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

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~"

03/07/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my American kitchen, my family affectionately refers to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using sweet chili sauce in conjunction w/the right ratio of other Thai staples renders a vinaigrette no store brand can compete with....... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

03/05/2018

~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my kitchen, we affectionately refer to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using it in conjunction with the right ratio of other Thai pantry staples renders a vinaigrette no store-bought brand can compete with. A salad...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

11/25/2017

~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~

The modern-day Mornay sauce we enjoy is a béchamel sauce (a classic, French roux-based cream sauce, not to mention the last of the original, five French mother sauces to be invented). Shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheeses get melted into the béchamel at the end. I like to refer to this easy-to-prepare "secondary sauce" ("a spin-off" of one of the originals) as: "the mother of all cheese sauces." That said, named after the Duke of Mornay (who lived during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries), the sauce was originally prepared using a velouté sauce (a slightly-thinner, stock-based sauce thickened...... View full recipe for "~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~"

10/20/2017

~ Citrusy, Garlicky & Herbaceous: Cuban-Style Mojo ~

My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. "Mojo (MOH-hoh)" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, throughout the Caribbean, depending on where you are in the Caribbean, this sauce, from place to place, is very different. In Cuban cooking, it's a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and Seville (bitter/sour) orange juice. Thanks to great recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks I purchased in Florida, I've very-happily been able to bring the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen: Mojo is a common marinade...... View full recipe for "~ Citrusy, Garlicky & Herbaceous: Cuban-Style Mojo ~"

10/09/2017

~ Quick & Easy Bread & Butter Refrigerator Pickles ~

When I was a kid, during the late Summer and Fall, my grandmother, my great aunt, and my mother used to can -- a lot. There were days when one of their respective kitchens was filled with boxes of fresh fruits or vegetables and huge pots, and, the dining room table was lined with neat rows of freshly-sterilized mason jars -- dozens and dozens of them. They'd start at sunrise and wouldn't stop until each one of those jars was filled. I enjoyed those nights, snuggled in my bed, forcing myself to stay awake to hear "the pop" of each...... View full recipe for "~ Quick & Easy Bread & Butter Refrigerator Pickles ~"

09/18/2017

~ Balsamic Mayonnaise: The Other Italian Dressing ~

We all have our quirks. I'm no exception. Today's example: I love Italian dressing, but I don't love creamy Italian dressing. I don't love Balsamic dressing, but I do love creamy balsamic dressing -- especially if it is mayonnaise-based. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike creamy Italian or regular balsamic dressings, I simply have my (quirky) preferences. While I often make my own, like most folks, for convenience sake, store-bought dressings have earned a place in my kitchen. There is always a bottle of Wishbone Light Italian dressing on the door of my refrigerator, and, for a time, I...... View full recipe for "~ Balsamic Mayonnaise: The Other Italian Dressing ~"

09/07/2017

~ Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing ~

Honey mustard. It's one of the simplest condiments in the food world to make, and, I bow to the mustard makers that invented it. In my kitchen, I use it as a salad dressing, a sandwich spread, a dip for vegetables, and occasionally, a glaze for baked ham. In the '80's, when my kids were in elementary school, there was always a jar of it on my refrigerator door. When we were traveling, if an eatery had chicken tenders and honey-mustard sauce on their list of menu options, my three boys were happy campers -- given the choice, all three...... View full recipe for "~ Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing ~"

08/06/2017

~ New Mexico's Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce ~

Red or green? That's the question you'll be asked in every New Mexican restaurant. In fact, New Mexico is the only state in the USA that has an official state question: "Red or Green?" I learned that on my first trip through New Mexico, and, I was further told, "if you're not asked this question in a New Mexican restaurant, you're not eating New Mexican food." While many of us out-of-staters (who love our Mexican and Texican fare) generically refer to this type of red or green chile pepper- or powder-based sauce as "enchilada sauce", and, mistakenly assume it's reserved...... View full recipe for "~ New Mexico's Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce ~"

07/31/2017

~ Spicy Avocado Crema: Avocado, Crema & Sriracha ~

If you like guacamole and crema Mexicana with or on your nachos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, etc., whirring the two together in a food processor, along with a bit of Sriracha sauce to give it some cha-cha-cha, creates a creamy-dreamy condiment you'll be craving on a regular basis. It's luxuriously smooth, refreshingly cool, and, there's just enough vinegary spice in the Sriracha to make it addictively interesting. While Mexican crema is becoming easier to find, in the event your grocery store doesn't carry it, feel free substitute crème fraîche or sour cream. I whip avocado crema up in small batches, in...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Avocado Crema: Avocado, Crema & Sriracha ~"

07/21/2017

~ Easy New Mexico-Style Red Chile Enchilada Sauce~

I'm not proclaiming this recipe "easy" because I have an easy or easier version of a hard recipe. I'm telling you it's "easy" because: it is easy. It's so easy, I don't understand why anyone who loves enchiladas with red sauce would purchase any of the brand name enchilada sauces (and there are plenty to choose from) -- unless they don't realize how easy red enchilada sauce is to make. I know, because for a number of years I bounced around from label to label, sampling store-bought brands, trying to find "the one just for me" in which "the spice...... View full recipe for "~ Easy New Mexico-Style Red Chile Enchilada Sauce~"

07/16/2017

~ Strawberry Chicken & Biscuits w/Strawberry Mayo ~

Over a period of five-six years, Joe and I had occasion to be in the San Diego area once or twice a year, and, on a few of those trips, we had the pleasure of spending time at the La Costa Resort & Spa. Along with all of the amenities and services one would expect to find at a resort and a spa, they specialized in and excelled at serving lighter and healthier cuisine without being imposing. On one visit there, I encountered a refreshingly-fruity strawberry-mayo concoction that showed up in a tossed strawberry chicken salad with bitty bits of...... View full recipe for "~ Strawberry Chicken & Biscuits w/Strawberry Mayo ~"

07/14/2017

~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~

Mayonnaise. As a gal who loves deli-, tuna- and egg-salad sandwiches, I am never too far from my mayo. During the picnic and tailgate season, when side-dishes like macaroni salad, potato salad, cole slaw and deviled eggs reign supreme, I purchase bigger jars, in two-packs. When our garden tomatoes are ripe, I could (and will) eat a freshly-picked sliced-tomato sandwich, on white bread, with a big slather of mayonnaise, every day. There's more. I can't imagine my life without mayonnaise-based tartar and remoulade sauces in it, or, oh my Thousand Islands salad dressing, and, I'm very proficient at making homemade...... View full recipe for "~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~"

07/11/2017

~ Sweet, Savory & Spicy: Rhubarb-Ginger Chutney ~

Besides a store-bought jar of the beloved Major Grey's mango chutney, which I have on hand in my refrigerator at all times, in the Fall and Winter you will find a container of my homemade apple chutney, and, in the Spring and Summer, you will find a jar of my rhubarb-ginger chutney. I make each one, once a year, every year, and freeze it in small containers so I'm never without this very-versatile sweet, savory and slightly-spicy flavor-boosting condiment -- it is a staple in my kitchen. When I first encountered chutney, I was a young adult and it was...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet, Savory & Spicy: Rhubarb-Ginger Chutney ~"

06/23/2017

~ Simple & Sweet: Homemade Strawberry Topping ~

Strawberries, one of the first fruits to ripen in the Spring, are considered to be the fruit that announces "Summer is here", and, here in Central Pennsylvania, we've been enjoying our own homegrown and locally-grown farmers-market strawberries for a couple of weeks now. From pancakes, waffles and French toast, to cheesecake, shortcake and ice-cream (to name a few), the 20-30 minutes it takes to make strawberry topping is well-worth the effort. It's luscious. Those who scratch-make this pretty-to-look-at positively-yummy tart-and-sweet topping make it to their own liking. Some folks hull and toss the berries in whole, then after it has...... View full recipe for "~ Simple & Sweet: Homemade Strawberry Topping ~"

05/12/2017

~ Easy Chinese Dipping Sauce for Dumplings & Such ~

An easy, all-purpose dipping sauce for dumplings and such. If you love Chinese dim sum, you know the one. It sits alongside the shumai (steamed dumplings), jiaozi (potstickers) and congyoubing (scallion pancakes) -- small-bite, appetizer-type items made with Chinese hot water dough. It's light, bright, bold and well-balanced -- slightly salty from soy sauce, pleasingly sweet from sugar, and, pungent from rice vinegar. Hints of ginger and/or garlic and a splash of sesame are easily identified. There are usually a few thin-sliced scallions floating around in it, and, sometimes, a minced hot pepper is added to heat things up. If...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Chinese Dipping Sauce for Dumplings & Such ~"

04/20/2017

~ Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad ~

Fresh, feathery and fragile dill "leaves" or "weed". It's a bit early for it to be available to me in my Central PA garden, but: big, beautiful bunches of it are showing up in my grocery stores. In Eastern European kitchens everywhere, dill, along with chives, mint and/or parsley, are commonly used to flavor all sorts of heritage dishes: fish (like salmon or sturgeon), various soups (notably red or white borscht), many vegetables (especially carrots or potatoes), and, classic dill pickles (or anything that can be pickled). The sweet, subtle flavor of dill is delightful in many of our ethnic...... View full recipe for "~ Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad ~"

02/28/2017

~ What the Heck are Capers & Non-Pariel Capers? ~

Culinarily speaking, capers are a small, round, dark-green condiment pickled in a salty brine. Similar to green olives, the curing process brings out their tangy, pungent, lemony flavor which pops in your mouth. Technically, they are the flower buds of the shrubby caper bush (Capparis spinosa), which grows in and around regions of the Meditterranean. The buds are picked before they flower, dried in the sun, and then packed in salt. It's a labor-intensive process, as they can only be harvested by hand. The buds range in size from that of a tiny baby pea to that of a small...... View full recipe for "~ What the Heck are Capers & Non-Pariel Capers? ~"

02/22/2017

~ Pretty in Pink: Thousand Islands Salad Dressing ~

No matter how easy or complicated, recipes that have a history or a lore are always on my short list of blog posts to share because, for me, they are the most fun to write. They fascinate me. I'd like to think that, like myself, if one knows the story, it's more fun to prepare and eat the dish. Let me explain it this way: Part of the fun of eating a Caesar Salad or a Toll House cookie is pondering what part of their story is documented fact, romantic fiction or a combination of both. Growing up in the...... View full recipe for "~ Pretty in Pink: Thousand Islands Salad Dressing ~"

02/17/2017

~ In the Beginning: Demystifying Basic Vinaigrettes ~

I have no idea who prepared the first salad -- no one does. Whoever it was, I'm guessing it was an accident, and more likely than not, as a result of hunger. Gathered from fields, around streams and in wooded areas, a mixture of wild greens, an herb or two, wild mushrooms, flowers and a some berries and/or seeds would surely satisfy the appetite. As time passed, a pinch of salt got added. A little later, a squirt of citrus, then a splash of vinegar. Last to the party: oil. Yes indeed, he or she was definitely onto something. That...... View full recipe for "~ In the Beginning: Demystifying Basic Vinaigrettes ~"

11/12/2016

~ Plain, Simple & Unpretentious Basic White Sauce ~

Melted butter, flour and hot milk. Whisk it all together with some salt and pepper to taste, simmer it for a few short minutes and you've got basic white sauce. It's one of the things I learned to make "way back when" in Home Economics, and, the recipe the teacher used was out of a 1960's or '70's edition of the The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which was kept on a shelf along with a few of her other favorites of the time (The Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, etc.). < On page 274 of this 1974 edition, Fannie Farmer...... View full recipe for "~ Plain, Simple & Unpretentious Basic White Sauce ~"

11/05/2016

~ PA Deutsch (Dutch) Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing~

If you live in or around a region in Pennsylvania (and other surrounding states too) influenced by a Pennsylvania Deutsch community, you know all about this drizzly, creamy-yellow, sweet and sour, onion-and-celery-laced oil-based salad dressing. So as to avoid any confusion, it is different from Amish sweet & sour salad dressing, which is a thicker, similarly-flavored mayonnaise- or salad-dressing-based concoction (Miracle Whip is referred to as "salad dressing" in Amish country). How do I know this stuff? I've lived my entire life in Pennsylvania (I grew up near Pennsylvania Deutsch country and currently live near Amish country). You say Pennsylvania...... View full recipe for "~ PA Deutsch (Dutch) Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing~"

10/20/2016

~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~

Wander into a bar -- any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. 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 melted butter sauce. They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and either blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling. You will most likely be asked to specify if you want your wings coated in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce is a classic concoction. Read on: Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~"

08/23/2016

~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~

It is salad season. From the end of July through the end of September, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, all sorts of herbs (and a host of other vegetables) get picked daily, right in my own backyard. Rare is the day some sort of salad or crudités isn't on our table for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It's simply appropriate that a salad composed of the freshest, homegrown ingredients get enhanced by an equally bright and bold scratch-made dressing. A quick scroll through Category 8 (Condiments, Sauces & Gravies) here on Kitchen Encounters will reveal many of my favorite salad...... View full recipe for "~ Jalapeno, Cilantro, Lime & Yogurt Salad Dressing ~"

07/25/2016

~ Peachy Keen Barbecue Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~

Peach cobbler, peach pie, peach melba, peach shortcake, peach ice cream -- peachy keen. A perfectly-ripe peach is the apple of everyones eye. Announce that you're serving a fresh peach dessert for dinner and everyone shows up on time. When the peaches on our backyard trees ripen, things in my kitchen move fast for a few days. It's damn-the-torpedos, full-speed-ahead, all-things-peaches. They trickle in at first, pile up at the end, and, after picking, I only have, at best, 24-48 hours to get 'em in their juicy, ripe prime. It's a drippy, sticky, tricky situation. While I like fruit desserts...... View full recipe for "~ Peachy Keen Barbecue Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~"

07/23/2016

~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~

'Tis the season for fresh berries and fruit, and I especially love the fresh fruit and berries Joe grows right here in our backyard. That said, besides apples, fruit and berries don't have a particularly long shelf life. During the first three weeks of July, I've frozen our sour pie cherries and blueberries in 2-pound bags -- enough to make 20 cherry pies and 10 blueberry pies during the upcoming year. These two fruits are easy to freeze, and, they freeze really, really well. Peach freezing is not for me. The end doesn't justify the means. Peaches can be frozen,...... View full recipe for "~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~"