Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Ideas for a Perfect Basket

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Ideas for a Perfect Basket

Article excerpt

FOR MORE on baskets and how to fill them, you might want to search out "The Perfect Basket: Make Your Own Special-Occasion Baskets" by Diane Phillips (William Morrow; $15).

This tiny hardcover is filled with ideas for baskets and the recipes for foods to tuck inside.

Phillips recommends shopping for packaging materials at greeting card stores and floral and craft shops. She likes to reuse glass jars to package spice blends and flavored vinegars.

For the chocolate lover's basket, she recommends including this mix and the accompanying recipe: WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

1/2 cup grated white chocolate or white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon dried orange peel

1 teaspoon powdered vanilla (see note)

Combine white chocolate, orange peel and vanilla in a small bowl; blend. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 1/2 cup mix.

Note: Powdered vanilla is available at some baking and gourmet shops. WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup white hot chocolate mix

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles form around the outside. Add the white hot chocolate mix; cook, whisking constantly, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is hot.

Serve in heated mugs or stir into strong coffee.

Yield: 2 servings.

For the pasta basket, she offers this pesto. Be sure to include the recipe and to tell the recipient to refrigerate the pesto as soon as possible. SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained

6 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, basil, parsley and cheese in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl; process for 20 seconds more.

Transfer pesto to a glass jar; refrigerate until ready to serve. …

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