Archive for the ‘condiments’ Category

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hot and sweet plum chutney

August 15, 2019

Nigel Slater’s plum chutney is just what plum season needs. If plum and mustard sounds like a weird combination, think of it kind of like a peach salsa – sour, sweet, hot, and flavorful.

1 1/2 pounds plums
12 ounces onions
a generous 3/4 cup raisins
1 cup light muscovado sugar (I cut this quite a bit)
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chile (or more if you like it hot!)
1 teaspoon salt (I cut this by at least half and it was fine)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup malt vinegar
1 cinnamon stick

1. Halve the plums and discard the pits. Peel and coarsely chop the onions. Put the fruit and onions into a large stainless steel or enameled pan with the raisins, sugar, chile, salt, mustard seeds, vinegars, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and leave to simmer for an hour, giving the occasional stir to reduce the risk of the chutney sticking.

2. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal.

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from Nigel Slater via seriouseats

Thought it was just okay… until the next day. After sitting in the fridge for 24 hours, the flavors melded together and I ended up eating it on everything from eggs to chicken. Adds that perfect kick of flavor to almost anything. Next time, I’ll add more chili and turn it into more of a hot sauce! I’d also like to try it blended, although I’m not sure you can still call it chutney without the chunky-but-mushy texture. Y’all know I still prefer a fermented condiment, like cortido, or a Chinese-style hot chili oil, but this is among my favorite vinegar-based condiments. If you like chutney, check out my favorite peanut mint chutney, or this traditional tomato chutney.

Substitutions? I chose some very acidic plums, but it still didn’t need the whole cup of sugar. If you’re using a sweeter fruit, you might not need more than a pinch of sugar. I couldn’t find malt vinegar, so I used about a cup of apple cider vinegar with a splash of unseasoned rice vinegar. & there’s no way this small batch of chutney needs an entire teaspoon of salt. Otherwise, followed it surprisingly closely, and – yes – I recommend it!

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blistered peanut-coconut asparagus

June 24, 2019

“Blistering” asparagus is just cooking it over a wildly high heat. Why is this important? Ever tried to bake asparagus low and slow? Asparagus cooked on a low heat gets sickly pale, mushy, and sad. Don’t take my word for it – everyone from Tyler Florence to Bon Appetit to the Barefoot Contessa to Food & Wine Magazine suggests bumping up the temp to at least 400.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 oz. asparagus, trimmed

1 Fresno chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
2 Tbsp. crushed salted, dry-roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp. toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
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Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
Cook asparagus, tossing often, until stalks are bright green, blistered in spots, and tender, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and transfer to a platter.

Stir chile, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, sesame oil, and ginger in a small bowl to combine.
Mix in peanuts and coconut and spoon over asparagus.

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recipe by Claire Saffitz
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I usually roast asparagus on 425 or 450. This recipe called for pan-roasting on the stove, but I bought a whole sheet pans’ worth at the farmers market and didn’t want to bother cooking it in batches over the stove. So I tried to replicate the high heat of a skillet by bumping up the temperature to 500. The middle stayed crunchy, while the outside went all crispy and blistered. It did actually form small blisters on the skin of the asparagus! Definitely my new favorite temperature for roasting asparagus.

As far as the peanut-coconut topping, it was definitely good, but I’ll never make it with springtime asparagus again. Why? Spring asparagus tastes PERFECT by itself. A little olive oil and I’m satisfied. Why conceal the flavor of the vegetable with ginger and other strong flavors? Spring asparagus is sweet enough without honey. Adding this recipe to the “condiments” tag so that I remember to make this peanut-coconut mixture to top something like orange zest rice pilaf, or miso-glazed fish.

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laghataq (vegan eggplant, tomato, and pepper dip from afghanistan)

January 4, 2019

one whole eggplant
one red bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes

2 cloves garlic
1 T whole cumin seed
1 T whole coriander seed
1 t paprika
pinch of garlic powder

1 T tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

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preheat oven to 300

roast eggplant whole on 425 in skin. strip and discard some skin and anything burnt, and slice eggplant into rounds. place on baking sheet in one layer.

separately, toast coriander and cumin in dry frying pan. grind. grab your blender and add the ground cumin/coriander, a small can of tomato sauce, 1 T tomato paste, 2 whole cloves garlic, lots of olive oil (to taste,) and a pinch of garlic powder.

back to the baking sheet. layer sliced pepper and tomatoes on top of eggplant. top with sauce.

bake 1.5 to 2 hrs, or until eggplant is soft.

let eggplant cool. add everything to blender and pulse until chunky but not pureed.

top with plain, unsweetened yogurt with a little garlic powder and salt mixed in.

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recipe adapted from Humaira’s recipe at Afghan Culture Unveiled – adaptation by friedsig

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This was a little disappointing. I felt it could really benefit from lemon juice or vinegar, or something else acidic to cut the bitterness of the eggplant and the tinned tomato sauce flavor. I cut the tomato sauce from a regular can to a small can because I’m trying to eat low-sodium now, and added a bit more olive oil. Hard to imagine this dish with any more tomato sauce – it was extremely tomatoey. It tasted more like a mildly seasoned spaghetti sauce than a dip or an eggplant dish. I used a good quality Palestinian olive oil, but if you only have supermarket olive oil, you may want to skip this recipe, as a ton of the flavor comes from the olive oil. I also cut the cumin and coriander from a tablespoon of ground spices to a tablespoon of whole spices toasted and then ground, because it seemed a bit excessive, but maybe using the whole amount would help cut some of the aluminum can flavor.

Reminds me a lot of Mughlai-style eggplant from India, but lighter without the ghee and heavy cream.

My other tomato paste and eggplant recipe is Georgian-style eggplant stuffed with carrots and parsnips, but laghataq is less sweet without the carrots and parsnips. I think I’d still recommend the Georgian-style dish over this one if you wanted something healthy and interesting and very different from a tomato sauce. You could also serve as a dip with fresh pita, crackers, raw carrots and other veggies, or whatever you like – but I far preferred this as a tomato sauce than as a dip. For my tastes, this laghataq is not exactly a dip. However, if you are looking for a really unique spaghetti sauce, or a tomato sauce to eat with grits, or something to flavor white beans or okra, or something different for an egg dish like shakshouka, or something to freeze and bring down for chicken parmigiana, try this laghataq!

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tarragon mustard citrus butter

July 8, 2018

Lots of tarragon in your garden? This takes less than five minutes to come together, with no cooking or blending required, and you’ll thank yourself for having this in the house.

Chop tarragon finely.
Add whole-grain or dijon mustard.
Add some lemon zest.
Add all ingredients to room-temperature butter.
Mix well – you can use a blender, but can be blended easily by hand.

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from tastemade

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I didn’t measure – used about 3 T of butter to about a half-teaspoon of mustard, the zest of about half a lemon, and a maybe a tablespoon of chopped tarragon. One of my favorite compound butters by far. Complicated flavor. I loved it with whole-grain horseradish mustard. Can’t wait to try this with chicken. I expect this to become one of my new favorites.

So far, it’s amazing:

– brushed onto corn
– fresh tomato and tarragon mustard butter sandwiches
– fresh radish and tarragon mustard butter sandwiches

I was always more into infused oils, like  la jiao jiang (hot pepper oil) – but this might be converting me to the world of compound butter. What is your favorite compound butter?

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healthy arugula and sunflower seed vegan sandwich spread

May 3, 2018

i have been on a sandwich kick lately, since i have been baking bread for the first time in a while.

i tried this recipe from leanjumpstart for a cress and sunflower seed sandwich spread.

the recipe calls for:
a splash of water
about a cup of sunflower seeds
a tablespoon of lemon juice
a “bed” of cress
pepper to taste

mixed in a blender and ready to eat.

my recipe:
i added a cup of sunflower seeds, a splash of water, and a ton of lemon juice. then i added a few handfuls of locally grown arugula, because there was no cress at the co-op.

things it’s been amazing in so far:
– tastes like pesto when added to tomato sauce
– tastes creamy on a sandwich with tomatoes and goat cheese and a little mayo-based sandwich spread (mayo, fresh lemon juice, steak seasoning, roasted garlic, a splash of worcestershire, and horseradish mustard) and it was great
– tastes like sour pine nuts mixed into hummus or used as a dip

on its own, it tastes like sour sunflower butter, so it seems like a great way for vegans and athletes and dieters to get some extra protein and a nice kick of sour flavor.

ideas i had for it?
– sandwich spread with roasted red peppers
– caprese sandwich with tomatoes and basil, or goat cheese
– spread on bread with sharp cheddar for grilled cheese
– scooped onto a salad in clumps, like vegan ricotta, on a salad with nuts and dried fruit
– creamed up and added to coconut vegan yogurt, it would make an unbelievable vegan dipping sauce for spicy vegetables
– as a savory note added to some vegan sauce

if you want the world’s creamiest texture you may need an expensive (or at least effective) blender, but a used cheap blender makes a nice texture, partially crunchy and partially creamy, thicker than thick store-bought hummus, which some might find meaty and fun and others might find annoying and seedy. for a vegan sandwich i think the texture it adds is really interesting. i like it. i like it a lot more than i thought i would, and i have been putting it in everything.

as a meat eater i think it would go great with chicken salad with spinach, green apple, and dill on a sweet whole wheat bread.

thanks to leanjumpstart: simply clean eating habits to get in shape for your recipe “garden cress sunflower seeds spread”

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chinese sesame paste dressing

January 9, 2017

trying to get some vegetables back into my diet… salads last week with marinated mushrooms and balsamic vinaigrette were great, so this week maybe i’ll toss some cucumbers and radishes in this for lunch.

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this recipe is from the book phoenix claws and jade trees by kian lam kho

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2 T chinese toasted sesame paste* + 2 T water
1 t toasted sesame oil
1 t chile oil (optional)
1 t white rice vinegar
1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar

stir together and let sit at least ten minutes before using

* = i don’t have this but omnivore’s cookbook suggested 1 part tahini, 1 part peanut butter, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil as a substitution

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modified from the highly recommended cookbook phoenix claws and jade trees by kian lam kho

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fantastic – fast and easy peanut sauce with a great sesame flavor

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beet-walnut dip

February 14, 2016

this recipe from prairierth farm is really similar to binnur’s turkish walnut and hazelnut yogurt dip posted in the early days of this blog. i never tried making it, and forgot about it.

then yesterday, someone from the farm sampled this out, with carrot and kohlrabi to dip. it was well worth the trip. the dip is absolutely phenomenal. a clutch of people lingered by the sample table, staring wistfully at this pink stuff like they were smitten. part of the reason it was so amazing was that all the ingredients were farm-fresh. part of the reason it was so amazing is that this is made of some of my favorite foods!

1 lb beets (4 smallish,) scrubbed
1 c walnuts
1 clove smashed and peeled garlic
3 t sherry vinegar or lemon juice
a few fresh herb leaves, such as marjoram or thyme (optional)
1.5 t kosher salt, or half as much table salt
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c greek yogurt

boil beets, covered, turn down heat, and simmer til tender, 20-45 min. peel beets.

toast walnuts on the stovetop or at 350 for 5 min

grab your food processor. add peeled beets, garlic, walnuts, vinegar/lemon juice, herbs, and salt.

with motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and yogurt.taste for salt and tang.

dip anything in it – carrots, kohlrabi, crackers, apples, whatever you like.

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thanks to PrairiErth Farm in central illinois for the recipe!