Pantry Top Five Recipe Edition: Rice Vinegar Posted August 30, 2018 September acts as the new year for many with the relaxing summer ending and the pace beginning to pick up in our daily lives. This time of the year is the perfect time to start fresh and revamp your pantry. Just swapping out a few ingredients in your pantry can make a positive impact on your health. Chef Elliott Prag has shared his top five pantry staples based on macrobiotics, an old Japanese tradition based on eating foods that promote balance. These are five quality ingredients that are delectable, shelf stable, and health-giving. We’ve covered recipes for gomasio, miso, umeboshi paste, and kuzu, and finally, we are rounding things up with a recipe for rice vinegar. Rice vinegar, which is common to Asian cuisine, is subtle and versatile. It is less acidic than many other varieties, which makes it an ideal option for dressings, sauces, and even desserts. Chef Elliott recommends making a sweetened cashew cream with a bit of rice vinegar thrown in for balance: it tastes like cream cheese frosting! When it comes to using rice vinegar at NGI, we prefer organic brown rice vinegar from a high-quality source and Japanese style with about 4% acidity. This simple citrus salad is a staple for NGI Chef Instructor and Director of Nutrition Education, Celine Beitchman, who also suggests keeping rice vinegar in your pantry. The hint of brown rice vinegar gives it a delicious, delicate tang. Roughly chopping or pulsing the citrus in a food processor turns this stand-alone fruit salad into a relish for fish, tofu steaks, or grilled meat. FENNEL-KISSED ZINGY ORANGE SALAD Yield: 1.5 cups (two ¾ cup servings) Ingredients: 2 juicing oranges, peeled, cut into sections, pith and seeds removed. 1 clementine or mandarin orange, peeled, cut into sections, pith and seeds removed. 10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn 1 teaspoon organic brown rice vinegar 1/8th teaspoon (1 pinch) fennel pollen Procedure: Combine oranges, mint, and vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel pollen and serve as is as a parfait layered with Greek-style dairy or non-dairy yogurt, quark, or soured cream.