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Easy Balsamic Ganache Truffles

1/2 Cup steaming hot heavy cream 1 pinch of sea salt 8 ounces best quality dark chocolate (in chip form or chopped) 3 tablespoons dark or white balsamic : coconut, raspberry, apricot, tangerine strawberry, maple, espresso, lavender, or traditional 1/2 cup cocoa powder for rolling the truffles or use 6 oz. tempered (melted chocolate) for coating the truffles. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium size heat proof bowl. Heat the cream and salt in a heavy bottom sauce pan over low heat until it just begins to steam. Do not allow it to simmer or boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Stir the mixture gently until all the chocolate is melted. Add the balsamic and stir to combine well. Cool to room temperature and then place the bowl in the refrigerator, covered until the ganache has become cold and can be scooped and formed into balls. Have a baking with a sheet of parchment ready that will fit into your fridge or freezer. Take 1 teaspoon of cold balsamic ganache and quickly roll between your hands to form a ball. If you spend too much time trying to get the shape just right, you'll begin to melt the ganache and it will be a mess. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and then place the sheet in the fridge or freezer to firm up the truffles when you're done rolling all of them. Now you can roll into cocoa powder or in tempered (melted) chocolate. However, these are best stored in single layers, separated by parchment or wax paper in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They can be taken out and served at room temperature. Makes approximately 30-40 truffles.

Shrimp Etouffee with TASTE’s Baklouti Green Chile EVOO

1/2 cup Baklouti Agrumato EVOO, or an 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 Directions 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. Invite me over and serve immediately over steamed white rice with sliced green onions and more Baklouti for drizzling. This recipe is designed to have a spicy kick. If you still want some of the taste of the Baklouti but desire something a bit more mild, go with 1/4 cup Baklouti and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil of your choice. Serves 6-8 (with leftovers as the sauce gets even better the next day)

Chocolate-Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Chocolate-Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Olive Oil Bundt Cake 3 cups all-purpose flour +1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 large eggs 2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup sour cream 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil +1 tablespoon 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Tilt and rotate the pan to evenly distribute the sugar in the bottom and sides of the greased pan. Tap out any excess sugar. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sift. With an electric mixer beat the eggs until they are pale and light; slowly pour in the sugar while beating. Next whisk together the sour cream, UP Certified extra virgin olive oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour to the wet ingredients beating after each addition, scraping down the bowl a couple times in the process. Bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then carefully invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Chocolate-Raspberry Balsamic Glaze 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped or chips 1 cup heavy whipping cream 3 tablespoons Raspberry Balsamic In a microwave proof bowl, heat the cream on high for 1 minute. Add the chocolate to the bowl and allow to sit for 2 minutes without stirring. Whisk well until all the chocolate has melted and there are no lumps. Add the balsamic and whisk well. Pour the still warm liquid glaze over your cooled cake. Allow the glaze to set up on the cake at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Pasta Kuegel

Chocolate Noodle Kugel 1 lb. Pappardelle's Dark Chocolate Linguine 1 stick butter, cut into pieces 1 cup whole milk 5 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon salt 1 lb. container of sour cream 1 lb. container of small curd cottage cheese Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9 inch baking dish (lasagna style pan). Meanwhile, cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain, then return to cooking pot and add butter. Toss until noodles are well coated and butter is completely melted. Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined, then whisk in sour cream. Stir in cottage cheese and add to noodles. Spoon gently into baking dish. Topping: 2 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces For the topping, stir together cornflakes, sugar, and cinnamon and sprinkle over noodles. Dot with butter and bake kugel until edges are golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Let stand before serving. Serves 10.

Cauliflower Snitzel Fried in EVOO

Cauliflower Snitzel Fried in EVOO 1 large head of cauliflower 3 large eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups flour 2 cups plain bread crumbs 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 2 cloves of garlic, minced 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/3 cup TASTE Robust extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying Slice the cauliflower in half straight through, leaving the stem portion of each half intact. Carefully slice the two hemispheres, through the stem portion into 1/2" thick steaks. It won't be perfect, some might fall apart, don't worry about it. Whisk together 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and one teaspoon salt and pepper. Place the cauliflower steaks and marinade into a large shallow pan or large gallon size zip lock bag. Coat the cauliflower well and marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Whisk the eggs in a pie tin, or similar large flat, shallow dish. Whisk together the flour with a teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. In a heavy bottom pan, or Dutch oven, heat about 1-2 inches Robust extra virgin olive oil to 350 F. Dredge the marinated cauliflower in the seasoned flour. Dip each steak into the whisked eggs, then dip into the bread crumbs. Fry the coated steaks on each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to drain on a rack or paper towels before serving. Serves 4.

Homemade Fudge Recipe with Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients: 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk 1 lb. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 2 T unsalted butter* 1/4 C balsamic vinegar**, Cara Cara Orange Vanilla, Raspberry, Traditional, plus 2 T for brushing on top of the fudge (optional)

Instructions: Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan (20 x 20 x 5 cm) with aluminum foil. Make sure you go up the sides. You can then easily lift the sides to take the fudge out of the pan when it's done. Combine the condensed milk, chopped chocolate, and butter in a stainless steel bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate mixture, stirring frequently. Make sure the mixture doesn't get too hot or the fudge may be grainy. Stir until smooth (it will be very thick). Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic. Spread the fudge into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Let stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. Optional, using a pastry brush, brush some balsamic on top of the fudge and let sit for another hour or so until the balsamic is a bit less liquid and simply sticky. Carefully remove the fudge from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. With a long, sharp knife, cut the fudge into pieces. Store in the refrigerator for several days, or freeze, well wrapped, for several months. Let thaw at room temperature, unwrapped, for a few hours before eating.

Notes *Substitute 1 1/2 T fused or infused olive oil, Harissa, Chipotle, Blood Orange, in place of the unsalted butter. **Should you not want to add the balsamic, replace it with 2 t of vanilla extract.

Spring Greens with TASTE’s Vermont Maple Balsamic

Spring Greens with TASTE's Vermont Maple Balsamic 12 cups spring greens (about a 12 oz package) 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 3/4 cup sliced almonds 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced 3 tbsp maple balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tsp pepper 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil In large salad bowl, toss spring greens with feta, almonds, and strawberries. To prepare the vinaigrette, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Add vinaigrette to greens and toss, or serve as dressing on the side. Crumbled bacon will not harm this recipe, trust me on this.

Marinade

Chipotle Olive Oil & Pineapple White Balsamic Grill Marinade 1/2 cup Chipotle Olive Oil 1/2 cup Pineapple White Balsamic 2 tablespoons grainy mustard, or Dijon 1 tablespoon sea salt cracked black pepper to taste Combine all of the ingredients by whisking them together in a bowl, or place them into your blender and blend. Toss with your protein of choice (steak pictured) and coat evenly. Refrigerate for the recommended time below. Marinade times: Boneless chicken: 1+ hour Bone in chicken: 2+ hours Steak: 2+ hours Pork: 2+ hours Shrimp/fish: 1 hour

Spicy shrimp with Pomegranate Quince Balsamic and Baklouti Green Chile Olive Oil

Spicy shrimp with Pomegranate Quince Balsamic and Baklouti Green Chile Olive Oil 3/4 pound large shrimp (about 15) 1 Tbs Baklouti Green Chile Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 Tbs chopped green onion 4 Tbs Pomegranate Quince Balsamic Vinegar Salt and Pepper to taste Sautee cleaned and de-veined shrimp in Baklouti olive oil with chopped onion over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the shrimp turn white, do not overcook. Remove from heat and pour balsamic vinegar over the shrimp, let stand for one minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice or with some of our Papperdelle pasta.

Simple Asparagus, Ham and Gruyere Frittata

Ingredients 1 1/2 pounds organic Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, washed, cut into 1" pieces 2 cups fresh asparagus spears, woody parts trimmed, cut into 1" pieces (spinach works too) 1 bunch green onions finely chopped - you could also opt for shallots or onion here instead 1 cup Canadian bacon or smoked ham cut into 1" pieces - or go meatless with sauteed mushrooms 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese or substitute for any cheese you like, or simply leave it out, it's all good 8 large eggs, whisked 1 teaspoon salt or to taste fresh ground pepper 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the cut potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, drain, and reserve. In a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet (a 12" cast iron is ideal here) heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden brown, turning once. Add the green onions, asparagus, and sauté over medium heat for another 2 minutes. Whisk together the eggs, salt, cheese, and pepper. Pour over the potatoes directly into the pan, shake the pan a couple times gently to distribute the egg, and pop the pan in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the egg is set and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and run a knife along the inside perimeter to loosen from the pan. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, before inverting onto a serving plate. Cut in slices and serve with a lovely salad of baby spinach or arugula dressed with Milanese Gremolata whisked with Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic for a light, healthy meal. Serves 6-8

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