Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wine, Vinegar, Oil for a Romantic Meal to Love

By Cal Orey

I have a confession to make. Wine has never met my lips. It does play a part in the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, which I practice and preach... But I do not drink...In my book The Healing Powers of Vinegar, I do discuss that researchers have discovered that red wine savored by the French people contains healthful chemicals such as tannins, quercetin, proanthocyanidin, catechins, and other good stuff. However, it's the resveratrol that may be the key to good heart health.

So the question remains, does red wine vinegar have the same potential health effects as red wine? According to the docs and scientists I interviewed, since it is derived from red wine it may indeed have some of the good for you perks as red wine.

* Red wine vinegar contains polyphenols--and maybe resveratrol
* Red wine vinegar is fat-free
* You can add red wine vinegar to fruits and vegetables and get additional antioxidants

But hold the phone! Just because I don't drink (if I did it would be wine) I may have on more than one occasion eaten a dish which wine--such as Marsala, a Sicilian wine used often for cooking--was part of the recipe.
Here, take a peek at one of my fave chef's creations--it includes wine, olive oil, and wine vinegar. What's more, if I were to have a dinner party, I can see me (yeah, The Writing Gourmet who hates to cook) making this dish and serving it over rice, chopsticks, green tea (and offering the perfect wine of choice) and gourmet fortune cookies for dessert. It's a perfect creative and fun dinner for six or two (or even solo) with leftovers to share with that special someone. (I'm not sure if Chef Sal would be pleased that I turned his Sicilian dish into an Asian delight but knowing him as I do--I feel he'd give me a thumbs up. Gosh, I miss his former restaurant--once a hot spot in the San Francisco Bay Area--and the generous portion-sized meals I'd take home and love the following day.)

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 1/2 cups Marsala wine
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 whole cloves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bay leaf
6 chicken breasts, 7 ounces each, skin on
flour seasoned with salt and pepper
3 ounces olive oil
10 ounces chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces red or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

In a saucepan, heat the Marsala wine, onion, cloves, garlic, and bay leaf. Jut before it comes to a boil, pour over the chicken breasts in a shallow glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours. Remove breasts from marinade, dredge in seasoned flour, and saute in large skillet for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate. Pour off any excess oil from skillet. After discarding cloves and bay leaf from marinade, add this liquid to the skillet. Simmer for 5 minutes, then return breasts to the skillet, spooning sauce over the breasts. Add broth, stir, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, turning once or more. While chicken is simmering, heat sugar in a small saucepan until it melts to an amber color. Carefully stir in vinegar and, if you wish, the raisins and pine nuts. Pour this mixture over the breasts 2 or 3 minutes before they are done. Serves 6

Recipe by Chef Salvatore J. Campagna, published in The Healing Powers of Vinegar

P.S. To learn all you want to know about wine, and which ones go best with different foods, check out the book Pick a Perfect Wine in No Time by wine guru Anita and log onto her Web site: .

1 comment:

  1. What kind of wine goes with this meal?