Tag Archives: Condiments

Homemade Spiced Peanut Butter

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Homemade peanut butter is a great alternative to buying it from the store. You can’t get much fresher than grinding up your own peanuts! If you have a food processor you already have everything you need to make your own. This recipe takes it up a notch with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It makes for a great seasonal recipe and goes perfectly with sliced apples. I must confess that the numbers given for the salt, honey and spices are approximate. Feel free to use more less as desired. This recipe is excellent with chocolate and any jam you can think of. Or you can drop all pretense and go to town with a tablespoon. I definitely won’t judge you!
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Three Moroccan Dipping Sauces

saucesTo accompany the batch of Moroccan Chicken Skewers and flat bread I wanted to make a few sauces that would go along with the main courses as well as complement each other.  The three I settled on was a refreshing Mint and Cilantro sauce, spicy Harissa, and a cooling Yogurt Lemon sauce. They complemented the chicken and flat bread and were perfectly balanced with each other.  These different sauces allowed me to play “choose your own adventure” of sorts which made eating fun.  Not only did the types of food and sauces matter in the experience, but the order played a key role in it too (not exactly a new idea in the historical record of food but a fun thing to experience at home by accident).

Since each sauce had a different “purpose” it stands to reason that each sauce affected the other ingredients differently as well.  The easiest comparison to make would be dipping the chicken in the yogurt sauce vs. the harissa sauce.  The yogurt enhanced the lemony flavor of the chicken and helped cool off its spiciness.  The Harissa sauce is made of chilies and instead invigorated the chicken’s spicy seasoning.  This seems obvious now, but I really wasn’t expecting how different the “experiences” would be.  I came to notice that I enjoyed pairing the chicken more with the yogurt and mint sauces, and the flat bread with the harissa.   Later I realized I probably did this to help balance things out a little bit in terms of spiciness.  Although I also spooned generous portions of mint sauce and yogurt sauce on the bread as well so who knows really. This was one of those meals that I had a lot of fun making and eating.  I loved all three sauces and I still can’t decide on a favorite!

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Mango and Cardamom Jam

I wanted to make a really unique tasting recipe for my first experiment with homemade jams. You can make jam without using pectin, but I wanted to give it a try and see what happened. It added a thickness to the jam that was nice. The mango with the cardamom were very tasty together. I left some mango chunks in it for extra texture. It tastes great on toast and even with peanut butter. I look forward to having this with a slice of curried mango bread too!

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Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a common side dish for a lot of different American foods. The ingredients can vary a little bit but at its most basic is a mixture of green cabbage, mayonnaise, and sour cream. I used a squeeze of lemon, but you can also use a little white vinegar for acidity. There are other variations that use celery seed, mustard and red cabbage as well. I liked how it turned out and in the future I might try those other ingredients and compare. I am looking forward to having this with barbeque pulled pork sandwiches!

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Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo, or salsa fresca, is a great condiment for burritos or for dipping. It’s drier than salsa and tastes a lot fresher. It goes great with the chicken fajitas I like to make. With pico it’s all about the quality of the tomatoes so I like to buy them from the farmer’s market or vine-ripened from the grocery.

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Guacamole

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Guacamole is one of my favorite dips! This recipe uses the freshest ingredients and tastes so much better than any kind of store bought guac. I used to make guacamole with store-bought salsa (which is fine) but using fresh ingredients instead improves the flavor so much. I picked up a couple yellow limes from the farmer’s market on friday and they are the best limes to mix in with guacamole. You can use lemons or green limes but these are by far the most flavorful. Most people don’t realize it but green limes are picked when they are not ripe (makes sense right?) Yellow limes, however, are ripe and look a whole lot like lemons on the outside. They are also super great in a gin & tonic. If you see yellow limes at the grocery or farmer’s market, be sure to pick them up. I like guacamole a little chunkier so I chop the onions and tomatoes on the bigger side. For storage, I like to squeeze a little lime on the layer exposed to air, then cover it airtight in saran to prevent browning.

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