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Feb 15, 2013 01:07 PM

Presenting food in a pot that you are gifting to the host/hostess

A couple I know are hosting an "apartment-warming" chili cook off. I'd like to give them a Le Creuset french oven and bring the chili in it, but not necessarily cook in it.

Is that too weird, or should I just cook and serve the chili in my own pot and give them the french oven as a gift.

Thoughts, please, the party is tomorrow. Thanks!

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  1. I think it's a lovely idea. I would tie a little bow to a handle/tape a card that reads "The chili is for sharing, but the French oven is yours--best wishes!"

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Agreed. Do you need any more friends, AntarcticWidow?

    2. That sounds like fun! Do they know you are bringing chili? Tie a bow on the handle, with a gift tag.

      1. Aha, I didn't think about including a gift tag! Everyone is supposed to bring their best version of chili. They are not meat eaters but they do eat fish, so I am looking at recipes for fish chili. Thanks Pinehurst and Wyogal!

        5 Replies
        1. re: AntarcticWidow

          Off topic, but I am totally intrigued by fish chili. Tell us what you decide to go with and how it comes out. You're a good friend to that couple!

          1. re: pinehurst

            Well, the party was tons of fun. We ended up with three variations of chili and one 3 bean salad - a last minute sub because her chili didn't turn out (she said she cooked tomatillos in an aluminum pot and her chili tasted bitter).

            For my fish chili I sauteed diced an onion, 2 ribs of celery, a red and green bell pepper, lots of minced garlic, four serranos and two jalapenos, seeded and finely diced. I added a couple of chopped fresh tomatoes and cooked them down a bit, then a couple of good squeezes from my tube of tomato paste, a pinch or two of salt and fresh ground cumin to taste.

            I had some beans I had soaked overnight and cooked separately until almost done. I added them to the veggies, covered with water and stirred in some fish stock base to taste and let them all simmer until the beans were fully tender.

            I cut up a mix of ling cod, rock cod and sea bass and added them to the pot toward the end. I minced some cilantro leaves and corrected the seasoning. When the fish was cooked I turned off the heat.

            After I transferred it to the gift pot, I garnished it with a little more minced cilantro then put the pot back in the box and gave it to them that way. They were totally stoked and loved the color (I chose the latest color available at Sur la Table - Soleil - a cheery, sunny gradient yellow.

            The other two dishes - a delicious sweet potato chili (I'm going to ask for the recipe). The other was more traditional looking (meat and beans) chili that had the mouth-feel of ground meat with a hint of smokiness, but hers was totally vegan. Her secret - BacOs Bits!

          2. re: AntarcticWidow

            Years ago, when dining at the original "Legal Seafoods" restaurant in Boston, we enjoyed a wonderful Clam Chili, utilizing chopped clams as the "meat" ingredient. While this was a red version, there are recipes out now for white versions as well.

            1. re: AntarcticWidow

              For vegetarian chili, I recommend using a few cans of chopped black olives, drained. You won't need salt in the recipe, and the texture and flavor is quite meat-like when put in chili.

              1. re: Tripeler

                Just want to add that not all vegetarians like olives and those aren't typical ingredients found in chili. They sound odd to me for chili - just my opinion.

            2. Either way is great. Yours is such a great gesture!

              I kind of think it would be really cool to cook a great dish in the oven and include a note saying that the oven is theirs, attaching the recipe.

              If they are squeamish about cleanliness, used items, though, I'd just give them the oven, unused.

              1. You are very generous!

                If I were the recipient, I would definitely want the pleasure of cooking in the brand new dutch oven myself. You could cook the chili in your own pot, and add a copy of your recipe in the box.

                Bet they will be pleasantly surprised!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kulfi

                  Yes, I would definitely prefer to "break in" a new pot myself. So I'd put the chili in a plastic container and put that in the pot. The presentation is almost the same, but the pot stays new. I'm obviously overthinking this (in an alarmingly paranoid fashion), but I'd wonder whether the chili was really the first thing you made in that pot.