Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ups and Downs

The last couple days have been rough ones. So, today the remedy seemed to be a more ambitious lunch than I'm used to having. I had some leftover chicken that I was looking forward to and a sole volunteer chard plant in the garden that could never feed more than one anyway.
Chard and Stupice

The chicken was from slow smoking on the gas grill suggested by Dr. Biggles of MeatHenge and it was super TWICE! Still moist and juicy after 2 hours on the grill and another 2 days in the fridge! The chard was probably getting ready to bolt so I sliced the stems quite thin and sautéed them for several minutes on their own before putting a few pecan pieces in the pan and then the more tender leaves. When they were on the plate I drizzled them with a finish of balsamic. The tomatoes are among my first Stupices. The flavor was excellent even for tomatoes that come a month before more conventional varieties. Because they're the first fresh ones I didn't think they needed a thing more than some sea salt.

It all improved my humor considerably.

I confess to absolute ignorance of good balsamic. When I cruise the shelves of the local Whole Foods it seems to me that very little information is provided on the bottles' labels. There's more than enough hyperbole but very little in the way of actual information. What there is is an enormous variation in price. What's a girl to do? Choose one that comes in a box? An attractive bottle? Top end? Or everyday price? Well, I choose an affordable one for salad dressings and to cook with. But here is the one I choose for finishing.
See the Vinegar Sheet
I hope you can see how beautifully it "sheets" down the neck of the bottle. This may or may not signify a thing but in the realm of dark glass bottles and expensive runny vinegars, this is the thick syrupy one that stood out and gave me the confidence to spend more for it the first time around. Now I really like it. Perhaps someone will have some tips on identifying high-quality balsamics short of ordering the certifiably insanely priced 30 and 50 year old ones from Dean & DeLuca or some such place.


Blogger drbiggles said...

Alright !!! Nothing like a little success, eh?
Have you found yourself a smoking box for your grill yet? Get that smoky flavor we all know and love.


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