for a party on a Saturday night but showed up to find a properly laid table with china(!) and a four course menu which started with gazpacho and ended with tiramisu. It was all a bit too much for someone who had recently graduated college and dinner party meant sitting on the living room floor and eating greasy chinese food from takeout containers with your friends. To add to my discomfort, I had shown up empty handed. I saw other coworkers arriving with flowers, wine or chocolate. I sipped on my wine and made a mental note of sending a thank you gift to my host the next day and spend the rest of the evening feeling like an awkward kid.
Needless to say, I have never made the same mistake again. I always have something on hand when I am going over to someone’s house for a casual coffee or a fancy dinner party. And it’s always something to do with food since I really believe food gift to be the best kind of gifts. To give or to receive. You can go with something safe like a bottle of wine or chocolate which never fails but it is a bit generic and seems like an afterthought. But with a little more effort, it’s so easy to create gourmet gifts that are much more elegant and thoughtful than the store bought kind. We thought of introducing a new DIY series over here which will help you create impressive edible gifts that are both easy and elegant. These lovely homemade gourmet gifts are perfect for birthdays, housewarming, as a thank you or even makes for unique favor at weddings or baby showers.
I am a big fan of any kind of cheese and really believe nothing beats a lovely jar of marinated cheese as a wonderful hostess gift when you are invited to someone’s home. Another big bonus: it takes a total of ten minutes from start to finish to assemble and package it beautifully. This gourmet gift is all about picking great quality ingredients and letting them sing together.
Start with a pretty mason jar (if you have an old jam jar sitting around, go ahead and use it) and layer it cheese, spices and herbs. I chose a soft goat’s cheese (you can use mozzarella or feta too) and added roasted garlic, thyme, rosemary, freshly ground black pepper, lemon zest and a pinch of red pepper flakes which was layered together. Then poured extra virgin olive oil and submerged the cheese completely in it. Close the lid and tie it with a twine and include a little tag with the name on it. You can also grab your hands on free labels available online and print it on thick matt paper for an elegant look and feel. Tie the top with a hessian cloth or butcher paper to make it rustic chic.This little baby will stand out from a generic bottle of wine any day.
This lovely jar of marinated cheese in a fruity olive oil and summer herbs is wonderful when paired with crusty bread, topped over salads or crumbled over pizza. The leftover oil makes for a wonderful vinaigrette or when tossed with pasta. It’s so damn good that we won’t blame you if you made a little jar for yourself and hid it in the back of the fridge to eat it straight from a spoon when the craving strikes. Marinated cheese keeps well for about two weeks in the refrigerator.
All you have to do at dinner is to show up with a tasty little gift like this to become the favorite guest at any party. I guarantee your hostess will swoon over this jar of briny cheese and be touched by the thoughtful gesture. And I promise you will feel like you are winning at being an adult.