My parents came to visit today for a little while. So that meant one thing: a visit to the Strip District. They love when I take them to the Strip District. (They live about an hour away so visiting the Strip isn't as easy for them as it is for me). For those of you that are not from or are not familiar with Pittsburgh, the Strip District is not what it sounds like. It is a beautiful place full of delicious restaurants, amazing markets, and gourmet food shops. For anyone that loves to eat and/or cook, the Strip is the closest you can get to heaven on earth. Living 4 miles down the road from this neighborhood is just great. I'm in love the with Strip. I would go there every day if I could. My wallet, however, discourages that. My absolute favorite place in the Strip is the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. Every time I walk into Penn Mac, I basically have to put on blinders. I want EVERYTHING. Gourmet cheeses, fresh herbs and spices, delicious produce, imported olive oils, fresh meat and pasta. Luckily, my parents and I showed up about 30 minutes before closing time so I didn't have much time to browse. (I can easily kill a good 45 minutes just browsing in there). I could go on and on and on about Penn Mac, but I will spare you. You should, however, visit them online (if you can't in person) to see just how amazing this place is.
|The spice section is overwhelming. I wanted one of everything, but settled for only these four.|
|REALLY excited about this 5-pepper blend. Can't wait to use it.|
|5 pounds of whole wheat flour for 5 bucks? Ok! And those bowties are going to become a pasta salad very soon. Stay tuned.|
|This is going to be a part of some delicious ham sandwiches next week for my road trip to Nashville. My parents and I may or may not have snacked on this on our way to dinner after our shopping trip. Well, that and the fresh prosciutto my mom bought.|
|Those tomatoes will be going in my pasta salad. And my mother graciously shared her green bean purchase with me. Thanks, mom!|
Penzey's Spices is another one of my favorite Strip spots. You can visit them online, too. Walking in there and all I want to do is buy one of everything and go home and cook all of the recipes. I went in there with one thing on my list (vanilla beans) and left with only one thing. That is a success.
|They're so pretty and they smell like heaven. I will be making homemade vanilla extract with these later.|
I got so distracted by the beauty of the Strip District that I forgot the point of this whole post. Which is homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic is one of my favorite flavors. Balsamic glazed roasted veggies. Balsamic nectarine pizza (I will post about this in the future). Balsamic vinaigrette. Nothing is better than a good homemade balsamic vinaigrette, though. I don't know why I don't make homemade dressings more often. It's so damn easy.
All you need to do is grab a jar...
|Yancey is curious.|
|That green container is pure honey.|
Everything in the jar? Good. Screw the lid on very tightly. Then shake the crap out of it. Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty...no? Ok. Sorry. Make sure you taste it to see if all the ratios of ingredients are to your liking. Feel free to add more or less of any of the ingredients if your palate is different than mine.
Congratulations! You have dressing! How easy was that? Store it in your fridge (making sure to shake before you use since the contents are going to separate) or save it for the pasta salad that you're going to be making for next week.
|It tastes delicious on the fresh lettuce you bought at the farmer's market the other day.|
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pour each ingredient in a glass jar or bottle.
- Shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined.
- Store in fridge, making sure to shake well before using.