As a professional chef, I am always looking for ideas for new dishes. For me, travel, whether it's a two-day road trip or a grand tour of another country, certainly stimulates the imagination. A recent but brief trip to Emilia-Romagna (home of balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma) gave me exactly the inspiration I needed: fruit-infused white balsamic vinegar perfect for cocktails, savory side dishes and the like. the best. , Dessert.
Over the past five decades, balsamic vinegar has grown from a basically unknown status (outside of its homeland in Emiglia-Romagna, Italy) to an almost ubiquitous presence, available in every American grocery store (although most versions are of questionable or are of poor quality). The process of making true balsamic vinegar is complex, tightly regulated, and time-consuming. The resulting product is black and slimy, with an amazingly complex depth of flavor and an amazing price.BlancoBalsamic vinegar is relatively new to the sweet and sour scene. It is made by boiling and reducing the juice of the Trebbiano grape (one of the most important grapes used to make traditional balsamic vinegar) and combining it with wine vinegar. It is pale yellow (almost clear), extremely floral and fruity (almost sweet with excessive use), economical and strongly acidic. My visit to Giuseppe Giusti's balsamic vinegar factory, where their famous black liquid gold has been produced for over 400 years, showed me that even in tradition there is always room for innovation. They have experimented with infusing various balsamic vinegars with fruit with great success. Since they are not yet available in our area, I decided to create my own version which I am sharing with you here. I'm also including a recipe for an easy panna cotta, the eggless "cooked cream" flan that makes a wonderful end to a meal, as well as a great vehicle for fruit, preserves, and sauces of all kinds (seein the pantryfor inspiration received). Both recipes can stand alone and should serve as inspiration for countless variations.
Panna Cotta with Raspberry Infused White Balsamic Syrup
Panna cotta is a wonderful dessert to make at home. It can (and should) be prepared at least the day before serving (and can be prepared up to four days before serving without sacrificing freshness), helping to reduce the stress of the hospitality day. The ratios below add up to six responsible servings.
Start by mixing 3 teaspoonspowdered gelatin(about a pack and a half if you buy it this way) in ¼ cup freshaguaMash with the back of a spoon to remove any lumps. Let sit for about 10 minutes while you continue with the other ingredients. Next, gently heat 3 cupshalf and half(You don't want it to boil) with ⅓ cupZucker, ¼ of onevanilla bean(seeds scraped from bean into liquid for easy infusion), pinchSal, and some strips oflemon zest/peel. (Note: Flavors can be varied in countless ways: herbs or other spices maybe, orange instead of lemon, coffee beans, a few drops of almond extract instead of vanilla, you get the picture.) The mixture should steep for about 30 minutes. , so consider turning the heat down to the lowest setting or off altogether if your stove lacks finesse. I now like to serve shaped panna cotta in individual ramekins, but tea or coffee cups could also work. Whatever your glasses are, lightly brush them with aVegetable oil with a neutral taste(almond oil is great for this) to make demolding easier.
If greasing the pans only took about 2 minutes, you might want to skip to the vinegar infusion to save time. If you're moving at sloth speed or falling into the Instagram time trap, move on. Taste the milk mixture (which should still be warm; if not, apply a little heat) and when flavors have developed to your liking, add the puffed gelatin and stir to fully dissolve the gelatin. Strain the mixture into a large-spout measuring cup to remove the vanilla bean, zest, and any undissolved bits of gelatin for easier pouring. Pour the mixture into the molds or cups and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Now for the infused vinegar, I have specified white balsamic vinegar here. If it's hard to find or you absolutely don't feel like leaving the house, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can be used, although the result will be slightly different but just as delicious. For a flavorful reduction with the fruity qualities of the Trebbiano grape, bring in 4 cupsWhite Balsamic Vinegarbring to a boil and reduce to about a cup and a half (you may want to do this with the windows open). Add ⅓ cupZuckerand a large handfulraspberriesadd to the vinegar, stir, puree and reduce further until the volume is just over 1 cup. (Note: if you're frugal, like a chef at a restaurant, you can save any raspberry leftovers, like the seeds and peel that slipped through when making a raspberry sorbet or puree, in the freezer for such an occasion and use. Those (which are infused with vinegar so nothing is wasted. Berries are expensive.) Remove the reduction from the heat and immediately strain the liquid, squeezing the berry puree to get the last bit of syrup. Let the syrup cool down. It keeps indefinitely in the fridge and can be used to add a secret flavor to cocktails or other desserts. Other berries or fruits can be substituted at will.
To serve the panna cotta, run a knife around the edge of the pan, place a plate upside down on top of the panna cotta and turn, shaking well so you can hear/feel the panna Cotta solves. Continue with each of the puddings. Drizzle a few teaspoons of syrup over each and garnish with some fresh berries (alternatively, soak the fresh berries in the syrup for a few hours before serving to further intensify the flavor).
In your pantry:unusual preserves
A big traditional Turkish breakfast can come as a surprise to the uninitiated. Composed of numerous freshly prepared breads, egg dishes, cold cuts, cheese, sweet and savory spreads, the entire table, packed to the brim, can contain 20 or more different items. One of them is a wide range of sweet preserves, beautiful to look at and amazing in their variety. Look for the following (and many others!) inShahrazad International Marketat 127th and Metcalf or other stores specializing in Middle Eastern goods.
Though a little intimidating at first glance, this dark green, almost black preserve is made from whole unripe walnuts (still in their edible shell!) suspended in syrup. Walnuts are often served cut in half as part of a dessert tray with other small bites. Its syrup has a rich maple and date flavor that would be delicious drizzled over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream. Baby walnuts are also a wonderful addition to flavorful cheese or roasts. The syrup is also great as a glaze for meat, or mixed with butter, yoghurt or mascarpone for a decadent toast (or sponge cake). The caramel and vanilla notes pair well with many dishes and would be a welcome side to a pumpkin pie, or even as a sweet and nutty side to a whiskey cocktail like a Manhattan.
This deep red jam has an intense red fruit flavor resembling that of a sour cherry or blueberry. It is extremely rich in anthocyanins and has many health benefits. Because the fruit has a large pit that adds to the jam's flavor, it is usually preserved when preserved. In more delicate times, the jam was served with a silver spoon to gently remove the bone from the mouth. Try serving the cheesecake with family and friends, perhaps outdoors, to make spitting out the holes easier. Cornelian is not a true cherry but a variety of dogwood with beautiful spring flowers that does well in our area.
Imagine the sweetest carrot, shredded, suspended in syrup with hints of orange, rosewater and cardamom - it's both exotic and familiar. Try it spooned into breakfast pastries or on a cheeseboard. Brown the lily in the carrot cake? Spread out on buttered toast, these canned carrots would be welcomed by all the bunnies at an Easter brunch.
This jewel-like preserve is not made with the red flesh of a watermelon, but with the rind, similar to the traditionally pickled southern watermelon rind, but without all the spices and acidity of pickling. It has a clean and fresh taste with hints of cucumber, the texture is pleasantly resistant to the tooth. In addition to their role at breakfast, mixed with labneh or yogurt, these translucent chunks are welcome alongside plenty of cheese or even ice cream.