Food For Thought: Surprise Yourself and Others – Get Sauced!!
Why will these sauces, dressings and condiments surprise you? Because you can make some in a flash, use them in different meals, and give up many of those bottled sauces sitting on your refrigerator door. I use the words condiments and sauces interchangeably here, and dressings aren’t just for salads.
[Foodie Tip: Condiment: Latin condimentum, meaning “spice, seasoning, sauce” and from the Latin condere, meaning “preserve, pickle, season.” Wikipedia]
“Clean up your condiments! Commercially prepared condiments are typically a mixture of low-quality, genetically engineered ingredients, chemical preservatives, fillers and taste and texture enhancers that have potential health risks. Fortunately, making your own isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.” – Mercola.com.
Some condiments give a particular flavor, or complement the dish in a particular way. The term originally described pickled or preserved foods, but has shifted in meaning over time. An example is a sandwich or wrap made with ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Some condiments, sauces and dressings are used during cooking to add flavor or texture to food. And then there are garlic and chili oils! We often use condiments like tamari (soy sauce), aminos, and vinegars as condiments or add them to other ingredients to make a sauce or dressing. Some condiments actually get better with time because they are cultured.
When preparing for this piece, I became excited and overwhelmed with the number of options I might present to you. The list of possible condiments, sauces, and dressings is very long, so we are only exploring a few here. There are truly many different recipes that can make your food more nutritious. If there is a condiment, sauce, or dressing that you are interested in making, please write to me and we will explore the possibilities together.
Have you counted the number of bottles on your refrigerator door or shelves? How long have they been there? Can you guess when they were produced and bottled? Scary thought? I remember years ago when I kept ketchup and mayo for months and months on the door of my refrigerator and still continued to use them. They didn’t kill me (and they didn’t make me stronger!), but I question how nutritious and flavorful these condiments are after such a long time from production to table. And then I think about the actual ingredients used in some bottled sauces – again, scary! There are a few commercially prepared condiments that have pretty decent organic ingredients, so look for them if purchasing condiments. Make sure they don’t include high fructose corn syrup and have no chemicals or artificial ingredients, please!
I chuckle when people say to me, “I didn’t even know you could make that!” Maybe it’s up there with my kids not really knowing where eggs came from until we got hens! Ha! You can easily make almost any food given the right ingredients and a little time.
Some of these condiments and sauces I have been making for years while others come from being the ‘mad scientist’ in the kitchen! I regularly make taco sauce, (blueberry) barbecue sauce, and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, so ask me for recipes. The possibilities are endless and you will love them.
No Gluten, No Grain, No Sugar – No Problem! I will start with what I consider the basics for many. You can mix ‘n match the use of mustard, mayo (aioli) and ketchup (beetchup!) in your favorite recipes or on your favorite burger or sandwich.
The Beetchup (beet “ketchup”) recipe below is not your usual ketchup and you may or may not see it as a good substitute but it is sooooo good and my new fav! Try beetchup on your meatloaf, or try browning boneless chicken pieces and then topping them with beetchup and baking until done. Serve with caramelized onions or shallots and your favorite veggies.
[Foodie Tip: how to peel garlic. I’ve tried all methods out there and nothing works like smashing it with a wide knife on a hard surface and peeling the skins off.]
I love chili oil as a soup topping or for roasting or grilling meat or vegetables. It keeps well! Or try a quick balsamic vinegar reduction as a yummy addition to meat or veggies. Easy-Peasy! For balsamic reduction, put balsamic vinegar in a pan and cook until reduced and shiny. Write to me for a chili oil recipe, and a great recipe for Cream of Garlic Soup with Chili Oil or Balsamic Reduction.
Try Roasted Cauliflower with Caesar Dressing (homemade recipe below)!
Next is my new favorite entree inspired by Mario Batali. (This one is for you Kathy R – great talking food with you at the grocery store!)
Try this easy Orange-Basil Dressing for a traditional salad, and try my Hot Salad ‘n Seafood. You won’t be disappointed!
I had the best time writing about condiments, sauces and dressings! Hope you will try and enjoy them often. Write to me to talk food; I love it!
Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the ‘mad scientist’ in the kitchen or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community.
Sandy@SouthernLifeRealty.com | 828.273.9755 | SouthernLifeRealty.com
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