Whew. The holidays aren’t completely over, but I feel like the storm of extra helpings, multiple dessert courses, and over stuffing has mostly past. While I’ve enjoyed the indulgence, I’m ready for a change of pace. Morgan and I will be serving Chinese Hot Pot (called Shabu Shabu in Korea and Japan) for New Years. The idea of healthy bone broth and freshly cooked veggies sounds like a great change of pace. There will be no pie.
We’ve survived yet another year of gift giving. Doesn’t it seem like Christmas keeps eating into other holidays? It used to be that Christmas started after Thanksgiving. This year, however, Christmas gobbled up November 23rd and called it black Thursday. What’s next? Will Halloween succumb to the allure of tinsel and Kris Kringle?
Every year, like it or not, we will be giving gifts. Whether that be birthdays, weddings, Christmas or Hannukkah, There is gifting ahead for all of us. Why not take a break from the buying frenzy? Make something instead! The simple act of creation cuts through the noise and lets the recipient know you care.
These vinegars make great presents. They can be used to season foods or for dressing salads. Below is a basic recipe that can be expanded in infinite directions. Got no one to gift it to? Make some for yourself!
Yield: 1 quart mason Jar
- 3 cups Vinegar
- 1 cup of fresh herbs, fruit, shallots or spices (3/4 cup if using dried herbs)
Step One. Place dry ingredients in mason jar. Muddle with a wooden spoon or other blunt object. The goal here is to bruise the ingredients so they release their flavors.
Step Two. Pour your vinegar over the herbs. Screw your lid on tightly and store in a cool, dark place for one week, shaking the jars every couple days.
Step Three. After one week, taste your vinegar. For stronger vinegar you may store this mixture for up to three weeks. Once vinegar is at desired strength, strain off the herb concoction and pour vinegar into pint size mason jars for gifting. Be sure to add a sprig of the herbs used to the final vinegar for a nice visual effect. Tie on a label with twine and gift!
Vinegar and herb combinations
Red Wine Vinegar
- Rosemary, savory, sage, basil, bay and garlic
- Sage, parsley, and shallots
- Raspberries and Thyme
- Red peppers, hot peppers, garlic, rosemary and tarragon
White Wine Vinegar
- Dill, basil, tarragon, and lemon balm
- Savory, tarragon, chervil, basil and chives
- Blackberries and lavender
- Green onions, green peppercorns, thyme, marjoram and a bay leaf
- Horseradish, shallots and hot peppers
- Dill, mustard seeds, lemon balm, and garlic
- Parsley, thyme, rosemary, and a bay leaf
- Apricots and allspice berries
- Pears and Hyssop
- Rose flowers and lemon balm
Don’t forget to try your own combinations! Leave a comment and let me now which vinegars you’ve tried. What other gifts do you make?