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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Skinny Dipping

Fennel with Balsamic

We love to eat our veggies raw with a dip but ranch is so fattening (14 grams of fat in 2 tablespoons) and I am not convinced that the fat-to-taste ratio is really worth it. So instead of using ranch for dipping we like balsamic vinegar, get it, "skinny dipping" :) In Italy they place a bowl of balsamic vinegar with some veggies and bread for dipping while you wait for your meal, one of their favorites is fennel slices. I use whatever is in season and what we happen to have at hand such as: fennel slices, celery sticks, carrots, bell pepper slices and mushrooms. Serve these with some bread along with a few slices of cheese and you have a simple but satisfying lunch. Balsamic vinegar seems to work better for a dip because it a little thicker than regular vinegar and it is very healthful. If you have never tried Balsamic Vinegar it is a sweet and sour brown vinegar with a bite that hails from the Modena-Reggio region of Italy. Most people, however, would be surprised to learn that they have never tasted real authentic balsamic vinegar. Aged balsamic vinegar, Modena Balsamic. Many stores now carry it, such as Costco, at a very affordable price. Just look for the Modena-Reggio tag on the bottle for authenticity. The kind I use is the "traditional " or "everyday" brand which is perfect for everyday use such as dipping. if you would like to use it as a sauce you can make a Balsamic Essence.

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