Saturday, April 18, 2009

Company's Coming and Best Balsamic Apple Cider Vinegar

The sun is shining, the market was perfect...except for one duo that sounded like they were torturing cats...but I won't dwell on that. I really didn't need a ton of things...obviously I had to buy some croissants and just look at this awesome crown of pain d'epi... gorgeous and it probably won't even make it to dinner. I'm envisioning a relaxing afternoon after all the chores and running around....munching some of my favorite Ran-Cher goat cheeses smothered over chunks of fresh bread...but I digress....

We're having good friends over to enjoy some conversation, good wine and dinner. I actually prepared the main course yesterday. Although winter is officially gone and the sun is shining brightly, it's still cold enough for gloves and a leather jacket. So dinner will be a family favorite....

and Katherine Hepburn Brownies with some ice cream.

I'm even adding a new dish to the mix...Crunchy Cucumber & Red Pepper Salad with Cumin & Fresh Mint...from a gorgeous new cookbook...Once Upon a Tart ....but more about those in another post.

And what does all this have to do with going to the market and the photo at the top of the page?

Well, the secret ingredient to this chili is the Balsamic apple cider vinegar from Boates farms. I usually buy a couple of bottles in the Fall when we go to apple picking in the Annapolis Valley and the chili used up the last of my supply. This vinegar truly makes the best salad dressing ever. Drizzle a little with some almond oil over mixed spring greens and you'll have everyone licking the bowl clean and asking what you did to make it so tasty.

This morning, I was a little worried when Mr Elderkin himself (it's at his orchard that I usually buy the vinegar) told me he had run out...although I did buy a bag of beautiful honey crisp apples from him. Fingers crossed and breath held, I headed directly over to the Boates Farm stand and lo and behold...the last two bottles were sitting on the counter. I even was nice enough to leave one bottle behind for someone else to enjoy.

Now it's on to the rest of this glorious day, but what's your favorite "secret" local ingredient that you can't live without?


Anonymous said...

mm! everything looks lovely, esp the cornbread! I love them with the spicy kick from jalepanos.
hm, don't know if they are local but I LOVE my winter squash as my secret ingredient! I put them in everything!

Ruth Daniels said...

I never used to be a fan of winter squash, but that's all changed now that there's this awesome local farmer - Ted Hutten, that does some very interesting varieties....roasted, in soups, in muffins & breads...endless choices