“Shitake ragout,” “huckleberry gastrique,”freso chili coulis,” “fennel-tomato confit”… these are fancy ways to describe trumped up stews and sauces. I know this, I know this a million ways, yet shitake ragout sounds delightful, whereas mushroom stew sounds like I forgot to make it to the grocery store again. I find the marketing of food astounding, and absolutely fascinating. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand why this is done, and if I ran a fancy locally-harvested restaurant I would make my menu descriptions sound as if you were consuming liquid diamonds. And I would charge $3,575 per ruby-crusted plate. But, I do not have a fancy restaurant and probably never will but I do know how to make some fancy-sounding sh*t.
A few weeks ago I was swimming in chives. I read somewhere once that chives repelled certain fungus that attached fruit trees, and in my nascent garden wisdom I planted twelve (12!) chive transplants. Ha! What a garden rube I was. Anyways, three years later I am a little over my head with chives come May. In the fall I may dig them up and set up a $1/plant sale with a manila envelope and an “honor system” placard. I am always googling things like “how to use a million pounds of [insert todays vegetable here]”, because as we all know a backyard garden is bank or bust. A few weeks ago, not surprisingly, it was for chives. Chive biscuits, chive egg soufflés, frozen chives, chive pesto, etc. etc. etc. all the usual suspects…and then…chive blossom vinegar. Now that is something that piqued my interest and used a part of the chive I had been using as table flowers or compost color. Chive blossom vinegar sounds like something I could pay $6.99 for at the pricey grocery store, but never would on principle. So, if you have a veritable chive forest as I do, you may want to give this a try and bring your lettuce to the next level. I have used already it to make lots of dressings for salads, otherwise known as “mesclun greens with spring pea tendril, yellow radish and chive blossom vinaigrette, $7.”
Chive Blossom Vinegar
- Fresh cut chive blossoms, 2-4 cups
- Vinegar (5% acetic acid), about 1/2 gal or less
- Large glass jar (I used a 32 oz mason jar); cleaned, sanitized, dry
- Wash and rinse chive blossoms, drain. Make sure the blossoms are fresh and still fragrant. If they are sad looking, mushy or otherwise not absolutely delightful looking, throw into the compost bin.
- Put chive blossoms in jar. This is pretty self explanatory.
- Fill jar with vinegar. You can go even fancier by using rice vinegar, white wine or champagne vinegar, but I get get 1 gal. of the basic stuff for $0.99, and really who will know the difference?
- Close jar and set in the fridge for the first 24 hours, and then you can leave on the counter (out of direct light) or in the pantry for 1-2 weeks.
- Open jar, drain over a colander to remove the spent blossoms, and smell the amazing shalloty goodness and take in the lavender hue.
- You just made something that nobody sells, but they probably should.