Tag Archives: balsamic

Persimmon Salad

Something that I always had growing up was a good fruit bowl. I first realized I had taken them for granted when I got to university. In hindsight, the lack of vitamins probably exacerbated the incessant greyness of the Kingston winters. Most of my favourite fruits happen to be summer fruits (probably because I love all berries) however, my two all time favourites are actually pomegranate and persimmon.

Persimmon

 

I’ve never tasted a persimmon cooked in any way that was as good as a ripe fresh persimmon so I decided to just compliment it with some feta cheese, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette. I finish the plate with a bit of basil.

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Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Figs

Figs aren’t big in Vietnamese cuisine. In fact, before last night, I was the only one in the household to have ever actually tasted them. I used to talk to a friend about how growing up in an Asian family (he’s 3/4 Chinese and I’m Vietnamese), we were almost made to feel bad whenever we did not like something. It was even worse when we did not want to try something. As was common practice, the elderly at dinner parties would comment on how mature they thought your palate was. This cultural phenomenon is so deeply rooted it can be found embedded in the language (at least in Vietnamese). When I used to express my discontent for stomach or intestines my family friends would exclaim in Vietnamese that “I didn’t know how to eat it.” Of course, cultural differences account for the fact that this sounds extremely rude in English. Hilariously enough, I found it a bit hypocritical how the same people exclusively ate Chinese and Vietnamese food, refusing to ever try foods originating from other parts of the world. Luckily for me, my family is always up for new flavours.

Roasted Figs

 

For the figs, I just stabbed them with the stems of rosemary and popped them in a pan with a balsamic reduction. The balsamic reduction can be made by simply adding icing sugar to simmering balsamic vinegar. I basted the figs until they became a bit darker in colour by absorbing some of the balsamic vinegar. After taking them out of the oven the balsamic vinegar thickened a bit and became much sweeter. To balance this out I finished the dish with some basil ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and some pine nuts for texture.

The figs were a hit which I hope will reinforce the “try anything once” mindset my family currently holds.

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Butternut Squash Gnocchi

As winter makes its presence more obvious, I decided that I use the sage in my garden before it became too late. Less than 24 hours after I picked the sage came a pretty sizeable snowstorm. Feeling blessed for what I had I decided to make something I had never actually made before. Usually, Gnocchi is made with potatoes however I decided to go with roasted butternut squash which would help explain the colour (if you were wondering).

Even after an hour and a half at 400f the squash still had a really wet consistency. I decided to cook it out in a pan to thicken it as we were going to have to make pasta after all. It was here I added the sage and nutmeg to give it a more seasonal twist. After adding an egg and some flour I rolled everything into a long stick of dough before cutting into bite sized pieces.

I was quite amazed at how much the gnocchi grew in size during the boiling period. I decided to finish the gnocchi in a pan with some brown butter.

Gnocchi

 

With all the carbohydrates and fat in the gnocchi at this point, I felt like it would be too rich. I was right. I decided it would be best if some acid came to the rescue which is why I finish the dish with some balsamic vinegar.

Gnocchi

 

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Pork Chops

For this dish I decided to stick to classic flavour combinations. Pork and sweet potato are a common combination on many blogs I’ve been sifting through. The same can be said about balsamic vinegar. The apples and sage however have been paired up with pork since before internet blogs existed.

Pork Chops

 

The pork itself is cooked simply with just a touch of salt before it was thrown on the BBQ. The cucumber and apple are just tossed in some pork juices I collected in the resting process. The sweet potato is just mashed sweet potato with some crushed garlic.

Pork Chops

 

The black sauce is probably the only element to the dish that would appear uncommon to most people however I assure you that it is, like the other elements, also very simple. To make the black sauce one just gently cooks diced onions until translucent. Then, one reduces some balsamic vinegar and mixes it into the onions. An optional touch of Worchestershire sauce (for some added Umami) can also be added at this point. Finish the sauce with some chopped basil before blending it into a Purée. I think it goes delightfully with pork chops.

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Father’s Day Dinner | Chicken Tagliatelle & Insalata Caprese

One of my father’s favourite dishes is Fettucini Alfredo. So, for father’s day I decided to make him Fettucini Alfredo. Unfortunately for me, some complications along the way meant that I had tagliatelle at my disposal instead. I had to improvise. Luckily, my house is always well stocked with fresh ingredients which made the improvisation a lot easier. This is what I ended up with: Chicken Tagliatelle & Insalata Caprese.

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Chicken Tagliatelle

The chicken portion of the dish is quite simple. It is just pan fried chicken finished with some parsley. The caprese salad which separates the deconstructing of a Chicken Alfredo is classically made and finished with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and basil that just became harvestable from my garden. The tagliatelle is cooked al dente and lightly coated with some white sauce and then finished with some ground black pepper.

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Chicken Tagliatelle

He was quite the happy father.

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