Twice as Tasty turns 1 this month, and what a first year. The blog is going strong, with pages of recipes and techniques available. It’s been the launchpad for live food events and workshops, which are already so popular I’ve taken them on the road. Many of you are part of a core group of subscribers and followers who regularly check in and play with the foods found here—I couldn’t do this without you. If you’re still looking for a regular Twice as Tasty fix, here are some options beyond the blog:
As we roll into the second Twice as Tasty year, I want to point out some posts and recipes you may have missed and share some things I’ve learned since they went live. We’ll also be celebrating, and you’re invited!
Year 1 Highlights
As I look back over the posts from the first year, several themes become clear, many of which will be ideal for summer months. If you haven’t made these recipes yet, put them on your list.
Fire It Up
Grilling is one of the best ways to prepare vegetables—for the dinner table and for the future. Many grill-based recipes are already on the blog, and I’m teaching specific techniques for grilling vegetables in a workshop:
- Grilled Asparagus
- Grilled Corn
- Grilled Fish Tacos
- Grilled Onion Dip
- Grilled Tomatillo Margaritas
- Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
- Grilled Tomato Bloody Mary Mix
- Grilled Tomato Chipotle Salsa
Make, Don’t Buy
If there’s one overarching theme for the blog, it’s how to turn fresh, in-season, whole foods into delicious dishes at home. At my house, we’re constantly asking, “Why can’t we just make that ourselves?” As you move through the growing season, consider making these recipes, rather than buying premade versions:
- Auntie Julie’s Fruit Leather
- Fresh Cheese and Yogurt
- Italian Seasoning Blend
- Nearly Perfect Pie Crust
- Thin-Crust Pizza
- Salad Dressings
Although having a recipe to follow is nice, having a ratio to use is even better. How often have you pulled out a recipe only to realize you’re missing ingredients and need to make substitutions? As Michael Ruhlman writes in his fabulous book Ratio, “When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand.” Many posts on the blog contain what look like recipes but are actually endlessly adaptable ratios:
- Basic Granola
- Basic Potato Frittata
- Basic Potato Salad
- Pesto Base
- Fresh Improv Risotto
- Fresh Improv Soup
- Ratio Quick Bread
- Salad Dressing Bases
Things I’ve Learned
The beauty of the blog format is that nothing is fixed in stone: As I learn and grow in the kitchen, so can you. I’ve made and tested every recipe you see on the blog, but I’m constantly reading, talking, and learning more about food. After a recipe is posted, I’m still discovering better techniques and ways to streamline processes. Here are just a few upgrades (all now appear in their respective posts):
- Bring on the whisk. Although my recipes for salad dressing bases use a shake method for simplicity, your dressings will hold together longer if you mix them using a hand whisk. This tool also makes a huge difference in yogurt dips and sauces, like Tzatziki and Yogurt-Dill Sauce, particularly if you’re using homemade yogurt. Whipping that yogurt before adding the other ingredients creates a deliciously smooth and fluffy texture.
- Pour one more. We’ve been cutting back on our alcohol consumption this year and have made the fabulous discovery that almost every drink recipe on the blog works quite well in virgin form. My Grilled Tomato Bloody Mary Mix packs enough of a punch you won’t miss the vodka, and Rhubarb–Rosemary Syrup is delicious as a spritzer or mixed with iced tea or lemonade. I’ll be sharing recipes for other syrups next week that work equally well in beverages with and without liquor.
- Back to basics. I started my first year of food blogging with a post on pickling beans, announcing, “If this is your first attempt at water bath canning, I highly recommend pickled snap beans: It’s hard to mess them up.” But I neglected to emphasize an even simpler form of pickling anything: combining water and vinegar, pouring it over a jar of vegetables, and sticking the jar in the fridge. I’ll be rectifying that next month, not just with a series of posts on refrigerator pickles but also with a workshop on pickles that can be either refrigerated or processed.
I’m working on more upgrades for the coming year, including creating sourdough starter from scratch, dehydrating that starter so it’s easy to share, grilling flatbreads, keeping a yogurt culture longer, and using yogurt whey. I’d love to hear about what you learn as well, so be sure to comment with your experience when you try a recipe. Welcome to year 2!