Bookcover for Food Gift Love by Maggie Battista

FOOD GIFT LOVE: 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap & Share

Maggie Battista Heidi Murphy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 13, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0544387676

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Maggie Battista is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, discovering the best small-batch foods by boutique food makers. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52Time Out New YorkSpencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie has also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique.

In FOOD GIFT LOVE, Maggie Battista, a food-gift guru and rising star of the blog world, celebrates her expertise in, and enthusiasm for, small-batch, hand-crafted foods. She features 100 memorable, edible gifts for any occasion with simple, delicious recipes, detailed wrapping instructions, and stunning photography. There are countless ways to share the pleasures of food with people you care about—from simple homemade infused salts and sugars to instant-gratification gifts like fresh ricotta and flavored butters; from jams, pickles, and vinaigrettes to irresistible cookies, desserts, savories, and spirits that will impress fellow food fans. There’s helpful information for creating your own Food Gift Love pantry at home as well as creative guidance on how to wrap food gifts with style. This book will inspire cooks, food-lovers, and DIY fans to be year-round food gifters.

Ginger Simple Syrup

Makes: about 3 cups

Preparation Time: 60 minutes


Ginger root is used frequently in international cuisine, especially Asian, Mediterranean and Caribbean dishes, but is also believed to soothe what ails you, from an upset stomach to coughing to the varied symptoms of the flu. So, it stands to reason that mixing it into cocktails basically makes cocktails healthy. That’s what I say when I pour a Bourbon and Ginger, of course, made with this homemade Ginger Simple Syrup.

This recipe has a bonus feature, too. You can make two cups of deliciously spicy syrup as stated in the recipe, or boil it a little longer (see directions below) to make Candied Ginger. In doing so, you preserve both the syrup and the ginger slices – nothing goes to waste and you have two food gifts.

If you’re candying the ginger slices, use fresh young ginger. Younger ginger is mild and has a very thin skin that’s less flawed in its appearance. You can find younger ginger at many Asian markets, as they turn it over more frequently. Older ginger is more potent, thick-skinned, and fibrous, and makes for very stringy candied slices that are not worth the extra effort. So with younger ginger, make syrup and candy. With older ginger, just make syrup.

  • 1/2 pound fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 half-pint jars with airtight lids, sterilized

With a vegetable peeler or a spoon, scrape the peel off the ginger. Slice into 1/8-inch slices, or thinner.

Place ginger, water and sugar into a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan every now and then to help the sugar dissolve. Once the boil is reached, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from the heat.

Let syrup steep and cool for 15 minutes more. Strain, discarding the ginger. Let the syrup cool to room temperature before bottling. Store in a sterilized glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Candied Ginger: If you’d like to make candied ginger, boil the Ginger Syrup for an extra 15 to 20 minutes (until the syrup reaches 220° F on a kitchen thermometer). Strain, cool to room temperature and bottle the syrup. Place the ginger slices on parchment paper to dry for 4 hours, though they’ll remain a little sticky and shiny. Roll in extra sugar and let sit overnight or longer, until completely dry.


  • Bottle
  • Twine
  • Tag

Transfer the syrup to a clean pretty bottle.  Write the label on the tag. Wrap the twine around the neck of the bottle several times and tie in a knot. Slip the tag on and tie another knot, if needed.

Lemony bean dip

Makes: about 3 cups

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

bean dip resized

This is my go-to dip as a starter appetizer or gift to a casual supper when you don’t want to try too hard but want something that tastes a whole lot better than grocery store fare. Packaged up with a bag of my Salt & Pepper Pita Chips, this Lemony Bean Dip is definitely the dish everyone will devour fast. Hovered over your dish, they won’t be able to figure out exactly what makes it so good, and when you say, “it’s the preserved lemon,” you’ll have everyone intrigued.

The preserved lemon is optional, but it’s worth adding. My Preserved Lemons recipe can be made in advance to have at the ready in your fridge, or you can buy a high-quality small-batch sort. If you omit it, add 1 extra tablespoon of lemon juice. Feel free to decrease the garlic, replace the thyme with rosemary or oregano, or use dried spices instead of fresh. This is a simple recipe that can be modified with great results, so make it yours.


  • 1 (29-ounce) can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped preserved lemon (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, place the white beans, lemon juice, garlic, oil, thyme, salt, and preserved lemon (if using), and blend until smooth and thick. This recipe will also thicken up in the fridge.

When serving, garnish with extra thyme leaves and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week.


  • Glass bowl or plastic container with airtight lid
  • Butcher paper
  • Ribbon
  • Tag
  • Sprig of thyme

Fill a bowl with Lemony Bean Dip. Wipe the rim and seal. Wrap the sealed bowl in butcher paper as you would a gift. Tie with a piece of ribbon. Write the label on a tag and slip it, along with the herb sprig, under the ribbon. Refrigerate until ready to gift.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from FOOD GIFT LOVE: More than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap & Share by Maggie Battista. Copyright © 2015 by Maggie Battista. Photography ©2015 by Heidi Murphy. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Contact: Will Scarlett