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Culinary Controversy

These are devisive times- from social rights to foreign policy, morality to dress codes, there is something for everyone to protest. Though it may not change the course of world events, I come across people on a daily basis who speak with as much conviction about food as they do about religion. My friends, I am braving a controversy that must no longer be ignored. Yes, today I insist we address a hot topic ingredient. Vinegar. The acetic entity with no middle ground, either loved or despised.  I maintain it is misunderstood. It is more versatile than the average consumer often recognizes, and can so easily slip from aggressive to cloying. It can balance rather than overturn so many dishes. It is downright necessary for some every day familiar favorites such as most condiments and dressings, buttermilk and pickles. Today, I give you a range of recipes using this key component, and challenge you to open your palate and try them all. Recipes: (all serve roughly 6 people)

Marinated salad - One small container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved. 2 full stems basil, torn. 2 cups arugula. 1 Tbsp minced garlic. 1/2 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Combine all. Store refrigerated up to 3 days.

Sauteed Greens- roughly chop 8-10 cups raw collard greens. Wilt in a hot, dry pan with a mixture of 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp each garlic and red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt to taste. Serve warm.

Glazed pork chops- Broil chops 2-3 minutes per side, until golden. Brush both sides with a mixture of 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp mustard powder and place back into warm oven 2-3 minutes.

Quick pickled onions- Slice 2 onions of your choice. Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/3 cup sugar and pour over onions. Allow to sit at least one hour. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Vinegar pie- Whisk together 3 large eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt until smooth.  Slowly add 6 tsp melted butter and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. Pour into a refrigerated crust and bake for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pie is 165F. 

Where do you stand on the subject? If in the ayes, what are some of your favorite dishes using vinegar? If nay, suggest substitutes!  I want to hear from you in the comments!

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