Summer was made for Balsamic Shrubs

Posted by Rachel Dougherty on

What exactly is a shrub? A shrub is a drink made from vinegar and fruit along with other ingredients such as alcohol or sparkling water, the flavor possibilities are endless! Vinegar has a way of both infusing and pulling out the flavor from ingredients which are steeped in it. This maceration process is simple and delightfully tasty. It's also a healthy alternative to store bought sweetened drinks. With spring's abundance of produce imminent, use your imagination to create delightful combinations of seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, and vinegar to make all manner of mixers and spritzers.

Here are a few of our favorite combinations just to get those creative juices flowing! 

Blueberry Lemon-Thyme Balsamic Sparkling Shrub
2 cups lemon white balsamic
1 cup fresh blueberries crushed
2” sprig fresh thyme (optional)
8 cups chilled sparkling water

Strawberry – Peach Balsamic Sparkling Shrub
2 cups Peach white balsamic
1 cup fresh strawberries coarsely chopped and steeped in
8 cups chilled sparkling water

Fresh Kiwi & Mango White Balsamic Sparkling Shrub
2 Cups Mango White Balsamic
1 cup peeled sliced kiwi fruit
8 cups chilled sparkling water

Lemon, Cucumber, & Grapefruit White Balsamic Shrub
2 cups of Grapefruit White Balsamic 
1 medium cucumber thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced
8 cups seltzer water or sparkling water

2 cups of your choice of white balsamic
1 cup fruit, herb, berry, or vegetable of your choice
8 cups chilled seltzer water or sparkling water (without sodium added)

In a one liter mason jar or container add the fresh botanical ingredients. Pour the balsamic over the fruit and allow to "infuse" for at least one hour or up to four hours under refrigeration. The longer it sits, the more pronounced the flavor of the fruit infusion. Strain and keep refrigerated and tightly covered for up to one month.

To serve, add 1-2 tablespoons of infused drinking vinegar (shrub) depending on your preference for sweetness to 8 oz. of chilled sparkling water. Serve over ice if desired.

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Strawberry Balsamic Risotto

Posted by Rachel Dougherty on

We love fruity risotto, yes it might sound weird but once you taste this sweet creamy dish you will forever be a fan. Take a beautiful fruit risotto and top it with we are in love. Try this recipe with any of your favorite berries and combine with your favorite flavor of balsamic! A few of our favorite pairing are fresh blueberries with our Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, peaches with our Black Mission Fig Balsamic and some prosciutto, and of course strawberries with our Pomegranate Dark Balsamic! 



1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons of butter
¼ onion, peeled and finely chopped
1c Arborio rice
1 ¼c strawberries, hulled
¼ of a wineglass dry white wine
2-3c hot vegetable stock
¼c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
sea salt
Balsamic vinegar, to serve


-Pour the stock into a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.

-Meanwhile, melt half the butter in another pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it is softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until all the grains are coated with melted butter.

-Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes, or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 minutes.

-Meanwhile, set a few sliced strawberries aside for the garnish and mash the remainder in a bowl. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the mashed strawberries to the risotto. When it is almost ready, gently stir in the rest of the butter, the parmesan,  and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, put a lid on your risotto and let set for a few mins. Serve garnished with the reserved sliced strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic.

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Shrimp Etouffee with Baklouti Olive Oil Roux

Posted by Rachel Dougherty on

I know roux made with olive oil sounds crazy. Breathe (deeply). Now let's collectively get over it.

If you're familiar with Cajun cuisine then you know about roux. And if you know about roux, you know it's a sacred pillar of the cuisine, revered, and ALWAYS made with a mixture of copious amounts of butter and flour. 

If you're still with me, (I assume if you're still reading this, there exists at least a modicum of trust), then you'll make your roux forever more with extra virgin olive oil and never look back. It will be our delicious, healthy little secret.

1/2 cup Baklouti Green Chili Olive Oil, or any extra virgin olive oil of your choice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups chicken, shrimp or vegetable stock
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
Steamed white rice, for serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add Baklouti Agrumato or extra virgin olive oil of your choice. Add the flour, stir it to combine well, and then babysit it. Continuously stir the flour to make a roux - this can take up to 10 minutes and needs your constant attention lest the flour burn. Stir the roux over medium heat until it reaches a deep caramel brown color.
Add all the vegetables and garlic to the roux, and saute until the vegetables become soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the mixture and stir cooking for another minute. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and stock. Whisk constantly over medium until the mixture becomes smooth and begins to simmer. Turn down the heat to low, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Cook partially covered over low heat, keeping the pot at a simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for approximately 5 more minutes.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice with sliced green onions and more Baklouti for drizzling.
**Disclaimer - this recipe is designed to have a spicy kick. If you still want some of the taste of the Baklouti Agrumato but desire something a bit more mild, go with 1/4 cup Baklouti and 1/4 cup UP extra virgin olive oil of your choice.

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Spicy Oven Baked Harissa Kale Chips

Posted by Rachel Dougherty on

These Harissa kale chips are the perfect snack, just the right amount of crunch and spice! If you aren't a fan of spicy you could substitute another flavor of olive oil like Garlic or Lemon! 

4 cups kale leaves, washed, dried, and cut into 1/2" pieces, with tough stems removed
2 tablespoons Harissa Olive Oil
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large bowl toss the kale with harissa, paprika, and salt. Arrange the leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet lined with parhment. Bake until crisp and beginning to turn golden-brown at the edges, about 20-25 minutes.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Balsamic Mushrooms and Onions

Posted by Rachel Dougherty on

This creamy and decadent salmon dish is a real crowd pleaser. Serve along side a hearty said, your favorite rice dish, or some roasted potatoes. 

1 pound fresh, wild salmon fillets (4)
1/4 pound fresh wild mushrooms such as Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, and or Porcini, coarsely chopped
1 medium, sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 - 4 fresh rosemary sprig, leaves reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil such as Cobrancosa, Picual, or Frantoio.
1/4 cup Traditional Balsamic.
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

In a heavy bottom, large saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle sliced onions with a little sea salt and add to the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wild mushrooms and rosemary leaves, (discarding any woody stems). Saute until both the mushrooms and onions become deep golden brown and caramelized.

Add the balsamic to the pan with the mushrooms and onions and de-glaze. Simmer gently and cook until the balsamic is reduced by half. Add the cream, and stir to combine. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly, approximately another minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve.

Lightly score the salmon skin in several places with a sharp knife without penetrating the flesh. Pat the fillets dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.In a pan large enough to hold the fillets, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Pan sear the fillets, for approximately two minutes per side, taking care not to overcook. 

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