This is a true story. The names haven’t been changed because who am I kidding, you know it’s about me.
In about three weeks I’ll be moving to Salt Lake City. That in and of itself is kind of exciting — moving to a great city, closer to people I’m close to, and (fingers crossed) the possibility of a really cool life on many levels. Yet with all that potential for awesome comes a bit (plus a bit more) of uncertainty. And that “bit” felt more like a giant load a few weeks ago. Which lead to the pounding stress monster that took up residence in my brain and a few other organs.
The thing about a Stressinator, (think cyborg like Schwarzenegger with the constant nasal whine of Woody Allen), is it has a tendency to nudge you awake at 3AM. Which it did. A barrage of “what if’s” and “oh god’s” ran through my head like the ceaseless news crawl on CNN. Then a brief and quite pragmatic moment of clarity ran across my mental screen: I need to buy packing tape. So I did, hit send, closed the iPad, closed the eyes, and sleep took over again.
Like many of you, my tablet sleeps next to me on the nightstand. Once consciousness claims me in the morning, it and my readers are the start of my day. More often than not it’s the “ping” of email that wakes me in the first place, and it did just that the morning after my Stressinator visit. It was an email from the elves at amazon, bringing glad tidings of packing tape in my future. Suddenly I felt better. One piece of the chaos was put into place, and with that ping the monster was vanquished for a little while. Ok, so it’s quite possibly a symptom of insanity that a delivery of office products makes me feel better, but it did, and these days I’ll take whatever I can get.
I relayed this whole thing to my mom in that week’s phone call, we had a good giggle, and life went on its way. Until the UPS man came by a few days later. Not unusual, since I order a lot of things online ever since I moved to a rural small town with closest city 65 miles away. The size of the box was what had me perplexed. It was enormous, and unless I had been sleep-ordering coffee tables, definitely wasn’t mine. “Yup, it’s addressed to you” said UPSMan. “Don’t worry, it’s really light.”
Inside the box was possibly the best defense against the monsters of uncertainty, doubt, and fear of leaping off cliffs…a GIANT roll of bubble wrap. I burst into giggles, then tears, then snorting laughter. Then I called mom. “Did you sent me an enormous roll of bubble wrap?” “Yup”, said she. “I figured if packing tape made you feel better for a morning, this would do the trick for a week!” And it still does, every time I look at it. I even hug it every once in a while. 🙂 ❤
How do you follow that with a recipe? With homemade Balsamic Glaze, that’s how. It bubbles, it makes you feel better. You need more reason than that?
This stuff is magical, and stinkin’ easy. Just a bottle of balsamic vinegar (16oz.), half a cup of sugar, and a good pinch of salt, and grind or two of black pepper. Use it over strawberries, ice cream, pizza, salad, drizzled on some pecorino or aged parm, or just really good olive oil and crusty bread.
- 1 16.9 oz bottle of good balsamic vinegar (you don’t have to buy the expensive aged ones for this, just use one you like the taste of.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- a few grinds black pepper
One very important thing to note about making your own balsamic glaze is boiling vinegar is a pretty pungent undertaking. Definitely an open window/exhaust fan thing. And don’t stand right over the pot. It’s not scary, just be a little cautious. Some of you may even have to leave the house while a loving volunteer whips some up for you.
Mix all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until it becomes syrupy, or until the volume is about half of what you started. Store in a clean jar or bottle in the fridge, it will keep for a pretty long time. If it gets too thick, just dilute a little with water, or some good aged balsamic vinegar.
I love making this for Memorial Day weekend, because it’s about that time of year the first strawberries show up at the farmers market.
Clean and chop a pint of strawberries and toss into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper, and a teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 cup chopped basil. Add in two teaspoons balsamic glaze, 1 teaspoon good olive oil, toss and let sit for about 15-20 minutes.
Toast up some baguette slices or grill slices of a good crusty country loaf. Top with the strawberry mixture and enjoy!
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