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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-12-2006, 02:31 PM   #1
The_Kapn
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Default Any Balsamic Vinegar experts?

Getting educated on Balsamic vinegar.

The real stuff from Modina is too pricey for me to experiment with.
As in "OUCH" $$
The "consumer" version on store shelves is just flavored vinegar and tastes like it.
I did spring for some 10 year old recently and it is really fine compared to consumer stuff. Still not Modena, but a step above consumer quality.

I just ordered a sampler pack of 4 "qualities". These are the "Acetum Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Tasting Pack - 4 3.5oz. Bottles of each Leaf". They range from "heavily cut" real balsamic to almost pure balsamic (but not real certified Medina).

Anyone have extensive experience with finer balsamic?

Any "use" suggestions other than the standard stuff on Internet?

I love to experiment

TIM
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Unread 11-12-2006, 03:23 PM   #2
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balsamic_vinegar
Balsamic is alot like good olive oil. I have used everything from the fake stuff (which has color and sugar added) to do reductions all the way up to 100 year old reserves which are literaly applied tableside with an eye dropper (up to $1000 for a small bottle). As with the olive oils the type depends on the use. The colors denote the age and the more simply (a vinaigrette as opposed to a drizzle to finish) you are using the product the better quality you should use.
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Unread 11-12-2006, 03:48 PM   #3
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Tim, you getting fancy on us? Just kidding. I love to experiment myself. I love a balsamic vinegar on a lettuce salad. This is what I use:
http://www.monarifederzoni.it/ita/in...tpage&Itemid=1

That webpage is not real good. All that I have.
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Unread 11-12-2006, 04:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin
Tim, you getting fancy on us? Just kidding. I love to experiment myself. I love a balsamic vinegar on a lettuce salad. This is what I use:
http://www.monarifederzoni.it/ita/in...tpage&Itemid=1

That webpage is not real good. All that I have.
Slick site, at least for company info, once I found the "English" button

Gonna do some salad dressing with it.
Gonna drizzle on some "sugared up" strawberries and with some asparagus and beans.

Any other thoughts/recipes?

TIM
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Unread 11-12-2006, 05:00 PM   #5
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I have been cooking with balsamic for quite a few years. The best trick I can give you is something I learned about 10 years ago and have been doing it ever since. Buy what you can afford, take 1/2 a bottle and put it in a sauce pan on low heat. Constantly stir because the sugars will start to form around the top of the pan and start to burn. What you are looking for is to burn off some of the young vinegar (because it hasn't aged) and bring out the sugar. After about a 1/2 hour you should have a thin syrup that will coat the back of a spoon. It will have twice the flavor of what you started with. What you accomplish by doing this is "quick aging" the balsamic. It's not as good as the $100.00 a bottle stuff but it gets you closer than you are with the stuff from the grocer shelf. With this method the resulting balsamic is good for dressings, added to beef stock and pepper corns for a killer Fillet Mingion sauce, and even drizzled over ice cream and bananas, or what ever you purchasedit for in the first place. Try it and see how you like it. I can almost guarentee it wil work for you.
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Unread 11-12-2006, 05:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin Diablo
I have been cooking with balsamic for quite a few years. The best trick I can give you is something I learned about 10 years ago and have been doing it ever since. Buy what you can afford, take 1/2 a bottle and put it in a sauce pan on low heat. Constantly stir because the sugars will start to form around the top of the pan and start to burn. What you are looking for is to burn off some of the young vinegar (because it hasn't aged) and bring out the sugar. After about a 1/2 hour you should have a thin syrup that will coat the back of a spoon. It will have twice the flavor of what you started with. What you accomplish by doing this is "quick aging" the balsamic. It's not as good as the $100.00 a bottle stuff but it gets you closer than you are with the stuff from the grocer shelf. With this method the resulting balsamic is good for dressings, added to beef stock and pepper corns for a killer Fillet Mingion sauce, and even drizzled over ice cream and bananas, or what ever you purchasedit for in the first place. Try it and see how you like it. I can almost guarentee it wil work for you.
Interesting thought and it makes sense--Thanks!

TIM
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Unread 11-12-2006, 07:39 PM   #7
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I am "batching' it" this weekend.
Karen has gone to Soap Stars Weekend at Disney in Orlando.

I just took a left over "stew" from the freezer and re-heated it in the micro-zapper.
Taste? "Darn fine".

I took some 10 Year Old Balsamic (not really the primo stuff) and added a couple of "splashes". Probably 1/2 a teaspoon or much less in a 12 OZ stew.
WOW--whole new layer of flavor!

I can see where much more would have over-powered the stew.
But, I will take that taste for what it was.

Back to my room now

TIM
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Unread 11-12-2006, 09:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin Diablo
I have been cooking with balsamic for quite a few years. The best trick I can give you is something I learned about 10 years ago and have been doing it ever since. Buy what you can afford, take 1/2 a bottle and put it in a sauce pan on low heat. Constantly stir because the sugars will start to form around the top of the pan and start to burn. What you are looking for is to burn off some of the young vinegar (because it hasn't aged) and bring out the sugar. After about a 1/2 hour you should have a thin syrup that will coat the back of a spoon. It will have twice the flavor of what you started with. What you accomplish by doing this is "quick aging" the balsamic. It's not as good as the $100.00 a bottle stuff but it gets you closer than you are with the stuff from the grocer shelf. With this method the resulting balsamic is good for dressings, added to beef stock and pepper corns for a killer Fillet Mingion sauce, and even drizzled over ice cream and bananas, or what ever you purchasedit for in the first place. Try it and see how you like it. I can almost guarentee it wil work for you.
I too have been reducing supermarket balsamic vinegar for a while. It does work, just be careful to stir and not let it burn. Mr. Diablo is right about that. The reduced balsamic is much more like the real aged deal.

I like to use the reduced balsamic for cooking, making glazes for chicken and pork, etc. I do buy a more expensive balsamic form Williams-Sanoma for dirzzling on fruit, or cheese. [not the $100.00 bottle, more like 25.oo bucks for a little bottle. Nothing like a little chunk of really old Parmesan cheese with a drop of good balsamic on it.
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Unread 11-13-2006, 09:18 AM   #9
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Reduction of store bought stuff is a GREAT technique. I use that all the time for a $10.00 bottle. Lately I have been incorporating it in my Whiskey sauce for filtets (1/2 c heavy whipping cream, 5 tbl butter, heat it stir constantly, flame with 2 oz whiskey, when the flame dies down remove from heat and whish in a tad of the balsamic and drizzle over the rare- med rare filet! Whew!
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Unread 11-13-2006, 10:37 AM   #10
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Cooks Illustrated has always done a great job testing products, I have never been disapoinated when I have bought the recomended products.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ProductRatingsChart.pdf (215.7 KB, 27 views)
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Unread 11-14-2006, 11:30 PM   #11
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I have an assortment of aged balsamics from 10-35 years old. The flavor of the older stuff is absolutly amazing..... Thick and sweet with VERY complex flavors from the slow evaporation that has taken place over years from the multiple cask, varying size and multipe wood type barrels. You can literaly put it on vanilla ice cream and its sweet without that heavy tang of normal vinager. A little bit goes a long way and I like to use it when finishing things like on very fresh, young veggies, salad and on seared scallopes. The older balsamics are also great dripped on small chunks of parmesan reggiano, the locals in Tuscany like to eat it this way as the sweet from the balsamic and the sourness of the cheese really go well together.
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Unread 11-14-2006, 11:40 PM   #12
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Really interesting thread.
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Unread 11-15-2006, 01:33 AM   #13
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I wish i was a good enough cook in the kitchen to try this stuff but id have no clue as to what to put it on. i need/want to take some culinary classes to expand my love of cooking.
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Unread 11-15-2006, 09:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatDaddy
I wish i was a good enough cook in the kitchen to try this stuff but id have no clue as to what to put it on. i need/want to take some culinary classes to expand my love of cooking.

I was like you at one time. Then I bought a bottle and when the recipe called for vinegar, I just made it "balsamic vinegar". and went on my way. I want to/haven't yet spend more than $10 a bottle.

Buy a bottle and try it, you'll like it.

g
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Unread 11-16-2006, 07:39 AM   #15
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I have a list of recipes using Balsamic off the wonderful WWW

Every site says--strawberries!
Sounded easy and cheap. Good place to start experimenting.
So, got some nice strawberries, quartered them, "tossed" them in a tiny bit of Balsamic, and then dusted in a bit of sugar.

That is a keeper!!!!!
Wonderful blending of flavors, each complimenting the other.
Even picky Karen, who seldom likes my lab-work, liked them
She even suggested leaving off the sugar next time--go figure.

Fresh Green Beans or Asparagus is next.

TIM
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