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

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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

Cakes and Curd

Fruit curds are the tarter yet richer siblings of syrups and jams. Learn to make Berry Curd and Gingerbread Pancakes. Get breakfast recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
If you’ve only ever poured maple syrup on buttermilk pancakes, this week’s recipe pairing will blow your mind. Fruit curds are the tarter yet richer siblings of fruit syrups, jams, butters, and even sauces. Unlike these high-heat, bubbly creations, fruit curds cook low and slow, until their blend of juice, sugar, eggs, and butter becomes silky smooth. One bite of a fruit curd and you’ll want to use it as a spread on baked goods, a filling for shortcakes or layered cakes, a dipper for fresh fruit, a swirl of flavor in Fresh Yogurt, or even a sneaky spoonful eaten straight from the jar.

Just to up the ante, I like to pair luscious, jewel-toned berry curd with pancakes darkened by molasses and spices. Most gingerbreads are made as desserts and rich in butter, refined sugar, and egg, but the fruit curd topping covers all of those bases. For breakfast, all of those elements can be cut or scaled back to focus on warming spices and bittersweet molasses.
Learn to make Berry Curd and Gingerbread Pancakes

Chili Paste

Harissa is so simple to make that you never need to be without a jar. Get spicy recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.

Many of my travel memories revolve around food, and what I ate during a month in Morocco lingers years later. My diet then was as it is today (mostly vegetarian with some fish thrown in), meaning I spent most of my time in country disappointing well-intentioned Moroccan women who wanted to celebrate my presence at their table with the rare treat of meat. Once they were convinced no one was being rude, we could all enjoy their everyday, mostly meatless meals. These simple dishes let the spices shine, and I soon learned to look for my favorite flavors at market stalls while I traveled from city to desert and back. One of my favorite snacks became a bag of olives heavily coated in a chili-and-spice blend known as harissa.

I discovered harissa in Morocco, but Tunisia often claims origination rights. Regardless, this spicy North African paste is served on everything from couscous to soup to toast, for the daring. I’ve tossed it with vegetables before roasting or, instead of Chermoula, with shrimp before skewering them for the grill. Harissa resembles sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili paste, but it can be harder to find in American stores. Fortunately, it’s so simple to make that you’ll stop seeking it out in specialty markets. You can make it any time of year, using fresh peppers in season and dried or even smoked ones the rest of the year—which is also fortunate, because you’ll never want to be without a jar.

Traditionally, harissa is preserved by an olive oil “seal” that is replaced each time you dip into the paste. I still store such sealed harissa in an airtight jar in the fridge to ensure it doesn’t spoil. It will keep that way for a couple of months, so I make it regularly in small batches.

Learn to make Homemade Harissa and Moroccan Shaved and Roasted Carrots