Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zuppa's on! Zuppa Inglese, that is.

How many times have we tried to find the origin of a particular culinary dish only to find that there is no definitive way of knowing where it started or came from? The same is true for Zuppa Inglese. But just like all those other dishes, it doesn't really matter so much the history as it does the traditions and the final decision on whether you like something or you don't.

Zuppa Inglese
The 2 Prickly Pears have a feeling that you will like our "Z" topic. Zuppa Inglese literally translates as English Soup. Of course, it isn't soup at all. It is very much like an English Trifle. It is a lovely dessert and will easily impress whoever you serve it to. As a matter of fact, it is so popular in Italian that they make an gelato with the same name.

Zuppa Inglese Gelato
Even though we don't know specifically where Zuppa Inglese came from originally, there is, as always, some speculations. Today we offer two:

1. Zuppa Inglese is a uniquely Italian dish, which evolved through Italian cuisine and, by chance, resembles English trifle, or

2. Italians of wealth and standing often travelled to England as early as the 1600's and experienced trifle, which is a distinctly English dessert. They brought the dessert idea back home and developed their own version resulting in Zuppa Inglese.

Theory Number 2 seems to make more sense if you consider the name of the dessert, itself. Without an English influence, it seems the Italians would have chosen another name. And speaking of the name, zuppa means soup, which is somewhat confusing. The theory behind this confusion is that the Italian word inzuppare means to sop or soak. It is possible that a misunderstanding of the word made for the word Zuppa (soup) instead of Inzuppare (soak). That seems plausible, right?

Anyway, whether you are souping or soaking your Zuppa Inglese, this is a can't-miss dessert.  It consists of layers of sponge cake (or pound cake or lady fingers) that are soaked with some kind of liqueur, along with layers of Italian custard. What's not to like about that!?!? You can make as many layers as your dish can hold and garnish it with fruit, shaved chocolate, edible flowers, etc.

Please note that the alcohol is not cooked out, so if that is an issue for you and your family, you can easily substitute a simple sugar recipe and include fruit syrup for the cake.

We offer you the 2 Prickly Pears' version of Zuppa Inglese.  We will be using pound cake and have included the recipe.

Here's what you need:

1 pound cake (see recipe below)

For the custard:
4 cups milk
1 cup + 6 Tablespoons sugar
10 egg yolks
2/3 cup flour
3 oz chopped dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grand Mainer

Whipped cream and strawberries for garnish 

Here's what you need to do:

For the custard:

Bring milk and 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar to boil in heavy large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Whisk yolks with remaining 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar in large bowl to blend. Sift flour into yolk mixture and whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and whisk over medium heat until custard boils and thickens, about 2 minutes. Divide custard between 2 medium bowls. Add chocolate and cinnamon to custard in 1 bowl and stir until chocolate melts. Add vanilla to custard in second bowl and stir to blend. Press plastic wrap onto surface of each custard and chill until cold, at least 4 hours.

For Syrup:

Stir water and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cool. Mix in rum.


Cut pound cake 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange enough cake slices on bottom glass dish in a single layer.  Brush 6 tablespoons syrup over.  Spread half of vanilla custard over cake. Top with another layer of cake slices. Brush with 7 tablespoons syrup. Spread half of chocolate custard. Top with another layer of cake slices. Brush with 7 tablespoons syrup. Spread remaining vanilla custard over. Top with enough remaining cake slices. Brush with 7 tablespoons syrup. Spread remaining chocolate custard over. Top with enough remaining cake slices to cover. Brush 7 tablespoons syrup over. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Whip 2 cups chilled cream in medium bowl to soft peaks. Spread cream over cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings and candied fruit, if desired.

Pound Cake

Here's what you need:***

3/4 cup soft butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Here's what you need to do:

Beat butter until creamy at medium speed in your stand mixer.  Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time just until blended.  

Add flour alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour.  Mix at low speed just until combined.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour batter in greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake for 60 - 65 minutes at 325 degrees.   Cool pans for 10 minutes and remove cake.  Allow cake to cool completely.  

*** This recipe is easily doubled if you are making a large Zuppa Inglese.  It also freezes well.

Go ahead and make your own version of Zuppa Inglese!!!  You can use any fruits you like. Add your favorite liqueur or try run or whiskey.  It will be delicious!

Now go out and make something good!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When is a pudding not a pudding? When it's a Yorkshire Pudding.

How much do you know about Yorkshire, England? Well, we didn't know all that much ourselves. It turns out that, like all places around the world, there is a rich history of Yorkshire that dates back into antiquity.

Let's take a look at where Yorkshire is, exactly:

Yorkshire is in red
It is separated into North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire. The populations in 2011 was 5,234,700. The name Yorkshire comes from the Viking word for city, jorvik (york). Shire is an old English work meaning care or official charge. Yorkshire was named as the administrative area or county of the city of York. Cities that make up Yorkshire are Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Kingston upon Hull, York, Huddersfield, Middlesbough, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Hallifax.

In addition to Yorkshires great beauty and rich culture of architecture, music, and art, there is the ever popular Yorkshire pudding, the topic of today's blog. 

Yorkshire Pudding with beef, potatoes, peas, and carrots

It isn't possible to talk about the cuisine of Yorkshire without talking about pudding. But not pudding like most of us think. In fact, Yorkshire pudding is proudly the national dish of the wonderful country of its origin.

Apparently the very first time a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding was recorded was in a book entitled, The Whole Duty of a Woman, in 1737.  It seems that is was part of a woman's duty to make a proper pudding from the drippings coming off the roast on the pit in the fire place. This pudding wasn't yet named Yorkshire.  In the day it was called Dripping Pudding. According to the book :

"Make a good batter as for pancakes, put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little, then put the pan and butter under the shoulder of mutton,  instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough, then turn it in a dish and serve it hot."

That really isn't much of a recipe for those who don't know what to do, but a "good" woman would know understand it perfectly.  The first recorded recipe was from one Hannah Glasse who wrote the book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, in 1747.  And Hannah was the one who renamed the pudding which we now call Yorkshire pudding.  Her recipe was:

"Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like a pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire, take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire, when it boils, pour in your pudding, let it bake on the fire till you think it is high enough, then turn a plate upside-down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your meat is done and set to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish, melt some butter, and pour into a cup, and set in the middle of the pudding. It is an exceeding good pudding, the gravy of the meat eats well with it."

As with many things, over time changes happen.  The a modern version of Yorkshire Pudding is a higher rising version of the original which was more like a pancake.  The newer version is very much like a popover, using a very similar method.  We'll get to that in a minute.  

In a 2008, a ruling from the Royal Society of Chemistry stated that a "Yorkshire pudding isn't a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall."  

As you might guess, Yorkshire Pudding is a staple of a British Sunday lunch.  In some cases, the pudding is eaten prior to the main course of meat.  It is served with a rich gravy from the meat drippings. This tradition was established when meat was not so easy to come by and was expensive. The idea was that the pudding and gravy would fill people up so they would eat less of the more expensive foods.  That traditional has not been lost over time.

Sometimes Yorkshire Pudding is made in a large pan that is served as part of the main portion of the meal, like the images below:

The meal served in the Yorkshire Pudding
Sometimes Yorkshire Pudding is made in small cups, like in this image:

And almost always Yorkshire Pudding is served as a savory side with gravy.  We said almost always, because you can serve the puddings as a dessert with jam and butter.  However, we sort of think that might offend the sensibilities of those who stick to traditional.

Today we offer you a Yorkshire Pudding made from beef slow cooked for dripping to make the pudding.

Yorkshire Pudding with slow cooked roast beef
Here's what you need:
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup beef drippings (can use lard)
2 Tablespoon water

Here's what you need to do:

Heat over to 425 degrees.

Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl.  Let rest for 10 minutes  In another bowl mix flour and salt.  Mix egg mixture with flour mixture until smooth.  Let set for 30 minutes.

Using a muffin tin, divide the beef drippings between the cups.  Place tin in heated oven and allow to heat until nearly smoking.  Remove pan and fill each cup to about 1/3.  Put back in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

Serve hot with your beef and whatever vegetables you like.  Consider potatoes, peas, carrots or anything else you like.

Left over puddings do not heat well, but can be served cold with butter and jam.

There you have it....Yorkshire Pudding.  Easy to make and a really tasty addition to your Sunday meal.

Now, go out and make something good.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Xavier Soup, who claims the name?

Bet you were wondering what we would do for the letter "X"... well so did we...LOL!!!

There are many foods that are named after people. For example there is Banana Foster, Eggs Benedict, Beef Wellington, Potatoes O'Brien, to name a few.

Such is the case with Xavier Soup. There are two competing stories as to whom this soup was actually named after.  

The first story says that Louis XVIII (1755-1824), also known as Louis Stanislas Xavier of France named the soup.  Louis was quite a gourmand, in other words, someone who enjoys eating, often to excess. 

The other story is more of the general consensus. The soup was named after St. Francis Xavier who was a Catholic missionary. Oddly enough, he is the patron saint and namesake of Louis XVIII.  

Xavier saw it to be his duty to travel to Asia and Africa preaching to word of Jesus Christ and baptizing everyone he could convert to Catholicism. 

St. Francis Xavier
Perhaps we will never know which story is true.  What we do know is that today it is Catholic tradition of celebrate Advent with the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. The traditional dish at the feast is Xavier Soup or Xaver Suppe.

Xavier Soup is a simple, yet elegant soup consisting of a broth with dumplings.   We offer you a recipe made easy.

Xavier Soup
What you need:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cream
1 stick butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
8 cups chicken stock **

What you need to do:
Melt butter in a saucepan, add cream, flour, cheese, salt and pepper.  Remove from head. Mix into a dough and stir in eggs and yolks, along with the parsley.  Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Heat chicken stock in a large sauce pan.

Bring salted water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Using a small teaspoon, scoop dumplings into the boiling water to cook.  They will rise to the top as the cook.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings from the water and add to the chicken stock.  When all the dumplings are added to the broth, adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with a nice crusty bread.

This recipe is the traditional Xavier soup.  There are many variations on this them. You can add milk or cream to the broth to add richness.  You can add cooked chicken and vegetables, if you like a soup with more body.  It is a nice base for any number of ideas for a tasty chicken soup.

**  If you wish to make your own stock, here's a recipe for you.

Now  go out and make something good.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let's drink a toast to Wine!

You probably thought wine was originated in a place like France where all the wineries are, right? In truth, while France makes an outstanding wine and has made it their business to refine the wine making industry, history indicates that countries such as China, Greece, Armenia, and Egypt long ago made some of the first wines. In fact, wine making is difficult to track historically because it is believed to predate any form of record keeping. Turns out that humans have been stomping grapes and fermenting them since there were grapes to be stomped.

Today's European wine producing regions were established during the Roman Imperial time. Viniculture, or the study of grapes used for wine.  Because wine making became such a major force, it became necessary to create the very first wine laws. Production of grapes for the specific purpose of making wine began to take over Italy.

For most of us, wine is synonymous with vineyards and grapes and Tuscany. But have you ever heard of mead? Mead actually is believe to be the precursor to all fermented drinks. It is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. Often spices and fruits are added to create more exotic flavors. Pottery vessels containing remnants of a honey mixture, rice and fruits were found in Northern China from 6500-7000 BC. The earliest evidence of mead in Europe dates to before 2000 BC.

Mead with spices and fruit

Mead was popular in Central Europe. In Poland mead is called moid pitney, which means "drinkable honey." In Russia it's called medovukha, which also means "drinkable honey." In Finland, a sweet mead called sima is essential to their May Day festivities. In Ethiopia, tej is their mead, and in South Africa, they enjoy iQhilika.

If you want to know more about mead, here's a site that is helpful.

The European grape varieties were brought to South America by the Spanish. The Catholic Church had a large influence over this, as the church used wine as part of the Catholic Holy Eucharist. The Spaniards planted the grapes in missions in what is now called Mexico. Today there are still "Mission Grapes" planted. Mexico soon became a most important wine producer starting in the 16th century. This threatened Spanish commerce and the King of Spain called a halt to Mexico's production of wine.

In the late 19th century, Europe experienced a blight that was devastating to their vineyards. It was soon learned that the Native American vines where immune to the pest. The first grafting of European grapevines to American vines happened as a measure to protect the vineyards. This practice is continued today.

Up until the mid to late 20th Century, American wine makers were considered inferior to any European wine makers. However, American wine has shown itself to be surprisingly strong in wine competition and has taken her place in the world of wine making. American wine makers have adopted grapes and wine making from the old world ways. At the same time, the wines have a distinctly American slant.

Regardless of who make the wine, all countries can thank the ancient Greeks because they are the ones who perfected the wine making industry and turned it into an industry, making it an internationally recognized part of our everyday lives.

With that briefest look at the history of wine making, let's talk about wines in general.  Is it true that one should only serve red wine with meat and white wine with fish?  We've all heard this.  It turns out that there is a certain science behind this belief. Wine will add flavor to a meal depending on what it is paired with. The rule of thumb now is you should match the weight of the wine and the food, finding a balance in their intensity.  For example, if you are serving steak, the full body of a red makes sense.  However, a full-bodied white will work just as well.  There is a whole study of what wine to serve.  If you'd like to know more about wine pairing, here's a site for you.

Now, what about cost?  Why are some wines so expensive while others more affordable? There are three factors that make a wine expensive:

1.  Oak - the most expensive wines are aged in oak, which adds very specific flavor notes, while allowing oxygen in.
2.  Time - allows wine to mellow with a fruitier quality as well as giving it a rounder taste.
3.  Terrior - the area where the grapes are grown matters.  Grapes that have to struggle to grow and are limited to quantity of fruit baring have a more intense flavor and produce a more intense, flavorful wine.

Having said all of that, are we left with only expensive wines as an option?  Absolutely not. While there are many fine vineyards is Tuscany and France that produce the most expensive wines know to us; there are quite a number of wineries that produce lovely wine that you can more easily afford.  A quick search revealed that Wisconsin alone has 74 wineries. Minnesota has 68, one which is totally sustainable and uses all natural ways of controlling pests, and Illinois has over 50.  And that is just the upper Midwest! These micro wineries dot the country.  And they are worth a visit.  Most offer tours and wine tastings.  It is a fun way to learn a little more about wine and spend enjoyable day.  Some even let you into the vineyard and learn about planting and harvesting.  

Now that you know maybe a little bit more about wine, it's time to talk about what you are going to do with that have empty bottle of white wine you didn't finish at last night's dinner. 

The 2 Prickly Pears offer you a recipe for Chicken Piccata.  

Here is what you need

4  skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup of flour ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  ground  pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine 
3/4 cup  chicken broth, divided 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped f parsley

Here is what you do

  • Flatten chicken breast to about ½ thickness. Place all but 1 teaspoon of the flour in a shallow dish.  Place 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl.  
  • Salt and pepper both sides of all the chicken breast. 
  • Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off the excess flour. 
  • Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Place chicken in pan and  sauté 4 minutes on each side or until done. 
  • Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  • Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in pan.
  • Add onions and garlic to pan and sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1/4 cup broth to reserved 1 teaspoon flour; stir until smooth. 
  • Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to pan and bring to a boil. 
  • Cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, lemon juice, and capers. 
  • Place 1 chicken breast on a plate and top with about 2 tablespoons sauce. 
  • Sprinkle  with about 2 teaspoons parsley.
Serve with your favorite sides.   We made buttered parsley red potatoes and freshly cut cucumbers.

Now, go out and make something good.....with wine!

Thursday, July 3, 2014 old sour puss!

If you put the words "humble" and "wonder" together you find you have the word vinegar. That's right, vinegar. Coming from very humble and "mistaken" origins, vinegar has stood the test of time and has long been one of the few wondrous foods that does a body good. And by standing the test of time, we're not kidding. Vinegar was first written about in Babylonian times, 5000 B.C.E. Vessels with traces of vinegar have been found from 6000 B.C.E. in Egypt and China.
So what is vinegar anyway? Let's start with the word, itself.  Vinegar comes from the French word, vinaigre, which literally means "sour wine." To make vinegar all that is needed is sugar, alcohol and the bacteria in the air and you have vinegar.

The first vinegar is believed to be a mistake. Wine left to ferment too long developed into what we know as vinegar. This mistake proved to be invaluable and soon became useful for everything from cooking to cleaning to medicine. As a matter of fact, Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, prescribed vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ailments including the common cold.

Additionally, Roman soldiers consumed a drink called "posca." It was diluted vinegar used to strengthen and energize the body.  Japanese samurai were known to do the same thing.  The drink also offered the benefit of killing any infectious nasties that might be lurking around. So strong is vinegar that Hannibal used it in 218 B.C.  Not so much for consumption, but rather the vinegar was poured over boulders to crumble them and allow the troops to march through the Italian Alps. In more modern times, apple cider vinegar was used by American Civil War soldiers and WWI soldiers to clean and disinfect wounds and to hasten the wound healing.

Liz and Richard
Cleopatra, being something of a show-off, bet Mark Antony that she could consume a feast worth a fortune.  She won the bet by dissolving a precious peal in a cup of vinegar.  After completing the meal, Cleo drank the vinegar, thus proving her point.  By winning the bet, she won Mark back.

Have you ever heard of "four thieves vinegar?" The story goes that the Bubonic Plague in European resulted in so many deaths that the bodies could not be properly buried.  Convicts were released and charged with burying the highly infected corpses.  Many of these convicts surely died from contracting the disease.  However, some convicts survived because they drank a mixture of garlic infused vinegar.  Whether this is just legend or not, Four Thieves Vinegar is still produced today.

One last bit of history: In 1896, Henry Heinz founded a company selling prepared horseradish, pickles and sauces. The Heinz company manufactured their own vinegar for their recipes.  Heinz being a successful entrepreneur, soon realized that he could package the vinegar for home use.   And so the first American made and bottled vinegar was on store shelves.

While vinegar may have gotten its start as wine gone sour, there are a variety of other things that can be used to create our healthy sour friend.   Around the world vinegar is made from any liquid that contains sugar and starch, such as fruit, honey, raisins, rose petals, sugar cane, etc.  And the various ways to consume vinegar are endless.  You can make marinades, salsas, mustard, chutneys, jams and preserves, etc.

Here are a number of vinegars you can choose from when making your special dishes:
  • White vinegar is the most common vinegar found in American households.  Best used for pickling and household cleaning.
  • Apple Cider vinegar is the second-most-common vinegar in American households.  This vinegar made from apple cider adds a tart and fruity flavor to your salads, dressings, marinades, etc.
  • Wine vinegar is made from either red or white wine.  It is very common in Europe.  This vinegar adds a fuller taste to your dish.
  • Balsamic vinegar is aged for 6-25 years.  It is aged in casts made of chestnut, mulberry, oak, juniper and cherry woods.  This is a complex, sweet vinegar that can be lovingly infused with any number of fruit and spice flavors.
  • Rice vinegar is popular in Asian cooking.  It has a subtle flavor that is perfect for fruits and vegetables.  You can find rice vinegar in white, red and black.  Each version is useful in different dishes.
  • Malt vinegar is a favorite in Britain.  It dark brown and puts us in mind of deep-brown ale.  It is made from barley kernels which ultimately results in an aged vinegar.
  • Cane vinegar is produced from sugar cane and is found mainly in the Philippines.  Cane vinegar is not any sweeter than any other vinegar.
  • Beer vinegar is popular in Germany, Austria, Bavaria and the Netherlands.  Make from beer, it has a sharp, malty taste.
  • Coconut vinegar has a sharp, acidic taste.  It is a staple in Southeast Asian cooking and is made from the sap of the coconut palm.  
  • Raisin vinegar is a cloudy brown vinegar and is produced in Turkey.  Popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
And just when you thought you figured out all the consumption uses, you can fined a bunch of ways to use it all over your home. That's right! Vinegar has been long used for cleaning and disinfecting around the house. Well before the big name business that provide us with bleach and other harsh chemical cleaners, vinegar has been quietly sitting in the background offer us the opportunity to use a more natural method of getting rid of odors and grime. We know, we know. This is a cooking blog, but we would be remiss if we didn't offer you an easy and inexpensive way to clean in your home. Here's some pointers on the possible uses of vinegar:
  • Clean your counter tops with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.
  • Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
  • Get rid of lime deposits in a tea kettle by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water and letting it sit overnight. If more drastic action is needed, boil full-strength white distilled vinegar in the kettle a few minutes, let cool and rinse with plain water.
  • See more 
Okay, let's talk about cooking with vinegar.  The time honored tradition of adding small amounts of vinegar was lost for a time.  The "old school" way of doing things is quietly making its comeback and reminds us how important flavor is when we cook.  So here are a few things that might be new to you, but have been used for centuries in the culinary world:
  • If you have a cracked egg, you can still hard boil it by adding 1 Tablespoons of vinegar to boiling water, then adding the egg.  The vinegar will keep the white from leaking out.
  • To keep fish white, soak for 20 minutes in a mixture of 1 quart water and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar. Don't worry, the vinegar taste will cook off.
  • If you are cooking fruit in a pan for a compote or sauce, add a teaspoon of vinegar.  It will improve the taste.
  • For a twist on your next burger, add garlic wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon mustard to your ground meat.  Adds a bit of zing to the burger.
  • Making your own tomato sauce?  Add 1-2 Tablespoons of vinegar just before the sauce is done to enhance the flavors.
  • Not sure if the baking soda you have in your cupboard is still fresh?  Pour 2 Tablespoons of vinegar into a small dish.  Add 1 teaspoon baking soda.  If the baking soda is good it will make the vinegar froth up.
  • Homemade bread will rise well with the help of 1 Tablespoon of vinegar for every 2.5 cups flour. Other liquids can be reduce accordingly.  Also, brush a bit of vinegar on your bread just before it is done baking for a nice golden brown crust.
  • Add a teaspoon of vinegar to your cake/muffin/cupcake recipe for a tender outcome. Do the same with your homemade pie crust.  Just a bit make for a tender crust.
Today we offer you a simple red wine vinaigrette recipe for your summer salad.

What you need:
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon whole grain prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

What you need to do:
Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender. Pulse a few times thoroughly to mix ingredients together.

With the blender on low speed, slowly add olive oil to the mixture in a steady stream until completely blended. Drizzle over your favorite salad.

Wow!  That's easy enough.  No need to buy the bottled dressing when you can make a lovely homemade vinaigrette.

There is so much to know about vinegar and we encourage you to do more research and find out how it can fit into your home and on your table.

Now, go out and make something good!