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Monday, May 24, 2010

Vinegars and Oils

Ok, I have a confession to make.  It's no wonder I have such limited counter space.  I just counted the oil and vinegar bottles tucked into a corner of my kitchen.  33, yup, you read that correctly, THIRTY-THREE bottles of various oils and vinegars.  And, I use them all. 

A couple of years ago on a visit to Phoenix, Connie and I went on a tour at Queen Creek Olives.  Talk about yummy stuff.  Their olives and olive oils are just about the best I've ever had.  I've ordered the regular olive oil and the lemon - plus, of course, lots of their olives.  Recently, though, we found a company in Indiana that sells flavored oils and vinegars.  It's called the Olive Branch.  We bought lemon oil, white truffle oil and tuscan herb oil.  Then, when it came to the vinegars we had a far tougher choice to make.  We wound up with dark chocolate balsamic and strawberry balsamic.  YUM!

In the Kraft Food and Family magazine, I found an idea for an appetizer that'd allow me to really show off the strawberry balsamic.  The recipe called for the regular stuff but I figured kicking it up a notch wouldn't be a bad idea.  Fortunately, I was right.

Strawberry Crackers

8 oz block of cream cheese (regular or low-fat)
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
Black pepper and olive oil Triscuits
pint of strawberries
1-2 T strawberry balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar

Whip the cream cheese and the tarragon until fluffy.  Smear a little on each cracker.  Hull and halve the strawberries.  Top each cracker with a strawberry half and drizzle with vinegar.

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