Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-07-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 AT HOME JUNE 7-13, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION Add flavor to dishes with homemade infused vinegar LINCOLN – Why pay for those fancy vinegars or oils that you find in specialty shops when you can easily make your own? Add aroma and flavor to a basic inexpen- sive white wine vinegar for less than 15 minutes of work. Every year, when those beautiful, puffy, lavender- colored blossoms appear on the chives in my herb garden, I think to myself, "They are so pretty to look at, but this year I'm going to try making flavored vinegar." Every year, I miss the ideal window of time as they dry up and drop off. But not this year! I decided on Memorial Day it was the perfect time. And speaking of time, I swear it took longer to cut and wash the flowers, than to make the actual recipe. In about 10 minutes – I used the no-cook method – the Mason jar was full of plush purple flowers, covered over with white wine vinegar and sitting in my cupboard steeping away for two weeks. You may ask, "Why bother?" The answer is that using my own herbs makes me happy, it's that simple. To infuse flavor into the vinegar and cast a pretty shade of pink on the whole bottle will be the end result. I'll use it on salads mostly, but it can be used in anything The Recipe Box RHONDA HANSON Chive Blossom Vinegar Ingredients: 1 cup chive blossoms (fresh) 1 & 1/2 cups vinegar (of choice) Directions: No-cook method This method of making chive blossom vinegar, as well as other herbal vinegars, is worth the slightly lon- that calls for vinegar such as potato salad, a marinade for meat, or on fish. A splash of vinegar in the cooking water for fresh cauliflower will help to keep its pure white color. When preparing the vin- egar, make sure the seasoned ingredients or flowers are covered by the liquid vin- egar. Seal the jar or bottle tightly and store in a cool dry place. Most vinegars will keep for at least six months if stored properly. Fruit vin- egars are a bit more tricky as they can spoil more easily. Thousands of years ago, vinegar was used mainly as a food preservative. Today, we appreciate its many other uses. Vinegar adds a sour fla- vor, is a tenderizer for meats, and seasons sauces. And don't forget its pickling pow- ers as well as medicinal uses. Apple cider vinegar treats everything from sunburn to stinky feet. The vinegars can also be used as a simple hostess gift. Find some small, nicely- shaped bottles, fill with your homemade vinegar, adding some of the same dried herb to the finished bottle. Tie the bottle off with a piece of raf- fia ribbon, and you can even create your own label. ger infusing time. (There is another method of heating the vinegar to just before boiling which only needs to sit for about three days as opposed to the two weeks.) 1. For best results, pick chive blossoms when they are fully opened but have not yet started to fade and go to seed. Dunk and rinse the blossom heads several times to remove any soil or tiny bugs. 2. Crush the blossoms to release their scent and flavor. Loosely pack them into a clean glass pint jar (it is not necessary to sterilize the jar first). 3. Pour the vinegar over the chive blossoms until they are completely immersed in the liquid. White wine vinegar works well with oniony fla- vors, but you could also use red wine vinegar or home- made apple vinegar. Stir the chives down into the vinegar with a spoon or chopstick. 4. Tightly cover the jar and label it with the date. Store at room temperature away from direct light or heat for two weeks. 5. Strain the vinegar into an attractive, clean glass bottle. Discard the spent blossoms. 6. Cork or tightly cover the bottle. • Other Suggestions: Combine the optional fresh chive leaves with the blossoms. They will add a more intense onion flavor to the finished vinegar. • Use garlic chive (Allium tuberosum) blossoms instead of regular chive blossoms. Garlic chive blossoms are white rather than pink, and as their common name implies they have a strong garlicky flavor. Garlic chives usually bloom later in the year than regular chives. • If you want to float some herbs in the vinegar for decoration, use a dried sprig or two of the same herb you used to make the vinegar. For example, fresh tarragon leaves to make the vinegar, but float a couple of sprigs of dried tarragon as decora- tion in the finished vinegar. The fresh herbs leave the best flavor, but the dried herbs keep the shape and color better. Tarragon Vinegar Ingredients: 3 sprigs tarragon 2 cups white wine vinegar Directions: 1. Wash tarragon, spin dry and then dry well in a towel. Place sprigs into a clean bottle. 2. Heat the vinegar in a pot on stovetop (do not boil). Pour the vinegar over the herbs. Close bottle and allow to sit in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. (Remove the herbs, chop them and use for sea- soning dishes.) Note: You can substitute tar- ragon for other herbs such as dill, mint, lemon balm, basil or parsley. Use the flavored vinegars in vinaigrettes on salad greens, in sauces, soups, or with fish. Herbed Oil Ingredients: 4 sprigs fresh herbs such as (either rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano) 2 cups extra virgin olive oil Directions: 1. Wash herbs and shake dry. Pat dry, preferably let them dry overnight as the herbs must be completely dry. 2. Place the herbs in a bottle. Cover completely with oil. Let stand at room tempera- ture for 3 weeks. Pour the oil out through a strainer. Remove the herbs. Note: Use the flavored oil for marinades, salad dressing or pasta dishes. CHIVE BLOSSOMS add aroma and flavor to vinegar. Store the vinegar for two weeks for a tasty addition to salads, pasta and more.

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