Friday, September 07, 2007

Balsamic Vinegar

Two Sisters Gourmet's Balsamic Vinegar is one of the best you can buy in its price range. It is aged 7-12 years and is so rich. I ate a lot of it this summer over tomatoes that I grew in my garden.

My tip of the day is to try it over vanilla ice cream - crazy, I know. But our TSG Balsamic Vinegar is so rich you can actually eat it over ice cream. Give it a try. To me, it has the lingerings of raspberry flavors.

Here's a great TSG Recipe that is perfect for low-carb diets.

15 thin slices (1/16”) Genoa hard salami, about 1/3 lb
1 jar (4 oz) diced pimentos, drained
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp TSG Aged Balsamic Vinegar
TSG Sea Salt & Mixed Peppercorn Blend
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange salami in single
layer on foil. Bake in 400°F oven until salami is evenly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer salami to paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess oil. Let cool.
2. Combine pimentos, olives, cheese and vinegar in small bowl, season with pepper
blend; toss to mix. Spoon onto salami crisps.

Here's some info on balsamic vinegar from Wikipedia:
Balsamic vinegar is manufactured from the juice of white grapes (typically, trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 50% of its original volume to create a concentrated must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over decades, with the vinegar being kept in fine wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated (what is gone is romantically referred to as "the angels' share," a term also used in the production of scotch whisky, wine, and other alcoholic beverages).

The finest and most traditional balsamic vinegar is very labour-intensive to produce; while it ages and gradually evaporates, the liquid is transferred to successively smaller casks made of different woods, absorbing the flavour characteristics of each wood and becoming more concentrated with each transfer. Oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash, and acacia are the most commonly used woods. Some older balsamic vinegar is added to the must to create a more complex and intricate taste, and to enhance acidity. At the end of the process, the vinegar is taken from the smallest cask: each cask is filled with the contents of the preceding (larger) cask and the cooked must is added to the largest cask.

Balsamic vinegar of the highest quality, labeled tradizionale, usually sells for very high prices; a small (100 ml) bottle can cost between US $100 and $400. Most producers, however, do not employ all seven of the aforementioned woods in the aging process; some employ only oak. Several mass-produced, less expensive varieties may not be aged in wood at all, being nothing more than ordinary wine vinegar with coloring and added sugar. Legally, according to the rules of the Consortium, these are not allowed to be called "traditional".

Commercial grade balsamic vinegar can be used in salad dressings, marinades and sauces. Cooks use tradizionale and condimento vinegars in small amounts in simple dishes where the balsamic vinegar's complex tastes can be noted. Young vinegars (3 – 5 years) are used in salad dressing while mid-aged balsamic vinegars (6 – 12 years) are used to enhance sauces, pastas and risottos. Old vinegars (12 years plus), which are very rich and thick, are used sparsely to enhance plain meat or fish, fresh fruit such as strawberries or even drunk from a small glass to conclude a meal.
Kristin McCann, Team Leader

---She always knew she could fly. Question was, how high?


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