Item: Champagne Vinegar
Cost: $13.00 for 16oz bottle
Found in: Grocery and fine food stores
Great for: awesome salad dressings
I used to have a chef roommate in New York who told me that she thought the foundation for being a good cook was knowing how to properly chop an onion. I’d be lying if I said my onions always came out perfectly uniformly chopped with no risk of having chopped off my finger. This depresses me, because if her theory is true, it would conclude that I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen, much less writing about it on the internet. Thankfully, I think the foundation to being a good cook is more complicated than chopping onions. But it did get me thinking. What are some basic skills that separate the cooks from the rest of the world? My co-blogger Anna, for example is one of those people who can whip up a perfectly balanced salad dressing with her eyes closed. It’s never too vinegary, or too oily or too mustardy or too salty. Just perfect. I think this is an incredibly useful skill to have. When you’re busy focusing on cooking a more complicated main course, the last thing you want to do is have to shuffle through your cookbooks for a salad dressing recipe to toss on the salad you’ve made as a side. I’ve been working on this myself, and the secret weapon I’ve found is champagne vinegar. Its light and delicate champagne flavor mixes very nicely with just a bit balsamic vinegar and whisked with olive oil, salt and pepper. I recommend always having some on hand in your perfect pantry.