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How to use wine vinegar in cooking?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have both red and white wine vinegar on hand, but I'm not schooled in taking advantage of their versatility. Vinegar scares me unless it's with fish and chips. :blush:

How, if at all, do you use vinegar when cooking? Do you ever use it in place of actual wine for instance?

I'm a vinegar scaredy cat looking to be both educated and enthused if possible.

Thanks,
Andy.

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post #2 of 22
No, it's too acidic to use in place of large quantities of wine (like a whole bottle :eek:). But it's great to use a little to deglaze a pan after you sauté chicken or fish and are making a pan sauce. Here's a recipe by Sara Moulton for a chicken-vinegar braise that uses 1 cup.

And I just added a shot of vinegar to a pot of beans that had some crumbled sausage (that already was made with vinegar) mixed in; the vinegar cut the richness nicely and brought up the spiciness already there just a little.

In fact, you can add a little to a stew or braise near the end and it will liven it up. Not so much that it makes the whole dish taste sour, just a little. It's like adding lemon juice to brighten the flavors of a dish; but you only need to add a little because of the strength.
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post #3 of 22
Marinades and vinaigrettes of course. Many vinaigrettes can make a nice accent to meats and starches beyond their role in salads.

I probably find more use for cider vinegar than wine vinegars though.
post #4 of 22
I have a wonderful recipe for beef stew that uses red wine vinegar and brown sugar to create a sweet and sour effect. I don't use white wine vinegar much, but then again, I don't drink white wine as a rule. I do however, use red wine vinegar in salad dressings, marinades, BBQ sauce, sauteed vegetables, and any recipe that requires a little extra tang to brighten it up.
post #5 of 22
Like wine in the scence that it is normally reduced. Sweet/sour bernaise/ strogonoff sauce or smitane etc. cooked dressings.cooked salads like a la greque.
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post #6 of 22
A little acid at the end of part of correcting seasoning is a good point from singer4660. It's a way to balance and accentuate flavors without reaching for salt all the time. Soups and stews are good candidates for a splash at the end.
post #7 of 22
Make yourself a homemade Subway and dash it with EVOO and a splash of white wine vinegar. Please don't use Heinz!

doc
post #8 of 22
fab salad dressing, or for mixing with couscous and chopped up roast veg:-
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1 " soy sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
" runny honey

Lovely and low fat to boot
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post #9 of 22
I make a cold garbanzo bean salad with feta, red onion, tomatoes, oregano, and some red wine vinegar. I use white wine vinegar in a white bean and caper topping for breads.
post #10 of 22
For a pantry to be well stocked, it should include distilled white vinegar; cider vinegar; malt vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, inexpensive balsamic vinegar, and good balsamic vinegar. This is not an exhaustive list -- it's just the minimum for (what I consider) "well stocked;" for instance, we also have champagne vinegar, tarragon vinegar, chili vinegar, (Chinese) white rice vinegar, (Chinese) black vinegar, (Chinese) dilute sweet red vinegar, (Japanese) sweetened white rice vinegar, and another few I can't think of offhand.

A few of those, I'd only use raw -- or in a very few, special dishes. But a lot of them can be substituted for one another, bringing its special signature. That's determined by the acidity, underlying sweetness, character of the original source, aging, resistance to heat, and so on.

The problem is that at present, there are so many characteristics -- some of which are very nuanced -- I can't articulate any set of rules dictating the choice other than to taste, experiment and use your "virtual palate."

In short, a puzzlement. Maybe someone would like to take a shot at it, other than merely giving specific examples of particular uses. Ultimately the combination of experience and virtual palate may be the only good answer. In the meantime, thank you for a thing to ponder.

BDL
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post #11 of 22
I truly believe that a Balsamic aged for a Minimum of at least 3 years (young vinegars) and can age up to 50 years . (age can be a wonderful thing, maturity is the key)

A bottle of this caliber will certainly display its age and value ( ever tasted a bottle of Gaja ? Expensive....but then there is a great bottle of Chateauneuf...

Getting back to Balsamic....

Certifications : The bottle must read APIMO or APIRE, look for these Certifications when choosing your vinegar. Certifications are given only to vinegars produced in the regions of Modena or Reggio.

I suggest buying something around $ 10-15 dollars that has no artificial ingredients or sugar added and is at least 3 years old.

Sometimes we complicate the most beautiful foods with elabrate prices and all the while, there it was, standing all alone on a shelf, looking at you straight in the eye, telling you , "Please , just try me with some sliced strawberries and you will never forget me."


Yes there are some really expensive Vinegars out there, but as stated above by Chef BDL , keep the basics in your pantry and you will find that its all you really need.

Petals

PS. If your looking for ideas, here are some.
Panna Cotta with strawberries and balsamic Vinegar
Honey Balsamic fig glaze
Baked asperagus with Balsamic butter sauce.....did someone say BUTTER ?

Merci a toi.

Petals
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post #12 of 22
Andy, something BDL aluded to that should be stressed. You should be tasting your vinegars to learn their particular characteristics and flavor nuances.

No, I'm not suggesting you start chugging vinegar shooters. But just dipping your finger (or an ice cream stick) in the vinegar and touching it to your tongue will reveal flavors that go far beyond just sour.

Gastriques are another way of sampling the differences each vinegar brings to the table. At it's base, a gastrique is merely vinegar and sugar reduced until syrupy. But try combining the vinegars with a fruit juice and see how flavors are effected.

To BDL's list I would definately include herbed vinegars. You can buy some of them, but I strongly urge you to make your own for a couple of reasons. First, it's rare you can find vinegars made with combinations of herbs commercially. And, as important, even single-herb vinegars taste differently when made with different vinegars. Make, for instance, some tarragon vinegar using white distilled, white wine, rice wine, and apple cider vinegars and you'll immediately see what I mean. Red wine herb vinegars are not as pretty to look at, but provide a whole nuther flavor profile.
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post #13 of 22
Try a beef stir fry, using thinly sliced strips of good beef that have soaked in a red wine vinegar and soy sauce mix, maybe 3 parts soy to 1 vinegar.

mjb.
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post #14 of 22
Among other uses, we add vinegars to various sauces and glazes that have honey, brown sugar, or any other form of sweetener in them. Mix some cider vinegar, dried mustard, ground clove, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper and honey/brown sugar over heat and you've got a great glaze for a baked ham. A little honey and balsamic reduced to a light syrup is nice on a caprese salad.

Willie

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post #15 of 22
Less than three years in the barrel and you've just got sour grape juice. The third year is the magical turning point where the sweetness comes out and 12 years makes a beautiful thing.

Remember, as balsamic is aged, it goes into casks of different woods each year, taking on the subtle flavors of each cask. That's why the 50 year is so amazing, wood sugars and maturation in tandem.
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post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
My thanks to everyone for the great replies, the recipe ideas and Suzanne for that link.

I only recently tried tarragon (in a sauce I made to accompany chicken) very enjoyable. I'm very attracted to the idea of making tarragon vinegar.

Hi BDL; is virtual palate something like referring to taste memories?

Mostly, I'm more naturally at home with what I think of as bass notes, the deeper savoury kinds of flavours, than I am with top notes like ingredients with an acidic quality - so I think I tend to suppress them rather than learn how to incorporate them well.

I'll follow the advice to improve my awareness and stick my finger in the wine vinegars I already have and do some taste testing (should have done that straight after buying them really - odd that I haven't thought to). I'll also check out the quality of my balsamic vinegar which I have no doubt I'll discover isn't as good as it should be, if it's going to shake hands with some strawberries.

I definitely feel more excited about experimenting with these top notes now. :cool:
post #17 of 22
I must correct myself as I FEEL A GREAT NEED TO.....(I said minimum 3 years and upto .....)

The Rubino (12 year stock is a vinegar of modena full bodied and sweet made with grape must ) what I was referring to, sorry (3 years IS tart but goes well with other elements. THank You ChefRay for clearing that up.
Equal to that is Mandori.
Leonardi Cavalli is a young fellow , that was the original vinegar I was talking about.

The extravecchio is the 30 year , not a drop of vinegar less than 30 year and it has much older vinegars in it as well. The 20 year is perfect for steaks, lamb, chops etc or on gelato. Yes I said Gelato ( it just enhances the flavour incredibly) The 30 year is best for balsamico on gelato or berries. The 10 year old is great sauteed or grilled mushrooms, in sauces etc


There is a store here that imports Vinegars and Balsamics from all over the world, including oil.....heavens delight

But Andydude, you MUST try it with strawberries...just trust me on this one.


Petals

ps. The medical side of me would like to have a word......


We have almost 10,000 taste buds inside our mouths; even on the roofs of our mouths.
  1. The back of the tongue: bitter tastes.
  2. The sides of the tongue near the back: sour tastes.
  3. The sides of the tongue near the front: salty tastes.
  4. The tip of the tongue: sweet tastes.

Petals
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Served Up
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Wine and Cheese
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Petals
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Served Up
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Wine and Cheese
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post #18 of 22

hmm, balsamic

I sometimes add a dash of balsamic to my red pasta sauce, gives it a nice kick and color. Not the expensive stuff, just some good quality off the shelf wares from CostCo or Trader Joe's.

The good expensive stuff is a whole different story, my cousin makes some (she lives outside of Reggio Emilia) that is amazing but it's really more a thing to have with the best strawberries you can find or a really really good melon with prosciutto, something like that. It's very much like syrup in consistency. And quite sweet.

First post by the way, great forum you have here!

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post #19 of 22
It's my own term, completely original with me -- unless serendipity's raised it's confusing little head, that is.

What I mean by virtual palate is your ability to imagine tastes -- and how you can change them with different combinations.

BDL
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post #20 of 22
I LOVE Belazu Balsamic Vinegar. It's pricey but it has exceptional flavour with the perfect balance of sweetness and tangy acidity.

Now thats something for your palate.

My virtual palate is always in overdrive.

Petals

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Wine and Cheese
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Petals
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Served Up
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Wine and Cheese
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post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Cheers BDL, that's an interesting exercise. :thumb:
post #22 of 22

While looking to answer this same question I came upon this information. 

 

Vinegar   Cooks use vinegar to make pickles, deglaze pans, marinate meats, and add tang to vinaigrettes, sauces, and even desserts.  Vinegars are made by adding a bacteria called Acetobacter aceti to diluted wine, ale, or fermented fruits or grains.  This creates acetic acid, which gives the liquid a sour flavor.   Unopened, most vinegars will last for about two years in a cool, dark pantry.  Once opened, vinegar should be used within three to six months.  

 

  • Vinegar breaks down protein fibers, so adding it to marinades or braising liquids will help tenderize meat.  
  • To cut calories, make vinaigrettes from milder vinegars like balsamic, champagne, fruit, or rice wine vinegar.  Since they're less pungent, you can use a higher ratio of vinegar to oil.
  • Vinegar will dissolve reactive metals like aluminum, iron, and copper.  When cooking with vinegar, use pots and utensils made of stainless steel, glass, enamel, plastic, or wood. 
  • It's easier to peel hard-boiled eggs if you add a teaspoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt to the water they cook in.
  • Vinegar can reduce bitterness and balance flavors in a dish. 
  • Adding vinegar to a pot of water improves the color of any vegetables you're cooking.

 

http://www.foodsubs.com/Vinegars.html

 

 

here is a little more that i found that might be useful

 

To make basic vinaigrette salad dressing use 1 part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts oil.


Make creamy vinaigrette by adding some plain or whipped cream to a mixture of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts oil.

Tenderize meat with white distilled vinegar. Use it in marinades or when slow cooking any tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.

When poaching eggs, add a little white distilled vinegar to the water. The whites stay better formed.

For extra tenderness with boiling ribs or stew meat add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar.

To add a zesty new taste to fresh fruits such as pears, cantaloupe, honeydew, or others, add a splash of rice or balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately to prevent the fruit from becoming mushy.

Freshen wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water containing a spoonful or two of white distilled vinegar.

When boiling or steaming cauliflower, beets or other vegetables, add a teaspoon or two of white distilled vinegar to the water to help them keep their color. This will also improve their taste, and reduce gassy elements. This also works when cooking beans and bean dishes.

Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch. Add just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks.

Give some extra zest to your white sauce by adding 1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar.

Try cider or malt white distilled vinegar instead of ketchup with french fries—that’s how the British like to eat them. Either one is also great on fish or any fried or broiled meat.

Remove kitchen odors that come from burnt pots or when cooking certain foods by boiling a small amount of water with 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar so that the steam circulates throughout the room.

Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.

Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar.

To keep frosting from sugaring add a drop of white distilled vinegar. It will also help keep white frosting white and shiny.

Make perfect, fluffy meringue by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for every 3 to 4 egg whites used.

Perk up any can of soup or sauce with a teaspoon of red or white wine vinegar.

Eliminate the greasy taste in food cooked in a deep fryer by adding a dash of white distilled vinegar.

If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.

Keep molded gelatin desserts and salads from sagging or melting in the summer heat by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for each box of gelatin used.

When making tuna salad add a dash of any herb-flavored white distilled vinegar.

Turn out great rice by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water.

To make the perfect picnic potato salad dressing combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Olives or pimentos covered with white distilled vinegar can be kept almost indefinitely if refrigerated.

To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.

 

http://www.vinegartips.com/Scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=5 

 

 

Hope this information might help

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