We think there's no better way to celebrate Spring in full swing than with a cocktail that celebrates one of the season's greatest fruits: strawberries. But a strawberry daiquiri this cocktail is not; this cocktail, appropriately dubbed the strawberry balsamic crush, combines sweet, tart, and savory thanks to the combination of fresh berries, aged balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper. Here, Happiest Hour hosts Matthew Rodrigues and Brandi Milloy show how the strawberry balsamic crush cocktail comes together.
As soon as I had my first sip of today's cocktail — a tangy balsamic-vinegar-enhanced bloody Mary — I knew that I had found my be-all-and-end-all bloody Mary recipe. Spicy (tone down the horseradish a notch if your heat tolerance isn't particularly high), slightly sweet, salty, and perfectly balanced, this weekend morning staple — with a twist — is so perfect that I've already planned a brunch date to share it with my girlfriends.
A quick note on garnishes: unless you have a strong aversion to celery salt, don't leave the salted rim off. If you're not on speaking terms with the stuff, sub out kosher salt; either way the saline punch is crucial. Likewise, a celery stalk is a classic aromatic addition, but bloody Marys are by nature customizable, so try one of these garnishes if you're looking to change things up.
I planted a raised bed full of herbs in my backyard last year in hopes of gaining a better understanding of where my food comes from, as well as to enjoy the
fruits herbs of my labor. Despite next to no prior experience in the garden, for the next few months I was a woman obsessed, tending to my garden with care day in and day out.
Cut to three months later, when I sheepishly pulled into the garage under the cover of darkness with a seemingly lifeless twig of a fig tree in the car trunk. Inexperienced, and without a proper home for a tree with a decades long life-span, I set it up next to its fragrant friends and watered away, hoping for a sign of life. Slowly, but surely, leaves sprouted forth, and I marveled at each subsequent, shoot, bud and leaf; from my enthusiasm (and over-sharing with anyone who'd listen) you'd think I birthed the tree myself.
If you're already a fan of making your own snacks, then why not start preparing your own condiments, too? One of the easiest in my book is balsamic glaze: all you really need is a bottle of balsamic vinegar and 10 minutes. Here's how you do it:
- Pour a cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the heat to a boil without reducing the heat on the stove.
- At this point, turn down the heat so that boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or more (for a more syrupy consistency). However impatient you may be, don't try to increase the heat, unless you want to be left with a stiff, hardened mess!
- Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Use your new condiment as the base for healthy antipasto skewers, or serve it with fruit and ice cream for an easy yet sophisticated finish to your meal. Ready to move on to more condiments? Master recipes for homemade ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
Have you ever made a balsamic reduction?
Source: Flickr User thepinkpeppercorn
Whenever I come across strawberries that are about to go bad — the mushy ones with lots of wrinkles and a deep red color — I set them aside and use them in a cocktail. Many recipes involve muddling the strawberries to extract the juices, so it doesn't really matter if they aren't the prettiest of berries. For adventurous home mixologists, I highly recommend you make use of blemished berries with this recipe for a strawberry-balsamic crush. It's an interesting drink with sweet, tart, and savory notes hitting the palate, one after another. Don't skip the freshly-ground black pepper garnish; it takes this amazing concoction to a whole new level. Seriously, this is a must make for home bartenders; it's a superb libation! Get the recipe after the break.
Spaghetti and strawberries aren't a typical pairing, which is exactly why this recipe, courtesy of Manhattan restaurant Sfoglia, caught my eye. I gave it a try, despite secret fears that the end result would disappoint.
Thankfully, it didn't! Tomatoes, like rhubarb, have an acidity that's on par with strawberries, and a high-quality aged balsamic, which is more sweet than tart, helps to round out the flavors. Curious about the recipe? Then read more.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; however, eating the same dishes year after year can be a little monotonous, so this Thursday all the classics are getting a modern twist.Glazed carrots have always been an essential dish for my feast, but I crave more complex flavor. Pomegranate-balsamic glazed carrots fits the ticket perfectly.
The sweet glaze combines honey, balsamic vinegar, and pomegranate juice. Topping the dish with fresh mint and a subtle touch of cayenne pepper balances the sweetness. Chopping the carrots requires some attention, but they can be prepped six hours ahead of time. This is a fast side dish and only requires about 20 minutes of cook time. Want a new glaze for your carrots? Then keep reading.
This dish combines the medallions with peppery arugula and ripe tomatoes. The pork is further seasoned with pungent garlic, salty prosciutto, and tangy balsamic vinegar. To get the recipe for this meal that comes together in minutes, read more
The 'shrooms are charred on the grill and served with chunks of smoky red bell peppers and disks of goat cheese. The final result is very satisfying — especially when paired with a cold beer and enjoyed in the open air.
Interested in the recipe? All you have to do is keep reading
TeamSugar regular FinnLover is not only well-versed with the kitchen techniques — she's also full of innovative cooking ideas. I started salivating when I saw her latest creation, chicken breast that's stuffed with creamy blue cheese and tangy sun-dried tomatoes, then topped with a balsamic reduction. Stuffing chicken not only makes dinner more exciting, but it also transforms the relatively lean breast into a succulent cut of meat. This elegant dish would be perfect for a Valentine's Day dinner at home. To see her original recipe, read more