In this ripped from the headlines post we will learn just how deadly balsamic vinegar, ambition and leaving your friends behind really are. The stories are exaggerated, the scenario is implausible, but murder told through one-liners and cut-aways is entertaining. I think the ripped from the headlines intro is really from Law & Order, which I never got into.
There are three kinds of people who sit around thinking about how to kill people with food, I’m the kind that gets paid nothing and actually spends more on food than I normally would in order to do so. Who am I? The common cook, Brynne. Yup, that’s the correct intro. Even so the Castle episode, “The Late Shaft,” was definitely taken from the headlines. Feuding late night TV show hosts and umm…well that was all really.
As a twist it is none of the known enemies, but instead the cast aside best friend slipping fermented balsamic vinegar into a bottle of cranberry juice causing a deadly food interaction with the anti-depressant, phenelzine. According to research there are two official categories of balsamic: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale which is under strict production guidelines including aging for at least 12 years and then Aceto Balsamico di Modena which can have added ingredients and a shorter fermentation process. From what I can figure from the show and about phenelzine either is acceptable. Under suspicion is just how much balsamic had to be drunk before the tyramine would cause a heart attack and how that amount wouldn’t be tasted.
To be true to Castle’s plot cran should have been the berry of choice, but fresh summer berries are piled up on the grocery store shelves. Just by chance I happened to have a locally produced fig and vanilla balsamic vinegar to use. If you haven’t recently visited Bella Vista Ranch other balsamic’s will, of course, work just as well but result in a wide range of flavors.
I pulled this recipe from epicurious.com, but found similar recipes other places. Some used less sugar and more balsamic vinegar. I took guidance from these and decreased the sugar in my recipe. I think it could have been decreased even more. The main reason I went for this recipe was because of the addition of black pepper, then became distracted by television and forgot to add it. Instead extra pepper was added to the rest of the dish. I served this with peppered beef and zucchini ribbons tossed with feta and mint. All so amazingly tasty. Also, under consideration were crackers spread with goat cheese or brie or as a topping for scones, muffins, pound cake, vanilla ice cream…