Posts Tagged balsamic drizzle

Vine Ripened Tomatoes With Goat Cheese, Pistachios, Fresh Basil and Balsamic Drizzle

Vine_Ripe_TomatoOkay, I have not yet taken a photo of this appetizer. I promise that I will as soon as possible, but I made this on a whim for a cookout and just didn’t get the chance. So, you will have to visualize this for the time being. You’re not going to layer these tomatoes in slices. You’re going to literally put the tomatoes back together after you cut them and dress them with goat cheese, pistachios and balsamic drizzle.

These are not only very easy to make, but also seriously addictive, I warn you. A friend of mine made these and told me that their guests ate so many of these appetizers that they never got to the main event.

Ingredients

6 vine-ripened tomatoes

1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

8 oz goat cheese

2 tbsp Tuscan Seasoning (McCormick’s makes a great product)

Balsamic drizzle

8 large fresh basil leaves, trimmed and cut in strips

6 toothpicks

Directions

The first thing you want to do is slice off a bit of the bottom of each tomato so that they will stand up without rolling on their sides. Set aside.

Take the goat cheese out of the fridge and remove it from its packaging. Allow it to sit for about an hour until it comes to room temperature and becomes soft. Once it has reached that point, blend in the Tuscan seasoning. There’s no need to add salt. The Tuscan seasoning incorporates enough salt.

Slice each tomato into three layers, leaving the stems on the top piece. Spread goat cheese on the bottom layer, add pistachios, a few pieces of fresh basil, and some balsamic drizzle. Do the same with the second layer and put it on top of the bottom layer. Put the top piece on and put a toothpick through the top to hold it all together. Repeat for all tomatoes.

Just before serving, apply some balsamic drizzle on top of the entire batch. If you have any chopped pistachios left over, just distribute them around the edge of the plate. This is great served with crusty Italian bread and a nice glass of red wine.

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Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

brussel-sproutsLet’s talk about Brussel Sprouts. I know. Don’t turn up your nose. If you cook them right, they really aren’t bitter. We don’t want to eat them raw. We don’t want to boil them. But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve made true Brussel Sprout haters into Brussel Sprout lovers with this recipe. And there are a whole lot of good reason to eat Brussel Sprouts. I’m not going to go into detail in this blog, but you can click here for a rundown. Depending upon where you buy these, they come two ways. Either they are sold individually (sometimes prepackaged) or what I like to call “on the vine.” Doesn’t matter which way you buy them.

Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite things. Generally speaking, I like them quite brown when they come out of the oven. Sometimes when I take these out of the oven, they are crunchy (which I like). But really, you get to decide when to take them out. All that really matters is that they are soft (you can tell by checking with a fork) and browned to the degree you want them to be browned. This is where you apply that “think outside the recipe” thing.

Ingredients

1-1/2 lbs Brussel Sprouts

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp rainbow pepper

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp Tuscan Seasoning (I use McCormick’s; great stuff)

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle (you can make a reduction by yourself, or you can buy it ready to go)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Trim off the bottom of the sprout, remove the outer layers and cut in half. Be aware that sometimes a few leaves fall off. Don’t toss them if you’re a lover of crunch. I throw them in the pan.

Toss the sprouts with the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, rainbow pepper and Tuscan seasoning. Place them in a roasting pan.

Roast at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on serving dish, and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle.*

Add-Ins: These are delicious just as is, but I’ve got to tell you about bacon. Every once in a while, I like to  cook about five slabs of apple cider cured bacon (Carando makes a good one) nice and crispy, then break them up. (A nice alternative is chopped Pancetta, which is Italian bacon). Before serving, toss the sprouts with the bacon, then apply the drizzle. Wow! Another great add-in just before serving is a half cup of parmesan. Can’t go wrong. Hell, use both the bacon and the parmesan.

*You can make your own drizzle by dumping a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar in a heavy bottom pot. The only other thing you need is a stirring implement and plenty of time. You don’t want to simmer the vinegar. It has to be a slow process that can take up to two hours. Be sure to vent your kitchen, especially if you have kids. They can get pissed off with the smell.

Alternatively, Vervacious in Maine makes some delicious Balsamic Drizzle. I’ve used the Espresso Balsamic and the Chocolate Balsamic in the past. There is a link to Vervacious on the blog. Other specialty stores also carry this.

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Oven-Roasted Asparagus

This is one of those “I don’t measure everything” recipes I’m so famous for. It’s a pretty simple recipe, and the result is outstanding. In other words, you simply can’t go wrong with this.

 

 

Ingredients

1 bunch Asparagus (about 2 lbs.)

Olive Oil (about 3 tbsp. Eyeball it. See what I mean?)

1 tbsp. Tuscan Seasoning (McCormick makes a great bottled seasoning)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Espresso-Balsamic Drizzle (Vervacious makes a great product here)

Directions

Simple stuff here. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the hard ends off the asparagus. This stuff is too tough and will not roast well. Lay the asparagus out in a roasting pan, and make sure that they don’t overlap. If you need more than one pan, use it.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and Tuscan Seasoning. Roast in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes. You don’t want the asparagus to be too limp or too hard. You want it to be, as my partner Susan would say, “just right.”

Place on a serving plate and drizzle with Espresso-Balsamic Drizzle.

I’ve spoken about Vervacious products. They are great. Balsamic drizzle is thicker than Balsamic vinegar. You can certainly make it yourself by making a reduction of balsamic vinegar and adding a quality espresso coffee product, but why bother when others can do it for you? I’ve certainly done it before but — unless you’re a purist — it’s not necessary.

This is outrageously good.

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