Let’s talk condiments

I’ve developed a new-found love of condiments. Deeper than my love for ketchup. They last about a week in the fridge. You can serve them with tacos, carnitas, on vegetables, on chicken, on beef. Anything! They perk up a boring weeknight meal. They especially go well on a grilled hamburger.

Sing with me, while I find my salt and pepper…

Let’s talk about food, baby

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the the good

and bad things that we eat

Let’s talk about food

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CREMA

Crema is a thinner, tangier and slightly saltier sour cream. It’s simple and delicious.

1 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Whisk the sour cream and heavy cream together, in a large bowl. Add the salt and lime juice and whisk some more. I like a little more lime juice. I like to use a glass bowl when I make condiments. Glass doesn’t absorb odors. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for at least two hours. It will start to thicken. You can use it right away or put it in a jar or container to be stored in the refrigerator. I think it tastes better the next day. This should keep in your refrigerator for a week. Try it. You’ll like it!

PICKLED ONIONS

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 medium red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup water

In a small bowl, preferably glass, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and water until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the sliced onions in a glass jar or other container. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions. I like to cut my onion in half from root to tip.  Peel off the outer layer. Lay on the flat side and thinly slice half moon shaped onion slices. It’s hard to slice a whole onion.  It’s easier to slice the halved onion. Trust me.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. I like to make these the day before. The onions lose their sharp, sometimes bitter taste. They are soft and delicious. You can put them in a salad, on a hamburger, in an enchilada, use your imagination. They are a flavor booster!

TOUM (GARLICE SAUCE)

Toum is a pungent sauce, or condiment, loaded with raw garlic. It’s amazing. It’s smooth and fluffy. It goes great with roasted potatoes, vegetables, just about anything. If you are uncertain, make half the recipe. It makes a lot of garlic sauce. You will need a food processor to fully emulsify. Make this for your garlic loving friends!

1 cup whole garlic cloves, peeled, green ends cut off

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 cups grapeseed oil

1/4 cup ice water

Do not buy pre-peeled garlic. Buy two cloves and do it your self. He are some suggested methods of peeling garlic.

Place the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Add the salt and pulse for 10 seconds, pausing to scrape down the sides, until the garlic is finely minced. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and continue processing until a paste begins to form. Add another tablespoons of lemon juice and process until completely smooth and slightly fluffy.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil in a very thin stream, followed by 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Continue the process, alternating 1/2 cup of the oil with 1 tablespoon of ice water, until all of the oil and ice water have been incorporated.  Transfer the garlic sauce to a container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

 

 

Roasted Chicken Provencal on rice….that’s nice!

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Bless the New York Times Food Section. There are so many recipes that are simple and delicious. Recipes that don’t call for bizarre ingredients that you will NEVER use again. Recipes that don’t require odd pans that will collect dust from lack of use. This is one of those recipes. I start judging a recipe by the individual ingredients. Do I like the ingredient flavors on their own? This has lemon, garlic and shallots with vermouth. Yes. Yes. Yes…..and YES! Then I look at the cooking method. You put the ingredients in a pan and roast them. No browning. You can do this! Now I won’t lie; it takes about 1 ½ hours from start to devour. It takes a bit to assemble, but none of the steps are difficult.  Let’s cook.

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

½ cup of all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. herbes de Provence

2 lemons, quartered

10 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole

6 medium –size shallots, peeled and halved

2/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine

 

Step 1

Heat oven to 400 degrees. It’s important to make sure your oven is really this temperature. I always use an oven thermometer. You need this heat to crisp up the chicken skins. So, oven temperature. Check. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan or bowl. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, on both sides. Shake off the excess flour.

Step 2

Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan, and place the floured chicken in it. I didn’t measure the oil. I eyeballed it. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around the chicken. Tuck them here. Tuck them there. Tuck them, tuck them everywhere. Add the vermouth to the pan. Step back. Just imagine how this will smell in a short time.

Step 3

Put the pan in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Baste it with the pan juices. If you find there isn’t much pan juice, add a little more vermouth or chicken stock. You want the pan juices to go half-way up the chicken. You don’t want it submerged, but immersed. The skins need to be dry to crisp up. Continue roasting for another 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat cooked through.

Step 4

Serve in this on a bed of rice with a side of salad. Eat it slowly and enjoy the mellowed, softened flavors of garlic, shallots and lemons. So easy. So delicious! Enjoy!

 

Here’s the original recipe.

Note: I’ve made it with white wine and it is preferred by some of the family. The vermouth had a strong after taste for some.