Let’s face it, every season is perfect for chocolate, but particularly the holidays! When you start thinking about that ideal gift for that someone special this year–you might want to stock up on some of Jessica Foster Confections‘ boxes of handmade truffles. Jessica crafts her spectacular truffles locally in Santa Barbara year-round and they are available in gift boxes of 4, 8, or 16. Jessica’s truffles also make great favors for weddings. You can place your order online at JessicaFosterConfections.com.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Santa Barbara’s own porfavour is introducing their “Lucky in Love” DIY kit. It includes 24 mini red chevron striped bags, 24 red envelopes & a sheet of “Lucky in Love stickers”. Simply add a lottery ticket to each envelope and it is such a sweet little treat to give someone you love or to place at each person’s table setting at your wedding or anniversary party. It is a sure to please way to spread the love!
If you live in Santa Barbara and are interested in purchasing a DIY Lucky in Love kit in time for Valentine’s Day, contact the porfavor ladies for local pick-up options.
Memories of the holidays for me have always included special foods and treats enjoyed with family and friends. Pumpkin, nut, and spiced breads are delicious, simple to bake and make wonderful gifts! This year in the Seasons Catering kitchen, along with baking up a storm, we are also focusing our attention on fabulous accompaniments to these breads. And, what better way to preserve the incredible flavors and fruits of the season than with homemade jams, marmalades, and curds!
As a Santa Barbara caterer, I am so lucky to work out of an area that offers some of best citrus in the country! During the holiday season, there is no better place to find fresh oranges than in our backyard. One of my favorite ways to feature the flavor of our area is by making sweet and tangy orange marmalade.
Traditionally, orange marmalade is made with Seville oranges. These “bitter oranges” are from the Spanish namesake and are grown primarily in the Mediterranean. Though there are a few orchards here in California producing this variety, I personally love using the Navels oranges from our local farmers instead.
While the process of canning may seem overwhelming, it is really quite simple and once the technique is learned, you can experiment with flavors and textures. What I love about this recipe is that it allows just that. Though it is amazing alone, try adding different spices to each batch; cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, rosemary, even hot peppers all work well with the sweet and tartness of the marmalade.
California Orange Marmalade
2 lbs Navel oranges (5 to 6 medium)
1 large lemon; zest and juice
6 cups water
7 cups sugar
Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, and then slice very thinly into half-moon shapes, discarding seeds along the way.
Place sliced fruit and juices into a large pot with the 6 cups water; bring to boil, stirring often.
Reduce to simmer and cook fruit until softened (approx. 45 minutes)
Return heat to full boil and add sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved.
Using a candy thermometer, bring marmalade to a temperature of 220 degrees F. This should take approximately 15-20 mins. (If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test readiness by dripping a spoonful of mixture onto a chilled plate. Mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is runny, keep cooking; if mixture is hard, add more water).
Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipes rims thoroughly with a clean, damp towel, and seal with the lids.
For those of you that have never canned or jarred at home, I find www.freshpreserving.com to be a great go-to website. Not only is the website clear with fun and helpful tips, but their online store offers all you would ever need for your at-home canning.
Of course, marmalade and other “jarred” treats are great gifts for the holidays, but I love the idea of using them year-round as wedding favors for your guests! Canning is truly one of the best ways to celebrate and “preserve” the best of what every season has to offer. For more ideas on holiday food gifts, be sure to check out Seasons Catering cooking classes at www.seasonscateringca.com.
You might remember our post a few months back “Carved in Wood” featuring Lazaro Press & Design’s wooden, save-the-date postcards. This time I would like to share another great idea from Lazaro Press & Design using the laser cut wood concept to create a unique and meaningful favor for your guests. I love this card for Katie and Phil’s wedding with an intricate illustration of Stern’s Wharf and the Santa Barbara waterfront on one side, and and a beautiful quote by George Eliot on the other.
I’m pretty sure if you’re online reading a wedding blog, you’re already familiar with the crafter-vintage-shopping mecca called Etsy. It’s a great resource for wedding accessories, dresses, etc. (which we will re-visit in another post soon) but today I wanted to explore the vintage side of Etsy. With so many destination weddings in Santa Barbara every weekend I thought it might be fun to explore some of the fun and funkier Santa Barbara “Souvenirs” that are available. Enjoy and happy shopping!