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Condiments

Pumpkin Seed-Herb Sauce

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1 PINT

This sauce was born from having an excess of wilting cilantro in my fridge. I was going to make zhoug, a spicy cilantro sauce that’s made with fresh jalapenos and garlic, but I wanted to beef it up to serve alongside salmon. I was looking through my assortment of seeds and nuts for pesto inspiration, and thought the toasted flavor and color of pumpkin seeds would be perfect. With further research, I discovered a traditional sauce from the Yucatan region called Sikil P’ak, taken from the Mayan words for pumpkin seed and tomatoes.

This adaptation swaps tomatoes for rehydrated, smoky chipotle peppers. I added half an avocado for extra creaminess as well. Now it’s a staple in my fridge—I eat it alongside fish, roast chicken, or slathered on veggies. It’s delicious stirred into crème fraîche for a rich accompaniment to soups or stews.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1 cup parsley, stems and leaves
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tbls. sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls. capers, drained
1/4 tsp. each ground coriander, cardamom, and cumin
1/2 avocado (opt.)
2 dried chipotle peppers, or 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded (opt.)
1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the chipotle peppers and let sit for about 10 minutes to re-hydrate. Remove from the water, (but reserve water for thinning the sauce), cut in half and discard the stems and seeds. Roughly chop.

  2. While the peppers are re-hydrating, spread the pumpkin seeds evenly in a pan over medium-low heat. Toast until they start to sizzle and pop, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat.

  3. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Thin with the chipotle water if necessary.

  4. Spoon into a jar and drizzle olive oil on top. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

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Pickled Hungarian Wax Peppers

TIME: 20 MINUTES; SERVES: 2 QUARTS

We grow Hungarian Wax Peppers specifically for this recipe. If you can’t find these neon yellow heirlooms at your local farmers’ market, substitute banana peppers, although they pack a little less punch.

These quick pickles are delicious topped on any soup, stew, burger, wrap, egg dish, salad—you name it. The perfect amount of heat, paired with a swift kick of acid, is sure to brighten any dish.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds yellow Hungarian Wax Peppers (20 - 30 peppers, depending on size)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
4 tbls. kosher salt
2 tbls. black peppercorns
2 tsp. black mustard seeds

METHOD

  1. If you are very sensitive to hot peppers, wear latex gloves. Wash the peppers and trim off the stem. Slice the peppers into rounds (don’t worry about removing the seeds).

  2. Divide the peppers into 2 clean quart jars. Place 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbls. peppercorns, and 1 tsp. mustard seeds in each jar.

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the hot liquid over the peppers to cover.

  2. Seal with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 2 days before eating. These will keep in the fridge for at least 2 months.

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Crème Fraîche

TIME: 5 MINUTES (plus 3 - 5 days to culture); SERVES: 1 PINT

Crème fraîche is one of the most important staples in my kitchen. This French version of sour cream is an incredible cultured food that costs only a few dollars to make, and has all the probiotic health benefits of high-quality, fermented dairy. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate content is perfect for those following a Keto diet, and making your own allows you to choose organic, grass-fed cream instead of conventional, ultra-pasteurized.

Crème fraîche is particularly useful in cooking because it doesn’t curdle when heated and can be simmered in sauces and soups. Purists may choose to purchase a true crème fraîche culture, but I find using cultured buttermilk to be just as effective & delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1 pint heavy whipping cream, preferably grass-fed & organic. Steer away from ultra-pasteurized for the best nutritional value and flavor. Raw cream is ideal if you have access to it.
2 tbls. cultured buttermilk

METHOD

  1. Stir the buttermilk into the cream.

  2. Cover with a cloth or loose fitting lid.

  3. Set on the counter away from direct sunlight. Fermentation will occur more quickly in a slightly warm place.

  4. Stir every day. After a couple days, you will notice the cream thickening. Once it is thick and slightly tangy, transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

*There’s a certain schedule that I stick to: Every week or so, I purchase a whole, organic chicken, a quart of buttermilk, and a pint of heavy whipping cream. For the chicken, I follow Samin Norat’s recipe for Buttermilk-Marinated Chicken, saving a couple tbls. of buttermilk to make crème fraîche. Once I finish off the roast chicken and the crème fraîche has cultured, I start the process again (and if I have saved enough chicken carcasses, I’'ll simmer a batch of bone broth as well).

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Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut

TIME: 20 MINUTES, plus ~1 week fermentation; SERVES: 1 QUART

I add a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut to almost every meal I eat. Purchasing living, small-batch ‘kraut can run you upwards of $8, but making it can cost as little as $1 (and it’s more fun to see it bubbling happily in your kitchen!) I love this recipe primarily for its vibrant color and flavor. However, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and digestive-aid from ginger are definitely a plus. Don’t forget to include a few grinds of fresh black pepper to fully assimilate the benefits of turmeric.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds green cabbage (1 medium head) cored and finely chopped or shaved on a mandolin
1 tbls. + 1 tsp. kosher salt (non-iodized)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 - 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 - 1 tsp. ground)

METHOD

  1. Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl. Massage for about 5 minutes until juices are released and the cabbage significantly decreases in volume. *A general salt ratio is about 2 tsp. per pound of cabbage. You want the cabbage to be too salty to eat enjoyably, but not inedible. Add more salt if necessary, and taste often. If you add an excess of salt, the ‘kraut will not ferment because it will inhibit all bacteria growth—good and bad. If you add too little, funky bacteria can infect your batch and turn it soggy or gross.

  2. Once you’re confident with the salt ratio, add the remaining ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. Pack into a quart-sized mason jar. There should be plenty of natural brine to cover the cabbage if you massaged enough.

  4. Weigh down the cabbage so it is fully submerged by the brine. I like to use Masontops glass pickle weights. You can also use a clean rock or a smaller jar.

  5. You can cover with a clean cloth & rubber band (so fruit flies can’t get in), but it’s worth investing in pickle pipes! (Also available at Masontops). These silicone airlocks allow pressure to vent without exposure to oxygen. Make sure to place your jar on a plate to catch the brine that bubbles out.

  6. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Depending on temperature, you will notice your ‘kraut bubbling in a day or two. Let it do its thing, making sure the cabbage is still submerged in brine for 5 - 7 days. Taste often. Once it is pleasantly sour and no longer too salty, remove the weight and transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid. Will keep for months, although I’m sure you’ll be whipping up another batch in no time.

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Smoked trout and fried eggs with ‘kraut

Marinated Italian Eggplant

TIME: 20 MINUTES (plus salting & marinating) SERVES: 1+ PINT
Adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s ‘The Joy of Pickling’

I get a lot of questions about how to best use eggplants. There are plenty of ways to blister, broil, grill, or purée this nightshade, however, one of my favorite uses is raw! When I have too many young, fresh fruits, I make this version of marinated eggplant (drowned in olive oil, because…always). This is delicious with sharp cheese & salami as a tasty antipasto, or in sandwiches with arugula, provolone and roasted red peppers.

INGREDIENTS

2 - 3 smallish Italian or Asian Eggplant, peeled, halved & sliced into 1/4 inch half moons (about 2 cups)
1 tbls. kosher salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 garlic cloves, slivered
10 - 12 Italian basil leaves, torn
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes

METHOD

  1. Sprinkle the salt over the eggplant in a colander, and let drain for as little as 30 minutes, but up to 1 day.

  2. Squeeze out any extra moisture from the eggplant. Toss with the vinegar, oil, & crushed red pepper flakes in a large bowl, and let sit for another hour, turning occasionally.

  3. Layer the eggplant, garlic, & basil in a jar and gently press down.

  4. Pour any remaining marinade over. If it doesn’t cover, add more olive oil.

  5. Seal and let sit in the fridge for at least 3 days before tasting. Make sure to add more olive oil if necessary. The eggplant will keep for a couple weeks. Let it reach room temperature before serving, because the oil will solidify.

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Spiced Tomato Chutney

TIME: 1.5 HOURS (not including canning); SERVES: ~3 PINTS
Adapted from David Tanis

I sometimes double this recipe during Summer when tomatoes are abundant, and I find make time to can a big batch for holiday presents. This chutney has become a necessary condiment for any coconut-milk based curry, or dish that needs a little 'flare'.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup ginger, peeled, slivered
1/4 cup garlic, slivered
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 - 6 small, dried hot chili peppers
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (opt., depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
12 - 15 black peppercorns
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. nigella seeds (opt.)
1 tsp. kosher salt

METHOD

  1. In a small pan, toast the seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.   

  2. Put everything together in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring until the mixture has thickened to a jam consistently, about 1 hour.

  3. If you are canning, ladle into sterilized jars and continue the canning process, processing for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. If you are refrigerating or freezing, let cool and transfer into containers.

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Ghee & Clarified Butter

TIME: 15 - 20 MINUTES; MAKES 1 PINT
Adapted from The ‘Pioneer Woman’

I see jars of ghee at the store ranging from $15-$25, and it baffles me because it’s so dang easy to make!

You may be wondering, what is ghee, anyway?

Ghee is the next step in the process of making “clarified butter”, or butter that has had the milk solids removed through cooking. Clarified butter can often be consumed by those who have slight sensitivities to lactose, or who are following a restrictive diet. I’ll choose ghee when I want a nutty, caramelized flavor, or need to cook something at high heat. It is shelf stable, and has a higher smoke point because there are no milk solids to burn (ghee’s smoke point is 485 degrees, compared to butter’s 350 degrees.) Making your own also means you can choose the quality of butter, rather than paying for an inferior product at a higher price.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (4 sticks) high-quality butter, preferably organic, grass-fed (either unsalted or salted works), cut into chunks

METHOD

  1. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. After the butter melts, it will start to bubble and separate. This is the whey separating and floating to the surface.

  3. Skim the whey off. You can either compost it, feed it to your pet, or (if you aren’t sensitive to dairy) save it and put it in smoothies, soak beans or grains in it, or marinate meat. Whey is very versatile and high in protein.

  4. Continue to cook the butter until it turns clear and the milk solids sink to the bottom. You can either turn the heat off at this point (you’ve made clarified butter), or you can continue to cook for a caramelized, nutty flavor. You want to brown—not burn—the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. This takes about 10 minutes longer depending on your stove and pan, so keep a close eye on it.

  5. That’s it! Let the ghee cool a bit and if you want to make sure the very last bits of milk proteins are removed, strain through cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter. Store covered at room temperature.

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