Balsamic Vinegar Recipes

My brother has the best food scene in his city. I love where I live but the multiculturalism of Chicago? I can’t compete with that. Luckily, he and my sister-in-law have introduced me to some spice and specialty shops in their area, and I live for it! This post is inspired and fueled by a gift from them, some delicious balsamic vinegar. A lovely gift, I tried it out in a few different recipes!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Watermelon Skewers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed watermelons
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • Mint (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Bamboo skewers

Instructions

  1. Slice or tear prosciutto in half lengthwise. Wrap one slice around watermelon cube.
  2. Use bamboo skewer to secure prosciutto over watermelon.
  3. Stack four wrapped watermelon cubes on skewers, adding torn mint leaves in between each cube, if desired.
  4. Drizzle skewers with balsamic vinegar.

Tomato-Mozzarella Appetizer

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • Basil, fresh
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Instructions

  • Slice tomatoes and mozzarella in 1/2in discs.
  • Layer tomato and mozzarella slices, alternating and with a basil leaf after each mozzarella slice. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Strawberry Balsamic Shrub

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Add strawberries to mason jar, making sure all stems are removed.
  2. Add sugar and cover all with balsamic vinegar.
  3. Shake and store in fridge for at least 5 days, shaking every once in a while to stir ingredients.

Strawberry Balsamic Martini

Mix 1oz vodka with 2oz shrub and shake over ice. Serve and enjoy!

Bread Boat Breakfast Bake

While Amanda and I were in Tampa running our very tiring Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon, we knew we would be exhausted and ready for a nice breakfast to enjoy in our pajamas before crashing for a mid-morning to afternoon nap recovery rest. I tend to get very specific in my food desired after a race, and with all the Gatorade and sugary gummy chews being consumed, I am ready to take a break from sugar by the end of the race, for a little while anyway. We also knew, because of that previously mentioned exhaustion, we didn’t want to work for this breakfast much. Enter: The Bread Boat Breakfast Bake.

This recipe is fairly similar to my Christmas Breakfast Casserole but with a wonderful carb substitution that makes this meal both beautifully presentable if you’re hosting a brunch and uniquely delicious (think: savory french toast). The beauty in this recipe, much like the casserole, is in its ability to be customized to your tastes and the fact that all the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time. You can easily assemble your bread boat, pop in the oven and then just as easily shower those 13.1 miles off while it cooks, or make a pitcher of mimosas for a brunch party and chillax. The first time we made this, we devoured the deliciousness before getting pictures, but I was so happy with the results I came home and made it again for the perfect weekend morning treat.

  • 1 Loaf french bread
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 mini bell peppers, diced or 1/2 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 lb ground pork sausage
  • 3 green onions, sliced and greens and whites separated
  • 1/2 cup gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup velveeta cheese, shredded

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together the 10 eggs, yogurt, salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Brown the pork sausage in a skillet over medium heat and allow to cool slightly (can also be made a day ahead).
  4. With a serrated knife, carefully slice two lines vertically down your baguette about 1/4″-1/2″ from each long edge, do not break through the bottom of the bread crust, but get as close to the bottom as you dare.
  5. Using your hands, remove the bread from in between your two cuts so that most of the bread inside the crust is gone but the thick crust is still intact. If you need to use your knife to assist in pulling out the bread middle, do so carefully. Place the baguette onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicon baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle in the sausage, onion whites,  bell pepper and the two cheeses into the cavity of the baguette in whichever order you would like, but make sure you at least have some cheese on top.
  7. Slowly drizzle in your egg mixture over the bread cavity. This will require some time since you have so many ingredients so be patient. Make sure the egg soaks into the ingredients before adding more egg to avoid overflow. Once you think the bread can take no more egg, step away for a few minutes to allow it to soak into the bread. Then you should be able to add the rest.
  8. Once the baguette is full to the brim of eggs and other delicious things, sprinkle the onion greens on top and additional cheese if you would like.
  9. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the center of the egg mixture has set. If your bread starts getting too brown, you can cover it with foil.
  10. Once fully cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: I mean you know my go-to for breakfast foods is a mimosa by this point, but I just had a sparkling Rose the other day around brunch-time and can’t help but think how nice these two would go together.

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Smokey Bison Chili, Inspired by Westworld

Merideth and I have had a lot of fun in the past coming up with foods I inspired by our favorite movies and t.v. shows, and I’ve been itching to try bison since I saw it unexpectedly at my grocery store, so the premiere of Westworld last month was perfect! Much easier to figure out than this season’s plot, so far 🙃

I used hickory salt to give this chili a Western type flavor along with the seared vegetables, but feel free to substitute with 3tbs of liquid smoke at the end. If you can’t find bison, ground beef is a just as tasty (though not as lean) alternative.

Ingredients

  • 2lbs ground bison
  • 1 8oz can each, red and black beans
  • 1 8oz can hominy
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 corn cobs
  • 1 bottle dark or amber beer
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • hickory salt
  • 2tbs oregano
  • 2tbs cumin
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Crumble bison and season with hickory salt and pepper. Brown in grill pan over high heat.
  2. Do not drain pan. Coat peppers and other vegetables with olive oil and season with hickory salt. Sear vegetables on all sides using tongs, until tomatoes and peppers have blistered.
  3. Dice vegetables, slicing roasted kernels off the corn cobs. Add to large soup pot or, if using slow cooker, to slow cooker bowl.
  4. Add ground bison, onion, garlic, beans, sessonings, and hominy to pot.
  5. Pour bottle of beer into pot, adding more water one empty 8oz can at a time as necessary.
  6. Simmer for 45 minutes or, if using slow cooker, cook 4 hours on high.