Accidental Gourmet Situation

For the past 3 days I have had a love affair with balsamic vinegar. It began during preparation for wednesday’s lunch. I had a hankering for one of those mile high sandwiches: toast, light glaze of mayo, lettuce, cucumber, mozzarella, green olives (have we discussed my love for all things olive?), and the juiciest hunkin’ slab of tomato evah. It was as I gazed at the glistening sparkle of my tomato that I realized that I wanted, no needed, to add another flavor sensation. I rooted around our pantry until I found it- balsamic vinegar.

A few shakes of the bottle and my sandwich was complete. And it was good. Damn good. So good that when I had my 15 reduced fat kettle corn potato chips on the side I felt they looked a bit naked. So I sploshed some vinegar on them and smiled at the tart waft of loveliness rising up to meet my nose.

Yesterday I had to attempt to recreate wednesday’s sandwich. And it was ok, not quite as earth shattering as the original, but extremely tasty nonetheless. By yesterday evening, however, I was on a quest to create another meal that would feature my new best friend. I wanted some pasta. And maybe some peas. And would it be weird if I added some vinegar?

What I created was insanely delicious. So so good. I cooked some chopped onions and chopped garlic in some EVO. While they were cooking I halved the rest of my container of grape tomatoes. Then I added the tomatoes to the pan, some frozen peas, a dash of basil, oregano, salt, garlic pepper, and (you guessed it) balsamic vinegar. I let everything dance together while the pasta cooked and then I had a little civil union ceremony with everyone on my stove.

Insanely good. I swear.

I am amused that I am having this vinegar lovefest. It makes me wonder if my tastes are changing with a season or if there some sort of nutritional ingredient in vinegar that my body is craving/lacking? I have this odd need to try it on watermelon. What is that about?

What accidental gourmet meals have you prepared? Were you able to duplicate them later?

P.S. Thank you oodles for all of the love on my last post. It means so so much. One hurdle down, 20 million more to go…But it is damn wonderful to not be alone on this journey.

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20 thoughts on “Accidental Gourmet Situation

  1. We are the house of balsamic vinegar and olives. Really. Salad dressing? No, just balsamic. And I never met an olive I didn’t like. I received gifts of olives as a child. Sol’s the same way, which is fun but also bad bc we now have to split the olives 3 ways instead of 2! Balsamic ideas:

    Marinated green beans (ala Mollie Katzen): in olive oil, roast green beans (skinny, full length ones work well), walnuts and garlic. When they’re done, smother in balsamic vinegar while still warm. Really. Good.

    One that evolved. Sounds weird but we love it: cut up a block of extra firm tofu and marinate in balsamic vinegar and Italian-type spices. Put on your favorite salad. Yum! Yes, raw tofu. Yes, we’re possibly weird, but we have this once a week on salad night.

  2. I am a huge balsamic fan. Two balsamic-sauce favorites:

    Saute shallots till perfect; add one part chicken broth and one part balsamic and one tablespoon honey and reduce reduce reduce. (which is boil till frothy bubbles appear and it thickens.)

    Or a quarter cup balsamic, two tablespoons water and one tablespoon dijon mustard and reduce reduce reduce.

    Both delicious on chicken!

  3. Ohhhhh the balsamic. Here’s my addition to your balsamic repertoire: Boil up some fresh or frozen ravioli or tortellini — the plain cheese variety works best, but a spinach would be good too. Then in a saucepan or saute pan, brown a couple (or 3?) of tablespoons of butter. Once it;s browned, toss your cooked ravioli in the butter for a couple minutes, then add a couple tablespoons of balsamic and toss again to coat. Let that cook on low, while stirring, for another couple of minutes so that the butter and balsamic form a kind of glaze. Then throw in a handful of grated parmesan. Stir it up and serve. Soooooooo good.

  4. One night all I had was chicken, bread crumbs, raspberry jam and ranch.

    It made some damn fine grilled chicken 😉 I make it ALL the time!

  5. Accidentally I created my favourite pasta dish, evar. It all started out with a need for some pasta on a very hot day. So I boiled up some leftover farfalle that we had laying around in the kitchen.

    After that I let the farfalle cool while I rooted around for toppings. I plucked some parsley and basil from my mom’s herb plants outside and sliced up some of the freshly picked tomatoes, this time from my mom’s tub garden. But still, things were lacking – like Parmesan, a nice homemade vinaigrette (either roasted garlic, red wine, or herb Parmesan goes great) and delicious, partially melted hunks of buffalo mozzarella, just recently purchased at Whole Foods world headquarters.

    OMG IT WAS GOOD.

    Also, I recently made some bitchin’ roasted potatoes that taste exactly like a delicious veggie soup. Om nom nom, as they say.

  6. You know that’s really funny because I am having the same kind of love affair with pickles, and I’m pretty sure it’s the vinegar. I have been making black forest ham sandwiches with one entire slice of the bread covered in pickles… yum! A salt lick anyone? And i have to relay my absolutely fabulous concoction I made yesterday (while we are on the subject) – I took the Garlic and herb flavored starkist tuna in a packet, mixed in a tiny glob of mayo, sliced green onions, celery, and black pepper. ok then I mashed up a half an avacado and spread that one one slice of my whole wheat bread, loaded on the lettuce and then spread my tuna over that. OMG – I don’t think I have ever had such a delicious tuna sandwich in my life. Oh and watermelon with balsamic isn’t weird at all – it’s good!!! Love you and here’s wishing you a scrumptious Memorial Day weekend!!!

  7. throw some sliced red onions in your balsamic, and add that and some feta cheese to watermelon–delicious. balsamic is also wonderful with strawberries and pepper.

    hooray FET!!! so excited and hopeful for you.

  8. That pasta dish sounds amazingly good. I can’t think of many extra good things I have created by accident, but that is because my husband is boring and ingredients are missing from my cooking.

  9. yum. a few people said my balsamic ideas above — add honey and dijon for a great marinade, plus oil for a yummy dressing. also let it marinate on some sliced strawberries and add to spinach salad with feta. the vinegar brings out the fruit of the berry.

  10. Maybe your body is too alkaline, since vinegar is super acidic? Be careful, if your PH gets off too much it could compromise your body’s ability to take care of the frozen embies.

  11. Oh, the balsamic vinegar reductions! [Glazes/sauces whatever it is called when you boil it until it thickens.] Stinks the whole house up, and makes your eyes water but it is deevine when you get it right. And when you get it wrong, it solidifies and sticks to everything.

    Personally I love fresh tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and salt. Mmmm. But then again, I can never resist throwing some olive oil on there too. And preferably some mozzarella cheese. And basil. And olives.

  12. I was going to say something profound about balsamic and strawberries, but I see that I’m late to the game there. I agree, though. Balsamic is one of the most versatile ingredients in my pantry and turns even the simplest dish into a gourmet concoction.

    I don’t have a current specialty (I’ve been boringly not cooking lately), but I do make a mean chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and roasted red peppers. It’s worthy-of-a-dinner-party kind of good. Mmm!

    P.S. I’m looking forward to those PIO hints you have for me! I will email you when I get to that part of my cycle.

  13. I looooove balsamic vinegar. I’ve declared it one of the foods of the goddess. On of my favorite meals that highlights this lovely ingredient is a simple spinach salad. It involves lots of fresh spinach, avacado, and red onion in nice thin slices. Simply toss all of these ingredients with a little olive oil and as much balsamic as your heart desires. Then top it with a few grinds of pepper and let it sit for a few minutes. The balsamic vinegar and the red onions react to create this amazing sweetness. Top that off with a few toasted pine nuts, and I’m in heaven. It’s so good.

    One of my accidental gourmet recipes is a stuffed chicken. Pound out some chicken breast. Then spread on a healthy dose of cream cheese (I use neufchatel to cut the fat–or perhaps the guilt–down a bit). Then layer on some basil leaves, artichoke hearts, and some slices of parmesiana reggiano or asiago cheese. Sprinkle with a teensy splash of balsamic and some freshly ground pepper. Then, roll the thing up, and use toothpicks to close it. After this, dip the breast in egg, then breadcrumbs (sometimes I grind up pinenuts with the breadcrumbs). LIghtly brown this on both sides in a saute pan with a touch of olive oil. Then place it in the oven at 375 for a little over half an hour. It’s awesome and especially good served with some roasted garlic mashed potatoes and the above spinach salad.

    I’m so hungry now. Time to make dinner!

  14. I am addicted to all things vinegar. Homemade potato salad must have additional vinegar added with every serving! I’ve never had balsamic vinegar on watermelon..but that does sound yummy. I like watermelon cucumber salad with vinegar. mmm…now I’m hungry!

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