Balsamic Vinaigrette

Teaching my balsamic vinaigrette recipe

teaching my balsamic vinaigrette recipe

I acquired my beloved vinaigrette recipe in enchanting Paris.  There I learned the secrets to this simple receipt in the fall of 1985.

At that time I cooked many historical meals at a French friend’s apartment, close to the Louvre. Mornings found me seeking needed ingredients at a profusion of quaint Parisian shops.  There was much mercy for my broken French among the shop owners, who grew to know me.

A flurry of grand entertainment resulted from the hosting of these elaborate meals.  Our varied guests returned warm hospitality in their abodes on alternate nights.  My passion for art galleries quickened during the days when they reciprocated our harmonious feasting.

Indeed, Paris charmed me during that September in the mid-1980s!

My balsamic vinaigrette is extremely simple.  (We used raspberry vinegar for this same recipe in Paris.)  I always dress my famous salads with this balsamic and my father’s blue cheese dressing, which is next week’s tantalizing post.

Peggy’s Balsamic Vinaigrette  Yields: about 22 ounces.  Total prep time: 20 min. Note: may repeat these easy steps to make a double batch; keeps well when refrigerated; any kind of vinegar may be substituted for the balsamic.

5 large cloves of garlic, more to taste if smaller

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar  (Use protected Aceto Balsamico from Modena, Italy, which can be expensive, available reasonably at Trader Joe’s.)

3/4 tsp dried oregano leaves  (A great, organic dried oregano is available at Trader’s for $1.99.)

1 tsp dried basil leaves  (Also a bargain at Trader’s.)

1/4 tsp sugar, or to taste

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best, at hand in natural foods section at local supermarket.)

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

1 tsp high quality mustard  (Aiola mustard from Trader’s is ideal.)

1 cup Bel’Olio Extra Light Olive Oil  (I prefer this light olive oil, available at Costco; other olive oils are strong in taste.)

  1. Peel and cut garlic cloves in half; place in a dry 11-cup, or larger, food processor; chop garlic, stopping machine twice to scrape down sides.  IF you are making two recipes, chop the garlic for both at once; set half aside. (If you don’t have a food processor, may chop cloves fine with a sharp knife; may also use a Vita Mix or blender to make dressing.)
  2. Add vinegar, herbs, sugar, salt, pepper, and mustard to the garlic.
  3. Turn on processor; leave running.
  4. pouring oil in feeder

    Fill the feeder with oil. (The feeder is the plunger that fits in the top of the food processor; it has a small hole in the bottom of it; this allows the oil to drip into vinegar mixture slowly, thus emulsifying the dressing; see photo.) Use all the oil in this manner.  If you are using a blender, be sure to add oil very slowly, blending as you go to emulsify dressing.

  5. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Note: the garlic should taste really strong, as it mellows dramatically after a couple of days.
  6. Pour into bottles, using a funnel.  Save used glass jars for this purpose; be sure to sterilize.
  7. Keeps in the refrigerator for months, or at room temperature for several weeks.  It’s often necessary to leave dressing out at room temperature, for at least an hour before using, when stored in the refrigerator, as the cold oil sometimes solidifies.  Hot tap water will melt the solid oil, also.

1960s French Dinner

1960’s French Dinner

 

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

I have a repertoire of what I call my childhood recipes, of which the following is one of my favorites. It stretches my imagination every time I eat it:  I can hardly believe that food tastes this good!

 

My mother taught me so much about cooking. She was excellent at this endeavor in her day.  My “mentor” exercised her expertise in hospitality in our home, not in the restaurant.  She inspired me to follow in her footsteps with her extensive gourmet preparations.

 

The passing on of tradition from generation to generation is so important. I’ve never married (Jesus is my husband,) but I have a vast quiver full of spiritual children-more than I can count!  My desire is to give to them what was so freely given to me: wisdom.

 

I gaze at this precise diamond through the perspective of food, with all its joys and health-providing benefits. I am so grateful to God, my parents, and my entire family for this knowledge that was birthed in me.

 

We all identify with “comfort foods”, especially those from our youth. I will offer numerous ones with which my mother nurtured my family’s souls.  “Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde” is my first choice in this marvelous journey into the past.

 

Time-Life Books put out a series of cook books showcasing the cuisines of numerous countries in the 1960s. Mom subscribed to these sequels of superb work.  My family and our guests experienced incredible pleasure as a result.  I grew to appreciate the world through its food, in the confines of my home, at a very young age.  This instilled an appetite in me, in my twenties and thirties, to go to the nations to study their eating habits.

 

I have greatly simplified this recipe for pork loin chops from its original complex detail. My version is uncomplicated and literally explodes with unforgettable flavor!

Enjoy!

Cotes de Porc Braisees a la Moutarde  This recipe is adapted from The Cooking of Provincial France, M.F.K. Fisher and the Editors of Time-Life Books, 1968, Time-Life Books, New York.

It is delicious and extremely easy to make. (Yields: 4 servings.)

 

4 center cut, boneless pork loin chops (about 1 ¼ inches thick)

salt (Real Salt is best) and fresh ground pepper

flour for dusting meat

2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp oil (coconut or avocado oil is best)

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)

3 tbsp wine vinegar

¾ cup heavy cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp lemon juice

Serve with brown rice (my favorite is brown basmati rice).

 

  1. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet, over medium heat. Wash and lightly pat dry pork chops. Salt and pepper generously. Dredge in flour, shaking off all excess. Sautee in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Remove from pan. Set aside.
  2. Add onions to pan. Stir well. Sweat onions (cook until translucent.) Add vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of moisture is gone.
  3. Add cream. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place pork chops in onion mixture, coating well with onions/sauce. Cook until pork chops are hot. Do not overcook. Adjust seasonings while pork is heating.
  4. Take off heat. Stir in mustard and lemon juice, mixing into the onions by moving around the chops with a spatula or spoon.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed rice.