Tag Archives: DIY

Homemade Maple Vinegar

1 Apr

Dear Yolo,

My absolute favorite thing that came from making homemade red wine vinegar is the one we made after it, maple vinegar. It makes food taste incredible and is fairly easy to make as well. The idea came originally from the book Ideas in Food, which anyone and everyone interested in the process of cooking should read. It is an ongoing experimental process with food by Chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot.

You need to start with some really good quality Grade A maple syrup. It’s expensive, but it is the best and substitutions really fall short. The list of the ingredients you’ll need are:

3 1/2 cups homemade red wine vinegar

3 cups grade A maple syrup

1 1/2 cups dark rum (gosling’s or any you approve of)

3/4 cup filtered water

Combine all and store in a dark place for a few weeks. Transfer as needed to a bottle with a pour spout or stopper and use on whatever you like (the recipe makes quit a bit). Maple vinegar can lift an ordinary pork tenderloin to heights of amazingness. I love it on pan roasted carrots and brussels sprouts. It gives many ordinary foods that extra umami flavor.  I’ll post some recipes in the future.

If you don’t feel like going through the process of making your own or you want to try a store-bought version first, you can always buy some at Dean and Deluca:

John Boyajian’s Malple Vinegar $8.50 for 8 oz.

Or you can go the more exotic and gourmet route and purchase some from Mikuni Wild Harvest (all of their products look pretty awesome):

Tonic 03: Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak Vinegar $22.95 for 400ml

Enjoy!

Love,

Yolo

Maroon’s Mini Herb Garden

26 Mar Heirloom Herb Seeds

Maroon's Mini Herb Garden

Dear Yolo,

For a number of reasons, I now have two little mini-greenhouses with tiny plants in our apartment.

  1. As much as I try to fight it, I am a native of the Evergreen State so living in the concrete jungle of New York is especially hard on my aesthetic sensibilities.  East Coast deciduous trees make winter look especially bleak.
  2. Plants are cute!
  3. I hate buying herbs. It just pisses me off.
  4. Both of my grandparents had/have lovely gardens where they grew vegetables, herbs, flowers and all sorts of things. I loved working in their gardens with them when I was a kid. I felt a lot of affection for earthworms because I knew they were good for the soil and help plants grow and named each one I found “Charlie”. I liked to pretend that each time I found an earthworm it was the same one.
  5. It is socially acceptable to hoard plants. Many people even admire this sort of behavior.

During our last trip to Ikea, I bought two little mini-greenhouse type structures. Not really necessary, but being part Japanese means it’s hard for me to resist anything in miniature scale. I dragged back a bag of soil from Target and have been using jars, a mismatched wineglasses and little pots mugs or planters picked up from Goodwill to give my little garden a home.

One of the mini greenhouses is more or less dedicated to herbs while the other is a home for my succulent plants. I love succulents because they are difficult to kill (they basically require neglect) and they’re so cool looking.

Also, we eat a lot of guacamole so while I don’t put all the seeds to use, I do have two one-year-old avocado trees thriving with two more I have just started in small jars and am waiting to sprout. I think they will actually make nice housewarming gifts for friends because most people who come over stare longingly at the tiny trees.

Maroon's Mini Garden

I feel like I’m 10 years old again, because I find it pretty exciting to plant some seeds and then see them sprout a week or two later.  I’m sure this sounds totally stupid to some people, but as a person who has lived in urban environments for many years, seeing a plant grow is (sadly) really cool!

So far I have basil, cilantro (I know, sorry– you hate it), parsley and rosemary growing. I also have some seeds for thyme but I need to go get more soil. Not looking forward to that because the bag is heavy.

I’m especially excited about the purple opal basil I planted. The little sprouts are kind of greenish/purple right now, but they’re supposed to become this brilliant purple when full grown. More food should be purple. I’ll have to update with more pictures.

Tata for now– someone has to go to the doctor’s office so I’m filling in for a few hours at the wine store this afternoon and I need to get ready. Also, sorry my pics are kinda sucky. I left my phone at a restaurant on Friday and it looks like someone took it. Haven’t done that for YEARS. So pissed about it.

How was your weekend?

Love,

Maroon

Maroon's Mini Garden

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

23 Mar Homemade red wine vinegar

Homemade red wine vinegar

Dear Maroon,I adore homemade vinegars because they usually taste better and after you’ve done it once, it pays for itself. Here’s a recipe for homemade red wine vinegar that can be used in the chimichurri and criolla recipes from an earlier post. It’s pretty damn simple.

Homemade Red Wine Vinegar:

2 cups of apple cider vinegar with the mother (you can find raw apple cider with the mother at health food stores)

3 cups red wine (we use a collection of unfinished bottles of wine from the previous week or two)
1 large glass jar
1 paper towel
1 large rubber band

Combine wine and vinegar in the jar. Cover with the paper towel and secure with the rubber band. Place in a dark, room temperature place (60-80 degrees ideal) for two weeks. Strain and transfer to a glass bottle (I like one with a pour spout). Let stand another week for flavors to mature and mellow. Use as you would any store bought red wine vinegar.

This vinegar is much more pronounced in nuanced flavor than store-bought versions. The real draw in doing this is that you can reserve a portion of the mother (unstrained, don’t be afraid – it looks like a gelatinous mass) and keep adding small batches of wine weekly to have a never-ending supply. Wine recycling!

Love,

Yolo
Here is the gelatinous mass that is the mother of the red wine vinegar:
Red Wine Vinegar Mother
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