Monday, April 11, 2011

Spicy Balsamic Vinaigrette

I feel like the last few weeks I've only been playing catchup with my fridge.  What do I have left over?  Cabbage, sour cream, bell peppers, broccoli...  Which I always feel like I have to use before they go bad.  And by the way, it's too late for the cabbage.  So, I think while I'm in the car and when I'm at work at my computer... what I can do to use them?  And usually, I'm not too inventive.  So I either depend on google recipe searching or my own not so inventive imagination.  Today was a failure of that not so inventive imagination.  

It began with me thinking about what I'm going to do with those bell peppers and broccoli while I was mindlessly entering excel data at work.  And then I come home from work, after a weekend in Chicago and a night full of the upstairs lady vacuuming at 12:30 in the morning, and my apartment is messy and I'm exhausted.  And I don't want to do anything.  Thankfully I don't have any frozen dinners in the freezer, otherwise it would have been game over for the night, and probably for the broccoli too.  I quickly chop all the vegetables I have to eat before they go bad and get ready to saute them and put them over a bed of leftover brown basmati rice.

While I was letting my imagination run wild at work, I thought for some reason that I could make a good tasting vinaigrette out of soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil.  So I try it.  Equal parts of each and mix it up in a small bowl.  Only it doesn't taste good, so I throw in an extra "part" of brown sugar.  And now what I've got is a thick, dark brown sauce that still doesn't taste good.  So that batch goes down the drain.  I try again.  Equal parts of brown sugar, soy sauce and olive oil.  Because maybe the sesame oil was just a little too strong.  I taste it and it's just... not good.  I don't try to salvage it.  Second batch down the drain.  I think, this is what happens when I try to be imaginative.  And then I remember that I was tired.  So, one part balsamic vinegar and one part olive oil.  Pepper.  Salt, no wait, that garlic salt grinder I got for Christmas.  Finally, I need something that makes it a little bit special.  I rummage through my spice cabinet, only dropping a few spice bottles onto the floor.  Good news, none of them spill open.  Aha, crushed red pepper flakes.  A good, hearty shake to give it some heat.  Maybe two.  Pour it over the vegetables and let it cook down a little bit.  Pour over rice.  Sit on couch and eat from a bowl.  It was pretty plain and the crushed red peppers added some heat, but not enough.  The balsamic cooked down until there was only a hint of it.  It was good and would have made for a simple night had it not been for the previous two failures.

Dishes, shower, bed.  I'll be imaginative tomorrow.  Or rather, I'll stick to one of the recipes I've been meaning to try.  Fortune may favor the bold, but sometimes it's yummier to play it safe.

Spicy Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 part balsamic vinager
1 part olive oil
garlic salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Mix together.  Pour over whatever you want.

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