Friday, May 18, 2012

Foodie Faves: Plastic Squeeze Bottles
What’s cooking? Balsamic Glaze

Today’s foodie fave: plastic squeeze bottles. I know, they seem like such a nothing item, but they are amazingly useful to fill a really wide range of needs. And they’re incredibly cheap.

For instance, if you are a cookie/cupcake baker, they’re great for drizzling on icing, or even more detailed work if your icing is stiff enough. If you’re making filled cupcakes, they’re also good for injecting the filling. And for dressing up a scoop of ice cream with chocolate or caramel sauce, these bottles are perfect.

Remember that fennel/grapefruit/salmon salad I wrote about a while back? Here’s a picture to refresh your memory. That nice zig-zag effect with the dressing that gives the dish an artistic look? I loaded the yogurt dressing into a handy-dandy squeeze bottle and flailed away.

Cape Grace Salmon Salad
Finally, I actually keep one in my pantry always loaded with balsamic glaze (call it balsamic reduction if you want). It’s a really flavorful addition to roasted veggies or cold sliced beets or sliced oranges. I also squiggle a bit onto the top of a cup of gazpacho. Here’s a photo of my asparagus ready to go into the oven with a light drizzle of the glaze to season. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat asparagus. And the glaze could not be easier to make.

Balsamic Glaze/Reduction

Pour 2 cups of good balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Put it on the stove and set the heat to get the vinegar just below the simmering point – no bubbles, just steam coming off the surface. Keep it at that temperature (though you’ll have to check occasionally to make sure it doesn’t simmer) for 2-3 hours, until it has reduced to a thick syrup. You’ll get about ½ cup of the glaze. Store it at room temperature. If the glaze gets too thick, stand the squeeze bottle in a pan of hot water.

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