Posts tagged ‘sauces & condiments’

kitchen firsts: lime-chile-herb steak tacos + quick pickled onions

There are, again, two kitchen firsts this time around. The first is the making of something pickled! I mean, I guess we made kimchi before, but that hardly seems to be in the same category as these quick red onions. I normally have a pretty so-so reaction to pickled red onions– they strike me as a little slimy and boring, neither a detriment nor an asset to whatever I might eat them with, but these quick pickled ones from America’s Test Kitchen were totally amazing. They had that all-important pickly, briny vinegar flavor, but with just enough sweetness to appeal to people that usually don’t like pickled things. They had a little heat from some jalapeno, but not too much, and they managed to be softened from the pickling liquid but still keep a little bit of crunch! They are so good I could snack on them plain, but I won’t, for the sake of my breath. Also, they are much better on tacos.

The second kitchen first is me deigning to allow a foul, nasty ingredient into my kitchen. Cilantro! Cilantro seems to be a very polarizing ingredient in the food world, and while I’ve heard that you can train your palate to accept cilantro, I have no desire to do so! That is, except for the times that I’m trying to enjoy Mexican or Thai food and cilantro sneaks in to mess up my otherwise delicious meal, or the fact that, despite my undying love for mangos, I have never been able to enjoy a mango salsa due to the ubiquitous sprinkling of cilantro. So actually, maybe it would be in my interest to at least be neutral about cilantro…I guess if anything can accomplish that, it’s these steak tacos.



5 September, 2010 at 1:03 pm 1 comment

seared pork chops with maple, bacon and black pepper sauce

When I first came across this recipe, I was skeptical about putting a maple syrup sauce on top of my pork chop. But then I started playing a mental game of six-degrees-of-culinary-separation, and I thought well, pork – bacon – pepper bacon – maple bacon…sounds like it could work! Throw in some cider vinegar to complement the pork and tame the sweetness of the maple syrup, some shallots and thyme, and you’ve got yourself something endlessly more delicious than ye old plain-jane pork chops of my youth.


12 August, 2010 at 1:50 pm 2 comments

kitchen firsts: homemade horseradish + potato salad

I seem to be on a bit of a condiment kick these days! This week I finally got around to making horseradish from scratch, which had been on my to-try list for quite awhile. I actually already bought and wasted a horseradish root once a few weeks back, but my desire for potato salad with horseradish (scroll to the bottom if you’re in it for the potato salad only!) on the Fourth of July was strong enough to send me to the store for a second root.

I initially had a little trouble motivating myself to take the time (and dirty the food processor) to make something I could buy at the store in a little jar all ready to go. But now that I’ve tried preparing horseradish myself, I have to say that making your own is fun! I totally wouldn’t judge anyone for buying it pre-prepared, and for general purposes I will still be keeping a store-bought jar on hand, but I’ve also learned that it’s really quite quick to make, it tastes fresh, and it packs a real punch (although of course you get to dilute it at your discretion when you cook with it if you don’t want it too spicy). And it keeps for about a month in the fridge so you’ll have time to use it up in all kinds of tasty preparations– I’m including recipes below for how to prepare the root and how to make a delicious creamy horseradish sauce with it (great on sandwiches, steak, or pork), as well as the recipe for my current favorite potato salad with a horsey kick. If you’ve never tried using homemade horseradish in your cooking, I encourage you to give it a try! But of course, if you are not in possession of a horseradish root or inclined to whip out the food processor, both the creamy horseradish sauce and the potato salad can be made with store-bought horseradish. I hope that either way, some horseradish might make its way onto your menu this holiday weekend! Happy Fourth of July!


4 July, 2010 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

kitchen firsts: homemade mayonnaise + bacon deviled eggs

This week I decided to make mayonnaise from scratch for the first time. I’d been meaning to try it for quite awhile, but this week I didn’t have anything else in mind for a kitchen first, and the timing seemed appropriate since I am hoping to audition a few new summery recipes this week that need a little bit of mayonnaise each (potato salad, anyone?). People are always raving about how much better homemade mayonnaise is, and I decided to see for myself.

Oh, and did I mention these bacon deviled eggs? We decided to try them because we had lots of eggs, wanted a snack, and I wanted to do something right away with my fresh mayonnaise, but I realized I’ve never actually made deviled eggs before so I guess I’m getting a double kitchen first out of the deal. Can anyone say no to a deviled egg? This recipe can be made with or without the bacon and is fairly standard, so if you’re look for a meat-free version this can certainly be it. Although really, you can’t ask for a better combination than bacon and eggs (scroll to the bottom if you want to skip to the eggs!).


27 June, 2010 at 10:33 pm 3 comments

kitchen firsts: cucumber kimchi + kimchi fried rice

I hope you will forgive me for going a little Korean crazy these last two weeks. It really would’ve been better to spread the Korean kitchen firsts out a little more over the course of the year, but you see last week I was inspired by the desire to make a tasty burger and the newfound love of gochujang sauce, and then I went to Portland and got an awesome new Korean cookbook at Powell’s and I just couldn’t resist making both the Kimchi Fried Rice and the Cucumber Kimchi right away! Please indulge me, or better yet, jump on board and get some more Korean food into your life!


6 June, 2010 at 5:14 pm 1 comment

kitchen firsts: korean gochujang bbq burgers

This week, despite the totally un-May, un-barbecue weather around here, we decided we were in the mood for some burgers. We found some super cute slider buns at the store, so although I intended to go for a Korean inspired burger that would certainly not qualify as a traditional “slider” (which I gather has a specific composition and way of cooking that shouldn’t be confused with any old miniaturized burger) we decided to go ahead with the mini burgers idea and whip up some awesome Korean condiments to match.


30 May, 2010 at 3:39 pm 2 comments

kitchen firsts: baked falafel with cucumber salad

This week we’ve gone middle eastern (well, westernized middle eastern perhaps) for kitchen firsts to fill in a real gap in my culinary repertoire. That’s right everybody, I have never made falafels before (let alone awesome baked ones). Some of you may consider this a sin, but I was slow to discover the need for a good falafel recipe because I used to think they tasted like sawdust balls. But after eating some really good ones as street food in France and then discovering some even tastier versions of them around here, I’ve finally warmed to the crispy savory deliciousness and come to appreciate the opportunity they provide to eat a really satisfying meatless (nay, vegan!) meal.

Even after I discovered that eating falafels was not so bad, they remained on my no-cook list for quite awhile because I was skeptical about making them myself, what with the trouble and questionable healthfulness of frying the little guys up. Then about a year ago I came across this recipe for baked falafels, and I stored the smart-sounding idea in the back recesses of my mental recipe-log, until this week when we finally made them! And now that I’ve tried them, I can’t believe I waited so long.


2 May, 2010 at 2:45 pm 2 comments

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