Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lazy Sunday Culinary Projects

This past summer, on a lazy Sunday, I decided to take on a few simple food and drink related projects. Our friend's fiance recommended the best way to make unusable balsamic vinegar usable is to reduce it. I know I sound like a food snob, but honestly cheap, low quality balsamics are horrible. Sour, vinegary, tart, and nasty all come to mind. However that balsamic you bought for a marinade or to add to a salad dressing can be saved. Since it is so easy and delicious I wanted to share with all of you.

All you need to do is dump the contents of your cheap balsamics into a pot. We had about three half used bottles to supply the concoction. Set heat to simmer and let cook down. I added brown sugar to add more sweetness. After about 20-30 minutes of the slow heat and mixing every few minutes, the sour balsamic turned into a nice, gooey, flavorful, sweet balsamic reduction. You know when it is done when the mixture has reduced and is of a thicker viscosity. I store it in a plastic container and add it to everything from fish to cheese to salads. Give it a try!

Earlier that same day Emi and I had made a trip to an organic blueberry farm. After loading up on pounds of fresh, organic blueberries I decided to make a few things. Blueberry coffeecake was the first project followed by blueberry infused vodka!

I cut the fresh blueberries in half and filled a Kerr jar about 1/3rd of the way and then topped off with about a fifth of Smirnoff vodka (doesn't need to be anything fancy). I then let it sit in a dark area for about two weeks and then it was good to go. You don't need to refridgerate the vodka as long as it is stored in a dark cool space. You can mix it up a few times if you want and then afterwards strain out the blueberries and serve. I drank mine with lemonade and Sprite, but if you prefer a cocktail a little less sweet, mix it with ice, a muddled wedge or two of lemon and soda water. Makes a great blueberry vodka soda.

- Kyle