Friday, December 3, 2010

Ginger Gifts--On and Off a Desert Isle

We couldn't possibly complete an exploration of love and ginger without a reference to Ginger Grant, the "movie star" stranded with Gilligan et al (played by actress Tina Louise).  Thanks to Catherine Signorello (she of the famed cookies) for bringing this omission to our attention.  Despite our determined attempts, youtube would not allow us to post the vid directly, but we couldn't resist sharing the link to Ginger vamping it up on the uncharted desert isle along with this pic of her glam self flaunting her many gifts. 

And speaking of gifts,  'tis the season.   As we began to consider the holidays, we uncovered some interesting gift notions about ginger--both the comestible ingredient and the vessel, pictured here:

A ginger jar is a Chinese porcelain jar, traditionally used to store a variety of goods. The jars acquired the name "ginger jars" because they often contained ginger when they were exported to the West.

 In China the jars have a variety of cultural roles. Some were made as gifts to emperors. Others--and you knew we'd circle back to love eventually--were traditional wedding gifts to grooms. 

If porcelain jars are not on your groom's wish list, (or appropriate for your mailman, hairdresser, babysitter, or mechanic), try one of the following ginger-rific delectables, both sent by readers, one savory, one sweet...

Photograph by Elizabeth J. Colaianni,

Jessie Burns's Ginger Miso Dressing

1/4 cup golden miso
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk with wild abandon, pour into jar, beribbon attractively and hand over to delighted friend.

Paula Fein's Ginger-rific Chocolate Squares

3 bars Green & Black’s Ginger chocolate, broken into pieces (available at Jonathan Best)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
3 Tbsp  agave nectar (also called agave sweetener)
2 cups all natural mini marshmallows
3 cups ginger snaps

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine chocolate, butter and nectar.  Stir constantly until most of the chocolate is melted.  Turn off the heat, continue stirring until chocolate is entirely melted (ginger bits will remain solid). 

Place gingersnaps in a large baggie; crush with a rolling pin.  Leave some larger chunks.

Remove ½ cup of chocolate mixture and set aside.

Add ginger snaps and marshmallows to the chocolate mixture in the saucepan.  Mix thoroughly.  Turn this mixture out into a 9X9 ungreased square pan and press down with a spatula.  Use the remaining ½ cup of chocolate to smooth over top.  Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.

When chilled, cut into 25 squares.  (Optional:  dust with confectioner’s sugar, place in pretty box or cello bag tied with festive ribbon.)

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