May 10, 2013

Making Chive Blossom Vinegar

The sunny days woke up the chives and suddenly the clump was full of pink blossoms. Since I needed to cut them out anyway to keep the chives producing, I figured I may as well do something with them. A few flowers went into our salad and the rest went to making chive blossom vinegar. It's super easy and quick and makes a beautifully-colored vinegar that's flavored subtly of onion. It's great in a vinaigrette and in marinades, especially for chicken or fish. If you have some chives in bloom, give this a try! I used my friend Theresa's honey for this and it made it that much more special. It's pretty cool having a beekeeper as a friend!


12 oz. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. chive blossoms
1 T. honey
& a pint-sized canning jar

Snip the chive blossoms from the stems. Rinse them only if necessary. Put them into a clean, pint-sized Mason jar. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar until barely simmering. Stir in the honey until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour the hot vinegar over the chive blooms. Screw on the lid and turn the jar upside down on the counter and leave for 30 minutes. Turn the jar over every 30 minutes for a total of four times. You'll see the color changing soon. After 72 hours or so, you can strain out the chive blossoms, as they have imparted all their flavor by then, but I usually leave a few floating in the vinegar just because they're pretty and remind me of where the vinegar started :-)

May 9, 2013

~ Sangria on a Warm Evening and ... What's Old is New Again ~

Our New Old House

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from my food blog while buying and renovating a 1935 farmhouse these past months. But, now that things have moved into springtime, with all it entails on the farm and in the garden, I'm back and feeling so excited about all that's ahead. 

The new kitchen is gorgeous (still can't believe it's mine!) and the Verona Italian stove is an absolute dream. I've been putting it through its paces and still have several settings to try out. Don't worry, there are recipes, photos and stories to come! Last week I spent a full day of cooking with a friend, making big pots full of hot sauces and bbq sauce. We tinkered and tasted, wrote notes and came out with some amazing, unique flavors.  

One-half of the kitchen

When I'm not in the kitchen, I'm in the greenhouse - a new, 10 x 12 - and it's already filling up! Though I've had a greenhouse in the past for seed starting and overwintering plants, I've never experimented with growing food in it from seed to harvest. We've already had a batch of spinach, some napa cabbage and one ripe strawberry!  

The fuchsias do not impress him

The May weather has been unseasonably warm - in the 80's! - so I decided I needed a refresher one evening. I got out the libations, fruit and some lemon verbena ... oh, what a marvelous scent ... and muddled and poured my way to some sipping bliss. Serve it well chilled and don't drink it too fast or you may wake up in the flowerbed. 

Sangria Sipper - careful, it sneaks up on you!

~ Sangria Sipper ~

1/2 ripe ruby red grapefruit, juiced
1 ripe orange
1 lemon
1 lime
2 oz. Lemoncello liqueur, chilled
2 oz. dry Vermouth, chilled
12 lemon verbena leaves (or 6 bergamot leaves), plus some for garnish
1 bottle dry Riesling, chilled
16 oz. club soda, chilled

Pour fresh grapefruit juice into a pitcher. Slice orange, lemon and lime in half. Juice half of each one, adding the juices to the pitcher. Slice the other citrus halves. Add Lemoncello and dry Vermouth to pitcher, one slice each of orange, lemon and lime and the lemon verbena leaves. Using a muddler or the end of a thick wooden spoon, muddle the ingredients in the pitcher by bluntly bashing down on the fruit and herb leaves just to release oils and fragrance - about ten times. Pour Riesling and club soda into the pitcher and stir gently to mix. Put fruit slices into or on glasses, along with an herb leaf or two and crushed ice, if desired. Pour Sangria, cool and relax :-)

Serves 4


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Aspenglow / Buttered Lips by Gayle Nabrotzky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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