Summer Vegetables

Summer means filling bellies not just with the freshest produce possible but also with preserved vegetables the rest of the year. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
If your garden isn’t in full swing yet, it’s about to be. Even here in Montana, with our long winters and short growing season, spring produce is beginning to wind down: Lettuces and spinach will soon be bolting, the asparagus crop has tapered off, and the strawberry bed has been picked nearly clean. In their place, summer produce is ready to burst forth, launching itself into the annual race to grow faster than I can harvest and process.

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen how I deal with spring’s vegetable bounty: #dailysalad. But with a large garden, summer vegetables need a different approach. The next few weeks are not just about filling bellies with the freshest produce possible but also about preserving those vegetables so that they can fill bellies the rest of the year. Here’s how I’ll be spending the next few weeks.
Read more about enjoying summer vegetables year-round

Advertisements

Fresh Feta

I have a long list of reasons for making feta, starting with delicious and easy. Get homemade feta and salad recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I can give you a long list of reasons for making feta. It’s delicious. It’s relatively easy. It lets you become comfortable with many ingredients, tools, and techniques that are important in more finicky cheeses, including slow heating, powdered starter, held temperatures, curd cutting and stirring, hang draining, molding, and salting. It will impress all of your friends, if you decide to share. And did I mention how tasty it is?

In Greece and other Mediterranean countries, feta is as common as cheddar is in the United States. During my travels, I ate feta made from backyard goats and sheep, feta flavored with herbs just snipped in the garden, and feta in lots of salads. Feta is traditionally made from sheep or goat milk; if you can get your hands on either, you’ll get the best flavor. But even homemade cow’s milk feta tastes better than many of the most readily available commercial types.
Learn to make Dry-Salted Feta and Warm Quinoa and Feta Salad

Sour Cream

You easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home. Get homemade sour cream and cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.Sour cream is one of my guilty food pleasures. I eat it regularly, sometimes daily. I eat it at breakfast with crepes and baked into Sour Cream Scones with Tart Cherries. It goes in creamy dressings for potato and other salads. It’s the base for dips and midday snacks. I put sour cream on baked potatoes, tacos, and empanadas. And I use it in desserts, including cookies.

I call sour cream a “guilty pleasure” because it can be high in calories and fat. Most commercial reduced-fat and nonfat versions are primarily whey, modified food/corn starch, salts, stabilizers, and artificial gums—not a good alternative. So if I’m buying sour cream, I read the labels closely and buy full-fat versions that only list “cultured cream” or something similar as the ingredient. But you can easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home.
Learn to make Homemade Sour Cream and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buttermilk

Cultured dairy is an easy, no-fuss first step to cheesemaking. Get buttermilk recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
When I started sharing cheese and homemade dairy recipes and teaching workshops on making cheese last year, you learned how to use a simple starter to make yogurt and an acidic kitchen staple to make cheese. But to expand the range of dairy products and cheeses you make in your kitchen, you’ll need to become familiar with powdered starter.

These magical little packets of bacterial cultures do the same thing as yogurt and lemon juice: they acidify, or ripen, warm milk, letting the good bacteria grow. But the beauty of them is in their specificity. Each starter culture has particular strains of bacteria that create different flavors and textures from the same milk. The range of available cultures is impressive, and I recommend reading about them in Mary Karlin’s and Gianaclis Caldwell’s books to really understand how they work. Here, I’ll give a quick intro that will let you make and use cultured buttermilk.
Learn to make Cultured Buttermilk and Honey–Chili Buttermilk Biscuits