Friday Food Focus: A Guide to Vinegar, with Recipes!

November 11, 2011



by Lana Buseman

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Vinegar is one of the most versatile condiments you can work with. It can tenderize meat, it can deglaze a pan to help you scrape up the carmelized bits and it can bring a zing of flavor to dressings! There are as many different types of vinegar as there are uses and each one is a little bit different.

Today I am sharing an overview of some of the most popular kinds of vinegar and some ideas on how to use them!

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is one of my go-to vinegars that I always have on hand. It is made from fermented apple cider so it has a sweeter, milder taste than other vinegars. This type of vinegar is great for salad dressings or marinades. I love using apple cider vinegar when I sauté kale.

Sautéed Kale with Tomatoes and Cider Vinegar

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 table spoon cider vinegar
  • Salt to flavor
  • Red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

  1. Heat your oil in a deep pan over medium heat and add onions. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add kale to the pan and a splash of water to help steam. Once kale begins to wilt, add tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Add salt and cook over medium-high heat until kale is wilted. Stir in vinegar and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Kale should be very soft and tender.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve!

     

    Balsamic Vinegar

    Balsamic is one of the sweetest kinds of vinegar and usually comes from the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy. Balsamic vinegar is like a fine wine: the longer it’s aged, the better it it. . . and the more expensive it is. You can find balsamic vinegar that is very concentrated and sweet, called Cream of Balsamic, or the version that is less concentrated, which is widely available in grocery stores. Balsamic vinegar, being sweeter, is excellent for helping the caramelization process and creating a nice glaze on whatever you are cooking. Here is a quick recipe for balsamic glazed roasted veggies!

    Roasted Root Veggies with Balsamic

    Ingredients

    • Assorted root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc.
    • Onion
    • Olive oil
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • Salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Chop veggies into wedges, or leave whole in the case of baby carrots.
    2. Toss in a Ziploc bag with oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper (enough to coat veggies).
    3. Roast in a 400-degree oven on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, until tender and caramelized.

    Serve immediately and enjoy! Click here for a balsamic roasted Brussels sprout recipe!

     

    Rice Vinegar

    Rice vinegar is a slightly sweet and sour vinegar that is used most commonly in Asian cooking. It is often added to cooked rice that is going to be used to make sushi. It is also great in marinades for meat that you plan to grill, especially chicken. The way I like rice vinegar is in cucumber salad. This salad is customarily served with satay at Thai restaurants and it is just so tasty and refreshing!

    Cucumber Salad with Rice Vinegar

    Ingredients

    • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
    • ¼ onion, sliced thin
    • Rice vinegar

    Directions

    1. Place cucumber and onion in bowl and pour rice vinegar over the top until cucumbers and onions are covered.
    2. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

    Plus! Click here for information on even more types of vinegar and ways to use them!