Enhance enjoyment

The definition of a condiment has something to do with enhancing flavor and enjoyment. I would have to agree with that. In the condiment category there are so many options to choose from.

You start out as a youngster with ketchup. A mystery combination of ingredients suspended in a tomato base. My children choked down so many meals with the plate swimming in a sea of ketchup. It was so disappointing to see the real flavour of their food being drowned out by the ketchup. But they matured and got over that habit. Thankfully.

Then there is the world of mustard. That is not overstating the different choices in the mustard category. There is something to suit any taste. I usually have 2 or 3 different kinds on the go. Right now we have a basic hot dog mustard, a spicy hot and dijon. We just finished a jar of turmeric mustard.

It would take a very long post to go through all the other condiments in my kitchen. And the rotation at any given time is temporary. We are often trying out new ones. And I’ve taken to making condiments fresh. The difference of a fresh version to a store-bought is really night and day. With my strong preference being toward the fresh options. I like the taste better and I can feel in my bones, how much better it is for my health.

I’ve been experimenting lately with salsa verde. It seems like the taste can be quite similar to chimichurri. It also depends on where the salsa verde recipe derives from. Mine is from an Italian version, rather than Mexico, Spain or Germany. Back to the Italians, again.

I think salsa verde can be used with anything and everything. Top corn on the cob, instead of using butter. Use as a dip for vegetables or chips. Add to anything coming off the grill. Or even use as a marinade before going on the grill. When I taste salsa verde I am taken back to warm summer days. Even in the dead of winter. It is so easy to make up large batches and freeze in flat “sheets” in plastic bags. Then re-constitute with olive oil.

Classic Italian Salsa Verde

  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, (or onion)
  • 3 anchovy fillets, (or anchovy paste)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, (or basil, mint, or combinations)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, (whatever is on hand)
  • juice and zest from 1/2 lemon, (could use vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, (could use another type of oil)

I put everything in the Magic Bullet and shake it as it blends. You get a sauce this way. It is super quick and easy. Alternatively, the vegetables and herbs can be finely chopped. The result is thicker and not as creamy.

I would say that this sauce enhances enjoyment of whatever is on the menu. I like it with eggs too!

Salsa Verde with bean

This week in my kitchen

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Welcome to my week in the kitchen – bloghop with Beauty That Moves

This tour starts with a seafood boil I did for my visiting Grandfather and Father. Spot prawns were in season and my husband caught the Dungeness crabs.

Boil_web

For dessert that night we had peanut butter balls made by my daughter.

PB Balls HB_web Peanut butter balls_web

An amazing salad for dinner.

Dinner salad_web

Rhubarb and Strawberry iced tea.

Rhubarb tea_web

Strawberries for freezing.

Strawberries freezing_web

This week in my kitchen

Hmmm – it’s been a good week. Tried some new ideas. Had a few nice quiet meals with my daughter. A time to catch my breath.

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Check out the action on the blog hop hosted by Beauty That Moves.

Coconut creamer_web

Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, replace dairy creamer with coconut milk creamer! So yummy.

Carrot cake oatmeal_web

My daughter really doesn’t know how lucky she is – this is carrot cake oatmeal for breakfast! No dairy, sugar and gluten free. She’s no dummy, however. It does not taste just like carrot cake. But for me it is a wonderful thing to have for breakfast.

Market finds_web

Treasures from the White Rock farmer’s market.

Chocolate cake_web

A baked treat – chocolate cake, same properties as the carrot cake. My daughter thinks it isn’t sweet enough. I think it is heavenly.

Soba salad_web Cod_web

Asian inspired dinner.

Asparagus&Fiddleheads_web

Local, wonderful.

ketchup_web

My daughter can get anything down with ketchup!

 

This week in a kitchen

My kitchen this week has been limited to what I can forage. The Austrian spa hotel where I am staying has a fantastic kitchen, I am sure. The food has been great. But I miss my morning smoothies. I miss my reading and writing from the comfort of my bed with a big mug of coffee, prepared just the way I like, served in a tall, half litre size. That hour I get every morning to start my day is like a life saver. When I travel, I am forced to tread water, luckily I am fairly good at that.

However, I cannot complain. If you choose well, your time at this meeting can be wonderfully spent, both professionally and personally. Blocks have been built into the agenda to enjoy the spa, nearby skiing or whatever else you choose. Two luxurious mornings, back to back.

Dinner_web

First night here, (I did not cook this in a kitchen), but it was wonderful. I’ve had fish every night and even the buffet quality has been nice.

Apples_web

Everyday this tray is re-filled with little sweet apples.

Haystacks_web

From home I picked up a few comforts while packing. Some Easter chocolates that were for the those who hid the eggs, and a piece of coral from the Baja. I find it important to visually remember some of my best days, even when I am far away from them.

Mug_web

Unfortunately, I came down with a cold on the second day. In order to sleep well and be present and attentive in the working day, I had to resort to the “scorched earth” policy. That meant gathering a variety of cold medications from North American attendees. This is a global meeting and you can end up with packages of stuff written in different languages. It is a walk on the wild side to treat yourself that way, (yes spoken from experience). On top of the heavy meds, I got a couple of different tonics. One standard vitamin C effervescent, (which I like and could drink every day), and the other a combination of herbs that I find strangely appealing. (Most other people have thought the smell very strange). I’ve been sipping the mystery herbs 2 to 3 times per day and I like it. Not sure exactly which combination was the trick, but I am slowly getting better. Or at least, I feel better under the influence of all this stuff. Will see if the cold is still roaring underneath.

I’ll be standing in my home kitchen Friday night, pretty jet lagged. My husband will likely have booked a dinner out, forces me to stay awake long enough to switch back to Vancouver time. If I get the chance to recline my body, I’m done for, fast asleep.

This Week in My Sister’s Kitchen

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Welcome to Barbra’s kitchen. I am Christine’s sister, so you may think that the cooking gene made it to both of us, but alas, it did not.

I am not a cook, or even a wanna-be cook, but I do like to eat…and since I do not make the kind of money to frequent restaurants that I would like my own table at, I relinquish to¬† hang out in my own kitchen once in awhile. My inspiration and incentive often comes from Christie – I spend a weekend with her and come home inspired to try something that I watched appear in her kitchen.

Sunday is good day to get the staples ready for the following week. My sweetie is heading off to a Black Sabbath concert (nothing says Easter like an evening with Ozzy) and my kids ditched me to go to a movie, so I have some time to spend in the kitchen. The agenda in the kitchen today has been varied – a little something for everyone.

  • Family breakfast: pepper bacon with Banana-chocolate-cocconut pancakes with coconut syrup and fresh mangoes. (No need to say it, I know….but it was delicious)
  • Peanut Butter Mini Loaves (for my son who eats the stuff with a spoon)
  • Granola (today’s version has dried cherries, apricots, goji berries, figs, coconut and almonds)
  • Kale cubes for the week’s smoothies (this may shock some…but the guy going to Ozzy loves the frozen kale cubes in his smoothies)
  • Almond milk (for the son to wash down his peanut butter)
  • Baba Ganoush (for me. I could eat it with a spoon)

Back to the kitchen, I have a mountain of bananas staring at me…

Cheers, Barb