I call it the acid test.
Thats when I go to the grocery store and stand in front of the bottles of different types of vinegars, trying to decide which type to purchase.
It used to be really simple: white distilled or apple cider vinegar. Then came sherry, champagne, rice wine, balsamic (and white balsamic) and lets not start listing the wide variety of herbed vinegars on the market.
So, what do you use when and do you really need the different types?
Well, like everything else, it all comes down to what other ingredients are involved in the recipe, the preferred flavor outcome and, as always, personal taste.
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Classic Chess Pie
Makes one pie
1 9-inch pie crust
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt. Add butter, milk, vinegar and vanilla and mix well. Add eggs, mix well. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
From Southern Living
Vinegar Pepper BBQ Sauce
Makes about 4 cups
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup red pepper flakes
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
In a saucepan, stir together vinegar red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Slowly bring to a boil.
Stir in ketchup, brown sugar and garlic.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Use as a mop-sauce while grilling or as a sauce after the meat is done.
Classic Andalusian Gazpacho
1 2-inch-long piece of baguette, crust discarded
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar (preferably reserva)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Soak bread in 1/2 cup water for 1 minute then squeeze bread dry, discard water.
Mash garlic into a paste with salt. Blend garlic paste, bread, Sherry vinegar, sugar, cumin and half of the tomatoes in a food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped.
With the motor running, add remaining tomatoes. When finely chopped, add olive oil in a slow stream, blending until smooth.
Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing solids to extract juices. Discard solids.
Transfer to a glass container and chill, covered, about 3 hours. Taste and season with salt and more vinegar before serving.
From Gourmet magazine
Spring Rolls with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce
2 ounces dried mai fun noodles (thin rice stick noodles)
12 ounces cooked shrimp
1 cup green cabbage, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
16 egg roll wrappers
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Vegetable oil for frying
For dipping sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 green onions, finely chopped
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3/4 teaspoon hon-dashi (Japanese bonito-type soup granules)
Cook noodles in boiling water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and coarsely chop.
Place chopped noodles in a large bowl and mix in shrimp, cabbage, carrot, green onion, bean sprouts, bell pepper and fish sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Place 1 egg roll wrapper on work surface. Place 1/4 cup mixture along the center of the wrapper. Fold bottom of wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides over the filling. Brush top edge of wrapper with beaten egg and fold up tightly, pressing to seal edge. Repeat with remaining wrappers and shrimp mixture.
In a large, deep heavy pot, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, add rolls to oil and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with dipping sauce.
To make sauce, whisk all ingredients in bowl to combine.
From Bon Appetit
Makes 3/4 cup
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard and garlic.
Add the oil in s slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.