Savvy cooks today know a culinary secret that’s been around for centuries. This solution to balancing flavors and adding a creative flair awaits in your pantry. Vinegar is a must-have ingredient to create intriguing and contemporary flavors in salad dressings, sauces, marinades and more. If a dish lacks pizzazz, a dash or two of one of the endless varieties of vinegar brings it to life or balances out flavors
The extended vinegar family includes such favorites as apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, wine vinegar and white distilled vinegar to name a few. Each variety offers its own distinct flavor and appeal. Numerous vinegar infusions can also be created with fresh herbs or fruit for countless flavor possibilities.
Whether you are preparing a four-course meal or more casual fare, vinegar is certain to add a special zing to your menu. Put more pep in your cooking by checking out the ideas at



Salt and Vinegar Shrimp on Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 pound large shrimp, peeled (tails left on) and deveined
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Combine salt and pepper in small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp to hot pan in single layer (2 batches may be required). Add 1/2 salt mixture to each batch. Sauté shrimp 2 minutes per side; do not overcook. Transfer shrimp to platter. Sprinkle shrimp with rice vinegar. Serve immediately on bed of Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage.


Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

2 teaspoons soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

In small bowl combine soy sauce, lime juice, ginger and sesame oil. Set aside.
In large skillet or wok, heat olive oil over high heat. Add napa cabbage, bean sprouts, jalapeño pepper, red pepper and green onions. Stir-fry quickly, about 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to serving platter, top with sesame seeds, Salt and Vinegar Shrimp and serve.


Spinach and Baby Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Plum Vinaigrette,
Hazelnuts, and Goat Cheese

Serves 4
1 bunch baby beets
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 pound baby spinach
1 small red onion, peeled, sliced and caramelized
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 to 5 dried plums, snipped
1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients with whisk; set aside.
Rinse and scrub baby beets. Trim each end; place in small saucepan with water to cover. Add white vinegar. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place spinach in large bowl with onions and mint. Cut beets into quarters and add to salad. Top with goat cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette; toss and serve immediately.


Warm Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Red Wine Vinegar–Garlic Dressing

Serves 4
White wine vinegar may be substituted for red wine vinegar. Replace oregano with 3 to 4 leaves of fresh basil, slivered. This recipe can also be served cold.
3 large carrots, peeled, halved and quartered
1 sweet onion, cut into wedges
3 zucchini, halved and quartered
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fettuccine pasta
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons honey
1 head garlic, roasted and cloves mashed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients in bowl with wire whisk. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently toss vegetables, olive oil and black pepper in large bowl. Spread vegetables in single layer on large baking sheet. Roast vegetables 20 to 30 minutes until beginning to brown, turning once.
While vegetables are roasting, cook pasta in large pot of lightly salted water. Drain pasta and transfer to serving bowl; keep warm. Add roasted vegetables to pasta and toss with dressing. Top with Parmesan cheese and oregano. Serve immediately.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cider Vinegar–Peach Marinade

Serves 6

The pork in this recipe is excellent for sandwiches. To use exclusively as a sandwich variation, omit potatoes from the recipe. Let pork cool completely before slicing. Add 1/3 cup mayonnaise to cooled cider vinegar–peach marinade and use as a sandwich sauce.

2 pork tenderloins (about 15 ounces each)
10 to 12 small redskin potatoes, quartered
2 sweet onions (such as Vidalia), cut into wedges
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup peach jam
3 ablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Whisk marinade ingredients (except salt and pepper) in bowl to combine. Place pork tenderloins in glass baking dish; pour marinade over top, cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, combine potatoes, onions and olive oil.
Remove tenderloin from marinade (reserve marinade) and place on large baking sheet. Surround pork with potatoes and onions; season with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes until thermometer registers 145°F.
Meanwhile, simmer reserved marinade in small saucepan 10 minutes. Remove pork from oven; let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved marinade.


Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours