OMB! . .but the “B” stands for Brussel Sprouts w/Sorrento Lemon Olive Oil & Classic Balsamic Vinegar

So . . it’s a first. I have always had daymares about Brussel Sprouts. When my Mom would make them and I don’t know what she would do to them but they were smelly and disgusting!

Well . . .I was reading somewhere about Brussel Sprouts this week so I decided to make them and check them off my “Must Try List”.

I rinsed a batch of Brussel Sprouts, cut off the bottoms, halved them and put in a tin foil pan as I was grilling our dinner. I tossed the Brussel Sprouts in Sorrento Lemon Olive Oil (just a TBSP or 2) and put them on the grill to roast. About 30 minutes later they were a nice brown looking roasted color. I placed them in a bowl, added craisins and tossed them with a TBSP or 2 of Classic Balsamic Vinegar. OMB!!

Next I think I’m going to try making roasted brussel sprout chips! YUM . . .I’ll let you know how they came out.

Things about Pears

I got this book from the Atlantic City Food & Wine Show this past year. It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Pears, Cheese & Wine. I really enjoyed reading it and learned so much I thought I’d share a few things. Mostly I was thinking about the recipes with our Anjou Pear White Balsamic Vinegar which I’ll get on posting as well. Enjoy all the info. Check out their website www.usapears.org. If you can buy the book . . .it will be worth your money, for sure!!

Selecting the right pear for the purpose of course is most important. The book refers to 8 major pears being Green or Red Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Forelle, Seckel and Starkrimson. Since reading this book I’ve been checking out the different types and flavors.

Snacking and Pairing with Cheese: All of them
Cooking, Baking, Roasting or Poaching: Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc & Starkrimson
Salads: Anjou, Bartlett, Seckel and Starkrimson
Desserts: Cormice, Forelle and Seckel

The book went on to say, “Pears, Cheese, and Wine have a natural affinity, and together they create a classic combination of tastes and textures. They go on to say you must first understand the “personality” of your fruit. Next, to select a cheese that will be enhanced by that pear, and the, finally choose a wine to complete with trio

Bartlett Sweet, buttery, musky,a wonderful fragrance
Mascarpone Brut Champagne
Gouda/Aged Merlot

Starkrimson Mild, sweet, subtle subtle floral aroma
Brie Chiati Sangiovese (?)
Silton (blue) Tawny Port

Anjou Sweet, fragrant, juicy tender, mellow delicate flavor
Chevre Sauvignon Blanc
Camembert Demi-sec Champagne

Bosc Firm textured, nutty, spicy flavor and undertones
Cheddar Cabernet Sauvignon

Cormice Sweetest and juiciest of all – smooth and creamy textures
Gorgonzola Marsala
Danish Blue Cheese Sauternes

Seckel Smallest pear with floral and spice notes, a complex flavor
Fontina Pinot Noir
Havarti Beaujolais

Forelle Very juicy, mild, sweet and spicy flavor
Port Salut Reisling
Monterey Jack Late-Reisling

Suggestions:
 Match the wine’s body to the cheese’s texture
 Select fruity wines for fruity cheeses like Fontina or Asiago.
 Pair contrasting flavors
 Champagne sparkling wines work well blue cheeses, creamy cheeses like brie, and salty cheeses like aged Dry Jack.
 Wine and cheese should have the same intensity of flavor

Other Basics:
 Cut cheese when it’s cold using separate knives for different cheeses
 Cut hard cheeses into slices or cubes and soft cheeses into pie-like wedges
 Serve cheese a room temperature for best flavor. Take out of frig a hour in advance.
 Remember toothpicks or small forks for serving
 When tasting different cheeses start modest-flavored to the strongest

More Basics:
 Plain water crackers work well with most cheeses
 Mild cheeses with simple break and crackers, stronger-flavored cheeses with rustic or sourdough breads, multigrain or whole wheat crackers with aged cheeses
 Cured meats work with most cheeses and go well with most pears
 Toasted nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans add lots of flavor. Almonds are great with sheep’s – and goat’s-milk cheeses

Things about Risotto

Risotto

First thing I learned was that risotto is a “cooking method” not a dish. So that explained a lot to me. All grains, rice and pastas can be prepared in the “risotto” method.

Normally traditional risotto is prepared by using Arborio rice – it’s pearly, round medium grain rice that is readily available. Its’ outer coating contains the highest starch level of any Italian variety which ensures creamy texture in risotto.

Always serve risotto in preheated plates or in warm shallow bowels. NEVER rinse the rice as it helps with the creamiest of the risotto.

Toasting the rice quickly heats up the grain’s exterior. The rice will get hot but it should remain pearly white not turning brown.

No matter what recipe you use the quantity of liquid is a “suggested” amount. And again since it’s a method of cooking make sure you have reserved warmed/hot liquid waiting just in case. On the other hand you might not use the total amount called for in the recipe. So add small amounts at a time it’ll give you a better result. If you add cold liquid to hot rice you’ll probably end up with hard uncooked kernel in the center of the grain. YUK!

If you want to know even more check out: http:/whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/risotto

Using the Standard Risotto Method – 1 lb. formula
Yield approximately 10, 5 oz. portions

Ingredients:

1 lb. Arborio Rice
2 qrts. Hot liquid (stock, water or juice)
1 oz. oil
1 oz. small diced onion
3 oz. grated cheese, cream or butter

Directions:
Sweat onion in oil, add (toasted) rice then deglaze with wine or other liquid of your choice. Reduce heat to medium and then gradually add warm/hot liquid in small amounts. 6 – 8 oz. at a time giving rice time to absorb the liquid. Continue to add liquid as needed till rice cooks to al dente. This is usually 20 – 30 minutes so be prepared to watch your dish . . .you just can’t rush it.

Stir in your dairy of choice and then your featured item. And serve in warmed bowls or preheated plates.

During our class we made crab, porcini mushroom, asparagus shrimp, milanese, roasted butternut, scallop and coconut, apple, grill vegetable and chocolate risotto. Some more we discussed were beef with golden raisin, sun-dried tomato with prosciutto, and sausage with peppers, onions and cheese to give you more ideas.

I never had risotto when I was little but what a great meal . . . .you can put anything together and make it taste great. Just don’t rush cooking the rice . . .the risotto method!

Fall Caprese – Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar

Check this out!! If you’ve ever met me and you asked me what I put on my fresh mozzarella and tomatoes I would immediately pair Pomegrante Balsamic Vinegar and Basil Infused Olive Oil.

And then I met Jaime Knott Owner/Chef of Saddle River Inn. He had tasted the Vanilla Fig Balsamic at a street festival and fell in love with it. So after ordering several large bottles I asked him how he was using the vinegar. He was pairing the Vanilla Fig Balsamic with his own Basil Infused Olive Oil on a Fall Caprese appetizer. Well I tried it . . . .definately something you’ll want to try. It gets another awesome out of me!

Enjoy and thank you Jamie!

Saddle River Inn
2 Barnstable Court, Saddle River NJ
201-825-4016
www.saddleriverinn.com

Dark Chocolate Balsamic & Blood Orange Olive Oil Goat Cheese Salad

This just happens to be a new favorite of mine.

First picture this . . . . a freshly washed and spun bowl of mixed greens. Madarin orange in bite sized pieces, your favorite goat cheese cut (I use a small melon-baller), your favorite salty nut in slices or pieces and now drizzle the Dark Chocolate Balsamic and toss your salad. To finish it up drizzle a small amount of Blood Orange Olive Oil and “retoss”. OMB!!!

Grilled Romaine with DIVINO House Special Dipping Oil . . . .Jessica, Havertown, PA

My niece, Jessica was visiting a couple weekends ago and she asked what we could use for our Grilled Romaine Salad.  Well . . . .it’s delicious!!

Clean your romaine leaves and pat them dry.  Chop off the end then split them down the middle long ways.  Put them on the grill with “flat” side down.  Be sure to watch them as it doesn’t take much time for them to grill.  When crispy serve with

Thanks Jess for brainstorming with me!  Easy, fast and delicious!!

Fresh Baby Spinach . .. Salad or Steamed with White Balsamic Vinegar

Try this out!  I grew up on “boxed” chopped spinach with white or apple cider vinegar.

So I had steamed some baby spinach and drizzled the White Balsamic Vinegar over it . . . .absolutely yummie.  Also try it on a spinach salad as well . . .I prefer to drizzle a little Sorrento Lemon Olive Oil as well . . .but that’s just me!  Enjoy!

Dr Oz: What Food Combination Trims Your Belly? Did you Know??

Dr Oz: Dynamic Duos: Surprising Food Combinations for Your Health

By Dr Oz Fans on December 16, 2010

Dr Oz: What Food Combination Trims Your Belly?

Dr Oz asked which two of the following foods improves your mood: pasta, balsamic vinegar or shrimp?  Dr Oz said that the acidity of balsamic vinegar slows down your body’s absorption of sugar from the pasta.  By adding 2 TB of balsamic vinegar to pasta, you slash your sugar absorption by 20%.  I personally would prefer my balsamic vinegar on a side salad though, rather than placing the vinegar directly on the pasta.  Do you have a good recipe for a pasta dish that uses balsamic vinegar?  If so, please share it with everyone in the comment section below!

Serving Suggestions of Our Pear, Peach,Coconut White & Dark Chocoloate Balsamics

 Peach Balsamic:

  • drizzle over melon and proscuitto
  • make marinade for chicken or pork tenderloins/roasts w/ peach balsamic, garlic, fresh ginger, fresh thyme and a little chicken stock
  • over ice cream
  • over fruit salads
  • pair w/ rosemary oil for salads

Coconut Balsamic:

  •  sauteed shrimp dishes w/ coconut balsamic and lime oil
  • ambrosia type fruit salads
  • summer drinks that have fruits and rum – float a little on top

Chocolate Balsamic:

  •  “Mounds Bar” ice cream sundae w/ chocolate balsamic and coconut balsamic drizzled over vanilla ice cream or over almond ice cream (“Almond Joy” ice cream sundae!)
  • Mexican dishes like chili – adding a couple TBS to the pot will give it a depth of flavor but “eaters” won’t know what it is
  • if you love Mexican mole, it’s made w/ chili and chocolate.  Use it in mole.
  • experiment w/ any sauce that has tomatoes (not Italian) in ethnic cuisines

Pear Balsamic:

  •  over heated brie
  • over ice cream
  • pork roasts w/ apricots, apples and pears and other herbs/spices

Give them a try and keep on sending in suggestions!

 

Roasted Cashews and Cabbage over Rice Noodles . . . .Rachel of Scranton, PA

Try a combination of the following . . .Rachel had purchased the Ginger Balsamic Creme Glaze to add to this recipe.  I agree with her that this sounds like a great fit for Ginger Balsamic Creme Glaze.

Shredded cabbage, cider vinegar, Ginger Balsamic Creme Glaze, roasted cashews, & scallions. Optional – soy sauce.  She combined everything and served over rice noodles.  YUM!

If your into adding a protein . . .probably great with chunks of chicken even pork.