My Love for Oils and Balsamaics

As a chef, flavor is everything to me. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a tasting at Simply Infused Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Room situated in the town of Mt Laurel, in Birmingham Alabama. It was love at first site!… Literally. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner I decided to profess my love (did I just say that?)… or at least unleash my inner foodie about how much I love this place!

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The staff was super friendly and very knowledgeable about the olive oils and balsamic vinegars. In fact, I had so much fun with them, learning and tasting that I was there almost 2 hours!.. and I could’ve stayed longer… Let me tell you, if you are a chef, a home cook, foodie or just love trying different flavors, you absolutely need to go visit and… well after reading the this blog, you should go check them out! Did I mention I love this place?…

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They have over 50 variety of oils and balsamics to taste,  and trust me I tried everyone, with an exception of maybe a couple of them and that’s a BIG maybe. They offer a variety of single varietal oils, special gourmet oils, fused and infused oils, dark balsamics and white balsamics. The oils comes from different regions in the southern hemisphere, such as South Africa, Australia, and different peaks of the year such as spring,when the Italian, Greek and Spanish oils are abundant or the freshest.

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After tasting several blends, I chose to pair together an olive oil from South Africa, a single varietal FS-17 and a dark balsamic vinegar in the flavor  of Espresso. The FS-17 oil is is an extra virgin oil that is very herbaceous, robust and spicy. It is full of antioxidants. So not only do you get lots of flavor, you get lots of health benefits.  The Espresso Balsamic vinegar is a rich, sweet dark coffee flavor that adds a huge burst of  flavor to chicken, pork and beef. It will also be a great addition to stews and desserts.

I decided to make Espresso Balsamic Flank Steak with Sauteed Green Beans and Potatoes. It was so delicious and full of flavor… I mean I can still taste that espresso flavor paired with the steak. I marinated the steaks using  the FS-17 Olive Oil and the Espresso Balsamic Vinegar. Once grilled and served, they were a hit… at least there were no left overs… at all!

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and then after the magic happens……………….


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See, this is what you can create with these flavorful and herbaceous oils and balsamics. The possibilities are endless… Stop in and check them out, you will not be disappointed. They also offer cooking classes and tastings. Contact Cheryl Harper the owner or anyone of the staff members at 205-408-4231 or on Facebook SimplyInfusedMtLaurel.  I hope to see you there. Happy Cooking!

Espresso Balsamic Flank Steak

Serves 4


2 garlic cloves. minced or chopped

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp, shallots

3 oz, Espresso Balsamic Vinegar

3 oz FS-17 Olive Oil

16 oz Flank Steak

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp ground black pepper


Mix all the ingredients to make a marinade, reserve some for sauce to drizzle.

Place steak inside freezer bag along with the marinade and marinate 4-6 hours.

Remove from freezer bag, and place the steak on the grill. about 3-5 minutes each side (or longer based on your preference).

Remove steak from grill. Let it rest covered for about 20 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is resting, take  he reserve marinade and put it in a small sauce pan, reduce until the sauce thickens.

Cut the meat on the bias, drizzle sauce on top and serve with your favorite sides.





Pan Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Green Beans


This delicious dish is not only one of my signature dishes, but it’s also one of my go to meals. It has the best of both worlds, meat and veggies all in a serving. Just pop some of your favorite dinners rolls in the oven and voila! You have a complete meal.  Now there is a warning that comes along with this, it’s HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. Eat at your own risk!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

6 tablespoons of olive oil

2 lemon, one thinly sliced and 1 juiced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 pound of trimmed green beans

8-10 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breast, bone left in and skin on. Can also substitute for legs/thighs

Coat a large baking dish or cast iron skillet with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Arrange lemon slices in the bottom of the dish or skillet. In a large bowl, add the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and green beans, toss to coat.

After coating the green beans, arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive oil mixture, tossing to coat. Arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish on top of the green beans.

Place the chicken in the same olive oil mixture, tossing to coat. Place the chicken skin side up in the dish, on top of the green beans. Pour the remaining olive oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish and place dish back in the oven with just the green beans and potatoes for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Then remove the dish from the oven and place the chicken back on top. Serve warm.

Serves 4-6