Search Results for condiments + sauces

sven’s salsa

March 9th, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for good salsa, whether it’s a new jarred variety or a new recipe. I love to add salsa to all sorts of dishes to add a little extra ooph. Reader Sven noticed my love of salsa and sent me his recipe, which he said he’s been making for 20 years and loves it. Well, how could I not try that out? Twenty years of making anything seems like it’s worth a try.

Every time I’ve made salsa in the past I’ve used fresh vegetables from the market, but Sven’s salsa called for a combination of canned tomatoes and chiles with other fresh ingredients, although he said you can use all fresh ingredients for a more pico de gallo version. I’m up for whatever, so I picked up a few cans of tomatoes along with a jar of jalepenos.

I ended up using half fresh jalepenos, half jarred, then tossing them along with the cilantro and onion in the food processor. In the past I’ve chopped all my ingredients separately, but now I just toss them in the food processor and chop them all at once. It does the same job, just better and quicker. I added those ingredients in a bowl with the tomatoes, and then gathered the remaining ingredients and put them into the food processor for a whirl. Once everything had been chopped I put it all in one big bowl and stirred it for a while to make sure it was well combined. As I was doing this I realized it was just a little too chunky for me (I like a more saucy salsa), so I gathered about half the salsa and put it in the food processor for one more whirl. I then added it back to the rest of the salsa and let it all rest overnight, because that’s when the magic happens.

The next evening I gave it a taste and was so happy. It was really quite delicious, with a well-rounded flavor. Even though it has plenty of jalepenos, they do more to add flavor rather than heat. I filled four pint jars so I could enjoy it for a while to come. On a chip or on a taco, it’s super tasty any way you eat it. Thanks Sven for such a great recipe!

Sven’s Salsa
makes about 4 1/2 pints

2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes, drained*
2 4-oz cans diced green chiles**
1 small/medium onion, chopped fine
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, skinned
3 pickled jalapenos
¼ c. tomato juice*
1 T salt
1 tsp cumin

Put the chopped tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and add the chiles, chopped onion and chopped cilantro.  Stir it up.
In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, jalapenos, tomato juice, salt and cumin.  Blend until smooth.
Add everything to the bowl.  Stir for a couple minutes.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. The flavor definitely improves overnight.

* I just used reserved tomato juice from the canned tomatos to use as the tomato juice the recipe calls for.

** I had problems finding diced chiles, so I just just a combination of the jarred jalepenos and fresh jalepenos and diced them fine.


February 19th, 2009

I love butter. This is mildy embarrasing to admit, but one of my earliest food memories is sneaking into the fridge and eating a chunk of butter back when I was about 3 years old. It makes me shiver a little now to think about eating a big old hunk of butter, but I think I was onto something way back when. I love the versatility of it. It’s used in so many recipes and can really take something to the next level.

When I saw a recipe in BUST magazine a while back I made a mental note to try it out. Unfortunately my notes up there are a little disorganized, so when I saw a recipe on the Kitchn on my day off, I figured it was time to try it out. It didn’t hurt that I had some cream in the fridge that needed to be used.

Making butter is pretty dang simple. You can keep it super simple and only use cream, but the recipe I followed used cream and sour cream plus a little salt. Apparently the sour cream adds a little tang to it. Initially, you just put the cream and sour cream in a food processor and let it run for a little bit. Once it gathers together and starts to form a ball you can remove it. An added bonus of making your own butter is getting fresh buttermilk. I got about 1/4 cup buttermilk from my 1 cup of cream. The next bit takes the most time, and that’s running it under water until it runs clear. I let water run over it for about 5 minutes or so. Once the water’s clear, press the butter and try to get all the moisture out. This takes a little work and can be tricky if you’re using paper towel, as it tends to stick. But it does the trick. I added a little salt the mixture and tada!

I decided since I don’t make butter everyday I’d get a little fancy and make some flavored butter. I divided the prepared butter in half and added some cinnamon to one half. Yum!

from the kitchn | makes about 1/2 cup

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Whir the cream and sour cream in a food processor for 3-5 minutes. (Alternately: shake energetically in a Mason jar for about 15-30 minutes.) After the cream becomes thick and clotted like whipped cream it will suddenly start spattering against the top again as it clumps into yellow butter. Whip until the butter has formed a solid yet grainy mass.
Put a small mesh strainer over a bowl and pour everything into it. Refrigerate the liquid; this is buttermilk and it will last for several days.
Put the butter in a small bowl and rinse under very cold water until the water runs clear. You want every bit of the buttermilk removed; any left clinging to the butter will cause it to get sour and bad overnight.
When the water runs completely clear squeeze the butter inside a clean paper towel or cheesecloth until dry, then turn out into a crock or small bowl.
Mash in the salt and cinnamon, if using.

Refrigerate and use within a week.


January 20th, 2009

One of the many things that caught my eye in this month’s issue of Saveur was a recipe for homemade ketchup. Ketchup is one of those things I’ve never really thought to make before, but I was intrigued to see how different it would taste.

So of course I gathered all the ingredients, or so I thought, and got to work. It’s pretty simple actually. I just roughly chopped some tomatoes, onions and pepper and tossed them in a pot. I kind of missed the ball when I came to the spices though. First, I didn’t have any cheesecloth handy, so I used some cotton fabric I had. Then I realized I didn’t have cinnamon sticks or celery seeds… whoops. I improvised and added a few peppercorns to the little bundle and tied it up. I also added a tiny bit of ground cinnamon, along with a few other ingredients and let it simmer on the stovetop for a while.

Once everything was nice and soft, I took it off the stove and tossed it all in the food processor. I let it buzz for a minute or two, until everything was nice and smooth. After it started to resemble ketchup, I pushed it all through a strainer and let it simmer a little while longer in order to thicken it a bit.

I bet you’re wondering how it tasted. Well, it was definitely different from Heinz. My ketchup was thicker and a bit sweeter than the bottled stuff. It was really quite delicious actually. I think I may have put a little too much cinnamon in it, but other than that it was rich and full of flavor. I think it would taste great on top of meatloaf. I can’t wait to try it again and add a little spice to it, maybe some cayenne or jalepeno.

homemade ketchup
from saveur

4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon*
1⁄4 tsp. celery seeds**
1⁄4 tsp. chile flakes
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
2 lbs. tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
5 tbsp. brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 anaheim chile, chopped
1 clove garlic

Wrap cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, celery seeds, chile flakes, and allspice in a layer of cheesecloth; tie into a bundle and put into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat along with tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, onion, and anaheim chiles; smash and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions and chiles are very soft, 40 minutes.
Remove spice bundle; purée sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes. Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
Transfer ketchup to a glass jar. Set aside; let cool. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

*I didn’t have a cinnamon stick so I used 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, which was too much. I think just a pinch would be perfect.
** I also didn’t have celery seeds and used peppercorn instead.

edible gift: occidental hot fudge

December 9th, 2008

This is my favorite hot fudge recipe. It originated from the Old Occidental Hotel in Muskegon, Michigan where my mom grew up. Who knows how she got the recipe, but I’m so happy she did. It’s possibly the easiest way to make hot fudge and it produces excellent results.

It only calls for six ingredients, most of which you probably have hanging out in the cupboard or refrigerator right now. In fact, you might just get the urge to make yourself some so you can whip up you’re very own hot fudge sundae. You’ll be ready in minutes.

I think it would make a lovely holiday gift, especially if you paired it with a few different sauces. Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit by dividing the recipe into three parts. I’ll keep one plain, add a little cayenne pepper to one part and a little peppermint extract to another. They’re all super delicious and the extra flavors add a little unexpected pizazz to any sundae.

Try it out, I think the recipient will be happy to have you as a friend.

Occidental Hot Fudge
makes 3.5 cups

2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (per 1/3 of recipe, optional)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (per 1/3 of recipe, optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Over medium heat, combine milk, butter and vanilla until the butter has melted.
Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture, constantly whisking.
Boil, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate. Will last a week if you don’t eat it all first.

Fancy fabric cover

8 inch square of fabric
tag (if you’d like)

Find a bowl that’s about 3 inches wider than the lid to your jar. Trace around it on the backside of your fabric.
Cut out the circle.
After filling the jar with goodness, center the piece of fabric over top and gather the fabric so it’s tight around the jar (you might want another set of hands to do this).
Carefully wrap string around the fabric to hold it in place. Tie a knot and attach the gift tag. Secure it with a bow and you’ve got yourself a lovely gift.

spiced honey

November 10th, 2008

I don’t remember the first time I tried honey and cheese, but I do remember thinking it was one of the best things ever. This weekend after picking up some manchego cheese at the market, I decided to take it up a notch by adding some spices to the honey. Aaron suggested adding cayenne pepper, which sounded pretty brilliant to me. I also decided to try a less spicy route by adding freshly ground pepper and rosemary to different pot of honey.

The result? Awesome! I wasn’t sure my honey/cheese combo could get any better, but this definitely took it up a notch. The cayenne and honey was simple and subtle but provided the perfect little party on your tongue. The sweetness of the honey came through first, followed by the creaminess of the cheese and then you get little pricks on the back of your tongue. Good stuff!

Where the cayenne combo was sort of a step-by-step flavor, the ground pepper and rosemary concoction was a more round, full flavor. The rosemary just peeked through with flavor and seemed to enhance the sweetness of the honey.

Spiced honey is a super simple, but tasty pairing for your cheese. Try it out and experiment for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.

Cayenne Honey
1 Tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ground Pepper & Rosemary Honey
1 Tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

tomatillo salsa

September 10th, 2008


I feel like I’m always on a quest to make a good homemade salsa. I’ve tried all sorts of things, like cooking the tomatoes first or just tossing them all in the food processor without doing anything, and I’ve had some good results. But none of my attempts have given me such delicious results as this recipe for tomatillo salsa.

Not only is it good, it’s super easy too, which is always a bonus in my book. The only preparation you have to do is peel and cut the tomatillos and broil them for a few minutes. After that, it’s all about the food processor. Oh sweet goodness, the flavor has a slight hint of sweetness, but it’s jazzed up by the onion and pepper, giving it a nice full flavor. And I like my salsa thin, so the texture of this, which is almost like applesauce, fit the bill perfectly.

Tomatillo Salsa
from Simply Recipes

makes 3 cups

1 1/2 lb tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste

Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well.
Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.
Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, Jalapeño peppers, sugar in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt.
Cool in refrigerator.

Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.

Makes 3 cups.

vanilla sugar

August 19th, 2008

Here’s something simple to jazz up your baked goods, vanilla sugar. It’s super simple to make and adds a lovely hint of vanilla to recipes that call for sugar.

Vanilla Sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
2 cups sugar

Pour sugar into air-tight jar.
Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean into the sugar, then toss the bean in the sugar.
Close the lid and give the sugar a good shake.
Let the sugar and vanilla sit for a week or two and tada, you’ve got yourself vanilla sugar.


August 18th, 2008


This weekend I did something super exciting… I pulled out all the fruit I’ve been hoarding over the summer and made jam. And oh did I make jam. Lucky for me my friend Erin came over to join in the undertaking of turning apricots, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and cherries into five different kinds of jam.

A while ago I got super inspired by this article written by Molly Wizenberg in Bon Appetit. The recipe that goes along with the story sounded pretty basic, but still allowed for some experimentation. We went ahead and came up with some of our own fruit combinations, but stuck with her directions on canning since neither of us had done it before. Making the jam is pretty simple, you basically mix the fruit up, add a little sweetner (sugar or honey) and a little citrus and let it sit for a few hours. We ended up with Strawberry, Strawberry & Raspberry, Raspberry with cayenne pepper, Blueberry & Sweet Cherry and Apricot & Raspberry. Whew, that’s a lot of jam. While the fruit was hanging out, we started the sterilization process, which takes a lot of time. I didn’t buy any special equipment for this, I just used my stockpot that has a strainer insert and it worked pretty dang good. There are special canning pots and gadgets that you can pick up, but unless you’re planning on doing a lot of canning, I think my way works pretty well.

Once the cans were sterile, we put the fruit on the stovetop and brought it to a boil. That’s when things started getting good. Scent is one of my favorite aspects of cooking and it came out with a bang when the fruit started boiling. Oh the sweet, sweet smell of fresh strawberries, then came the raspberries and the blueberries… I mean is there anything better? It actually took quite a bit longer than the directions called for to get the fruit to a more jam-like place, but we just rolled with it. After we filled the jam jars, we sealed them by boiling them one last time.


I tried out the strawberry jam Sunday morning and it just made me happy. You can just taste the freshness in it and it’s kind of perfect. There are many more jars to be opened, some of which will go to friends, but some will be saved for those cold winter months when thoughts of fresh fruit can be savored with a little piece of toast with some fresh jam spread over top.

All recipes follow the directions of this recipe for
Mixed Berry Jam

Below are my fruit variations:

Strawberry Jam
4.5 cups fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Strawberry-Raspberry Jam
2.5 cups Strawberries
2 cups Raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon sugar

Blueberry Cherry
4 cups Blueberries
2 cups Sweet Cherries
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoon honey
1 cup sugar

Spicy Raspberry
4 cups Raspberry
1 Tablespoon Cayenne (we actually used 2 and it was tooooo spicy, but taste to your liking)
2 Tablespoons orange juice

Apricot Raspberry
this one produced more jars due to the extra fruit
8 cups Apricots, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 cups Raspberry
1 cup sugar
1 cup vanilla sugar (i’ll be posting this recipe later this week, but basically sugar flavored with a vanilla bean)
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice