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158 posts categorized "08) Condiments, Sauces, Gravy & Marinades"

08/27/2022

~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~

Bread-and-butter pickles also known as sweet-and-sour pickles are on the sweet end of the pickle spectrum, but not quite as sweet as sweet pickles, and, decidedly different than the sharp bite of dill pickles. They're typically crinkle-cut sliced, which makes them ideal for topping hamburgers and a variety of sandwiches. I often serve them as a side-dish, and, occasionally, dice them to add to salads or mince them to add to relishes. Interestingly enough, my family never made homemade bread and butter pickles. There was no need. We lived in Eastern Pennsylvania, the land of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (the German-speaking...... View full recipe for "~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~"

06/14/2022

~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~

Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken wings. Why? Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Fast forward to present day -- Simply wander into a bar, any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. It's remarkable. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and butter sauce. There are three stories regarding the invention of Buffalo wings and all come...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's RedHot Sauce and RedHot Wing Sauce ~"

05/23/2022

~My Simon & Garfunkel Seasoning for Poultry or Pork~

Store-bought seasoning blends and bottled sauces. Every home cook has their favorite brands and there is no shame in that. I am no exception. When pressed for time, some days I reach for a container of Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic and other days a bottle K.C. Masterpiece will do just fine. When correctly paired together, a high-quality store-bought spice blend and bottled sauce can be a busy cook's best time saver. That said, all serious cooks make the time to prepare their favorite homemade concoctions too. I am no exception, and, at any given time, if you peek into...... View full recipe for "~My Simon & Garfunkel Seasoning for Poultry or Pork~ "

04/11/2022

~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~

There are two types of chicken-wing aficionados -- those who dredge their wings in a flour-based blend of seasonings, and, those who do nothing at all -- the latter group is know as the wing purists. Trust me on this next point: One method is not better than the other. One method, no matter what the claim, does not produce crispier wings. Dredging wings in a seasoned-flour mixture prior to deep-frying, vs. deep- frying wings in the classic manner, naked in a bath of seething hot oil, accomplishes only one thing: a bit of seasoning on your wings and a...... View full recipe for "~ My RedHot Seasoning Dredge for Chicken Wings ~"

03/30/2022

~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~

For the love of chicken sandwiches, I admit to being a fair-weather fan of our local Chick-fil-A fast-food chain restaurant. All of THEIR not-my-cup-of-tea politics aside, on occasion, if it's a really nice day and I feel the need to relax and get away from my stove, I enjoy the drive across town to pick up one of their signature chicken sandwiches. As one who loves chicken sandwiches many ways, their trademarked slogan, "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich," their "Eat more Chikin" cow commercials, and, Doodles, their mascot, all make me smile. When one is perusing...... View full recipe for "~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~ "

03/27/2022

~ The Secret's in McDonald's Special Sauce Recipe ~

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun is, in my opinion, the yummiest cheeseburger creation in the takeout-lane of the drive-thru fast-food circuit, and, for me, the secret to the Big Mac's success really is in the sauce. Back in 2017, McDonald's released 10,000 special-edition bottles of its Big Mac sauce for purchase at select locations, which created an on-line buying frenzy when many people began selling them on eBay for upwards of $100 a bottle. I won't lie, given the chance, I would have bought one. September 1968 -- The Bic...... View full recipe for "~ The Secret's in McDonald's Special Sauce Recipe ~"

03/21/2022

~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~

I am a huge fan of Hidden Valley ranch dressing. If you and yours are too, be it a picnic, potluck or party, Hidden Valley Ranch has a secret sauce ready and waiting on a shelf in a grocery store near you. Labeled as Golden, Spicy, Smokehouse and Original, there is one that is guaranteed to be a great mate to whatever fare you're serving. No one enjoys a scratch-made condiment more than me and no one enjoys a creamy scratch-made condiment more than me, but, I gotta be honest, when I come across one or four in my store,...... View full recipe for "~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~"

11/27/2021

~ Bell's Seasoning -- My Favorite Poultry Seasoning ~

Poultry seasoning. These two words get used generically in the writing of recipes, meaning, no brand name is mentioned -- Bell's, Durkee, McCormick, Penzey's, Spice Hunter, etc. This leads the reader to believe that all poultry seasoning is basically the same and all brands can be used interchangeably. In the wide world of spice blends, nothing could be further from the truth. Poultry seasonings are all relatively strong-flavored blends of ground, aromatic herbs and spices, and, they vary considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer. None of them contain the same list of herbs and spices, most are salt-free, many are all-natural,...... View full recipe for "~ Bell's Seasoning -- My Favorite Poultry Seasoning ~ "

10/21/2021

~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~

Before we know it, the holiday entertaining season will be upon us. Charcuterie, cheese and vegetable trays, along with assorted, chips, crackers, nuts, dips and spreads will be appearing on cocktail tables in neighborhoods all across America. Like everyone else, the snacks I choose to serve change every year, but, one thing that's always present in some form: Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or dip. Why? Everyone loves the taste of cool and creamy "Ranch". Interestingly: A little over 50 years ago no one had ever heard of ranch dressing and now it is America's most popular salad dressing. We do...... View full recipe for "~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~"

10/12/2021

~Chutney -- A Spicy Condiment and Sandwich Topper~

Having its origin in India, the name for this condiment comes from the East Indian word chatni, which means to entice the appetite. Indian chutneys were and are commonly made daily and eaten the same day -- originally prepared using a stone mortar and pestle, nowadays an electric food processor is often used. Just like our common American condiments, they can be found on the table for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner -- they are a part of the daily culinary routine. Chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the early 17th century. European renditions were generically referred to...... View full recipe for "~Chutney -- A Spicy Condiment and Sandwich Topper~"

10/09/2021

~ Pucker Up For Tart Green or Red Stalked Rhubarb ~

This quick post, hopefully once and for all, will answer this question: Is there a difference between green and red stalked rhubarb? The answer is no. They are both perfectly ripe and they are both ready to be cooked. Period. End of discussion. Me personally, I love the pucker-up experience that rhubarb provides, and, while I understand why people often pair it with strawberries (they do playwell together), in my opinion, like the tart apple or the sour cherry, rhubarb requires no distractions. I prefer my rhubarb unadulterated. That said, there are a few things us rhubarb aficionados do know...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up For Tart Green or Red Stalked Rhubarb ~"

09/30/2021

~ The Difference between Pickling and Quick Pickling ~

It's that time of year. The late-Summer early-Fall harvest. It can be daunting. Downright overwhelming. While I do can a few fruits and vegetables in the traditional manner (peaches and red beets to name two), I honestly do not love the exhausting, time-consuming process -- I also do not have anyone to stand by my side and help. Armed with only two hands, I much prefer quick-pickling in small batches or freezing in large quantities, but, only if or when either process can be applied without compromise -- for example, peaches are compromised by freezing, beets are best pickled and...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference between Pickling and Quick Pickling ~"

06/01/2021

~So You'd Like Perfectly Caramelized Onions on That~

Caramelized onions are a marvelous condiment to have on-hand. They're an awesome topper for a hamburger, steak or cheesesteak, they're wonderful on pizza, and, oh-my-sigh, I love them in a cheese omelette for breakfast. That said, it does take a bit of time and patience (not energy) to properly caramelize onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop, and, after all, one can't serve French onion anything without properly caramelized onions -- quite frankly, they're the star of any French onion show. The words I use to describe the...... View full recipe for "~So You'd Like Perfectly Caramelized Onions on That~"

05/29/2021

~Dijonnaise -- Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard and Spices~

As far as mayonnaise-based condiments go, this is the condiment that makes everything taste fancy schmancy in a French kinda way. It is sooooo good on sooooo many things. To name a few: French fries, steamed or grilled vegetables, an ordinary ham or turkey sandwich, and, of course, a mouth-watering cheeseburger. There's more. It's great used as a dressing for potato salad. Make a big batch or a small batch, whatever you need, it's only going to take five minutes. Make a big batch or a small batch -- whatever you need: For my French-style Dijonnaise: 6 tablespoons high-quality mayonnaise...... View full recipe for "~Dijonnaise -- Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard and Spices~"

05/14/2021

~ Sweet and Tangy Honey-Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette ~

For me, it's salad season the entire year, however, now that the warm weather has finally arrived, it's real-deal salad season. I'm talking Summer salads made with a wider variety of higher-quality vegetables from local farmers' markets, and, in the upcoming weeks and months, veggies picked from my own garden. These are salads I love to serve next to my favorite grilled meats, poultry, and, yes, even seafood -- no other side dishes need apply. For that reason, I find myself taking the time to scratch-make dressings and vinaigrettes oftener, meaning, on a regular basis. This vinaigrette is remarkably easy...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet and Tangy Honey-Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette ~"

03/06/2021

~ Quick-to-Fix Ground-Beef Chili Sauce for Hot Dogs ~

I was a hot dog in a past life. A hot dog a day keeps the doctor away. I say silly stuff like this all the time. But, why wouldn't I? I am the hot dog queen in my kitchen. My husband's an aficionado of Italian-American-style sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches (which I can take-or-leave). In my food world, the hot dog reigns supreme, and, I like all kinds too -- from New-York-style Dirty Water Dogs, to New Jersey-style Italian hot dogs, to, last but not least, Chicago-style hot dogs. That said, my hands-down favorite is: Texas-Style. Read on: Texas...... View full recipe for "~ Quick-to-Fix Ground-Beef Chili Sauce for Hot Dogs ~"

10/15/2020

~Creamy RedHot-Ranch Buffalo-Style Salad Dressing~

In my food world, if I could conjure up the ideal, somewhat-healthy pub-grub menu item, it would be a chef's-type Buffalo-style-chicken salad. It would be served to me while I was sitting in my favorite sportsbar, in front of a straight-out-of-the-tap frosty brew with a college football game on the flatscreen. Nothing fancy, just a bowl full of crisp lettuce, diced carrots and sliced celery tossed with salty blue cheese crumbles and topped with strips of thin-sliced Boar's Head, Blazing Buffalo-style chicken, plus, crunchy, Buffalo-spiced croutons. There's more. When it comes to dressing my salad, it's got to be full...... View full recipe for "~Creamy RedHot-Ranch Buffalo-Style Salad Dressing~"

06/07/2020

~Sour Cherry Preserves & Balsamic Port-Wine Sauce~

Looking for something to liven up your pan-seared pork loin chops or grilled chicken breasts? Reach into the panty for some high-quality sour cherry preserves, or, better yet, into the freezer for some homemade sour cherry jam or preserves and you're about ten minutes away from a lip-smacking, sweet-and-savory, restaurant-quality, pan sauce. It's worth mention the same sauce can be made with blueberry or peach jam or preserves too -- I like to serve blueberry sauce with duck or quail, and, man-oh-man, peach sauce is marvelous with ribs or chicken. 4 thin-ish (about 1/2"-thick) bone-in pork loin chops 3 tablespoons...... View full recipe for "~Sour Cherry Preserves & Balsamic Port-Wine Sauce~"

02/24/2020

~All-Purpose Dry Seasoning Dredge for Fried Chicken~

Fried chicken is one of Americas favorite foods. Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall, in my food world, if I say "fried chicken", I don't have to call anyone to the dinner table twice. And, whether it's skillet-or deep-fryed in the traditional way, oven-fried, or, just a big ole bucket of KFC, we cooks can all agree on one thing: it's all about the herbs and spices in the dry-flour dredge baby. Recipes for it are everywhere, and every one is a bit different. Why? Because it's personal. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 1...... View full recipe for "~All-Purpose Dry Seasoning Dredge for Fried Chicken~"

02/20/2020

~ Buttery-Rich Crispy Ritz Cracker Casserole Topping ~

Many casseroles and almost any dish that gets baked in a casserole can benefit from a buttery-rich crispy topping. It enhances both the flavor and texture, especially if the dish is creamy or cheesy-creamy. Kids adore it. Adults love it. I describe my all-purpose Ritz-cracker topping as the grand finale that transforms an ordinary casserole into an extraordinary one. It takes just a few moments to prepare, and, it can be made hours ahead of time too. Just sprinkle it on any casserole during the last 15 minutes of the baking process. Voila: accolades and applause. Sprinkle on any casserole...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery-Rich Crispy Ritz Cracker Casserole Topping ~"

01/03/2020

~All-Purpose Chinese-American Brown Stir-Fry Sauce~

Stir-frying is an ancient cooking technique. Credited to Asian cuisine, the concept of the stir-fry is easy to grasp. It's all about fresh flavors and textures, so, pick a protein and choose a few vegetables. Think small. Slice 'em thin or dice 'em into small bites, throw 'em all in wee-bit of oil in a hot wok or a skillet. Stir and fry for a few short minutes. It's so easy, a novice cook can master it. That said, the secret to a great stir-fry does lie in the stir-fry sauce, and, this is where a perfectly executed stir-fry can...... View full recipe for "~All-Purpose Chinese-American Brown Stir-Fry Sauce~"

11/02/2019

~Scratch-Made All-American Catalina Salad Dressing~

As a lover of sweet and tanilizingly savory combinations, Catalina dressing was always on the door of my mom's refrigerator. While she and dad didn't, for the most part, ever stray past the bottle of Wish-Bone Italian dressing, for some reason my brother and I gravitated to this red-orange concoction. While I enjoyed it on chef-type salads that contained "the works" (lots of cheeses and meats), my brother would drench large chunks or wedges of iceberg lettuce with it. Please don't confuse Catalina dressing w/French dressing. Catalina dressing is an American creation defined as: A commercially-emulsified, tomato-based dressing that is...... View full recipe for "~Scratch-Made All-American Catalina Salad Dressing~"

10/18/2019

~ Stewed-Tomato Gravy for Mom's All-Beef Meatloaf ~

Meatloaf is personal. We all have a favorite recipe. That said, there's no other way to say this: I Love My Mom's Old-Fashioned All-Beef Meatloaf. I know many of you do too, because you've made it and you've told me so. Both my mother and grandmother used beef exclusively to make meatloaf -- never a combination of beef, pork and veal. My grandmother, who owned a mom and pop grocery store during the Depression era, simply did not like the gelatinous texture that comes from adding mild-flavored veal and did not approve of mixing pork and beef together -- no...... View full recipe for "~ Stewed-Tomato Gravy for Mom's All-Beef Meatloaf ~"

06/23/2019

~ Pucker Up for Lemon Dip w/Seafood or Vegetables ~

Oh yes, BIG yes, this concoction is great with many things, but, if you're looking for a pucker-up creamy lemon dip to serve with grilled seafood or vegetables, stop reading, grab a few pantry staples and mix this one together. It'll only take five minutes, and oh yes, you can thank me later. On our patio, we love to dip grilled shrimp and/or grilled asparagus in it as an hors d'oeuvre, but, I won't lie, it's just as good slathered on a Maryland-style crab cake sandwich (or a grilled or roasted chicken sandwich) too. There's more. To give it a...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up for Lemon Dip w/Seafood or Vegetables ~"

06/18/2019

~ Making Lemon-Infused EVOO in the Home Kitchen ~

Let me start by saying, I purchase my lemon-infused olive oil. It's a small investment for a product that, in honesty, because of the process involved, can't be 100% duplicated in the home kitchen. Manufacturers of high-quality lemon-infused olive oil include lemon in with the olives when the oil gets cold pressed. Home cooks simply do not have that option, so, if you are one of those who is inclined to make it at home, the only alternative is what's known as the "heat-and-soak" process. Lemon-infused olive oil is one of my favorite pantry staples -- a bit of it...... View full recipe for "~ Making Lemon-Infused EVOO in the Home Kitchen ~"

06/15/2019

~Lemon-Infused EVOO & White Balsamic Vinaigrette~

Lemon-infused olive oil is one of my favorite pantry staples -- a bit of it in a skillet adds marvelous flavor to a sautéing chicken paillard or delicate fillet of white fish. When mixed with some tangy white-balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar, a few herbes de Provence, and, a tad of Dijon mustard, an amazing vinaigrette is born. It's hard to name a salad that doesn't benefit from a lemony vinaigrette, and, in the case of this one, because the lemon flavor is infused in the oil, as opposed to a fresh squirt of lemon juice, every bite gets...... View full recipe for "~Lemon-Infused EVOO & White Balsamic Vinaigrette~"

05/12/2019

~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"

04/12/2019

~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Marinade ~

The hamlet of Endwell, the village of Endicott, and, the city of Binghamton. What do these three places in upstate New York have in common? They each own a piece of the claim to creating a sandwich unique to their area, and, popularizing it to the point to hold an annual three-days-in-August food festival and hot-air balloon rally that attracts over 100,000 people to celebrate. The "Spiedie" comes from the Italian word "spiede", as-in cubes of skewered meat cooked on a "spit". An Italian immigrant, Camillo Lacovelli is said to have introduced the original spiedie to Endwell, NY, in the...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Marinade ~"

04/05/2019

~Easy Sweet & Spicy Tex-Mex-Style Barbecue Sauce~

Simmer down. I am well aware that authentic Texas-style barbecue requires no sauce, and, its purist fans proclaim perfectly-smoked beef, poultry or pork is so lip-smacking fantastic sauce ruins it. I'm neither here to disagree nor apologize -- I'm just a Yankee gal that likes a special or secret sauce with, or on, almost everything that comes off a grill or out of a smoker. There's more. I have absolutely no idea what might constitute the perfect Tex-Mex-style barbecue sauce, I'm simply here to share my culinary concoction of sweet and savory pleasing-to-me perfection. Specific to no one dish, but...... View full recipe for "~Easy Sweet & Spicy Tex-Mex-Style Barbecue Sauce~"

03/12/2019

~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~

It's almost understandable why most home cooks don't know what the difference between Russian and Thousand Islands dressing is, but, it's head-scratchingly odd that many restaurant chefs don't. Truth told, when I order a Rueben or a Rachel sandwich, one dressing or the other, whichever is offered, will do nicely -- they're both favorites of mine. That said, when a menu states Russian dressing, I expect Russian dressing and vice versa. These two condiments, while they can be used interchangeably as a matter of preference, are not interchangeable. While Russian dressing is not Russian, it is a compilation of ingredients...... View full recipe for "~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~"

02/09/2019

~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"

01/20/2019

~ Florentine-Style Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Sauce ~

Creamy cheese sauces have a place in my food world -- not a big place, but a place. My attitude toward them is to use them judiciously, in a manner that does not overpower the dish being served, and, in moderation, so as not to tip the scale. To my credit, I have developed my own versions of more than a few: Easy Boursin, Trendy Rasta Pasta, Classic Mornay, Silky Parmesan-Sherry, Dreamy Gorgonzola, Basic Asiago, and a Kid-Friendly Cheddar. It is my opinion that, for the most part, all store-bought cheese sauces are a compromise, so, don't debate it, just...... View full recipe for "~ Florentine-Style Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Sauce ~"

01/15/2019

~ Easy Boursin Sauce for Pasta, Seafood & Veggies ~

Knowing how to make a super-quick cheese sauce is indispensable for any number of reasons. Friends can drop by without notice, a snowstorm requires some pantry cooking, or, the craving for something rich, creamy, cheesy and comforting must be quelled. This five-minutes to make sauce is as delicious as it is easy, which is what makes it more than worthy of a blog post. Both Joe and I love it tossed into pasta (sometimes with some chards of roasted chicken thrown in too), it's a fantastic sauce for seafood (if you're not a purist about cheese and seafood together), and,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Boursin Sauce for Pasta, Seafood & Veggies ~"

12/09/2018

~Cool & Creamy Island-Style Jamaican-Jerk Wing Dip~

Wander into a bar anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. No description is necessary. You know you're getting deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce. They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and blue cheese or ranch dressing. You'll likely be asked to specify if you want your wings tossed in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce is a classic. Chicken wings have come a long way baby. What started as a late-night snack served by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo in...... View full recipe for "~Cool & Creamy Island-Style Jamaican-Jerk Wing Dip~"

12/05/2018

~ Coconut-Creamy, Island-Style, Rasta-Pasta Sauce ~

One of my favorite entrées in an Italian-American restaurant is Fettucchini Alfredo and I always order it a la primavera-style, meaning I'm asking for vegetables to be tossed into it, hence the name of my own recipe, Fabulous Fettuccine Alfredo a la Primavera-Style. I could easily choose to order the Alfredo with the very popular chicken or shrimp options, but, neither appeals to me. The rich, creamy, parmesan-laced sauce that enrobes the tender strands of al dente egg-pasta and colorful crunch-tender blanched veggies needs no meat or seafood to entice me. Jamaican cuisine fused w/Italian-American cuisine? Yea mon. If you...... View full recipe for "~ Coconut-Creamy, Island-Style, Rasta-Pasta Sauce ~"

10/18/2018

~ Steak My Day: Texas Steak Chili Seasoning Blend ~

While store-bought seasoning packets are indeed convenient, they are loaded with salt and miscellaneous preservatives we can all do without. It's why I make my own. Prime examples with respect to Tex-Mex fare are taco seasoning and fajita seasoning. If you're curious about the difference between those two, you can read about it here -- it's more than just a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Back in the latter '70's, thanks to a close girlfriend from San Antonio, Texas, I was able to come up with an all-purpose seasoning for Texas-style beef or steak chili...... View full recipe for "~ Steak My Day: Texas Steak Chili Seasoning Blend ~"

09/08/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~

In my food world, one of the most common background noises is the chatter of friends or family talking about the great price they scored on a basket or flat of prime produce. It's big news. Last week I was the one bragging about the flat of perfect mangos I toddled into my kitchen with. At 2-for-$1, it was exciting news. On par with fresh pineapple, mangos are my favorite exotic fruit. Similar in taste and texture to peaches, my first taste of this juicy stone fruit came in Thailand, where a mango hedgehog* was served, compliments of the hotel,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~"

08/19/2018

~ Mel's Secret Sauce for Maryland-Style Crab Cakes ~

If you've ever traveled to the areas in and around the Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis and/or Baltimore, Maryland, or, the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area in general), even if you are not a foodie, you can't help but notice that from white-linen restaurants to roadside stands, crab cakes and crab cake sandwiches are everywhere -- more specifically, Maryland blue crab cakes and blue crab sandwiches. There's more. If you ask any of the locals where to find the best crab cake or crab cake sandwich, you'll find they are fiercely loyal to their favorite place (and be prepared to listen, because they are...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Secret Sauce for Maryland-Style Crab Cakes ~"

08/12/2018

~ Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce ~

I like salsa fresca (uncooked salsa) as much as the next person, but, when I'm making huevos rancheros (ranch-style eggs) for breakfast or brunch, or, a Mexican-style drowned torta (a sandwich drenched in sauce) for lunch or dinner, I make an all-purpose Mexican-style sauce with a thick, semi-chunky consistency and a smokey, spicy, complex flavor, meaning: a cooked sauce that can be served hot or warm. My 15-20 minute quick-to-make sauce uses on-hand pantry and refrigerator staples. Why? Tick, tock. The people I know wake up hungry -- they don't want to wait or watch me stand around simmering sauce,...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce ~"

08/07/2018

~Simply Irresistible: Sweet Heat Thai Red Chili Sauce~

Simply irresistible indeed. This is perhaps my favorite of all the Thai-style condiments I use for dipping and drizzling. Next to spicy and slightly-salty peanut sauce, I could and do put it on and add it to almost anything Thai. I got my first taste of sweet and hot Thai chili sauce (Mae Ploy) back in the 1990's and it rocked my food world. That's why there's always sweet chili sauce in my refrigerator, and, I won't lie, it's often store-bought. That said, sweet chili sauce is not hard to make. If you're a purist, or simply curious, you should...... View full recipe for "~Simply Irresistible: Sweet Heat Thai Red Chili Sauce~"

07/25/2018

~ My Basic Thai Marinade for Grilled Poultry or Pork ~

For those who love Thai food, your search for an all-purpose marinade and method of cooking some chicken or pork, to bring the bold flavors of Thailand to your American dinner tables without consuming too much time, muss or fuss, is over. Fact: When it comes to our food, just when we should slow down, relax and make more time for our family and friends, we Americans always seem to be in a hurry. While "eat and run" is not my style, this is my "go to" marinade, which produces succulent, full-throttle Thai-flavored chicken or pork, relatively quickly. It's perfect...... View full recipe for "~ My Basic Thai Marinade for Grilled Poultry or Pork ~"

07/02/2018

~ Creamy, Garlicy & Peppery Caesar-Style Dressing ~

I've heard it said that a restaurant is only as good as its Caesar salad and a Caesar salad is only as good as its dressing. A few decades ago, back in the 1970's, '80's and '90's, when people still had an appreciation for the snobbery of an elegant restaurant, that was true, and no one enjoyed the fanfare of watching a black-tied waiter prepare my Caesar salad, to my liking, at tableside, more than me. If a Caesar salad was on a restaurant menu, I ordered it. Nowadays -- not so much. In our present-day Olive Garden, Carrabba's atmosphere,...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy, Garlicy & Peppery Caesar-Style Dressing ~"

06/28/2018

~ Simply-Scrumptious 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sauce ~

Strawberry sauce. Drizzled on pancakes or waffles for breakfast, atop strawberry ice cream for dessert, or, used to flavor a strawberry milkshake, it's hard to find a person that doesn't love this sweet condiment. I'm not here to tell you it's hard or time-consuming to make strawberry topping from scratch -- it's not. That said, it can be made even easier without any compromise to the end result. As we all know, sometimes there simply aren't even enough minutes in the day to make everything completely from scratch. I am here to tell you, if you've got store-bought or homemade...... View full recipe for "~ Simply-Scrumptious 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sauce ~"

06/07/2018

~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~

The definition of a stir-fry is straightforward: To fry small morsels of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and/or vegetables rapidly, in a wok or skillet, over a high heat, in a small amount of oil or fat, while stirring constantly. The concept is an easy one to grasp. Stir-fries were invented by the Chinese, but, it was Chinese Cantonese chefs, who specialized in stir-frying, that were amongst the first to immigrate to other Asian and European countries, our USA, then countries all around the world, where, over a relatively short period of time, they put the word stir-fry in the global...... View full recipe for "~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~"

05/17/2018

~ Is there a Perfect Condiment for Sweet Potato Fries ~

No and yes. Like the classic French fry, the perfectly-cooked sweet potato fry, with its crispy exterior and creamy interior, in an oddly chameleon-esque fashion, pairs well with almost anything that qualifies as a condiment-like dip or a vinegary sauce. In my food world, sweet potato fries are also the ultimate side-dish to pork chops, ribs, and pulled-pork sandwiches. Also, the flavorful sweet potato more-than-holds-its-own against any of the bold barbecue sauces used to complement porcine. All that said, when I get a hankering to eat a small batch of sweet potato fries, all by themselves, just for their flavor...... View full recipe for "~ Is there a Perfect Condiment for Sweet Potato Fries ~"

04/28/2018

~ Ahogada Sauce for Mexican Drowned Sandwiches ~

In Spanish, "ahogada" means "drowned", "drenched" or "drunk". Culinarily it refers to a super-spicy, tawny-red sauce that gets poured over Mexican-style chopped, sliced or shredded, beef, pork, chicken or shrimp "tortas" ("sandwiches"). The working-mans-lunch is served on a semi-firm bolillo roll, in a bowl, "bien ahogada", "well drowned" (immersed end-to-end). It has the reputation of curing the common cold or a bad hangover, and, is believed to be a way to sweat-out an infection too. For those who can't handle the heat, the sandwich can be ordered "media" ("medium"), with a higher ratio of tomato sauce added to tame the...... View full recipe for "~ Ahogada Sauce for Mexican Drowned Sandwiches ~"

04/26/2018

~ A Basic Mexican Marinade for Beef, Pork or Poultry ~

As a fan of Mexican-Texican food, I find myself improvising occasionally. Not, of course, when I'm preparing one of their many classic dishes (like low and slow roasted pork carnitas or tacos al pastor) -- they require specific ingredients and a traditional method of cooking. Improvisation enters my food world when I'm preparing one of my flash-in-the pan meals (a meal where the protein gets quickly grilled, grill-panned, pan-seared or broiled). This all-purpose marinade, which contains many flavors basic to Mexican-Texican fare, is my secret to imparting that all-important extra-layer of flavor into into my meal -- without overpowering it...... View full recipe for "~ A Basic Mexican Marinade for Beef, Pork or Poultry ~"

04/15/2018

~Tangy-Sweet Strawberry White-Balsamic Vinaigrette~

Strawberries are no stranger to salads -- spinach and strawberry salads with poppyseed dressing were trendy on restaurant menus in the 1970's. Those salads caused me to experiment with strawberries, when appropriate, in place of tomatoes, in salad recipes using a variety of other greens and proteins too. It was only natural that I would experiment with sweet and savory salad dressings containing strawberries too. This vinaigrette recipe is the one that captured my strawberry loving heart. My Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad (pictured in the background), is not only perfect for Spring, it's dazzling dressed with this vinaigrette:...... View full recipe for "~Tangy-Sweet Strawberry White-Balsamic Vinaigrette~"

03/30/2018

~Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat~

An all-purpose gravy that goes well on almost anything? You betcha. One basic recipe, made with a few pantry staples, and, in a few minutes (tick, tock), voila: a great gravy that carnivores and vegetarians can sit down to enjoy, together, in harmony. Yes indeedy, sans pan drippings, a luxurious gravy to drizzle over all things gravy goes on: chicken-fried or smothered anything, meatloaf or hamburger steaks, open-faced bread-, biscuit- or waffle- sandwiches, French fries or poutine, rice or noodles, steamed or roasted vegetables, etc., etc., etc. Read on: Got drippings leftover from a roast? Add them along w/the stock....... View full recipe for "~Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat~"

03/17/2018

~Fresh vs. Canned: How Pineapple Reacts w/Protein~

It's natural to assume fresh fruit is better than canned, and, if you're eating fresh pineapple, fresh not only tastes better, it is indeed better for you and your digestive system. That said, nothing is more disheartening than taking the time to prepare a marinade for your favorite protein made from fresh pineapple juice, or, folding a cup or two of diced pineapple into a favorite casserole and have the protein rendered mushy. The cause is an enzyme found in fresh-cut pineapple. No matter how you slice it, dice it, or hollow it out: Why did my marinated meat (poultry,...... View full recipe for "~Fresh vs. Canned: How Pineapple Reacts w/Protein~"