Monday, January 18, 2010

and We're Back!

Sorry for the delay, folks. My entire life has been in transition (and still is), but if you would please remain seated and return your trays to the upright position, we can get this show back on the road.

So, it's January again. January, synonymous with new beginnings and resolutions. I promise you, I have a few myself. When inquiring about the resolutions of my friends and family, I frequently get the same two answers: 1) Be Healthier 2) Save Money.

How convenient that their resolutions fit so nicely with my first post of the new year, and hopefully a recurring "segment" on the RD3 site...

"The Brown Bag"
Now, there are a ton of financial benefits to bringing your own food to work. I don't even want to think about how much I was spending on take out, pizza, and deli sandwiches during my long weekends at work.

Packing a lunch sound unappealing? Well, its not like there is a rule that says you are to be forever limited to rubbery left-overs and tuna salad sandwiches. You can still eat well, bring your lunch, and save some cash.

Shhhh, let me show you how with...

The Sandwich of the Week
Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Arugula and Basil, with a Balsamic Reduction on Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Loaf
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Arugula Leaves
Fresh Basil
Balsamic Reduction (below)

1) Cut ciabatta the length of your sandwich and then into halves lengthwise. Drizzle each half with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

2) Assemble the sandwich with arugula on the bottom, prosciutto, mozzarella, balsamic reduction, and finally the basil on top before closing it up.

To make the balsamic reduction:
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 cup balsamic vinegar

- In a small pan, melt butter slowly over low heat with a clove of smashed garlic.
- Once the garlic begins to brown, and the butter begins to clarify, remove the garlic.
- Add balsamic vinegar and raise heat to high **just until it simmers**
- Bring heat back down to low and let the vinegar cook down until it is reduced and has a syrup-like consistency

This sandwich is delicious and savory. Reduced balsamic vinegar is so great. That sharp vinegar taste is cut, and replaced with a little bitter and a little sweetness that compliments the spice of the arugula so well. Between that and the smoky prosciutto and sweet basil, you really can't go wrong.

Expensive ingredients? Touche. But the fact of the matter is that you can make quite a few of these gourmet goodies with your purchase. Plus now you have all this left-over mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, and arugula. Pick your poison, there are a ton of dinners you can use those ingredients in.

It's in the bag!

As an aside, this balsamic reduction would be great with a Caprese salad. Hey! You could totally make that to go with your dinner. Good thing you have leftover arugula and mozzarella cheese!

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