I don't like balsamic vinegar or any vinegar for that matter, but it's used in so many recipes. Is there anything I can use as a substitute? I already use lemon in place of vinegar for salad dressing; any other ideas?
—Paul Bruce, via e-mail
That's a good question and one that almost stumped us. Next time a recipe calls for balsamic vinegar, try combining equal parts molasses or brown rice syrup and lemon juice with a little soy sauce. Let us know how it goes.
Which is best?
On page 30 of your July issue ("Don't Skimp!") you say that "organic, expeller-pressed oils ensure maximum purity and flavor and minimize your family's exposure to pesticides." I've heard that expeller-pressing involves the use of chemicals to extract the oil, whereas cold-pressed oils are the highest quality oils you can buy and are the purest and have the best flavor.
—Edelweiss Muench, via e-mail
Thank you for taking the time to write. You are correct in assuming that cold-pressed oils are high quality. However, cold-pressed oils are simply oils that have been expeller pressed at lower temperatures (less than 120 degrees) to preserve the flavor of the nut or seed. Contrary to conventional methods in which chemicals remove oils, expeller pressing employs no chemicals, says Scott Black, brand manager for Spectrum Organics. Rather, seeds or nuts are ground and passed through various filters in order to extract the oil. "If you were going to use chemicals you wouldn't go through the trouble of expeller pressing, which is more expensive and involved," he says.