Saturday, September 15, 2012


I shop for cooking supplies like most girls shop for shoes, and when it comes to food I'm a hardcore hoarder.  Discovering Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati this summer was a curse and a blessing.  I spent far more of my paychecks in the international and wine sections there than I probably should have... but I also came out with a lot of really good stuff.  My biggest problem is my affinity to buy things without any idea what to do with them.  But sometimes I find things so awesome I just put them in my shopping cart and figure I'll research what to do with them later.  A great example is something I picked up a couple weeks ago at the Olive Leaf in Bloomington:

Espresso Balsamic.  I mean let's be honest, there was no way I walking out the door without a bottle of this.  Of course I have no idea what dishes are really appropriate for espresso balsamic, but fortunately I have a brilliant roommate who suggested a excellent use for this bottle of magic: espresso balsamic glazed steaks.  I had never cooked a steak before, but the idea was genius enough that I had to give it a shot.

We decided to make a great steak into a great meal, and since vegetables are more my forte anyway let's start with the side dishes. 

Whoever says they don't like brussels sprouts just isn't cooking them right.  Halve them, douse them in a bit of olive oil and balsamic, sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, and roast them until they start to brown and you'll change your mind.  We also included a more widely favored vegetable in our gourmet endeavor:

Steak and potatoes belong together if you ask me.  I love a mix of fingerling and blue potatoes, which is what I used here, but sweet potatoes are also an excellent choice.  Put either next to a balsamic reduction, though, and I'm definitely not complaining.  The recipe we used was a simple combination of sauteed shallots seasoned with rosemary and a generous amount of espresso balsamic.

I could eat this on anything, but a pan-fried filet was killer.  It also added really great flavor to the brussels sprouts and potatoes.

Combined with the brain power of my roommate this year is probably going to include a lot of really good homemade food that I'm going to share on here as often as I can.  There are a ton of culinary resources in Bloomington and with only one year left I'm determined to tap into all of them.  In the meantime, if you're lucky enough to be in Bloomington stop by the Olive Leaf and pick up something delicious :)

Espresso Balsamic Glaze:
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small sauce pan.  Once heated, add one whole chopped shallot and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.  Stir occasionally until shallots become translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add about 1/2 cup of espresso balsamic and cook for about 1 more minute or until the mixture reduces to a glaze.  Pour immediately over steak (or just about any other meat) and enjoy!