Quick Beer–Cheese Dip

Beer–cheese dip is easy yet decadent, even with homemade ingredients. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
With chilly temps and that big sporting event (you know I mean the Olympics, right?) happening this weekend, it seemed the perfect time to share my favorite beer–cheese dip in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. This dip is easy yet decadent; we usually think of special-occasion recipes as being difficult, but not so here. The recipe in my column gives you store-bought ingredient options, but you can also bump the decadence up several notches by using homemade versions.

Let me be clear: when I make dips like this one with homemade ingredients, I don’t start by saying, “OK, I’m going to smoke the cheese and chilies, make the chili paste and mustard, roast the garlic, and then I can make dip.” Nope. All those ingredients are staples in my fridge. When I want to use them in dip (and everything else), I just set them on the counter, mix them into dip, and dig in.
Learn to make Quick Beer–Cheese Dip

Tomatoes

Grilling and preserving pair perfectly, and their advantages stretch far beyond flavor. Get grilled tomato recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
You’ve probably noticed that I love grilled vegetables. I also love home-canned goods, and the techniques of grilling and preserving pair together perfectly. The advantages of grilling for canning stretch far beyond flavor, particularly for tomatoes.

Grilling combined with freezing makes it easy to start processing vegetables as they ripen throughout the growing season, making preserving seem more like a habit than a chore. During tomato season, we pull the ripest fruit from the vine every few days. That evening, we fire up the grill and cook off a rack or two of tomatoes; the hot halves go straight into a colander set over a large bowl to drain off the juice—usually while we’re enjoying a grilled dinner. Once they’re cool, I pour the separated solids and juice into separate containers, weighing and labeling each before adding them to the freezer.

When the freezer’s full, I have two products ready for processing: solids and juice. Because the juice was drained off, any sauce or salsa doesn’t have to cook for hours to thicken. Because the solids have already been pulled out of the juice, I can quickly apply it to any recipe, from beverage to soup. In just a couple of hours, I can have several canner batches processed for long-term storage. The freezer is ready for the next round of preserving, and the canning shelves are full of delicious fire-roasted flavors.
Learn to make Grilled Tomato Pasta Sauce and Tomato Juice Soup

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

Caring for Cravings

By finding the root of your craving, you can prepare a solution high in satisfaction and low on guilt. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
When I wrote about redefining comfort foods and shared some of my favorite “new comfort food” recipes this time last year, I quickly discovered I couldn’t have picked a better topic for March. Spring officially arrives late in the month, but for a few more weeks many of us are still bogged down by winter weather and yearning for warmer, brighter days. Seed catalogs and fairs arrive to tempt us with garden dreams, but at my house, feet of snow still blanket the beds and the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “cooler than normal” spring for these mountains.

No wonder food cravings have set in. Solutions for dealing with the intense desire to eat high-fat, energy-dense, sweet, and/or salty foods—in other words, typical comfort foods—range from mind tricks to improving overall health. But what if you simply give in to your craving by making a recipe from scratch that uses real ingredients and includes the component you crave?
Read more about caring for your cravings