Gifting Food

With a little thought, you can make your food gifts the highlight of someone’s holiday season—and of yours. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
With the holiday season on your doorstep, you’re likely planning meals and buying and making gifts. If you’re like me, you’re preparing to give the gift of food. It may not sound as sexy as an Apple AirPod or gravity blanket, but when you’ve taken the time to make it, package it, and set it aside with a specific person in mind, it carries far more love.

Still, giving and receiving food has its challenges. I’m not talking about the effort you put into preparing it, which you’ve likely already planned into your schedule and budget. I’m talking about ensuring your hard work will truly be appreciated by the receiver—and about how you, when you’re the receiver, can value what’s been created for you. With a little thought, you can make your food gifts the highlight of someone’s holiday season—and of yours.
Read more about gifting food

Classic Zucchini

My mom tried every way she could think of to feed us zucchini. I still rely on her classic and newer recipes. Get zucchini recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As I was growing up, my mom tried every way she could think of to feed us zucchini. My dad always planted several hills, plus a couple extra in case one failed, and Mom found endless ways to sneak it into dishes once the crop started coming in. Chocolate zucchini cake was her favorite way to disguise the squash: the texture gave it away, but that didn’t stop us from reaching for a slice. She also processed it as pickles, relish, and even salsa.

My favorite way to save zucchini today is grated and frozen for pancakes and quick bread. But if you’re short on freezer space, pickled zucchini becomes far more attractive. The year before I was born, my great-aunt Verle gave my mom a classic zucchini relish recipe that Mom made for decades. She claims we liked it even better than Cucumber Relish. Zuke relish doesn’t stand out in my memories, but I loved relish as a kid, so I must have been eating a lot of these jars. It’s stood the test of time; my great-aunt’s original recipe required only minor tweaks to match today’s safe-canning standards.
Learn to make Zucchini Relish and Bread-and-Butter Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

Chive Blossoms

Chive Blossom Vinegar taught me to love infusions beautifully dress salads. Get vinegar and salad recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
We recently had a friend over for dinner and somehow ended up talking about vinegar. Well, not just talking—I was soon pulling an array of vinegars from a shelf in my tiny kitchen and explaining why I have so many, how this is just the daily stash, where I store gallon jugs for pickling and canning, and how we had unexpectedly found a mother in one jug that I was using to start my own vinegar. I may have been a little excited.

You could say that the tang of vinegar is my jam. My pantry collection typically numbers 7 bottles, which I put into everything from drinks to mac and cheese to pie crust. But because I like to mix and match flavors and keep many herbs and spices on hand, I only saw the point of infusing vinegars after I discovered a chive blossom infusion in Harry Rosenblum’s Vinegar Revival. It’s so easy to make that my recipe varies little from his instructions, but my first attempt, and probably favorite flavor, used garlic chives. The resulting flavored vinegar beautifully dresses a salad featuring fresh spring herbs.
Learn to make Chive Blossom Vinegar and Herbed Bean Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

Pickled Asparagus

At some point, even I run out of ways to eat fresh asparagus. That’s when I turn to brine. Get pickling recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Whether you grow it or buy it, asparagus will be among your first spring vegetables. These green, purple, and even white spears can star on your table meal after meal until other produce ripens. I start with Grilled Asparagus as a standalone side dish with some lemon and herbs. I also serve it over arugula or with pasta in a salad. It’s delicious served under hollandaise or on pizza, stirred into risotto, baked into a frittata, or tossed in a stir-fry.

At some point, even I run out of ways to eat fresh asparagus. Whether you grow your own patch or buy bundles in season, you too probably end up with more asparagus in your kitchen than you can eat in one meal. But you don’t want to ignore it: the asparagus season ends as quickly as it arrives. That’s when I fill a jar or two with a brine. Although you can process pickled asparagus in a boiling water bath, it keeps its flavor and texture better when it heads straight to the table or rests in the fridge.
Learn to make Asparagus Refrigerator Pickles and Quick-Pickled Asparagus