Anita and I were grabbing lunch at one of our local favorite pizza joints not long ago. The lunch special comes with a small side salad. For the dressing Anita went with the balsamic smoked honey vinaigrette. I was intrigued. She was intrigued. Smoked honey? You know, that has to be good. Well, it was. It was “bring me a bottle of that dressing so I can drink it” good. Of course, that means I had to make a version of it when I got home.
This is a great, simple dressing without the smoked honey. With it, it becomes something a bit different. The smoke flavor isn’t overwhelming, but it’s there. Depending on the honey that you use, I recommend adding just a bit at first and tasting to see if you want to add more. Me, I want that smokiness up front and center. You might now.
Hatch chiles can be hard to come by here in Indiana. And when they are here, I grab a big batch of them. I love roasting them. They are great in lots of lots of dishes, and specially in green enchilada sauce. The flavor the chiles add is amazing. This is not an ordinary enchilada sauce. It’s fantastic!
If you are unable to find and roast Hatch chiles, roasted green chiles from a can are a fine substitute in this green enchilada sauce. You may want to drain the chiles first if they come in a lot of liquid.
As far as the amount of cumin in this recipe goes, I’d say use your own tastes as a guide. I rather like cumin, but Anita does not so I cut back on it quite a bit. The sauce was still fantastic.
Even if you’re a die-hard I-only-put-ketchup-on-my-fries person, you have to try this easy easy fry dipping sauce. Fear not since it does contain (some) ketchup! And mayonnaise (a worthy fry dipping sauce on it’s own!). A few other ingredients and a little spiciness and you’ve got something different for your next batch of fries.
I have quickly learned that one of the most valuable things in my fridge is a jar of pickle brine. It’s the liquid left after you’ve taken out the last pickle. Don’t ever toss it out. You can use it in so many recipes, from this easy fry dipping sauce to fried chicken.
I went on a deep-fried shrimp kick the other day. It happens. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen often enough, because deep-fried shrimp are definitely one of my favorite things. To make the shrimp even better I always make a dipping sauce or two along the side. Usually that means some sort of variation on a cocktail sauce, but this time I went with a mayonnaise-based sauce often found in Japanese Hibachi restaurants, Yum-Yum sauce. Nice and creamy with a slight vinegar twist, this sauce was perfect with the crispy shrimp. As I note in the ingredients, you’ll want to use full-strength (not light) mayonnaise. Light mayonnaise is too thin, you want something that’ll stand up to the shrimp.
I wouldn’t be afraid to add a few shakes of hot sauce, either. Or maybe a few good-sized pinches of dried pepper flake.
As much as I enjoy a traditional cocktail sauce with my (darned good) deep-fried shrimp, I’ll take a twist on the classic any ole time. This Carolina cocktail sauce is fantastic, the perfect dipping sauce for my shrimp. In many ways it’s like the ‘usual’ yummy cocktail sauce, but the addition of vinegar makes for a really subtle but delicious difference. This is really great stuff.
I didn’t used to care for horseradish in anything, let alone cocktail sauce. But somehow I’ve come to enjoy it more and more. So much so that I actually added a bit more to this Carolina cocktail sauce than the recipe calls for. If you love it too, add more. If not, it’s going to be great with a little less. Just don’t skimp on the vinegar. That’s what makes this sauce different and very, very good.
I’m not a bartender or mixologist by any stretch of the imagination. If you asked me anything about mixed drinks you’d get a blank unknowing look in response. However, I can make two drinks that Anita does enjoy: a dirty martini and a Bloody Mary. Now, we’re not talking big-time fru-fru drinks here. My Bloody Mary isn’t like some you see on TV that are garnished with bacon, sliders and hot peppers or whatever. I keep it simple and tasty. And the key to my Bloody Mary is the rim salt. I make a big batch of it and keep it in the pantry, ready just in case someone requests a Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary rim salt isn’t just for making drinks better, either. I love to sprinkle it on chicken wings hot out of the deep fryer or off the grill. It’s wonderfully different. It’s also great as a seasoning on grilled steaks.
1tablespoongranulated garlicnot garlic salt or garlic powder!
1teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
1/4teaspoondry mustard powder
1/4teaspoondry powdered ginger
Combine all ingredients in a jar or sealable container. Shake to combine. Note: If you want a finer salt, place the salt into a spice grinder first and pulse a few times until the desired size is obtained.
To rim a glass, moisten the edge of your glass then dip into the salt.
I’m a big huge fan of making chicken stock at home. It’s the idea of not wasting anything, from keeping vegetable trimmings to freezing chicken parts and pieces that never quite made it into a dish. If I had a bigger freezer I’d probably make a lot more stock because I’d have more room to keep the items (that would normally be discarded) to make stock. Wing tips are something that I always end up with a lot of because I cook a lot of chicken wings. Wing tips are perfect for making slow cooker chicken stock not only because of their size but because they pack a ton of chicken flavor into a small space.
Although the recipe calls for carrots, celery and onion, that doesn’t mean you have to use nice, pretty vegetables. Next time you have the end of a carrot leftover, throw it into a bag or container in the freezer, along with any bits of celery or onion you come across. This recipe isn’t about using perfect looking ingredients, it’s about using up ones you might normally toss into the trash or onto the compost pile.
I don’t add salt to my stock while I’m cooking it. You never know where you might end up using your stock, so you don’t know if you’ll need salt or not. And you sure can’t take it out once you’ve added it!
Ah, fried bologna sandwiches. Now, they aren’t something I eat every day, but when I do make them I do them up right. And that means brushing them with plenty of this hot bologna sauce. The sauce adds a bit of a tang, a bit of a sweetness, and a bit of heat. The perfect combination for a hot-off-the-grill or hot-out-of-the-skillet bologna slices. The beauty of this sauce is that you can really change it up by adding a different BBQ sauce depending on your mood. I used my smokehouse BBQ sauce when I made this hot bologna sauce. I like the little bit of smokiness that it adds. This sauce is just as crazy good brushed onto grilled hot dogs or smoked sausages.
It was salad week here. Every few weeks or so, we have salads every night of the week. It’s a nice fresh change sometimes from a lot of grilled foods but that doesn’t mean that it’s a week of sadness. I mix it up by using a large variety of ingredients. And I always make at least one homemade salad dressing. Like this wonderful Thai sweet chili dressing. The dressing is a wonderful combination of tropical flavors, a little heat and a lot of Asian inspiration.
Your salad doesn’t have to be Asian in nature to enjoy this Thai sweet chili dressing. It’s great no matter what you toss onto the plate.
I’m a huge fan of coconut milk and I was happy to see that this recipe has plenty of it. And fish sauce. Now, fish sauce is one strong smelling sauce. But don’t fear it. It really makes this dressing amazing. If you’re not sure about it, add a little, taste, and add more if you want. I use an expensive, quality fish sauce. I learned early on that you get what you pay for, specially when it comes to fish sauce.
It was one of those days where I just needed a bit of a kick of inspiration. It was cold out and I just wanted to eat something out of a box. I didn’t want it to be blah though, so I made a batch of this copycat Zax sauce. Sure, I just dipped chicken fingers in it at first, but after that I used the sauce on sandwich wraps and hamburgers. It’s great no matter what you slather it on. Or dip in it. I was going to add some heat, some kick to this copycat Zax sauce, but I talked myself out of it. And I’m glad I did, too. It’s really quite good just as it is.
Oh did I mention you can dip French fries in this too? Why aren’y mayonnaise-based dipping sauces for fries aren’t more popular in the US? It’s such a welcome change from ketchup.