Balsamic and Pomegranate Reductions

It’s been some time since I posted. For those of you who have so patiently visited, thank you. During the summer I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, it was small and only required surgery, but it took a little while to recover (typing was difficult). However, now I’m back and feeling great.

Sometimes the thing that elevates a dish is the sauce or dressing. I love using balsamic reduction on everything from salads to roasted vegetables, but face it, the stuff is very expensive to buy so I thought I would try making it myself. As it turns out, it’s really easy. I’m going to start with balsamic reduction first, and then move on to my next favorite and even more expensive pomegranate reduction.

Balsamic Reduction

All you really need is a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Some people add sugar, but I think the balsamic vinegar is sweet enough by itself.

and a pan.     

 

 

Pour 2 cups of balsamic vinegar into the pan. Bring it to a boil, and reduce the temperature to a low simmer.  Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Don’t let it burn or scorch. Continue to simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by about half. The result should be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

 

The reduction will continue to thicken as it cools. Pour into a glass jar, and store in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat it with a spoon. It’s wonderful on salad, vegetables like asparagus, roasted beets and, of course, strawberries.

Now that we’ve got that cooling in the fridge, let’s try another and slightly more exotic reduction. You may have run across recipes that include “pomegranate molasses.” It’s the same thing.

Pomegranate Reduction

Don’t bother squeezing your own pomegranates. I’ve done it and believe me it’s a real pain in the neck. A bottle of pomegranate juice from the supermarket will work just fine.

In a sauce pan, add 4 cups of pomegranate juice and, 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar), and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You can add your favorite spices if desired.

Heat the juice and sugar over a medium heat to boiling. Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat and simmer until it is reduced to 1 3/4 cup (50-60 minutes). Allow to cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

Pomegranate molasses is used in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.  It’s also great on ice cream.

Be sure to label the jar because it looks a lot like balsamic reduction.

I’ll be back next week with another post. Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Mushroom Risotto

Life has been really hectic lately. I’m working on a second Pantry Magic cookbook, expanding my line of fruit and vegetable powders on Etsy, and it feels like forever since I’ve posted anything. But honestly, I’m having one of those days when I just want something simple and warm and nourishing. Creamy mushroom risotto is the perfect answer. I know, you’re thinking that’s too much work, all that stirring. But there’s nothing complicated about risotto, and as a matter of fact, I find the stirring kind of soothing. Besides, it doesn’t really take that long, so let’s get started.

Here is what we’ll need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice (you could also use a short grain brown rice)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, any kind, sliced and quartered, plus 1 tablespoon of my Gourmet Mushroom Powder (you can find it for sale at ElaineintheKitchen on Etsy)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 have onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour the rice into a heavy bottom sauce pan with no oil or water.

Let the rice toast lightly, stirring to keep it from burning. When the rice becomes slightly fragrant, pour in the wine.  Let the wine cook down and then add 1 cup of vegetable broth.

Let the rice simmer on a medium low heat, stirring frequently. When the broth has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Continue slowly adding the broth until it has been absorbed.

In the meantime, in a preheated sauce pan, add the onions and garlic along with two tablespoons of broth.

Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the mushrooms. Sauté,stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked (10-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and cover.

When the rice is cooked and has absorbed most of the broth, add in the mushrooms and onions, along with the parsley. Stir to blend completely.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Cover, and let rest.

 

Served with a simple side dish of steamed carrots, tossed with maple syrup and dill.

A Plate of Creamy Goodness

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Elaine in the Kitchen has Lots of News!

Sometimes you have to celebrate your own accomplishments, so I’m proud to announce that my book,Pantry Magic – Making and Using Fruit and Vegetable Powders is now available in paperback on Amazon and I hope to have the Kindle edition up soon. (See the Amazon Icon on the sidebar).I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that all of you will check it out and, of course, buy a copy. (How’s that for blatant self promotion)!  Seriously, I’d love to get your feedback.

But there’s more. Last summer I opened an online store at Etsy.com, and I’m happy to say that I’m getting lots of interest in my Fruit and Vegetable Powders. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElaineintheKitchen?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Sales have been particularly good since the Holidays and I’m looking forward to adding some new items: Meyer Lemon Zest, Roasted Red Bell Pepper, and Sweet Orange Zest.

I’m sure some of you have noticed that I’ve been doing some rehab work on Elaine in the Kitchen’s Facebook page as well as the website.  I’ve also got some great recipe ideas for future posts and I should have a new one starting next week.  Thanks to all of you who have been checking in on Elaine in the Kitchen in the meantime.

Whew!  I think I’ll have some tea and lemon cookies.

Golden Milk is a Cup of Winter Comfort

It’s been some time since I posted here.  Such a busy year and so many projects.  I have the new Etsy store going, and I finally finished the book I’ve been working on “Pantry Magic: Preparing and Using Fruit and Vegetable Powders.”  It should be available on Amazon within the next month. So the holidays were fun but hectic and I’m feeling a little bit run down.

One of the best ways to bolster your immune system and unwind is with a comforting cup of Golden Milk. To make it you will need to prepare some golden paste.  It’s a simple process. Gather the following: tumeric powder, distilled water, coconut oil, powdered ginger, black pepper.

  • 1/2 cup tumeric powder
  • 1+ cup distilled or bottled water
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix 1 cup water with 1/2 cup tumeric. Stir to combine and over a medium low heat bring to a boil.  Simmer, stirring, until the mixture becomes a thick paste (7-12 minutes). It should be the consistency of thick peanut butter.  Watch carefully as it thickens to prevent burning.  Remove from the heat and add in ginger and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Stir in coconut oil.  Make sure that the oil is completely combined with the paste.

You can store the paste in a glass jar in the refrigerator.  However, I prefer to drop teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and pop in the freezer for about half an hour.  Remove the hardened drops and store in the freezer in a plastic freezer bag.  It’s perfect portion control and no spoilage.

To use, put a “golden drop” in a cup of milk (coconut is my favorite but any kind will work).  Heat in the microwave in 30 second increments.  Stir after each 30 seconds and repeat until the milk is warm.  Stir well to make sure the golden drop has dissolved completely. Add a touch of honey and enjoy.

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