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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Archive for March, 2007

Modena Aceto Balsamico Villa Bellentani Balsamic Vinegar

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Villa Bellentani, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Villa Bellentani of Modena Italy, produces balsamic vinegars that are classed in a gourmet category of their own. These balsamic vinegars are unlike other aged vinegars made simply from wine. Villa Bellentani balsamic vinegar make exquisite gourmet gifts.select item

Modena Aceto Balsamico

Villa Bellentani balsamic vinegar represents the essence of commerce which made Modena a capital city. The traditional balsamic producers, or Acetifici Italiani, have understood after 400 years, a need to preserve Italy’s family traditions and heritage of genuine balsamico production. They wish to preserve Modena balsamic vinegar, which has already been adulterated and corrupted by vinegar producers who do not follow authentic tradition. For centuries, the world of authentic Italian aged balsamic vinegar is one of respect for the history and traditions of the trade.

Modern food production and technology processes are in compliance with the most recent European and international regulations (HACCP-ISO-CE). These measures assure the production of a kind of balsamico vinegar which comes from the Modena locale, in cooperation with generations of handed down family aged traditions.

A philosophy of life helped inspire the building of the beautiful villa in Carpi (now an Italian national historic monument) of the Eighteenth century Bellentani family. The Villa in Carpi structure, with its architectural design and frescos have made Villa Bellentani integral with balsamic heritage. The villa is an inspiration for perfection in the production of balsamico vinegars. Villa Bellentani balsamico is a true taste of Italy. They produce authentic balsamic vinegar from centuries of experience, which shows in the pride they have for the balsamic vinegar made at their facility.

Modena Aceto Balsamico Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Villa Bellentani balsamic vinegar has a very dark, rich color. This is the result of the long, natural aging process which is carefully regulated by the balsamico vinegar master. The balsamico ages for years in small wooden casks, and will become darker over time. The consistency of the balsamic vinegar becomes thicker and eventually the viscosity is like that of syrup.

Villa Bellentani flavor and balsamic production cannot be imitated by amateur producers whose only concern is keeping the price low. Villa Bellentani balsamic vinegar is a superior balsamic quality that exceeds the final customers highest expectations. Villa Bellentani balsamic vinegar mellows, enriches and blends the taste of numerous foods, while stimulating the palate with a complex flavors and aroma. Gourmet chefs will use it in small amounts, as quality balsamic vinegar will enhance but not overwhelm the flavors in delicate gourmet dishes.

 

Masserie Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Masserie Balsamic Vinegar

Masserie di Sant’Eramo Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Aceto Balsamico di Modena Acidity 6%
Product of Italy with Produzione Certificata

masserie balsamic vinegarMasserie balsamic vinegar of Modena is made following centuries old methodology. Vine ripe red grapes are cooked to a concentrated red grape must. Aged wine vinegar accompanies the grape must while being aged in prized wooden casks in temperature sensitive environments.

Masserie balsamic vinegar is ideal for most culinary purposes. This artisan style balsamic condiment is made in the traditional method and aged as a high quality vinegar. Masserie di Sant’Eramo balsamic vinegar is one of the cook’s best choices when a gourmet recipe calls for balsamico as an ingredient.

The slow ripening of the grapes add to the body of the grape must reduction. The long aging process produces a condiment unlike ordinary wine vinegars. Masserie balsamic vinegar differs from the other wine vinegars because of the intense aroma, rich flavor, and intriguing contrast between sourness and naturally sweet undertones. A splash or extra drizzle of this quality balsamic vinegar is usually enough to give any salad or side dish an extraordinary taste and depth.

Aceto balsamico is used sparingly as a seasoning accoutrement. When added to a meat marinade it helps tenderize and flavor either poultry or red meat cuts. Balsamic vinegar can add a lift to soups, and a sparkle to both pasta and garden green salads. Enjoy an olive oil cruet filled with extra virgin olive oil as a bread dipping sauce or Masserie balsamic vinegar on the table to drizzle on top of a cooked dish.

Serve with crusty bread and fresh sliced tomatoes as an appetizer. Fresh vegetables can be steamed crisp and served with a drizzle of Masserie balsamic vinegar and coarse grained sea salt for seasoning.

Thinking of giving a bottle of wine for a housewarming or hostess gift? As a gourmet gift, Masserie di Sant’Eramo balsamic vinegar makes a better impression than the conventional bottle of Chardonnay, and will last much longer too. Especially combined with a unique handblown cruet

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Balsamic Vinegar Selection

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007


Balsamic vinegar is a local product produced in the Italian regions of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Authentic traditional balsamic vinegar is an extravagant and pricey condiment. A small bottle of traditional aged balsamic vinegar can easily sell for several hundred dollars, especially if it is 30 to 50 years old. Balsamic vinegar is a treasured gift that is so highly prized, it is sometimes not sold at all. For centuries it has been saved by Italian families for special gifts and wedding dowries. A quality Italian balsamic vinegar is usually served by drops or a thin drizzle, it is never poured. A rich syrupy balsamic vinegar is often used by gourmet chefs as a dessert accoutrement. One popular recipe is simply to drizzle the thick, syrupy balsamic vinegar over a quality vanilla ice cream.
There are three types of Italian balsamic vinegar. Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena has a heritage dating back over a thousand years. Trebbiano grapes are locally grown and processed through the acetificio process over a very lengthy time. After the initial cooking and concentration of the Trebbiano grapes, the thick syrup is placed in special wooden vinegar casks for the aging process to begin. The family estate vinegar master oversees the yearly tending and transferal of this precious commodity from one barrel to another. Traditional balsamic vinegar is required by stringent consortium rules to be aged no less than 12 years.

The commercial or industrial version of balsamic vinegar is produced as an inexpensive alternative to the traditional balsamico. This second grade of balsamic vinegar is often called an imitation balsamic vinegar because it is produced by adding sugar and flavorings along with a very small portion of authentic balsamico. This grade of balsamic vinegar is often used in day-to-day cooking purposes and recipes. Many restaurants would use this type of balsamic vinegar in preparing balsamic vinaigrettes, marinades, and sauces.

There is a third type of balsamic vinegar that is produced by the traditional balsamico producers. It is a blend of traditional balsamic vinegar along with commercial balsamico. This product has become popular due to its taste and affordable price. Even though the content may only have 5 to 10% authentic balsamic vinegar, the producers have made this blend into a very palatable gourmet product. Italian balsamic vinegar follows centuries of Italian tradition. The rich flavored vinegar will be thick and rich and have intense woody aromas with a delicate balance between sweet and sour flavor. A quick tip of identifying quality balsamico is; If you turn a unopened bottle of balsamic vinegar on its side and the vinegar splashes very easily like a wine, it is not an authentic balsamico. If you tip the bottle to one side, and the contents is similar to the syrupy consistency of maple syrup, then you can tell it is a much better quality balsamic vinegar. The price will reflect it as well.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette over Asparagus

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

A Balsamic Vinaigrette with asparagus is a delicious healthy dish for lunch or dinner. The same Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe can be used with a mixture of green bean varieties.

Ingredients:
2 pounds asparagus stalks or spears, washed and trimmed, (optional: a mixture of green and white asparagus spears)
3 tablespoons Italian aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon coarse fresh ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt to taste

Method:
To prepare balsamic vinaigrette: using a medium mixing bowl, whisk together aged balsamic vinegar, minced red onion, extra virgin olive oil, pressed garlic, and ground pepper. Let stand until asparagus is cooked.
Cook, or blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until tender crisp, make sure not to overcook. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water, then drain. Arrange asparagus on individual serving plates. Whisk balsamic vinaigrette and immediately spoon the vinaigrette over asparagus, allow a little extra vinaigrette to pool on the side. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

Makes 4 servings.How to properly select asparagus spears:

Visually select bright green asparagus with closed, compact, firm tips.
If the asparagus tips are slightly wilted, you can freshen them up by soaking them in cold water. Keep fresh asparagus moist in the fridge until you intend to use it.

Another tip to cook or steam asparagus spears: use a medium saucepan with a small amount of boiling water. Place asparagus spears in boiling water and cook until tender. Fresh asparagus spears will be tender in 4 to 7 minutes.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe method and tips

Monday, March 26th, 2007

A balsamic vinaigrette can be very simple or can be made complex. Numerous herbs and spices can be substituted along with other flavors that mix well and enhance the inherent taste of aged balsamic vinegar. Search out recipes that include honey, seasoned sea salts, various nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and fruit juices. Gourmet chefs are constantly making new variations of the simple balsamic vinaigrette recipe.

Select only quality extra virgin olive oil as well as gourmet quality balsamic vinegar. Your recipe will only be as good as the ingredients you use. Be creative, yet prudent with a condiment such as balsamic vinegar, especially when making a vinaigrette dressing. Never cook or overheat a balsamic vinegar, as it will ruin the flavor that has taken years to produce. Balsamic vinegar is best used immediately before serving, whether it be in a dressing or vinaigrette, or as a drizzle condiment over an entrée.

Add herbs and spices and other seasonings a little at a time. Taste while you are making the vinaigrette. Add more sea salt, fresh ground pepper, olive oil for consistency, and aged balsamic vinegar to your personal taste preference.

Be sure to make a seasoned balsamic vinaigrette well ahead of the meal and allow to stand for a period of time, this allows the flavors of the herbs and spices to mingle and blend together. After preparation, store a balsamic vinaigrette in the refrigerator until use.

You can whisk oil and vinegar together to make a vinaigrette. Oil and vinegar don’t mix as well as you might expect, (which is the nature of oil and vinegar.) You can use a blender to emulsify the olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a better consistency.

A leafy green garden salad needs to be dressed lightly with your balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It is important to add the vinaigrette to the salad just before serving, to ensure freshness and the best flavor.

If you’re going to use a vinaigrette over pasta, rice, or a potato salad, try using a little more wine vinegar and less olive oil in the vinaigrette recipe. These types salads invite a bit more wine vinegar taste and less olive oil.

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Balsamic Vinegar Is Healthy With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil are regarded as a healthy mixture by nutritionist and food professionals. Balsamic vinaigrettes are a healthy salad dressing option to that of bottled commercial salad dressings that have been processed and have many ingredients that are not favorable to a healthy diet. Most people rave about the flavor combination and full-bodied taste a balsamic vinaigrette brings to a salad. The balsamic vinaigrette has became the favorite salad dressing recommended by dietitians. A mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil offers antioxidant ingredients and heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. As an alternative to commercial processed salad dressings, a fresh made balsamic vinaigrette can help lower cholesterol levels. Balsamic vinegar is fat-free, high in potassium, and boasts of flavor unlike any other vinegar.

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Balsamic Salmon Sockeye Fillets

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Balsamic Salmon Fillets, baked Sockeye Salmon recipe

Ingredients:
Two fresh sockeye salmon fillets, about 2 1/2 pounds each
one tablespoon lemon zest
two garlic cloves peeled and pressed through a garlic press
three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
two tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
one half cup red wine
one half cup aged balsamic vinegar
one quarter cup unsalted butter
one half lemon, thin sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place sockeye salmon fillets, skin down, in an oiled baking dish. With a basting brush, coat salmon fillets with olive oil. Mix together lemon zest, chopped thyme, and pressed garlic. Rub mixture of herbs over salmon fillets. Place baking dish with salmon fillets in the oven and bake at 350° for 40 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork. While salmon fillets are cooking, combine balsamic vinegar, red wine, and brown sugar in a skillet. Bring to boil and reduce until a syrupy consistency. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in unsalted butter. Spoon sauce over salmon fillets and garnish with a thin slices of lemon. Servings 8 to 10.

 

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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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Olive Oil Health Benefits

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Olive oil health benefits are attributed to olive oil’s high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and also its high content of antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as extra virgin olive oil, specifically oleic acid. Most other vegetable oils may need to be detoxified and refined. Another of the health benefits of olive oil is that cold, or fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil can be consumed immediately and will retain the natural olive variety flavor, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants of the ripe olives. It is important to know many smaller estate olive producers hand pick the olives to preserve their freshness and maintain a high quality of harvest.

According to health experts, the health benefits of olive oil include cardiovascular aspects and recommended olive oil to be used in the diet. Olive oil which is 74% mono unsaturated fat, and is believed to increase, HDL or the good cholesterol. Olive oil is also believed to reduce or lower LDL, or the so-called bad cholesterol. The combination of garlic, onions, olive oil, and vinegar in the Mediterranean diet is now recognized by nutritionist professionals as a healthy dietary preventative measure for cardiovascular disorders. It is believed that the extensive use of fresh vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed foods contribute to the health benefit of the Mediterranean diet.

Many doctors are aware of the health benefits of olive oil and will encourage you to lower total fat and calories in your diet, and substituting butter, margarine and tropical oils with healthy fats like olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is easy to digest by the body and it also helps the assimilation of other important dietary ingredients and vitamins. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few natural oils that can be eaten without chemical processing.

Eating healthy is a primary recommendation for those of the baby boomer era. Simple adaptations to the nominal diet can be advantageous to your health. Oil and vinegar recipes, such as; extra virgin olive oil combined with balsamic vinegar will make an excellent healthy salad dressing alternative.

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Oil And Vinegar

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

oil and vinegar
Oil and vinegar condiments and cooking uses are becoming increasingly popular. Oil and vinegar recipes, along with oil and vinegar health benefits are extremely diverse and volumes can be written about them. An oil and vinegar cruet is more common in the gourmet kitchen, and used more frequently. The culinary category of oil and vinegar has been expanded with new products brought about by new manufacturing producers and processes. Oil and vinegar products have increased dramatically with the arrival of new flavored oils and infused oils, along with flavored vinegars and balsamic vinegars. Vinegar and oil may seem to be simple pantry staples, but they are more than that. Oil and vinegar are ingredients that many of us use nearly every day. Oil and vinegar appears in recipes of nearly all the cuisines of the world. The mixtures of oil and vinegar result in delicious dressings, toppings, sauces, vinaigrettes, and marinades.
Scientific research that has examined the health benefits of olive oil, and also that of vinegar is now revealing data that substantiates a multitude of healthy advantages for those people who consume cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and also quality produced vinegar. Olive oil has long been associated with the Mediterranean Diet. As a staple ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet, extra virgin olive oil ads flavor and health benefits to this cuisine. Dietary professionals have taken notice that those people who eat a Mediterranean Diet, have shown a remarkable healthy lifestyle. Olive oil is known to have high levels of antioxidants, and is recognized for its natural composition of monounsaturated fatty acids, which unlike animal fats, is healthy for you.Historically vinegar has been used as a tonic for poor health, as a preservative for canning and pickling, and its acidic taste is used extensively for culinary purposes. Quality vinegar will give characteristics such as tartness or a subtle sour taste to recipes such as vinaigrettes and marinades. A marinade that contains vinegar as an ingredient should also include a combination of oil, preferably olive oil, and herbs and spices. Vinegar in one’s diet is a detoxification agent, and the acetic acid increases metabolism and helps burn or dissolve fats in the body.

Increasing oil and vinegar in one’s diet will continue to promote health especially when combined with fresh fruits and vegetables. Many gourmet chefs are producing oil and vinegar recipes that are delicious and healthy without sacrificing exquisite taste. Oil and vinegar cruets are now popular for gift selections. Cruets.com always has the handblown cruet in stock.


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