a couple batches of these, for neighborhood distribution and church on Sunday
8 loaves of bread - a couple of loaves burned! which has never happened to me before! Weird!
plus a double batch of this, which I would make again with sharper cheese
and a pound of this, which needed more hot peppers. I didn't have the tiny red peppers I used last time, which come from a houseplant...guess I should have stopped by the auto shop and checked to see if the plant was still producing. My store-bought peppers reflect my timidity in these matters - I am terrible at getting the peppery-ness right.
The salad and the cassarole were for a party, where all the food was amazing. I also totally lucked out at the competitive gift exchange (Is this a southern thing? I never heard of this activity until I moved to the dc area. You know, where you draw numbers, and then, when your turn comes, you can either take a wrapped gift or poach someone else's desirable gift? It can be totally cut-throat - last night was hilarious, but moderately civilized- and it definately is entertaining and revealing of character.)
Anyway, I ended up with a cookbook and placemats! So we can eat our seasonal produce on handloomed indigeousnous textiles. That totally rules.
It also totally rules because the gifts we contributed were very popular, totally in keeping with the theme (good for the recipient, good for the world) and as close to free as humanly possible. I made a reusable string grocery bag (it actually wasn't finished yet - I put it in the box with the needles and a note) and a couple organic free-trade dark chocloate bars. (Expensive for candy bars, but very cheap for a Christmas gift.)
Both these gifts were extremely hotly contested, poached as many times as the rules would allow. Because, in the competitive gift exchange, I'm totally not competitive about getting gifts - I'm competitive about contributing desirable gifts, as confirmation of how damn clever I am. Not that anyone necessarily has to know it was me. I just have to know. It's satisfying.
Should you be competitive in this way too, here's a hint for next year:
It is impossible to go wrong with chocolate.