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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Archive for March, 2007

Balsamic Vinegar

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Balsamic vinegar from Italy, is an aged reduction of Trebbiano or Spergola white grapes. The grapes are boiled to a syrup by being cooked very slowly in open fired copper cauldrons. The grapes are cooked until the moisture content is reduced by over 50 percent. The concentrated cooked balsamic grape reduction results in what is called the “must.” The grape ‘must’ reduction is put into wooden casks and an older aged balsamic vinegar is then added to promote the acetification process. Balsamic vinegar goes through a series of transfers from larger wooden barrels to progressively smaller wooden barrels. This aging process normally spans a period of twelve years. Every year the aging balsamic vinegar is transferred to different wooden barrels made from various wood varieties. In this way the balsamic vinegar obtains rich flavors inherent of the different woods. Popular wood varieties which the balsamic vinegar barrels are made from are: oak, cherry, chestnut, ash and wild cherry. Juniper and mulberry are the most difficult to procure, but are highly sought after for the unique flavors they impart to the balsamic vinegar.

A gourmet shopper can be perplexed about selecting balsamic vinegar at the grocery store. $5.00 balsamic vinegar can be next to $35.00 balsamic vinegar. Often taste testing is the best way to determine a quality balsamic. Inexpensive commercial grade vinegars are really not balsamico at all. Know what you are buying before you purchase.

The Italian producers from Reggio Emilia have designated three quality levels for Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar.
12 years aged, indicated with a Red level or label.
20 years aged, indicated with a Silver level or label.
And 30-40 years ages designated with a Gold level or label.

Authentic Italian aceto balsamic vinegar comes in 3.4 ounce bottles and sells from $60.00 to $700.00 per bottle. It must be aged a minimum of 12 years. The better balsamic vinegars are aged 25 to 50 years. These balsamic vinegars are nearly liqueurs, rather than a vinegar. Serve them by the drop, never pour them.

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French Chicken au Vinaigre

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Chicken au Vinaigre recipe

  • One whole roasting chicken about three and half pounds
  • Six tablespoons butter
  • Four cloves unpeeled garlic
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • Four tablespoons chopped chives
  • Four tablespoons Italian parsley minced
  • Three quarters cup red wine vinegar
  • 8 ounces duck or veal stock
  • Two tablespoons tomato paste, can be sun-dried tomato paste
  • One third cup heavy cream
  • Sprigs of Italian parsley and chives

Cut the chicken into quarters. Rinse and dry the chicken and rub it with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Put butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces. Brown until chicken is deep golden color on both sides. Add the garlic cloves and turn frequently. Do not let the chicken burn, but cook until browned. Sprinkle two tablespoons of chives and two tablespoons of parsley over the chicken, cover the pan, lower the heat and let the chicken simmer slowly for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and place in a warming dish. Keep warm in the oven at very low heat.Using the same frying pan over high heat, add vinegar and scrape and de-glaze the pan quickly. Now add the stock and tomato paste. Stir constantly and reduce sauce by one half. Press the pulp out of the cooked garlic cloves with a fork and discard the peelings. Blend the cooked garlic into the sauce. Strain the sauce and return to the pan. (You may stop with the recipe at this point until all meal accoutrements are complete. In the next step you’ll add the cream, and the dish should be served immediately.)

Stir one quarter cup of the cream into the sauce and paste. Add the remaining cream to make the sauce smoother and milder tasting. Do not allow the sauce to come to a boil. Add remaining chopped herbs and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Remove the chicken from the warming dish and place in the sauce, coating the chicken well. Allow chicken to heat in the sauce for 10 minutes over low to medium heat. Be careful to not allow the sauce to come to a boil. Remove chicken and place on a serving platter, pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with sprigs of chives and Italian parsley.

chicken recipe, chicken vinegar recipe


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Red raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Red raspberry vinaigrette Red raspberry vinegar has a delicate flavor but it combines with nut oils very well. Chopped walnuts add to the texture of the vinaigrette but also brings a wonderful nutty flavor to the vinaigrette. A red raspberry vinaigrette is ideal for green garden salads, salads with white meat such as chopped chicken breast, and fruit salads. Walnut oil does not store well so make this vinaigrette in small quantities.

  • One quarter cup red raspberry vinegar
  • one quarter teaspoon sugar
  • one small shallot peeled and minced
  • one tablespoon chopped walnuts, (your option)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian parsley finely minced
  • one half cup peanut oil
  • one quarter cup walnut oil
  • one quarter teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a medium-size bowl combine the raspberry vinegar, minced shallot, sugar, and Italian parsley. Add walnuts if you are going to use them. Whisk in the walnut oil and the peanut oil until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary add a pinch more of sugar. Makes about 1 cup.

More recipes from Aunt Bea’s recipes

oil and vinegar, vinaigrette recipe, red raspberry vinaigrette


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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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Balsamic vinegar that brings true robust Italian flavor to your table.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Balsamic Vinegar that is nearly syrup.

Fresh sliced strawberries and a drizzle of VSQP.
…’incredible taste and palate.’ ‘flavor like balsamico should be’
‘how can this be vinegar? … its absolutely delicious’

From the family operated balsamico production of Villa Bellentini. Aceto Balsamico di Modena. VSQP Black Label – “Very Special Quality Product” (V.S.Q.P.) This balsamico vinegar, is mature and rich in flavor. Aged for a minimum of twelve years in small casks made of fine antique woods, some of which are centuries old. This aging process creates a dense pleasantly sweet syrup in which the flavors of the fruit and woods is discernable. The unique and delicate flavor make it a wonderful taste for oil and vinegar dressings or a treat which can be enjoyed on simple foods like ice cream or fresh strawberries.

Modena Villa Bellentini Aceto VSQP is syrupy sweet with only a hint of vinegar tartness. Aged gourmet balsamic vinegar is ideal in oil and vinegar recipes. This gourmet condiment is used as a dessert topping, drizzled over fresh fruits, ice creams or cakes. It is also popular to drizzle it over Parmesan cheese as a dessert too.

Each balsamic vinegar we offer has been taste tested. All balsamic vinegars offered on our site are of exceptional quality and taste and have passed our stringent taste requirements.

balsamic vinegar, vsqp, balsamico, modena balsamic

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Fresh Sliced Strawberries with orange and balsamic vinegar

Thursday, March 08th, 2007

1 pint fresh sliced strawberries
One half cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
One tablespoon fructose
Six sprigs fresh mint

Wash and stem fresh strawberries. Slice berries and place in medium-sized bowl. Now mix together with orange juice balsamic vinegar and fructose. Pour mixture over sliced strawberries. Gently stir berries to cover in liquid. Let stand for about one hour. Spoon into dessert dishes and garnish with sprig of mint. As a variation spoon over one scoop of quality vanilla ice cream.

Should serve six.

balsamic vinegar and strawberries, balsamic dessert recipe

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Pasta and the basics

Thursday, March 08th, 2007

Oil and vinegar is a staple in Italian recipes using pasta as an ingredient. Quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar accentuate even the most simple pasta dish. Determining which type pasta to use for which dish need not be difficult.

For most Americans pasta is synonymous with Italian food. Each region of Italy has its distinctive type pasta and even within the various regions there is remarkable variations. A true pasta connoisseur will distinguish long thin strands of pasta by the millimeter. The thinnest strands are capellini or fidelini. Next would be capelli or speghettini. With another millimeter or so you have spaghetti. Flatten the spaghetti pasta and it becomes linguine. Broaden the linguine pasta and it becomes fettuccine or tagliatelle. Widen the fettuccine pasta even further and it turns into pappardelle.

Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes.

The names of cost of come from their shape and what they look like. Apostate can appear to resemble a thimble, (ditalini) a butterfly (farfalle) a pen point (penne) or a little ear (orecchiette). Stuffed pasta is recognized as ravioli, tortellini, and cannelloni. Layered pasta is called lasagna, but if made in two tubes is called rigatoni and mostaccioli. The same layered pasta curled like a corkscrew is called fusilli. The preceding pasta names are the most nominal and recognized pastas used in Italian food recipes. There are numerous other varieties and variations.

pasta types, oil and vinegar, Italian food

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Scallops sauted with Eggplant

Thursday, March 01st, 2007

Makes four servings.Preparation time 30 minutes.

One small eggplant, peeled and cut into 4 slices.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour dusted over a plate.
One egg, beaten well with a pinch of salt.
1/3 cup bread crumbs.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Eight fresh scallops.
One clove garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press.
Five basil leaves, finely chopped.
Four plum or cherry tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Five fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Salt and pepper.
Sea Salt.

Salt the sliced eggplant and let drain in a colander for 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Dip the slices in flour and shake off the excess. Dip the eggplant into the egg mixture, then dip it into the breadcrumbs and coat it well. Warm three tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet, using medium heat. Sauté eggplant slices until golden brown and tender. Drain on paper towels and set this aside.

Warm three tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet, using medium heat. Sauté mushroom slices until tender. Set aside as well.

Slice the scallops in half, to make too thin disks. Warm two tablespoons of the olive oil and another skillet over medium high heat. Then add the basil, garlic and scallops. Sauté the scallops until cooked through, should take about two to three minutes. Turn the scallops once or twice during cooking.

Place the tomatoes in a blender with the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper and purée until smooth. Pour this into a small saucepan and cook it over medium heat. Stir regularly until purée is heated through. Will take about 5 minutes. Place one slice of eggplant in the center of each plate. Top each eggplant slice with scallops and sautéed mushrooms. Spoon some of the tomato mixture around the plate and serve.

sauteed scallops, eggplant recipe

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