FRUIT 'N' BALSAMIC VINEGAR
BY CAL OREY
"The vinegar tastes like it's got oil in it."
-- Richard Simmons
I have cheesecake on the brain... It's been a long time since I've had a fling with cheesecake. Too long. I thought about buying all the ingredients and baking up one from my kitchen but it seems like so much work. Then, I pondered, "If I buy a whole one I may be tempted to eat the whole thing." Yep, cheesecake is a trigger food for me. That means, I cannot eat just one slice and it will trigger me to eat slice after slice until it's all gone.
Today, I recalled the small solo cheesecakes found at bakeries. These are adorable. These are ready-made for one or two with one fork. And these often are topped with fresh fruit. Years ago, a friend of mine brought me these little pastries, time after time. She was helping the baker to keep his shop open and spreading the word. Yes, they were marvelous.
Personally, I love New York-style cheesecake with its cream cheese and eggs. Italian-style is dryer than than American styles. And there are so many varieties it makes me think "Gee, I should write a book--The Healing Powers of Cheesecake." But for now, a quick fix will suffice.
I've decided tomorrow I will purchase one of these cute creations at the local bakery. However, I will choose a plain one and top it with my fave seasonal fruit: blackberries. Next, that dark chocolate I recently received? I will grate fine bittersweet chocolate on top of the cheesecake. Lastly, I'll drizzle balsamic vinegar on top--just a bit for extra taste.
More good news for cheesecake lovers. Cheesecake does contain good stuff, such as zero trans fat, protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron, and monounsaturated fat (that's what's found in olive oil). Sure, it has saturated fat but hey, you don't have to eat a whole cheesecake. Go small. And it will do your spirit good. If you don't believe me, catch a rerun of the classic sit-com The Golden Girls. I swear they go to cheesecake for all of life's ups and downs. I know, I know. That's TV. But cheesecake is good for the soul in real life, too.
One more thing: To learn everything you want to learn about the different types of cheesecake, go to wikipedia and type in those sweet words. And balsamic vinegar? Ditto. Or, just choose a brand or two at your fave store. And to discover nutrition and health facts about balsamic vinegar and the "Balsamic Boom"--check out my book The Healing Powers of Vinegar, Revised and Updated (Kensington). Lastly, by drizzling vinegar on top of cheesecake topped with fresh fruit? It's the gourmet way to do it. Enjoy. It's all good.