July 2017 Cooking Challenge: Vinegar

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This month will mark the 47th consecutive monthly challenge! So as you can imagine, a lot of the obvious topics have been done before, some even twice. I thought vinegar would be an interesting topic opening the doors to all sorts of pickling, vinaigrettes, sauces, marinates, as well as certain cuisines that leverage vinegar such as Philippine use of coconut vinegar.

So dig into your cabinets and knock the dust off those bottles of delectable acid! Or perhaps you've left a bottle of wine sitting for 40 years with the cork missing?! Have fun!


Edit: For those new to the monthly challenges here's the community guidelines

Guidelines

-    The challenge begins on the 1[sup]st[/sup]  of every month and the last entry must be made by the last day of the month.

-    You may post multiple entries.

-    All entries must be cooked during the month of the challenge.

-    If you use a documented recipe, please cite your source.

-    Entries should include the name of your dish and a picture of the final product.  Sharing personal recipes and pictures of the process are not mandatory but extremely helpful.

-    The winner is chosen by the person who posted the challenge, and is announced after the last day of submissions.  The decision is final and falls entirely at the discretion of the challenger.

-    Submitting an entry makes you eligible to win. If you do not wish to be considered for the win you may still participate in the challenge, but make your wishes known to the challenger.

 

 

The winner’s bounty includes praise, virtual high-fives, and the responsibility of posting the next month’s challenge.  That entails choosing a theme, posting a Challenge thread that includes the guidelines, checking in on the submissions regularly during the month, and promptly choosing a winner at the end of the challenge.
 
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That was my first thought when I saw the topic. It's something I've wanted to try for a while.
 
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Great idea! I've been fermenting/aging some red wine vinegar for a few months now in an old crock. Smells good. Haven't tried it yet. 

I'll have to figure out something special to use it for. 
 
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Nice.  Pickles of course, from many different cultures. A good vinegar is essential to some sauces like mayo, bearnaise, hollandaise and decent BBQ sauce, not that syrupy, sappy overly sweet stuff. I've been hankerin' for some red cooked pork belly, perhaps a batch that relies on Chinese black vinegar, rice wine vinegar, ...

Not enough time do another batch of cold smoked, naturally salt fermented chiles turned into a vinegary hot sauce, shucks. Last batch was well over sixty days from start to finish.

I'm hoping to get back into the game.

mjb.
 
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I've been making pickles lately.

I guess I'm in this month...

I'll take some photos next batch I make.
 
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I found a recipe on the internet some time ago, that actually works: pollo adobado, or rotisserie chicken with red chili marinade.

This time I tried with chicken breast.

As always, I eyeballed the amounts and made a couple of substitutions and ended up with a marinade of:

olive oil

piri piri

salt

sugar

oregano

garlic powder

cumin

black pepper

and cider vinegar:


I marinated the chicken for about 2 hours and then put it on the rotisserie


It didn't take long to cook, only 15 or 20 minutes or so


Sliced and plated with a tomato-onion-cilantro relish


Tasty, but next time I use chicken thighs or whole chicken again.....
 
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Nice job @butzy .. I've always wondered what the piri piri peppers taste like. I imagine they are similar to cayenne? I'm with you on breast not being the best cut to grill. I still grill them occasionally for health aspect but I've learned to pull them at around 160 since they come up another 5 degrees and are easily overcooked.
 

pete

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I think that this is the most excited I've been for a challenge in quite awhile.  I love vinegar in all its flavors and for all its uses.  I love to pickle and preserve fruits and vegetables and vinegar often plays a big role in that.  I love to cook with vinegar, and to use it as a condiment.  But, recently, one of my favorite ways to use vinegar is to make shrubs-aka Drinking Vinegars.  They are fun to experiment with and taste great.  Hundreds of years ago they were quite popular, but starting in the mid 1800's they started to fall from popularity.  Luckily, bartenders have been bringing the idea back.  I stumbled upon shrubs about 2-3 years ago and have enjoyed playing with them ever since.  I'm going to cheat a little as this one post actually contains 4 creations, 2 shrubs and 2 cocktails made with the shrub.

The first shrub is a Cherry Balsamic Shrub


This shrub uses the "cold" method, which I prefer.  I took 3 cups of pitted cherries and mashed them until they fit into 1 cup.  To that I added 1 cup of sugar, covered and allowed to sit, at room temperature, for 24 hours.  I then gave it a good stir and added 6 1/2 ounces of red wine vinegar and 1 1/2 ounces of balsamic vinegar (straight balsamic would overwhelm the cherry flavor) and let it sit at room temperature for 5 more days.  I then strained and bottled.  It is ready to drink right away, but I find a few days to a week in the fridge helps to mature the flavor, making the vinegar more mellow and the fruit to come forward a bit more.

The second shrub is a Rhubarb Shrub


This one uses the hot method.  I usually avoid this method as I like the bright flavors of fresh fruit, but the rhubarb really needs to be cooked to bring out its flavor.  I used 4 pounds of rhubarb, chopped. 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup white wine vinegar.  Combine 2 pounds of rhubarb the sugar and vinegar in a non-reactive sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow to steep 10 minutes longer.  Strain, reserving liquid.  Place liquid back in the pan, add remaining rhubarb and repeat.  Strain, chill, and bottle.  Like the first shrub, this is ready to drink right away, but a few days rest in the fridge really helps it mature and mellow.

And now a few cocktail creations using the above shrubs.


I call this one my Spring Fizz, although it also makes a great refresher in the heat of summer.  Take a splash of Absinthe and wash the inside of a red wine glass with it.  Pour out any extra.  Add 1 1/2 ounces of gin and 3 ounces of Rhubarb Shrub.  Add ice then fill glass with soda water. (can also add a drop or 2 of orange bitters)


I haven't come up with a name for this creation yet, so if anyone has any ideas let me know.  Combine 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon with 3 ounces of the Cherry-Balsamic Shrub.  Stir, add ice and top with soda water.  Garnish with an orange twist.
 
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@Pete that is awesome! I have never heard of drinking vinegars or the word shrub but they sound pretty amazing. Is it slightly carbonated after the fermentation? I have had fermented tea drinks (kombucha) but I am excited to try out your cherry balsamic "shrub". I'll have to do some googling!
 

pete

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No the are not fizzy. If not making cocktails I just usually mix them with soda water for a more adult take on soda.
 
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No the are not fizzy. If not making cocktails I just usually mix them with soda water for a more adult take on soda.
Yea I ended up reading that they are predominantly used for making cocktails. Would they have any application in cooking? I suppose if you reduced it .. you'd basically be making a gastrique. I like it!
 
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But, recently, one of my favorite ways to use vinegar is to make shrubs-aka Drinking Vinegars.
What a great idea -- I've tried Pok Pok Sam, bottled thai drinking vinegars (made in Portland), and they're really good. I'm going to try this!
 
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Just a note.. I decided to juice some beet and carrot juice tonight.. and added some red wine vinegar just to see how that might go down. I really like that it takes the edge off how sweet the beet/carrot can be. In the past I would add salt which isn't the healthiest thing to do if you're juicing for health!
 
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Wow. Four years. It has been fun. I've hosted three challenges - potatoes, eggs and the wrapper, filling, sauce one.  Been slacking lately, will work on getting back into it.  Like with entry.

The Players


One of my favorite things involving vinegar is hot and sour soup. And usually when I order it at a Chinese restaurant it is neither. I'm going to whip up a batch that lives up to name.  Here you see some very rich chicken stock to the left. Rice vinegar, Chinese black vinegar and firm tofu along the top of the picture.  Cutting board has an egg, some canned bamboo shoots, usual stuff. Normally when I make this I forego the more exotic ingredients, but for this challenge I included the dried lily buds and wood ear mushrooms. Soy sauce and hot chile paste were late for the photo shoot.

The Procedure

Here's the lily buds and wood ear shrooms relaxing in the spa.


While they are soaking the tofu is cubed into bite sized bits. The bamboo shoots are sliced into bite sized slivers.  Many recipes for this soup are totally vegetarian, some include pork. When I was at South East Market, which features roast duck and char sui pork on Saturday and Sunday, I got the last hunk of pork along with the other stuff I needed for this dish.


There it is down in the lower right corner.  Everyone is prepped and ready.


The dark liquid is the mix of the two vinegars and the soy sauce. The white stuff in the metal cup is about a teaspoon of corn starch blended into about a quarter cup of the mushroom/lily soaking liquid. The whisked egg include a few healthy drops of chile infused sesame oil.  The red tub has the stuff to make the HOT in this hot & sour soup.


Bamboo shoots, lily buds, wood ears and a blob of the chile paste get sweated in some oil.  Add in the broth and tofu.


Taste test - need more chile paste. Not a problem. Stir some in, along with the with pork bits, the cornstarch slurry. Get that simmering, then drizzle in the egg and sesame oil mix,

The Product


The stuff you get at your average Chinese restaurant  is not this rich, this flavorful. And a bit of fresh cilantro really sets off this HOT and SOUR soup.

mjb.
 

pete

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Oct 7, 2001
 
Just a note.. I decided to juice some beet and carrot juice tonight.. and added some red wine vinegar just to see how that might go down. I really like that it takes the edge off how sweet the beet/carrot can be. In the past I would add salt which isn't the healthiest thing to do if you're juicing for health!
To truly make a shrub you would need to add sugar.  It should be a sweet and tart syrup to use as the base of a beverage, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
 Yea I ended up reading that they are predominantly used for making cocktails. Would they have any application in cooking? I suppose if you reduced it .. you'd basically be making a gastrique. I like it!
That is true today, but in the past, it was just as likely that they were mixed with water to make a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.  Today's craft cocktail movement has rediscovered them and are using them in place of other tart ingredients (mainly citrus juice) to create new cocktails with an interesting twist.  Your carrot-beet shrub would work well with gin.
 
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