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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Archive for the Category 'Oil & Vinegar Marinades'

Vinaigrette Or Marinade

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Balsamic vinegar is an ingredient for both a vinaigrette and a marinade. People are wanting to eat healthier and are observing closely the foods that are high in certain ingredients, which can be harmful to their health. It has been drilled into us to stay away from foods that have trans fats, high carbs and high caloric ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to know how a company can list a specific food as “low-cal” and “low-carb” on the various product labels. FDA wants a definition as to what is expected when listing these nutritional values.

Perhaps a healthy alternative is preparing foods the old fashioned, simplistic way with no additives. Instead of pouring creamy dressing on your salad, why not try extra virgin olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar, drizzled over a crispy salad. You can even use this mixture over chicken and beef. What makes this even more interesting is that you can prepare your own balsamic flavoring, using your favorite herbs and spices, thus creating a personalized flavor. When prepared this way, a homemade balsamic vinaigrette that is used for green salads can also be used to marinate meats.

You don’t have to purchase expensive ingredients. There is no preparation lasting hours. Simplicity is the key in preparing balsamic vinegar. And…the health benefits far outweigh what you can purchase in the grocery store.

Balsamic vinegar is now being used by professional chefs and celebrities. No longer is balsamic vinegar only used as a drizzle over garden fresh salads. It is also being used as a marinade over prepared meats.

A quality bottle of balsamic vinegar can be used instead of the usual wine being brought to a family dinner. With the host’s contribution of extra virgin olive oil, each guest can provide their own unique blend and a taste testing evening will be enjoyed by all in attendance. A unique taste includes the following ingredients for a marinade, ideal for steak or chicken before grilling. 

½ cup aged balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin Spanish olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients and place the meat in a plastic bag which is then sealed. Pour the marinade mixture over meat and coat the meat. Leave the meat mixture in the refrigerator up to two hours for tender cuts or up to 24 hours for less tender cuts. While marinating, turn at least one time.

For a simple balsamic vinaigrette, use ½ cup Spanish olive oil, ½ cup balsamic vinegar, a garlic clove, 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder, 1 pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste. Combine the ingredients and you will have created a delightful vinaigrette.

With both vinaigrette and marinade, you will have a unique taste guaranteed to make the evening with friends a success.

oil and vinegar, marinade, vinaigrette

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Oil and Vinegar Vinaigrette

Monday, June 16th, 2008

A vinaigrette dressing for fresh salads is just one of the many ways that olive oil and balsamic vinegar can be used and enjoyed. For example, to enhance pasta combine olive oil with some garlic and finish with some grated parmesan cheese for perfect results. A put anesca can be made by mixing olive oil with olives, tomatoes (fresh and sundried) and anchovies. For a quick and delicious evening meal sauté chicken with garlic and olive oil and finish by combining with pasta. Such a simple concept that results in a light and pleasurable meal. Olive oil is also ideal for creating marinades for meat and poultry. A delightful dish of lemon chicken can be created by baking the poultry with lemon after it has been previously marinated in olive oil.

By combining extra virgin olive oil with herbs and spices of your choice a flavored oil worthy of gourmet status can be achieved. The advantages are that you can adjust the flavours added to the oil to suit your personal taste. Gourmet olive oil recipes can make a huge difference to the overall flavour of the dish you are preparing and meat, poultry or fish will take on some of the subtle, complementary and interesting flavours of the herbs and spices that you have used. Creating a recipe for your own gourmet oil is a satisfying and personal endeavour and you may find that though many good restaurants create their own flavoured oils, and delicious as they may be, they will not be exactly the same as the ones that you have prepared yourself which will be entirely unique and suit your personal taste perfectly.

There is a certain spiritual significance attached to the act of giving olive oil as a gift or to welcome someone to a new home. It has been said that olive oil is a gift that inspires the gods to bestow blessing of wealth and wellbeing to a home. It also brings with it connotations of summer days and a happy atmosphere. So, by offering gifts of olive oil to friends and acquaintances, especially as a housewarming gift you are offering them your good wishes for a life filled with happiness in their new home.

For a perfect, gourmet housewarming gift it is worth considering presenting a picnic hamper or basket filled with an array of delicious Mediterranean food items including extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, fresh rustic bread, some fresh salad vegetables, pasta, parmesan cheese, maybe some fresh baguette sandwiches and an olive oil decanter., you may even like to include your own special vinaigrette dressing recipe! You now have all the ingredients for a wonderful Mediterranean lunch or dinner that can be enjoyed without too much preparation, and is for a family moving into a new home nothing could be more welcome.

oil and vinegar, vinaigrette


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Oil and vinegar together

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Oil and vinegar work supremely well in cooking together because of the strength of their individual flavours. Many rich dishes, in French cuisine, rely on the use of butter, cream, rich meat stock as the base and wine or vinegar to balance the fat content. Oil and vinegar work in much the same way by taking on the rich flavours but alleviating the fat content.

Dishes that usually include oil and vinegar have similar ingredients. Oil and vinegar bring both flavour and a sweet acidity respectively. The acidity of sherry vinegar can be substituted for rice wine and produces the appropriate flavour in the recipe for Chinese hot and sour chicken. To create the heat in this dish a little oil flavoured with chilli is added at the end.

Both oil and vinegar can assimilate the flavour of the ingredients they come into contact with. Vinegar can enhance the natural flavour of whatever food it is combined because of its acidity, and vegetable oil carries and takes on the individual flavours of food. A very good example of how vinegar enforces another ingredients natural flavour is the recipe for beets with fennel and fromage blanc. In this case beets are marinated in champagne vinegar and then tossed in walnut oil. The bitterness of the oil complements the sweet flavours of the fruit and by adding some toasted walnuts the nut flavour of the oil is accentuated. The action of the vinegar neutralizes some of the natural sweetness of the beets whilst bringing out the other flavours which were previously overwhelmed.

By using oil and vinegar in your cooking you are getting all the flavour but none of the harmful saturated fat. This is excellent news for those who have health issues relating to high blood pressure and cholesterol. Most fats are rich in saturated fats which have a detrimental effect on people that suffer from high cholesterol. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, make an ideal alternative as they contain less saturated and more polyunsaturated fats than oil derived from animals. If high cholesterol is a health issue for you it may be time to substitute animal oils and dairy products such as butter for the wonderful flavour of extra virgin olive oil. If creating a sauce that usually requires butter, for example a beurre blanc for salmon, try instead a fat free alternative by creating a chicken and balsamic vinegar reduction. This sauce works perfectly with the richness of the fish and the fruit flavour of the balsamic based sauce.

When cooking pork chops you may like to consider brine made from apple cider vinegar. This dish is very simple to make and the brine from the vinegar ensures that the pork remains very moist. To prepare this dish you only have to broil the pork chops. To finish, serve with a little olive oil and delicious juicy apples. You may have a wealth of condiments, herbs and spices in your pantry cupboards but a superior quality oil or vinegar can make their use redundant in some recipes and very little else is called for to add flavour.

[tag] oil and vinegar, classic oil and vinegar flavor[/tag[


Classic oil and vinegar combination

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

To most chefs the combination of oil and vinegar is synonymous with vinaigrette, a classic salad dressing. However, there are a myriad of uses for this combination which include use in marinades, sauces, stir frys and brines. Of course the quality of the ingredients can vary from epicurean vinegar to a gourmet extra virgin olive oil. Whatever varieties you have in store, it is good to remember that they can be used in so many different ways, either exotic or simple. An oil and vinegar salad dressing, for example, the classic vinaigrette, is prepared by combining the two ingredients together until an emulsification is formed, and the result is perfectly balanced and though not too acidic, enhances the fresh flavours of the salad. Even if these ingredients are used on their own, they can bring out the natural flavour of whatever food you apply them to. Flavoured vinegars, such as those made from fruits, have a sweet and acid element that can be used with wonderful results. Some olive oils have a similar effect and their richness complements rather than overwhelms many dishes that they are added to. For a perfect combination of oil and vinegar the correct balance is vital.

In the Far East and some European countries the use of oil and vinegar is commonplace, but in Mediterranean countries the uses of oil are endless and are ever present in every aspect of the cuisine. Not only is it used for cooking but it is poured over bread, drizzled over vegetables and added to tapenades and pesto for a richer flavour. In countries where Chinese cooking is popular it is unusual for sesame oil to be used in many different ways. It adds a wonderful mild flavour to stir frys and is often added to the finishing touches of a soup almost as a garnish. An ingredient that has historical origins and has been used for cooking for many generations is vinegar. The word vinegar is from the French vin aigre, meaning literally sharp wine. Vinegar is the product of wine being exposed to oxygen and bacteria. Gourmet vinegars are produced from excellent quality wine and then aged in casks to complete the process. Other superior vinegars are those that are made from the juice of fruits and aged in the same way.

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Quick Pesto Vinaigrette

Sunday, April 06th, 2008

Pesto Vinaigrette
(5 minutes preparation time, no need to cook).Ingredients:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 ½ tbsp Walnuts or pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white-wine vinegar

1. Drop the garlic and nuts into a food processor. Process it until finely chopped.
2. While the food processor is running, add basil leaves until these are finely chopped.
3. Add olive oil by slowly pouring it through the processor’s feed tube. Then, add vinegar. Turn the processor off and stir the mixture and scrape the sides of the processor. You may now use the dressing. This is perfect for a tomato or green salad or fish or chicken that is sautéed, broiled or grilled.

The recipe is good for 6 to 8 servings as a dressing and 4 to 6 servings when used as a sauce. Yield is about three-fourths cup.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
(5 minutes preparation time, no need to cook)

2 tbsp raspberries, fresh
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Mash the raspberries and mix with the vinegar. Add the oil, and continue beating until the oil is blended.
2. Add pepper and salt according to taste. You may serve this over sautéed chicken breasts, some salad greens or grilled quail.

The recipe is good for 2 to 4 servings as a sauce and 4 servings as a salad dressing. Yield is about ½ cup.Lemon-Olive Vinaigrette
(10 minutes preparation time, no need to cook)
Juice from 2 lemons
1 tbsp black olive paste (also called olivada and can be bought in deli shops)
5 tbsp extra virgin oil
Black pepper, freshly grounded
1 tbsp Italian parsley leaves, minced finely

1. Mix the black olive paste and lemon juice until both are blended well. Add olive oil.
2. Add pepper and salt according to taste. Add some parsley (Optional)

This can served as a sauce for cooked dried beans or fish.

Asian Vinaigrette
(5 minutes preparation time, no need to cook)

¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
½ cup Chinese sesame oil
A dash of red pepper flakes


1. Mix the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Add in the oil and beat until well blended.
2. Add red pepper flakes.

This can be used as dressing for vegetables (steamed or boiled). Average yield is ¾ cups.

vinaigrette recipes 


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Balsamic Vinaigrette

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Balsamic vinaigrette recipe that is simple and easy to make with a mild flavor of honey.

2 – 3 Tablespoons of aged Balsamic Vinegar
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
A dash of sea salt, fine grained
A dash of fresh ground black pepper
A Tablespoon of a mild honey, star thistle honey will work very well

In a medium bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, and star thistle honey. Add fresh ground pepper and sea salt a little at a time, taste to adjust flavor to your preference. Make sure both the olive oil and the honey are quality ingredients; these will determine the flavor for your balsamic vinaigrette. Use balsamic vinaigrette immediately over fresh garden green salads.

Gourmet star thistle honey is one of the best mild flavored honeys available and will add a delicious flavor to your balsamic vinaigrette recipe. If you can not find star thistle honey, you can substitute with a very light colored honey such as fireweed honey or even clover. Remember, the lighter in color the honey, the milder the flavor.

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Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Monday, March 19th, 2007

If a good tasting olive oil is used in this recipe it can add a nice touch to stews, soups, grilled meats and seafood. It is best to drizzle a tablespoon or so over a fresh made dish just before serving. The most commonly used herb to the flavor olive oil is basil. Sun-dried tomatoes are also popular. Other herbs such as oregano, cilantro, rosemary, and sage make pleasant additions to flavor  olive oil as well.

  • Flavored extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup herbs, see herb selection below.
  • 2 cups quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Herb selection:
Flavored olive oil is best made with a single herb, it is not recommended to mix a combination of herbs for flavoring. Dried herbs should be blanched in boiling water for about 45 seconds and then plunged any cold were iced water bath. Let stand until herbs are cooled. Drain herbs and dry them by padding with paper towels. Sun-dried tomatoes which are dried not marinated should be placed in boiling water and simmer for two minutes. Drain before using.

Place the selected herbs in a blender and at half of the extra virgin olive oil. Run blender on medium speed until herbs are puréed. Pour the herb and oil blend into a glass container add the remaining olive oil and refrigerate for 24 hours. Strain and make sure through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth. Season the strained oil with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste store in refrigerator until use.
flavored olive oil, olive oil and herbs



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How important is quality olive oil in the kitchen?

Monday, February 05th, 2007

oil and vinegarTry to imagine authentic Italian cooking and recipes without olive oil.
What would a pasta sauce be without olive oil?
Olive oil is used in numerous culinary creations. Olive oil is used in drizzling, baking, deep frying, and sautéing. It is also used as a marinade or dressing over salads. Drizzled olive oil goes over cooked vegetables, meats, and seafood. A fine quality olive oil is often used as a finish to soups and bean dishes.For general purpose cooking almost any olive oil will do. Reserve a fine quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over salads and finished dishes. This works especially well over fish and vegetables. Remember, the better the olive oil that you use, the better tasting your prepared food will be. Keep your olive oil in a cool dark pantry, and always in a glass decanter for preservation.Each olive oil has its own individual taste, indicative of the variety of olive and place of growing origin. Many of the finest olive oils originate from the Mediterranean countries. Spain is considered one of the finest olive oil producers. You may desire to search out your preferred taste in olive oil. Today there are numerous varieties to choose from, and can be easily found at a gourmet market or online gourmet shop.

In new studies, olive oil has been found to be good for you, especially as a source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It is also a great alternative to products such as margarine which are high in trans fatty acids.

olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, olive oil cooking



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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Thursday, February 01st, 2007


8 sun dried tomato halves, soaked in water
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic peeled
sea salt
6 leaves of basil washed and patted dry
2 small dried or fresh chilies


Soak dry tomatoes in water for and hour to soften them. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend on medium speed until thoroughly pureed.
Spoon into a serving bowl and serve as a relish.

sundried tomato pesto, pesto sauce recipe

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Pasta and Olive Salad

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Makes 4-6 servings This pasta salad is ideal for picnics because it has no immediate perishable ingredients. It also works well on a salad or buffet table with cold cuts and other salads. As an addition, cold poached salmon, smoked salmon, or tuna can be added 1 lb dried pasta, use fusilli or farfalle pasta.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Modena balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Sicilian-style green olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped roasted red bell pepper. (*see note)
  • 2 green onions, cut into thin slices about one inch long
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pinch of fresh oregano, marjoram, or thyme
  • Sea Salt
  • Black pepper, ground fresh

In a large pot bring to a rapid boil, salted water. Carefully pour pasta into boiling water. Stir and cook until al dente. When pasta is done, drain in a colander for a few minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

While paste is hot, add olive oil to the pasta and toss well. Add pressed garlic, balsamic vinegar, olives, bell pepper, green onions, parsley and selected herb. Toss again to mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Let cool and serve at room temperature.

* Note: Roasted peppers have a great smoked or smoky flavor. Roasted peppers are available at many gourmet stores and shops. Roasted peppers can be roasted under the broiler by evenly scorching the skins. When cool enough to touch, you can rub the skins off, and remove the seeds. Cut or dice for desired recipe.

pasta salad, picnic pasta salad, healthy salad recipe


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