green beans and carrots, eight-year balsamic

green beans and carrots with balsamic vinegar

Les haricots et carottes avec du vinaigre balsamique, that there means beans and carrots with Balsamic vinegar. We're being fancy over here today. This is an experiment. Is this eight-year old vinegar really sweet? Answer: yes. Is it worth the cost? In my world, yes, it's awesome. I'm not even going to say what I paid for this because it's embarrassing, let's just say a lot, more even than a great wine. My original idea was to experiment with strawberries but strawberries at Davids Market were $6.00 for a hand-packed thingie. Ridiculous to balk at the cost of berries after already paying this much for small bottle of vinegar, I know, but a guy's gotta draw the line somewhere. Strawberries will be another experiment later, as well as another with ice cream. I can't wait to try this for entertaining.

* steamed green beans and carrots
* balcony heirloom tomato
* warmed pecans
* aged balsamic vinegar
* virgin olive oil
* Brittany gray sea salt

Here's a few things wot I learned: If you buy, say, twenty-five year balsamic, it's very likely to be mixed with one-year or two-year basaltic or others. There are laws regulating this sort of thing in Europe, and that's legal. However, if you buy eight-year balsamic, then the whole thing by law must be eight years, and not nearly eight years, but eight completed years. I think. I don't think it's like horses where they're all the same year no matter what month they were born. So that's one thing. The other thing is, this balsamic is from Modena Italy, but it's bottled in London. Go figure. I guess we pay for all this unnecessary extra transportation and importation. The second choice at Davids is also from London.

8-year balsamic vinegar

That's a cork attached to the top, just like wine. Apparently in Italy, they drink this straight, so I tried some from a tablespoon, that's when I fell in love with it.

I must add I'm impressed with the people at Davids. They just opened up two blocks down Broadway, which is one of the main intersecting streets, as you might imagine. It could only be more convenient for me if it were in the same building. It's a lot like Whole Foods except smaller. The people there are all outstanding. I love it when people are enthusiastic about their product and about their work. You can chat it up with anybody and they're all eager to engage. I love that. The guy behind the meat counter asked if I had found everything, I go, "I'm interested in a balsamic." He said he didn't know much about that but then called to an official looking guy who came around from behind a concealed office, walked with me over to the vinegar place, and began to expound on the virtues and limitations of various vinegars. Another tall thin guy probably in his twenties and wearing a company apron joined the conversation willingly and enthusiastic to contribute his own available knowledge. That is just so amazing to me. So much better than, "I dunno."

Photography poop.

Have you noticed my pictures are becoming less saturated? That's a sign of maturity. It comes from handling the files in RAW and seeing what the camera sees before the usual compression. I make whatever adjustments I deem necessary, usually exposure, then save the file compressed to JPG for internet use. The program shows you what the new image looks like in compressed form. Colors are lost. I often back out and saturate beyond what I care for in TIFF then try saving again to see if the new form is better. I did not do that with this one.

RAW files are converted to TIFF so the saving and re-sizing program can handle them, and TIFF files are even bigger per channel than RAW. It's like pouring three quarts of liquid into a gallon container then finally pouring all that into a pint jar. At first there's extra wasted room and then to end some spills out. I'm always a little disappointed in what is lost in JPG, and re-saturating only makes up for it in small part, usually cartoonishly with its meager 256 color palette. And all this as viewed on a laptop which itself has grotesque color limitations compared with the real deal.

Actually, there is a whole 'nuther intervening conversion between RAW and TIFF called DNG, an Adobe universal file type standing for digital negative. It involves another program and even more moving and saving files. It's all so terribly time consuming and complicated, and hard-going for my little laptop and in the end you have much less than what you started with, and that makes me a little bit sad. I been shooting in RAW and JPG simultaneously, and the RAW converted to JPG are always more satisfying than the files that pre converted to JPG within the camera in accordance with the camera settings like I used to do. Those look ridiculous and childish by comparison.

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