Recipe Review: Balsamic Jelly

OK, we all have our weird habits, right?  One of mine is reading magazines while drying my hair upside down.  Since I am a VVVEEERRRYYY impatient person, I need to do something while I’m drying my hair or I will lose interest and spend the day with frizz head.  So to keep myself occupied, I read magazines.

The other day while drying my hair I came across a recipe that sounded really interesting.  I was re-reading the ‘R.S.V.P/ reader’s favorite restaurant recipes’ section of the August 2010 issue of Bon Appetit (I didn’t say I read current magazines) and found a request for the balsamic jelly recipe from BOKA Kitchen + Bar in Seattle and BA’s answer.

BA August 2010

Balsamic jelly? Wow – the many things I could do with balsamic jelly started spinning through my mind – put it on a turkey and brie sandwich, serve it on a cheese platter with a good smokey blue cheese, use it as a topping for a piping hot filet mignon with a slice of goat cheese, use it to thicken a vinaigrette…..and the ideas went on and on.

After I finished drying my hair, putting on my makeup and picking out clothes for the day, I headed for the kitchen and assembled the ingredients.  With just three ingredients this is a simple recipe.  However you do have to leave time (8 hours) for the jelly to chill in the refrigerator so that it sets properly; so plan ahead!

There was one part of the instructions that made me go “huh?” and that is when it instructed me to “stir over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture is hot (do not bring to simmer).”  I had to think about the temperature at which liquids simmer.  So, of course, I went to Google….but I learned that liquids simmer just before they boil, which happens at 212 degrees F at sea level.  I decided to wing it and when the mixture of vinegar and gelatin reached 175 degrees F on my instant read thermometer I removed it from the heat and added the honey.

With the exception of the little research I had to do (which you may have known), it was a very easy recipe and it yielded INCREDIBLE results.  The consistency of the jelly is just what you’d want a jelly to be and there is a nice sharp tang when it hits the back of your tongue.  The balsamic jelly made an excellent condiment for the chicken cutlet sandwiches I prepared for our kayaking trip this past Saturday. And it is equally as nice on a fresh piece of Italian bread with a little butter.

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All in all I’d give this recipe 4 M’s out of 5. Mmmm.

I deducted one M because I thought the instructions could have been more specific to save the average reader the time of researching the temperature of “simmer” and I disagree with the recipe’s claim that it makes 6 servings.  For me the recipe yielded 8 half-pint canning jars of jelly and I seriously doubt you would use even 1/4 of what is in the jar as a serving.  So if you are going to make this recipe, know that – unless you are a giant – it will make significantly more than 6 servings!

What’s your favorite jelly flavor?

Balsamic Jelly from August 2010 Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons honey

Note

Bon Appetit's adaptation of balsamic jelly from BOKA Kitchen + Bar in Seattle.

Can be made 1 week ahead.  Cover and keep chilled.

Directions

1. Pour vinegar into a small saucepan; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture is hot (do not bring to a simmer).
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in honey.
5. Divide mixture among 6 small ramekins or bowls.
6. Chill until gelatin sets, about 8 hours.

Love Your Leftovers

I LOVE LEFTOVERS!  I know there are people out there that subscribe to the “I don’t eat leftovers” way of thinking, but I am not one of them.  I don’t even pretend to understand people who don’t like leftovers! I believe that most foods get better when they have time for the flavors to meld; therefore I think leftovers are often better than the original meal.  Combine my love of leftovers with my love of COLD leftovers and my distaste for sweet breakfast, and you’ll often find me eating last night’s food for breakfast – straight from the container.

Love Your Leftovers 2

I also enjoy the challenge of what I call “kitchen sink cooking.”  You’ve been there – it’s when you clean out your fridge…you know, the multitude of little containers of items from previous meals or items that didn’t get used…and make a meal from what’s there.  Last night was one of my “kitchen sink” nights.  The results were soooo good that I couldn’t resist letting you in on my “recipe.”

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Lavender Steamer

Lately I’ve been trying to give up coffee…or at least to decrease the amount I drink.  It’s not so much the caffeine (although the older I get the more caffeine affects me in a negative way); but rather it’s that (as I have confessed previously) I use coffee as a cream and sugar delivery system!

So, what’s a girl who loves a warm beverage – especially late-afternoon – to do?  Well, a lavender steamer is one option.

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