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Posts Tagged ‘balsamic vinegar’

by Sarah Steimer

This is one of my favorite bruschettas to make on a whim. I always have balsamic vinegar, a basil plant and tomatoes in the summer. I also don’t have to think about the mozzarella, Bill makes a bee-line to the cheese sellers at the farmer’s market every week.

  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cubed or torn
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small baguette or another hard-crusted bread, sliced

Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and vinegar in a bowl. For the best flavors, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Bruschetta works well as an appetizer, but also as a quick side dish for dinner.

Serve the mixture, cold, over the bread.

Makes about 3 cups of bruschetta mixture.

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by Sarah Steimer

Reuben sandwiches are a great, portable option to corned beef and cabbage when you need to eat on the run while you bar crawl this Saturday for St. Patrick's Day. Or whatever it is you do.

  • corned beef brisket, with spices
  • sauerkraut
  • rye or marble rye bread

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup or so ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill pickle relish (I just added a little dried dill instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

    Cooking corned beef is the easiest. You just throw it in the crock pot with a little water and wait for it to fall apart. Make everything in advance and just heat it all up on a panini maker the day you plan to eat it.

  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all sauce ingredients and let sit overnight.

Cook the corned beef brisket in a crock pot with enough water to come about halfway up the brisket. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, depending on the size of your brisket. It will shrink to about half of its size. Let the brisket rest before cutting it. Remove the fat on the outside of the meat and cut, going against the grain, into about 1/2 inch-wide slices.

Lightly toast the rye bread before assembling the sandwich. Top the corned beef with a handful of sauerkraut and a nice schmear of the sauce (which, yes, is just a homemade Thousand Island dressing).

Makes about four sandwiches – or more, depending on the size of the brisket.

Sauce recipe adapted from: Food.com

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by Sarah Steimer

A lot of people probably assume that eating local and in season means giving up a nice, fresh salad when it gets cold out. Not so with kale and sweet potatoes - both of which I grabbed at a winter farmer's market.

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I did have this in mine but forgot to photograph the salad with them – whoops)
  • 2 tbs onion, minced
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil the sweet potato in a pot of lightly salted, boiling water until tender. Allow to drain.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, sweet potato, sage, kale and cranberries. In a small bowl, add the onion, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Drizzle over the quinoa salad, tossing to coat (I added even a bit more balsamic to mine).

Serves four, with the sweet potatoes warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from: Domestic Fits

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by Sarah Steimer

There's really no great way to carve the centers of the Brussels out. I used a knife, but maybe a grapefruit spoon would work? You can always carve these up the day before and cook them the day of.

  •  Brussels sprouts – figure about three per guest
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • walnuts, chopped
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cut the stems off the bottom of the sprouts so they can stand up. Discard the outer leave that fall off. Cut the top 1/4 of the sprout off, saving the top. Carve out the center and save with the tops.

Place the Brussels, standing upright, in a glass or metal dish. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the Brussels are soft.

In the meantime, roughly chop the tops and innards of the sprouts. Sauté in a pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add the walnuts and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Remove from the pan and mix in a few tablespoons of shredded cheese (depends on how many sprouts you make).

The only time I ever see a vegetable-based appetizer at a party is when there is a basic veggie platter - where all the carrot sticks are dry and sad. Kick that party habit, please.

When the sprouts are ready, use a small spoon to stuff them with the nut mixture. Do not hesitate to apply pressure, the sprouts will give a little to fit more. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and serve.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to sort of work in batches. If your guests are coming in shifts, you could always make a full tray, but only bring out a few at a time, leaving the rest in the oven (oven turned off but still warm). These really are best right out of the oven.

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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