Posts Tagged ‘condiments


Honey-Mustard Dressing

  Honey-Mustard dressing is a healthier and delicious alternative to dressings made with mayonnaise.  The sweet/hot/sour combination really compliments each ingredient to the fullest.  Not only is this dressing good on, for instance, a spinach and bacon salad, it also makes a fantastic dip or sauce for fish, chicken and pork.  This basic recipe is only a starting point.  You can easily customize the flavors here by adding your own dried herbs and spices to suit your tastes.

Honey-mustard also makes a tasty sandwich spread.

Whisk together thoroughly in a bowl:

• ¾ cup good quality honey (the darker, the better)

• ½ cup Dijon mustard

• 4 tbsp. white wine vinegar

• Ground red pepper to taste

Makes around 1½ cups

For a thinner dressing, whisk in extra-virgin olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.


Caesar Salad

  Though it is disputed, the Caesar salad was invented by Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico around 1924.  According to legend, Cardini was short on supplies so he quickly concocted a salad that could be prepared tableside with what he had on hand.  His original recipe used whole romaine leaves and was intended to be eaten with the fingers.  Soon the salad became the most requested item on the menu.  Anchovies are considered optional, but something is really missing from the final flavor when they are left out.

Topping the Caesar with grilled chicken or shrimp transforms it from a side salad into a main course.

Boil gently (coddle) for 1-2 minutes:

2 large eggs

Add coddled eggs to an ice water bath to halt cooking

Make a paste from smashing and finely chopping together:

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

Whisk in:

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 large coddled eggs

Stream in, while whisking

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a salad bowl, toss the dressing with:

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

2 or more cups homemade croutons

Top salad with:

½ cup quality Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

Serve immediately on chilled plates



Ranch Dressing

  Ranch dressing was made popular by the Hidden Valley dude ranch in Santa Barbara sometime in the 1950s.  Long before the Clorox company bought the formula and revised it several times to make it more shelf-stable, this dressing capitalized on fresh ingredients and the tang of buttermilk.  This recipe is adapted from the original formula that made ranch one of the most popular salad dressings today.  Though maybe not the flavor most are accustomed to pouring from a plastic bottle or mixing from a paper packet, the fresh and vibrant taste of this dressing is a perfect accompaniment to veggies and meats alike.

Clorox purchased the Hidden Valley Ranch brand in 1972 for $8 million.

Make a paste from smashing and finely chopping together:

• 1 garlic clove

• 2 pinches of kosher salt

Whisk paste together with:

• ½ cup buttermilk

• 1 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, minced

• 1 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp. fresh chives, snipped

• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

• 1 scallion, trimmed and finely sliced

• ½ cup mayonnaise (add 1 tsp. of white wine vinegar if using store-bought mayo.)

• ½ cup sour cream

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For a thicker dressing, add mayo or sour cream.

For a thinner dressing, add buttermilk

Use before the expiration dates of the buttermilk and sour cream.



  Originally a French sauce, mayonnaise has been adopted as the preeminent sandwich spread.  Sadly, due to fear of raw eggs and the convenience of bottled options, homemade mayo is becoming a thing of the past.  Not only is this mayonnaise light and vibrant, it lifts any recipe that calls for it to a new level.


Mayo mixed with capers, chopped gherkins and fresh dill makes tartar sauce.

  Though the recipe is modified, I found that Alton Brown’s method was the easiest way to get a good emulsion going.  If there are any concerns about using raw eggs, pasteurized eggs can be substituted.  All ingredients should be at room temperature.

•  ½ tsp. white pepper

•  ½ tsp. salt (not Kosher)

•  2 pinches sugar

•  ½ tsp. dry mustard

•  1 tsp. English or Dijon mustard

•  2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

•  1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

•  1 cup corn oil

•  1 egg yolk

In a glass bowl, whisk together the yolk and the dry ingredients.

Combine lemon juice, vinegar and English mustard in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture.

Whisking quickly, slowly add oil until the liquid thickens and lightens.

Stream oil in until half is left, then add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.

Whisk in the rest of the oil.

Refrigerate for up to one week.

  If the mayonnaise separates, place a fresh egg yolk in a bowl and slowly whisk in the broken mixture.



  For those of you that have never had homemade sauerkraut you are really missing out on a German delicacy.  Luckily, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest foods to make, not to mention it keeps for a long time.  Homemade kraut also has a crunchiness and tang that you don’t get from the cooked cabbages available at the mega-mart.  The sourness here comes from the natural fermenting process as opposed to vinegar.

  The oven-roasted french fries recipe is available here.

Bratwurst & Sauerkraut

Bratwurst & Sauerkraut

•  2 large heads of cabbage, shredded

•  3 tbsp. pickling salt

•  1 tbsp. juniper berries

•  2 tsp. caraway seeds

I like to ferment my kraut in a large pitcher with an apple juice bottle full of water on top.

I like to ferment my kraut in a large pitcher with an apple juice bottle full of water on top.

Mix the cabbage, salt, berries and seeds together in a large bowl.

Pack the cabbage into a large container as tightly as possible.

Top with a smaller bottle full of water or a smaller plate weighted with a jar full of water.

Cover with a pillowcase or something similar and store in a relatively cool and dark place.

If the cabbage is not completely submerged by the next day, (I’ve never had this problem,) add 1 cup of water mixed with 1 tsp. of pickling salt.  IMPORTANT: Use bottled spring water because chlorine will alter the taste and kill the bacteria that causes fermentation.

Check cabbage every 2 or 3 days and skim the surface if necessary.

Let ferment for 3-4 weeks

Transfer sauerkraut to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.


Salsa Fresca (Pico De Gallo)

  Salsa fresca (sometimes called pico de gallo) is very easy to make.  Since there is no cooking involved, it can be prepared in minutes and it offers a fresh flavor that the jarred (and therefore cooked) salsas from the store can’t match.  It is the perfect accompaniment for tacos, burritos, beans or tortilla chips.

"Pico de gallo" is Spanish for "rooster's beak."

"Pico de gallo" is Spanish for "rooster's beak."

Combine in a medium bowl

•  2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

•  ½ small white or red onion, finely chopped, rinsed and drained

•  2 large tomatoes, or 4-6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

•  ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

•  3-5 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

•  2 medium cloves garlic, minced

Stir together well.  Season with:

•  ¼ tsp. salt, or to taste

Serve immediately.

Makes about 2 cups



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