Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Balsamic Succotash and Vom Fass, New Orleans

Ever pull a hail Mary, 5 minutes before you need to start cooking, and just punch a couple of random ingredients into Google, hoping someone, somewhere has learned how to make them into a tasty dish?  I do... probably more often than I should admit.

Last night, it was because I had pork chops and a bag of frozen lima beans and it just didn't feel interesting enough so I tried to think of what I had on hand to spice that up.  The only thing that came to mind was the new bottle of beautiful balsamic vineger I bought at Vom Fass over the weekend.  Balsamico and lima beans didn't sound like a likely match to me but just in case, I googled them together and what I found was a recipe for Balsamic Succotash that I had all the ingredients for and just enough suspension of skepticism to try.  Good thing, because it was really nice!

Here's how I made mine:

Balsamic Succotash

2  tablespoons  butter
1  cup  chopped yellow onion
2  garlic cloves, minced
1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
1 small fresh zucchini, diced
2  cups  frozen corn kernels(thawed by running under cold water)
2 cups frozen baby lima beans (also thawed)
1/2  cup  chicken broth
1/2  teaspoon  sugar
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2 TB chopped fresh basil
1  tablespoon  balsamic vinegar

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes or until onion softens, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and sauté for one minute.  Add corn, bell pepper and beans; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fresh basil, broth, sugar, salt, and black pepper; cook 7 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat and top with balsamic vinegar, stirring gently.


Speaking of balsamic vinegar, last week was my first time finally getting to Vom Fass, the shop at Magazine and Nashville that specializes in a wide selection of oils, vinegars, wines and spirits.  They have whole walls of casks dedicated to each and you can taste anything you like.  Kid Cayenne and I tasted at least 3 or 4 Aceto Balsamico di Modenas before deciding on a small bottle of thick, delicious "Maletti".  What's wonderful about this is that you can get whatever amount you like, from 40ml to several hundred, allowing you to try special things without wrecking your grocery budget on a large bottle.  Perfect for us.   We also tasted and purchased some lovely olive oil.  Nick, the General Manager, was infinitely patient and informative as I searched for an olive oil that had just the right balance of flavor for my taste.  Vom Fass has a modest selection of wines and a much wider selection of spirits and liqueurs.  I noticed grappas, absinthe, brandies and whiskeys (a few of which we also tasted).

On a shady corner with not much signage, Vom Fass might be going un-noticed by many.  It's worth a visit (or several) and could certainly use the word of mouth.  Go!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Small Lull

I have been out of state on business and just plain busy lately, hence the radio silence.  I don't have anything new to expound upon, but I will say that last night I went to Kanno California Sushi Bar in Fat City for the first time and it was the happiest thing to happen to my tastebuds in weeks.  Freshest, loveliest sushi I've had in New Orleans (well, Metairie) ever.  Can't wait to go back.


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