Friday, March 9, 2012

Balsamic Reduction Used Two Ways and an Announcement!

 Things are going better around here and my husband and I have a big announcement. We decided to add a new member to our family:

Bandit is a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd Mix who we adopted from the animal rescue group CAWS. We had been thinking about getting a dog off & on but with the loss of a family member recently, I think it was a good time to give a home to a furry companion/friend. He is ALOT of work but in a good way. We have been getting up at 6:15 every morning to walk him! Jake walks him at lunch and we both go in the evening before dinner. He has to burn off a lot of energy but it's going to keep us in good shape. It's funny too because even though I've been busier (hence no blog posts recently!), I've actually been getting more done (like dishes, my to-do list, etc.) Maybe it's because I have less time to spend wasting free time on Facebook! So overall, it's been a good change for our family. Our cat doesn't know what to do yet but she'll adjust. We will start obedience school in 2 weeks. We would do it this next week but I LEAVE TOMORROW to go on a week long tour with the dance company to FRANCE!!

Since I have to pack like now...... here are two quick recipes using balsamic reduction as flavoring. The first one is in a soup recipe I found in Vegetarian Times. The second came from Whole Living Magazine and involves one of my favorite foods, Quinoa.

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
1. To make Balsamic Reduction: Bring vinegar and agave nectar to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes, or until thickened. Cool. 

Red Pepper Soup with Balsamic Reduction
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large shallot, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced (3 cups)

1.  To make Soup: Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add red onion, sweet potato, Yukon gold potato, and shallot, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and bell peppers; bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes, or until bell peppers and potatoes are softened. Blend Soup in batches until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Drizzle each serving with Balsamic Reduction.

Now, when I made my soup the balsamic reduction sank right to the bottom instead of making the pretty design that the one in the magazine had. Looks aren't everything. It's what on the inside that counts right!?

This next recipe was delicious! It was fresh, filling and really easy to put together. Adding the balsamic reduction is totally your choice but it does give a nice sweetness to the dish! I even forgot to add the chives and it was still one of my favorite weeknight meals yet!

Quinoa with Poached Egg, 
Spinach and Cucumber
Serves 2 
(Slightly adapted from Whole Living Magazine)


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 5 ounces spinach, rinsed
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
  • Red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • Balsamic Reduction
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, about 1 minute. Add spinach and steam, covered, until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Transfer to plate.
  2. Rinse pan and fill with 2 inches water; bring to a boil. Add carrot and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to a simmer and poach eggs, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Divide quinoa between bowls. Top with egg, spinach, carrot, and cucumber. Whisk vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt. Drizzle over bowls. Sprinkle with red chili flakes, chives, pine nuts, and pepper. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Reduction on each bowl. 

    I'll be back in a week with hopefully some fun France adventures to tell you all about!

    Au Revoir,



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