Hard Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

crispin_ciders

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup hard apple cider
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice (about ½ orange)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (used our 18 year old)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

How

Bring cider, juice and honey to a boil in a small saucepan.

Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.

Pour into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add shallots, vinegar, Dijon salt and pepper stir with a whisk. Gradually add the olive oil stirring constantly with a whisk.

Set aside.

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Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

For my birthday my wife gave us a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen which was great had a really good time which started with Pina Coladas on the beach but those are both another story for another time.

This post is about my love of Balsamic Vinegar.

Hanging with the chef

Hanging with the chef

A few years back we discovered eighteen year old balsamic vinegar at LeRoux Kitchen in Portland Maine. You can drink this stuff it’s just so good. They are online but also have stores at Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Portsmouth, NH so where Stonewall Kitchen is in York Maine we decided to stay just a few minutes away in Portsmouth NH on the river. Portsmouth has a nice walking downtown with small shops and a lot of restaurants it has the feel of a college town with a touch of tourism to me.

View from the room PortsmouthNorthChurch_lg Portsmouth Downtown

Anyway, armed with our 5 empty bottles we clinked our way to the store and had them refilled. All set for a few months now. Which brings me to the point of this post Vinaigrette dressings they can be simple or complicated but once you get in the habit of making your own fresh you will not go back to the off the shelf bottle. Ok maybe in a pinch.

I mostly wing it but here are a few that I have made or tried. Oh before I forget they are not just for salads so experiment and see. Let me know some of your favorites.

How: They all prepare similarly so

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. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Nice little gadget!

Nice little gadget! I snuffed at first.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 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 olive oil

Note: With a good quality balsamic you may not need to add a sweetener that depends on your tooth as the saying goes.

My version of someone’s house dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard – Trader Joe’s add a kick
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced finely if you like a stronger garlic flavor
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Another twist

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced if you like a stronger garlic flavor

Yet another twist

  • 1/4 cup red wine (any variety)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fruit jam or 2 teaspoons jelly
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Options:

  • Try a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Add some grated cheese
  • Chopped cilantro or mint or oregano or…..

 Maple vinaigrette dressing (Cooks.com)

  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz malt vinegar
  • 2 oz rice vinegar
  • 1 clove fresh chopped garlic
  • 3 teaspoons stone ground mustard
  • 9 oz olive oil
  • 4 oz maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cilantro

How:

Add garlic and vinegars together and let sit overnight to infuse flavors. Strain. (Garlic pieces may be left in for stronger garlic taste.)

Blend oil, vinegars and mustard until mixture is well emulsified. Stir in maple syrup. Add cilantro, pepper and oregano (to taste). Stir and shake well prior to serving.

May substitute vinegar favorites, berry syrups for maple and substitute or add favorite spices to taste. Oil/vinegar ratio may also be adjusted to taste.

 Basil Vinaigrette (simplyrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 shallot, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup roughly chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

How:

1 Place the salt, sugar, mustard, shallot and basil in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender down with a spatula. Add the vinegar and pulse again.

2 Turn the blender on low and take off the cap in the center of the blender’s lid. Slowly pour in the olive oil. It may sputter a little out of the open cap, so hold you hand over it to minimize splashing.

3 When the olive oil is incorporated, turn off the blender and scrape the sides down one more time. Cover and purée everything for 1-2 minutes.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Oils|Vinegars Subcategory images

White and Dark balsamic Vinegar

I was told at the class that the difference is the dark is cooked but here is another opinion that backs that up …to say it’s just the color is a little too simple…balsamic vinegar is made from white grapes and are fermented over decades…they take some out after a year and cook it under pressure to maintain its clearness, and that is the white balsamic….the other as I said is left to ferment for years and that’s the dark. Me again..I should add that now a days the grocery stores have a way to speed up the process

I believe with the good stuff that each year stated the vinegar is processed in another barrel.

balsamic_battery

About Balsamic Vinegar here is an interesting article

Because balsamic vinegar is one of olive oil’s natural companions, we thought it might be useful to discuss in some detail this complex product, especially since prices can fluctuate even more wildly than olive oil (between a $3.00 pint and a $50.00 ounce).

The highest art of vinegar (aceto in Italian) making in Italy is known as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (ABT).  Sadly, the reputation of this exceptional product has been bastardized by low-grade products bearing the same name and which only ever so faintly resemble the real thing.  There are, however, two bits of good news.  First, it is quite simple to recognize a ‘real’ ABT.  It will be always be sold in one of two distinct bottle types (the difference being that of the two competing DOC’s, Modena and Reggio Emilia, both strictly controlled by respective ‘Consorzios’1). Second, you do not always need the best balsamico for every dish and, in fact, that might be ill-advised even if you could afford it. Read more

Poached-Chicken Salad Roll Up with Creamy Vinaigrette

Poached-Chicken Salad Roll Up with Creamy Vinaigrette

Adapted from a recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Had to use what I had on hand.

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Two 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 Tbsp. lemon juice or the left over lemon from juicing

 

  • Whole wheat roll up (low carb)

Salad

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds or more
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice or juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks–trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced on a bias
  • 3 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced

How:

Poach the chicken: Set the chicken on a plate and season with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the olive oil, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the shallot is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs, bay leaves and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, then pour in the chicken broth and water.

If using whole lemon, juice the lemon and set the lemon juice aside for the vinaigrette. Add the juiced lemon halves or 1.5 Tablespoons juice to the saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer, then add the chicken breasts and reduce the heat to low. Gently cook the chicken in the broth until it registers 160° on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the chicken in the broth for 10 minutes, then remove the chicken breasts from the broth and set on a paper-towel-lined plate to cool for 10 minutes. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred them into shards. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, tarragon and salt together. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all of the olive oil is added and the vinaigrette is thick and creamy. Add the pulled chicken to the bowl along with the sunflower seeds, celery and scallions. Gently toss to coat and serve on roll up, buns or wrapped in lettuce leaves.