Friday, September 26, 2014

Balsamic Vinegar and 8 Delicious Recipes

I sincerely adore Balsamic Vinegar. Learn all about the history behind this delicious liquid. Find out nearly everything there is to know about it. Get the most delicious Balsamic Vinegar recipes here -- In fact, 8 delicious recipes to be precise! I've been loving Balsamic Vinegar and all its delicious recipes for years!

Mussini 14 Year Balsamic Vinegar, Riserva di Famiglia
We have 8 fabulous recipes showcasing the delicious taste of Balsamic Vinegar. Something that I found amazing to learn when writing this page is that Balsamic Vinegar really wasn't all that popular in North America until the 1980s! The credit for popularizing this food product is attributed to the Italian food writer, Marcella Hazan. Did you know that?

I found several brands of Balsamic Vinegar at our local Publix supermarket and opted for Gia Russa Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, a product of Italy aged in wood, in a 16 oz. bottle. There are 5 calories for a 1 Tablespoon serving with 2 grams of total carbohydrates as sugar.

Here's my pick today: Maletti 6 year aged Balsamic Vinegar in a 250 ml decorative bottle! I love the bottle and would stick a candle in it after all the balsamic vinegar is gone! Ah, balsamic vinegar has got the best taste ... I've been loving it and all its delicious recipes for years! It's time you tried some for yourself.

Photo Credit: Mussini 14 Year Balsamic Vinegar, Riserva di Famiglia.

Quick, Are You a Fan?
Please register your important vote! How do you feel about the taste of balsamic vinegar?
  • I love, love, love it!
  • It's OK, I can take it or leave it.

My Confession : I Truly Love the Stuff!

I surely appreciate the richness of balsamic vinegar! "When I first joined Jenny Craig, I had been enjoying Balsamic Vinegar Dressing NEARLY each and every day on my lunch spinach salads! That's a lot of Balsamic Vinegar!"

Spotlight on Villa Manodori Balsamic Vinegar. It is a popular item on Amazon.

Have you tried it yet? Oh my, but it is like having a fine wine with dinner! I have not found another vinegar that I enjoy as much as this variety. It has a richness and depth of taste that resonates on your taste buds. Why not give it a try! You can surely find it available in a variety of ages and prices to suit every one's taste. Have you noticed that balsamic vinegar has been showing up in more foods as a flavor ingredient? I love that.

Dear readers! Thank you for taking time to check out my page on balsamic vinegar. When I think about the delicious taste and recipes, I realize there is no limit to what we can do with it. Just the other night I was marveling at a particular flavor of the stuff on the TV show, Chopped! I hope you've had the opportunity to try some of it for yourself. You will surely love the zesty taste. --The Brand Ambassador JaguarJulie!

A Brief History

The first written documents date back to the XI century when in a chronicle of the benedictine Donizone, something is said about a small barrel of vinegar given as a present by Marquess Bonifacio, Sir of the Canossa castle and Matilda's father, to the King and future Emperor Enrico II of Franconia in the year 1046.

Most probably already about the year 1228, at the time of Obizzo II, at the court of the ducal family of Este, barrels of vinegar were preserved. The diffusion of the balsamic started in the 1598 when the Duke of Este moved from Ferrara to Modena, that became the capital of the dukedom; there are documents of this period that confirm the particular attention that the ducal court had for this product that was usually reserved for the ducal family or as a present for very important people.

In the 1700s, the balsamic is already known in Europe; archive documents testify that an English merchant and the Count Michele Woronzon, high chancellor of Moscovia, asked the balsamic vinegar to the Duke Francesco III. --Balsamic Vinegar History

The Best Varieties -- Only Grapes, Nothing Else!

The best balsamic vinegars have nothing else added to them - only the grapes. Lesser ones will add brown sugar or caramel to mimic the sweetness of the better ones. If a company produces a "traditional" balsamic vinegar, they will also produce a less expensive, but high quality vinegar as well. This is the same vinegar with the same heritage but not aged as long. You can have confidence in purchasing these selections.

There is a lot of confusion about balsamic vinegar as on grocery shelves you often find $3.00 bottles next to $25.00 bottles with $3.00 bottles sometimes having fancier labels. But, not all balsamic vinegars are what they appear to be.

True aceto balsamic vinegar comes in 3.4 ounce bottles and sells from $50.00 to $500.00 per bottle. It must be aged a minimum of 10 years.

The better balsamic vinegars are aged 25 to 50 years; these are not to be poured, but used by the drop. Find a good-quality medium priced one to use in your cooking. --Balsamic Vinegar
How It's Aged

Balsamic vinegar is an aged reduction of white sweet grapes (Trebbiano for red and Spergola for white sauvignon) that are boiled to a syrup. The grapes are cooked very slowly in copper cauldrons over an open flame until the water content is reduced by over 50%.

The resulting "must" is placed into wooden barrels and an older balsamic vinegar is added to assist in the acetification. Each year the vinegar is transferred to different wood barrels so that the vinegar can obtain some of the flavors of the different woods.

The only approved woods are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, a cacia, juniper, and ash. The age of the vinegar is divided into young - from 3 to 5 years maturation; middle aged 6 to 12 years and the highly prized very old which is at least 12 years and up to 150 years old.

Produced in Modena & Reggio, Italy

The same country that brought you such notable artists as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as part of the Renaissance, also provides a culinary artistry that offers incomparable quality and taste - the wonderfully adaptable aged balsamic vinegar, aceto balsamico di Modena.

Balsamic vinegar can only be produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio in Italy. See this label? It shows that the Gia Russa Balsamic Vinegar is from Modena and aged in wood.

The many uses of Balsamic Vinegar
  • ... liquid garnish on serving plates
  • ... vinaigrette dressing for salads
  • ... tasty accent for fruits and vegetables
  • ... accent ingredient for breads and bruschetta
  • ... cooking accent ingredient for meats
  • ... accent ingredient for dessert recipes

#1 Recipe: Chef's Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup virgin olive oil

Add the vinegars, mustard, sugar, herbs, salt, and pepper to processor and combine. Slowly add, with processor running, the vegetable oil and virgin olive oil. As prepared by Philip Mastin, CEC, chef at The Lodge at Smithgall Woods, Helen, Georgia.

#2 Recipe: Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup tablespoons olive oil
Mesclun salad mix or favorite greens, for accompaniment
Assortment of salad ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes, chopped carrots, sliced red onion, chopped celery, diced cucumbers, walnuts
Blue cheese, for garnish

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and desired salad ingredients, top with blue cheese and serve immediately. If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.

#3 Recipe: Balsamic Vinegar Chicken Thighs
2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
cooking spray

Spray large frying pan, preheat. Rinse and pat dry thighs. Season with salt and pepper. Brown well on all sides. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until thighs are done depending on size.

Add shallots, cook for 2-3 minutes,until they soften. Stir in balsamic vinegar, cook for about 1 more minute, turn chicken to coat thoroughly. Spoon sauce over thighs to serve. --Balsamic Vinegar recipe by mickie49

#4 Recipe: Balsamic Tomato Salad
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
Balsamic vinegar
Virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Arrange tomato slices on a small platter. Sprinkle with chopped onion, basil, and gorgonzola. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add freshly ground salt and pepper according to taste.

#5 Recipe: Herb and Tomato Bruschetta w/Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes, chopped
1/3 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
6 thick slices of crusty bread, toasted

Mix tomatoes, herbs and liquids in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Hold at room temperature. Spoon tomato mix onto toast and serve.

#6 Recipe: Balsamic Zabaglione Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vin santo
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate.

In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, vin santo, and balsamic vinegar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or transfer to the top of a double boiler and whisk vigorously, using a balloon whisk. Continue whisking over the simmering water until the mixture is thick and foamy.

Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking until the zabaglione is completely cool. Gently fold the zabaglione into the whipped cream and chill for 30 minutes. This makes a great dessert sauce to serve with desserts and fruits of your choice; strawberries, pears, etc.

#7 Recipe: Balsamic-Caramel Sauce over Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water, plus more for brushing
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream

Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the cream warm.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, dissolve the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. As the sugar mixture begins to bubble, watch for crystals developing on the inside of the pan just above the liquid. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush the inside of the pan right above the crystals so the water drips down and dissolves the crystals back into the liquid. When the sugar begins to brown, occasionally move the pan to swirl the liquid gently and cook it evenly.

Continue to cook until the mixture is dark golden brown. The total cooking time will be 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Very carefully add the hot cream to the sugar mixture a few tablespoons at a time. Stir the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix well. Pour into a heatproof bowl. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of sauce. Serve on top of vanilla ice cream.

#8 Recipe: Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
1/2 packet unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, the yogurt, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds.
Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and the 1/3 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Off the heat, add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.

Pour the hot cream-gelatin mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 4 (6 to 8-ounce) ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and pepper 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Set aside at room temperature.

To serve, run a small knife around each dessert in the ramkein and dip the bottom of each ramekin quickly in a bowl of hot tap water. Invert each ramekin onto a dessert plate and surround the panna cotta with strawberries. Dust lightly with freshly grated lemon zest and serve.

Try a Balsamic Vinegar Cookbook!

I picked Balsamico!: A Balsamic Vinegar Cookbook.

This enticing cookbook is the encore to the bestselling "Parmigiano!"

You get some evocative location photography and rustic food photos. Full color photos showcase some 50 recipes for openers, sides, pastas, main courses, and desserts.

I predict you will become a fan ... really soon!

Do you love the taste of Balsamic Vinegar?

What is your favorite brand and year? How long have you been enjoying it? Have any great recipes or food tips? I'd love to hear from you.

Yes, much like Cheryl, I TOO could just about drink it as it tastes that good to me -- and come to think of it, I believe I've had wines that tasted just like it.

History: I Love Balsamic Vinegar : 8 Delicious Recipes was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on October 12, 2007. On April 4, 2013 this lens earned the Purple Star Award for quality content. Highest lensrank ever achieved: #1,487 overall. Lens #128 in the quest for Giant Squid 200 Club.

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