New York is a foodie’s paradise, which has proved dangerous for my wallet and my waistline. This weekend a few of my friends and I went to Bogota Bistro, where I ate the best empanadas, plantain chips and spent $12 on a girly mixed drink.
Then, the next day, I started my first boot camp class and was doing push ups in the snow. ugh.
I am trying to eat in as much as possible, which is challenging since our Brooklyn kitchen is one-person wide and there seems to be only one working stove top. I’ve been relying on the oven heavily.
I’m also doing without many of my favorite cooking tools. I appreciate the challenge, it feels oddly rustic and comforting, bringing me back to my cooking roots. We rolled these pizza crusts out with a wine bottle and our hands.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the gadgetry of life, especially with cooking. My food processor is in storage, which means I’m spending more time actually handling the food. There is something very therapeutic about the ritual of preparing food. It’s nice to have habit and purpose during such a hectic time in my life.
goat cheese & pear mini-pizza with balsamic glaze
Recipe type: Main
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive oil
- Italian herbs: dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme
- 1 Pear
- ¼ large red onion
- 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- If you are making the dough from scratch, you'll want to be sure to prepare it several hours ahead of time and give it enough time to rise.
- Warm 1 cup balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Wait until the reduction is about ½ the original amount, or about 20 minutes. It will be thicker and more syrup-y.
- Thinly slice the pear and red onion.
- Cover a baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil.
- Roll out the pizza dough to make one large pizza or several mini pizzas. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
- Cover the dough in a thin layer of olive oil and rub in the dried Italian herbs.
- Spread a lavish layer of goat cheese on the dough.
- Top with a few slices of pear and red onion.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Once it's finished, drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
Balsamic vinegars seem to be gaining in popularity, especially the thick, rich varieties that you can drizzle on top of almost anything like a delicious condiment. Some of them are very acidic and have a strong bite to them, but some of them are sweet and can almost be used in place of a chocolate syrup. You see where I’m heading with this?
You can definitely buy your own chocolate balsamic vinegar at a tap room, but if there isn’t one close by, making your own will work just as well.
I adapted a recipe I found at the Kitchn and thought it was rather unique.
The original recipe was a little too tart for my taste, so I added about 1/2 cup of sugar more and an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips (to melt). If you use the chocolate chips, I recommend getting true dark chocolate without any milk.
It turned out spectacular – sweet and tangy. It’s thick and syrupy like a true balsamic reduction.
I made this chocolate balsamic vinegar for my boyfriend’s sister. It has to go on a plane, so I wasn’t able to package it nicely. However, mason jars work just fine. I bought a drizzling bottle for it to go in.
One day I’ll focus on making pretty labels. Until then, my cursive is all I’ve got.
chocolate balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar (If you have a really high-quality vinegar that is already thick and syrupy, you can skip the reduction and use 1 cup of vinegar).
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup unsweetened chocolate chips
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, reduce the vinegar by cooking over low heat for about 20 - 30 minutes. It should become thicker and reduce some of its volume, so you're left with about a cup of vinegar.
- In a separate saucepan, use a medium heat to dissolve the sugar and salt into the water. Stir constantly until it begins to thicken.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until it becomes thick and syrupy.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Wait until the chocolate sauce and vinegar have cooled before you mix them.
- Stir until well-combined and smooth.
- Pour the vinegar into a sterile jar.
Be warned, this will create a really strong vinegar stench in your house. But it’s worth it! Just to play it safe, I’d store this one in the fridge after it’s opened.