pumpkin soup, maple syrup vinegar, and forgotten vanilla

I got our final CSA share of the season today, and upon discovering leeks and pumpkins, I decided to make Leek and Pumpkin Soup from this recipe.
I topped it with leftover cashew-chive sour cream from yesterday's turnovers. We had it with red kale and garlic-and-nutritional-yeast bread. It tasted like fall!

But the real focus of my evening was making Maple Syrup Vinegar. I read how to make one's own vinegar in this Popular Science article. It gives a fascinating breakdown of how to make your own vinegar at home, as well as a really simple recipe for Maple Syrup Vinegar. The only catch? Well, there are two. The first catch is that the recipe calls for 4 cups of maple syrup. BUT you can scale it down. The second catch is that it has to age for at least 4 weeks. So if you want to make it for holiday gift-giving, as I do, you'll have to start now!

As you may remember, I got married this past weekend! For our favors, we had little bottles of maple syrup from my home town:
Just behind it, you can see our centerpieces: mason jars with candles. Not only do I have all the mason jars left (24!), but we have a bunch of favors left... so it seemed like the perfect time to try out the vinegar recipe.
Here are the ingredients you need: rum, vinegar, maple syrup, and water. You combine all the ingredients, then while the recipe says to pour it into one jar... See all those mason jars in the back? I have plenty to use.
Rubberband cheesecloth over the top, to let it breathe, and put it in a dark, undisturbed area to age for 4 weeks.
They're like little ghosts in the back of my cupboard!

I'll check it in another 4 weeks to see how it's progressing.

While I was digging around for space in the back of my cupboard, I found this:
Oh yeah! I put some old, already-used vanilla beans in vodka a while back to see if it could draw out whatever's left of the beans, then forgot about it for 4 months. It's still pale, but it looks better than it did when it started:
I'm putting it back in the cupboard to take out for good when I take out the vinegar. Check back here in 4 weeks!


jd said... Best Blogger Tips

That maple syrup vinegar is so cool! I love how you're a mad scientist in the kitchen - Alton Brown better watch his back :)