Last night, we had a really fun class with the Community CHIP program. Chef Eric, from Hy-Vee Barlow, gave us a lesson on cooking with different types of vinegar. We tried many different varieties of vinegars: red wine, white wine, balsamic, etc. Today I will share some of the recipes he showed us.

The first dish Chef Eric prepared was a grilled romaine and pineapple salad with a raspberry balsamic reduction.


For the reduction:
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
½ cup raspberries

For the salad:
1 head of hearts of romaine, halved
Pineapple, cut into 4 inch slices
Handful of walnuts (optional)

1. In a small skillet on high heat, add the white balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then add the raspberries. Cook until mixture has been reduced by ½.
2. In the meantime, spray the romaine on all sides with a light coat of cooking spray, place on heated grill or skillet along with the pineapple pieces.
3. Grill for about 5-7 minutes, or until slightly wilted with nice grill marks.
4. Cut pineapple into 1 inch pieces. Place romaine on plate, top with the grilled pineapple. Drizzle the raspberry balsamic reduction over the top and sprinkle with walnuts.

The next recipe Chef Eric shared with us was a salad of marinated Portobello mushrooms and a white wine vinegar and apple reduction.

1 Portobello mushroom, sliced into ½ inch slices
½ summer squash, sliced lengthwise
¼ red onion, sliced into rings
Garlic, salt and pepper- to taste
Various cut up vegetables- red pepper, asparagus, tomato, etc.

Marinate the Portobello mushroom in balsamic vinegar for about 2 hours
Marinate the zucchini and red onion in red wine vinegar and garlic for about 1 hour

Place vegetables on grill or in a skillet and sprinkle with pepper, salt and garlic as desired. Cook for about 7-10 min or until tender to the bite.

For the white wine reduction:
Heat ¼ cup white wine vinegar and the zest of ½ an orange in a small skillet over high heat for about 1 minute. Add a few slices of apple, 2 tsp of maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne or ancho chili powder. Sauté and let the apples caramelize for about 3-5 min.

To serve, place vegetables on a bed of mixed greens and top with the apple and vinegar reduction.

We also learned how to make fruit based salad dressing; these dressings are basically a smoothie for your salad and a great way to freshen up greens.

Strawberry Pineapple Dressing:
1 cup pineapple
2 cups strawberries
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup water
2 tsp maple syrup (if needed, based on desired sweetness)

Blend all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

Creamy Fruit Dressing
Make Strawberry Pineapple dressing as seen above. Add ½ cup unsweetened almond milk and a handful of blueberries. Blend in blender for a creamier dressing.

Pineapple Mint Dressing:
1 cup pineapple
1 tbsp fresh mint
Juice of ½ lime
2-4 tsp white balsamic vinegar

Blend all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

All dressings can be made with fresh or frozen fruits and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Try mixing it up and trying new fruit combinations, anything goes with these recipes!

Finally, Chef Eric made a quick balsamic reduction to pour over grilled veggies:

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Fresh herbs to taste- rosemary, mint, basil, etc.

Heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the balsamic, syrup and herbs and cook until liquid has been reduced by half.

Drizzle over vegetables, pastas, fruit, etc.
This reduction can be kept in a squirt bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.