Speaking of home infusions: I've spent quite a bit of time steeping various ingredients in vodka or brandy to make schnappses and liqueurs in the past few years. They're delicious and easy, and it's super satisfying to mix up a drink featuring your own personal concoction.
That walnut schnapps? I made an amazing black walnut Manhattan from it, with a little help from Savvy Housekeeping. Since it wasn't actual nocino, I doctored the recipe with lemon peel, cinnamon, and simple syrup. The results were all I could ask for in a cocktail: rich, interesting, and super luxurious. See?
But there's a catch with all this infusing. Guess what my cabinets look like now? That's right: they're full of random bottles of schnapps, many of which are a little challenging to use. I can't make much more without going completely overboard.
The solution? Infuse other things. How about vinegars?
For my first experiment, I decided to follow a tried-and-true method and infused champagne vinegar with chive blossoms. This sounded especially good because 1. we already had chives blooming in the side bed and 2. a nice oniony vinegar would clearly make some of the best & simplest salad dressings in the land.
Chive blossom vinegar
handful of chive blossoms
Start by gently rinsing your chive blossoms and laying them on a towel to dry overnight. The next day, put your chive blossoms in a glass jar and cover with approximately twice their depth in vinegar.
Steep for a week before straining your finished vinegar through a fine sieve, preferably lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, to remove all plant material. You may need to filter more than once if you notice sediment in the finished product.
Voila! Bright pink vinegar, ready to liven up your salad dressing at a moment's notice.
So that takes care of our salads for the next month or so. What's next? Well, I like the idea of cleaning with vinegar, but its strong scent is not so great. So I decided to steep a bunch of lemon peels in white vinegar to see if I could tame the beast.
Cut your peels off your lemons in wide strips. Pack them into a glass jar and cover with twice their depth in vinegar. I actually used a bit more vinegar than that, as you can see, but I think the end result would be better with more lemon. Certainly it would be more lemony.
Steep for a week or two, or until you remember that you have a jarful of vinegar and lemon peels in the cupboard. Strain through a fine sieve as above, removing all vegetable matter.
Use in DIY home cleaning applications with baking soda. Actually, this would also make a great salad dressing. Two for the price of one!
Hooray for infusions! Are you infusing anything at home lately?