Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cooking with Balsamic Vinegar

I really enjoy cooking with balsamic vinegar. There are so many possibilities and lots of different recipes that use the vinegar as an ingredient.

This first recipe comes from the Whole Foods website. I "tweaked" the recipe for our own liking.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Peaches
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP maple syrup
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 large sweet onions, thickly sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBSP finely chopped rosemary, sprigs for garnish

Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper in a wide shallow dish. Add chicken, turning to coat and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prep grill. Toss peaches and onions with the orange juice, remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper; set aside. Remove chicken from marinade and
grill about 5-8 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Transfer to a large plate and cover to keep warm. Grill peaches and onions until tender and slightly charred. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve.

**When I made this dish, I didn't have access to the grill so I cooked both the chicken and peaches (I'm not a fan of onions so I left it out this time) in a flat skillet on the stove top.

It tasted delicious this way and it was probably a little bit easier than using the grill (although I will definitely have my hubby cook this on the grill one weekend because I love the smokiness taste that a charcoal grill produces).

I served it with couscous and a great frozen side item from Trader Joe's called "Bean so Green." It includes green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, romanesco and garlic butter. Curly Girlies loved this meal and so did their parents!!

Roasted Asparagus
1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt - sea salt is best
1/8 tsp pepper
1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP Parmesan cheese, grated

Roll the asparagus in olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the balsamic vinegar and cheese and roast another 3-5 minutes, or until browned.

**I have used this same method for cooking fresh broccoli and fresh green beans. It is a great alternative to the mundane steamed green veggie.

I found this recipe in a 2009 edition of Southern Living magazine and it is simply delicious!!

Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Syrup
fresh rosemary sprigs
2 cups balsamic vinegar
3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops

Remove leaves from 1 rosemary sprig. Chop leaves to equal 1 Tbsp. Combine mustard, next 3 ingredients, chopped rosemary and 2 tbsp honey in a large freezer bag, squeezing bag to combine ingredients. Add pork, seal bag, and turn to coat. Let meat marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare grill. Bring balsamic vinegar, 1 TBSP honey and remaining rosemary sprig to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes, or until thick and syrupy.

Remove pork from mustard mixture and discard bag. Grill pork, covered with grill lid for about 5 minutes on each side or until center is a slight pink. Let stand 5 minutes and transfer to a serving platter. Remove and discard rosemary sprig from the syrup. Pour syrup over the pork and serve.

**When I first made this recipe, I used a pork tenderloin and it got lots of raves! It was very tender and yummy!! I recommend serving with a grilled veggie and mashed potatoes because it soaks up the balsamic sauce.

This last recipe is for a balsamic reduction sauce. After making the sauce for the pork chops above, I wanted to make it again but without the rosemary. It's very easy and scrumptious!!

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Sauce
Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pot. Use enough so that you allow for it to be reduced to half. (I use about 2 cups for 1 pound of meat.)

Heat vinegar to high and whisk constantly. Once it boils, continue to whisk so it doesn't burn. Let vinegar reduce to half, or until it becomes like a syrup, which will take about 12-15 minutes.

Allow syrup to cool. Drizzle over a salad, serve with fresh bread or pour over grilled fish. It's very tasty!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to try the asparagus. I have needed a new way to cook it.