Browsed by
Tag: Sauce

Fried Green Plantains with Avocado Black Bean Salsa

Fried Green Plantains with Avocado Black Bean Salsa

Fried Green Plantains with Avocado Black Bean Salsa


Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large avocado, diced

1 cup (about 175 grams) diced papaya, mango, or pineapple

1 cup (250 grams) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed


3 firm green plantains

Vegetable oil, for frying



Whisk the lime juice, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Put the avocado, papaya, and black beans in a larger bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss with half of the dressing. Taste for seasoning and set aside. Cut off the ends of each plantain so that a small amount of the inner vegetable is exposed. From here, there are many ways to remove the skin. You might be able to peel it with your fingertips, first making a slit from top to the bottom and opening the plantain from the side. You might find it easier to remove the skin in neat sections if you make a few slits down the side. Or, if you have a tough one, you might just use a sharp knife to pare the peel away. If any green skin remains, scrape it off with your knife. Cut each plantain into six to eight 1-inch pieces. Heat 1 inch of oil in a medium-sized heavy skillet over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. If you don’t have the right kind of thermometer, I find plantains forgiving of inexact frying temperatures. As long as they’re not taking more than 5 minutes in the first frying, or not blackening before 2 minutes, you’re probably in a good-enough range.  Add about one plantain’s worth of pieces to the oil, and cook, turning as needed, until they are just a little bit darker in color and hollow sounding when lifted from the oil and tapped, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain them on a large paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining plantains in two batches. Using a heavy skillet or the underside of a can, press down on the still-hot fried plantain chunks until they make 2-to-3-inch flattish discs. Return these to the frying pan a handful at a time, and fry until lightly bronzed, about 1 minute more per side. Drain again, and immediately season with salt. Serve the warm plantains with the salad, with the extra dressing on the side to drizzle over the plantains.

Persimmon Salsa

Persimmon Salsa

Persimmon Salsa


Spoon this refreshing condiment over grilled fish or scoop up yummy bites with tortilla chips.


4 small or 3 medium-size firm but ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 2/3 cups)

2 tablespoons minced white onion, rinsed, drained

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

2 teaspoons minced seeded Serrano chile

2 teaspoons minced fresh mint

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger


Mix persimmons, onion, lime juice, basil, Serrano chile, mint, and ginger in small bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. (Salsa can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto

Chunky Rose Petal Pesto


​Two cups fresh basil

One cup rose Petals

4 peeled garlic cloves

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cup of olive oil

1 Teaspoon rosewater

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup of freshly grated Romano Cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine everything in the food processor – but hold back 1/4 cup of the rose petals. Give it a few short whirs (pulses) so it has a chunky texture. Remove into a bowl. Mince your remaining rose petals finely.

Blend minced petals into your pesto. Leave a few for garnishing.

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

Fermented Pineapple Salsa

2 C. chopped pineapple roughly 1/2 a pineapple

1* jalapeno pepper finely chopped

2 green onions thinly sliced

Sea Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

2 T. whey or liquid from another fermented veggie


Combine all ingredients in a small jar. Cover with cheesecloth or cotton fabric. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Chill in the refrigerator prior to serving at least 2 hours or up to a week.

Notes: 1 jalapeño pepper will make this salsa a little spicy, I would classify it as medium heat. If you want a mild salsa, I’d suggest starting out with 1/4 or 1/2 a jalapeño pepper to start out with and make sure you remove all the white membrane/seeds. If you love super-spicy foods then I’d recommend adding 2 jalapeños. For a salsa with no heat at all, substitute sweet red or green pepper.

Rose and Basil Pesto

Rose and Basil Pesto

Rose and Basil Pesto


2 C. fresh basil

1 cup fragrant rose petals

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup pine nuts (or pistachios or walnuts)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. food grade rose water

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (don’t substitute bottled juice)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated

Salt, optional


Peel and coarsely chop garlic, then add rose petals, basil, nuts and olive oil in food processor. Pulse blend until everything is well pulverized. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. This can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce

Roasted Garlic–Herb Sauce


1 head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled

2 cups (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about ½ large lemon)

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice (from about ½ large lemon)

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

¾ tsp. kosher salt


Heat a medium, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat. Roast the garlic cloves, stirring occasionally, until the skins have darkened on all sides and the insides are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Peel away the garlic skins and discard; transfer the cloves to a blender. Add the parsley, mint, oil, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Blend until a pesto-like sauce forms. Store the sauce in a jar or other airtight container and keep in the refrigerator, where it will last for at least a week, often longer.

Charred Asparagus End Pesto

Charred Asparagus End Pesto

Charred Asparagus End Pesto


1/4 C. plus 1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1-to 2-inch ends cut from the bottom of 1 bunch of asparagus

1 C. loosely packed fresh shiso or basil leaves

1/1 C. pine nuts, toasted

1 garlic clove, minced

1/j C. finely grated pecorino Romano cheese

1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice


This recipe is for the ends of middle-of-the-road asparagus: If the ends are extremely woody, they’re best saved for stock. And if the ends don’t seem very woody at all, you might just want to peel the ends of your stalks instead and save those peelings for tempura)! This is a thick pesto, meant for tossing with hot pasta or smearing on sandwiches. I also think it would make an excellent dip (maybe mixed with softened cream cheese). Thin it out with additional olive oil to use it as dressing. Shiso is a Japanese herb in the mint family; I think of it as basil’s Asian cousin (basil is also the best substitute should you not be able to find shiso). Look for shiso in the produce section of Asian grocery stores or at your local farmers market. Since it can sometimes be hard to find, I opt to grow my own supply. If you can find shiso leaves,. they’ll quickly grow roots when their stems are placed in a glass of water on a windowsill. After they do, plant them. I’ve also grown shiso from seeds procured online and from small plants found at my local farmers market – both options work well.  In a medium-size heavy skillet, heat 1 T. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus ends to the hot pan, and let them cook, undisturbed, until the side touching the pan chars, 3 to 5 minutes. Move them around a bit to expose another side to the heat, and let them cook, undisturbed, until they are charred on all sides and can be easily pierced with a knife, another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly. Using a knife, finely chop the asparagus ends. This is important: If you try to skip this step, the food processor will shred the cooked ends and you’ll have stringy pesto. Add the chopped asparagus ends, shiso, pine nuts, and garlic to a mini food processor and pulse to process all ingredients, scraping down the bowl a couple of times as needed. Then add the cheese and lemon juice and pulse a few more times. Finally, add the rest of the olive oil and process again until smooth. The pesto is at its best when used immediately, so the basil doesn’t discolor, but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Raspberry Mango Salsa

Raspberry Mango Salsa

Raspberry Mango Salsa


1 pint red raspberries

Meat of 2 mangoes, cut into chunks

½ C jícama, julienned

½ C red onion, minced

2 red fresno chiles, minced

Juice of 2 limes

2 T. fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. brown sugar

½ tsp. mild New Mexico red chile powder

½ tsp. table salt


Mix all ingredients together, let blend for 2 hours. • This tropical salsa is an unexpected addition to grilled fish, poultry and pork.

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce


4 grilled red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 T. honey

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 T. chipotle puree

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil


Combine peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Strain sauce into a bowl. Cook’s Note: This classic sauce is great on grilled veggies, chicken, fish and steak.

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

Won Ton Dipping Sauce

Won Ton Dipping Sauce


1 large onion, cut in chunks

4-6 medium-to-hot, fresh red peppers, such as serrano or jalapeno, seeds removed

4 cloves garlic, peeled

4 T. oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

3 T. brown sugar


Combine onion, peppers and garlic in food processor and chop to a medium-fine consistency. Heat oil in skillet on low heat and add the vegetables from the food processor. Stir, continuing to cook on low heat until the oil takes on the color of the peppers. You’ll notice as you stir that the peppers will change colors, darkening a bit and the fragrance will be less onion, and more of a tasty-smelling blend. In a bowl, pour the vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste the mixture, it should be salty, slightly sweet and a bit sour. If too sour, add some more sugar. Mix, then add the mixture from the skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature with freshly steamed or fried won tons. Makes about 2 1/4 C..

Shakshuka not just for Eggs

Shakshuka not just for Eggs

Shakshuka not just for Eggs

It’s every bit as delicious without the eggs, stashed in the freezer for a quick meal with nothing more than a piece of toast or a sprinkling of feta, or as a base for some leftover grilled chicken. If you’re a gardener with bumper crops of peppers and tomatoes, you’ll want to put up some extra quarts; it’s an easy recipe to double or even quadruple. If you use red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, the final dish will have a sweeter, less pungent flavor than if you use green, so use your favorite or what you have on hand. It’s also fine to use chicken stock rather than vegetable broth.


3 T. olive oil

1 medium white or yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. pimenton de la Vera or smoked paprika

2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 medium bell peppers, seeded and diced

1 (15-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes, or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/2 C. vegetable broth

1/2 to 1 tsp. salt


In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and stir, cooking until it is translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, until golden. Stir in the pimenton, turmeric, thyme, cayenne, and bell peppers. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the broth, stirring to blend. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 to 55 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt. Shakshuka will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Traditional Chimichurri

Traditional Chimichurri

1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 large garlic cloves, minced (2 1/2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons oregano leaves

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (or a small red chili, finely chopped)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor, combine the parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. Process until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and pour the olive oil over the mixture. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.

Vegan Mushroom Sauce

Vegan Mushroom Sauce

Vegan Mushroom Sauce

2 lbs. mushrooms crimini or baby bella

5 T. olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

½ tsp. salt

13.5 oz. coconut cream

2 T. nutritional yeast


Cut off the stems of the mushrooms and then dice them into ½-inch cubes. In a large saucepan or pot, pour the oil and then sauté the mushrooms over medium-high heat, stirring as they simmer. Cook until they have shrunk some and are a deep brown color. Now add the minced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir well. Then add in the coconut milk and nutritional yeast. Stir everything together until well-combined. Serve hot with your favorite dishes and sides.

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto

Rose Pesto


1 whole pot basil leaves (fresh plants sold in gourmet shops in pots)

1 fistful of fresh, crisp, pink organic rose petals

2 deciliters (1 healthy cup) parmesan, grated

1 deciliter (half a cup) pine nuts

1 garlic clove

2 T. (1 oz.) olive oil

1 T. (0.5 oz.) fresh pressed lemon juice


freshly ground white pepper

Swedish Wasa Rye Bread


Pick the leaves off the basil plant, and mix basil and rose petals in a food mixer. Grate the parmesan cheese and add with pine nuts and garlic into the mixer. Mix. Pour the olive oil into the mixer as you mix.

Mix. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste. Mount the rose pesto on the hard bread.

Thai Chili Dipping Sauces

Thai Chili Dipping Sauces

Thai Chili Dipping Sauce


This is a multipurpose sauce that is easy to make and has a usual spot on the Thai dining table. It helps add extra tastes of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy to any dish. It also can be a sauce for a number of fried or barbecued dishes.


3 T. Soy Sauce

3 T. Lime Juice

1 T. Sugar

1 T. Thai Chilis, minced

1 T. thinly sliced or minced Garlic

1 T. thinly sliced or minced Shallots

1 T. chopped Cilantro

1 T. chopped Green onions


Combine all ingredients and mix well.



Thai Chili Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce


This is a more elaborate multipurpose sauce that goes well with grilled or fried dishes, such as grilled mushrooms and eggplants, corn fritters, or fried sweet potatoes. Its flavor is more complex with domineering sweet and sublime ginger. Its chili heat can be easily adjusted by the amount of red chili sauce added. This sauce can be prepared in a large batch and stored in the refrigerator. It should keep about two weeks.


1/2 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 T. finely diced onions

2 T. tomato paste

2 T. rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

2 T. finely diced fresh ginger

1 T. red chili sauce [sambal olek] or Tabasco, more or less to taste


Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and let

cool. Stir in the onions, tomato paste, vinegar, ginger, and red chili sauce. Serve on the side with grilled and satay dishes.

Salsa di Pomodoro della Nonna

Salsa di Pomodoro della Nonna

Salsa di Pomodoro della Nonna


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

One 4-pound chicken, quartered

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup peeled and finely diced carrot

1/4 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry red wine

Two 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, put through a food mill, with juice reserved (see Chef’s Note)

1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and lightly brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate.  Place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauté the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, and red wine. Stir to scrape up the browned bits, then return the chicken to the pot. Cook to reduce the wine until the pot is almost dry. Pour in the milled tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and pepper.  Make a sweating lid to fit the pot. When the sweating lid is in place resting on top the chicken, slide the pot into the oven and cook for about 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked through. (You can use a regular pan lid if you don’t want to cut a sweating lid from parchment but allow a little more cooking time.) Using tongs, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. You can keep the chicken warm and serve it as a second course, or let cool, wrap, and refrigerate for another use. Add the torn basil leaves to the sauce and use this in place of any marinara sauce.


CHEF’S NOTE: Tomatoes put through a food mill have the right consistency for the sauces I make. If you don’t have a food mill, you could pulse tomatoes just 3 or 4 times in a food processor (don’t overprocess them), but to get the same velvety consistency of the sauces we serve at Bottega, a food mill works much better, and is an inexpensive addition to your kitchen tool set.


Cooking under a sweating lid reduces the circulation of the air in the pot and, by holding in the steam, keeps the food moister. There are two ways to cut a sweating lid: Trace the lid for the pot you’ll be using on parchment paper and then cut the paper a little smaller, so the parchment fits inside the pot. The other way to make a sweating lid-the chef’s way-is to tear off a piece of parchment larger than the pot. Holding one point of the parchment sheet toward you, fold the parchment into a fan, starting at the left side and folding back and forth to create accordion pleats. Hold the parchment fan over the pot with the tip of it dead center, then use kitchen shears to snip off the fat end in a curve. The sweating lid will fit down inside the pot and sit right on top the bird as it cooks, keeping it moist and flavorful.

Mojo Verde (Canarian Green Mojo Sauce)

Mojo Verde (Canarian Green Mojo Sauce)


1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only

4 large cloves garlic, peeled

2 limes, juiced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 jalapeno, stemmed

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste


In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cumin, jalapeno, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. Process until well-combined. Season generously with kosher salt and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Canning Steak Sauce

Canning Steak Sauce

Canning Steak Sauce

1 C. ketchup (homemade)

1/2 C. onion, coarsely chopped

1 large clove garlic

1/4 C. water

1/4 C. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 C. lemon juice (bottled)

1/4 C. white vinegar

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. prepared mustard


Cooking: Combine all ingredients in saucepan and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until it reaches a good consistency, stirring occasionally. Strain to remove onion and garlic. Filling the jars:  On a dishtowel place your hot jars. Using your funnel in each jar ladle the mixture into the jars leaving 1/2” headspace.  Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace if necessary. Taking a clean paper towel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand to extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just “finger tight”.   Processing: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn’t measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 15 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning. Sealing: Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a “pinging” or “popping” noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

DIY Worcestershire Sauce

DIY Worcestershire Sauce

DIY Worcestershire Sauce

Makes 3 – 4 cups


3 T. olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 serrano chiles, chopped with seeds (I added 2 jalapenos, as well)

2 T. minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two 2-ounce cans anchovies, drained (I usually add the oil)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 T. kosher salt

1 lemon, peel and white pith removed and discarded (I zest it first and freeze the zest)

2 C. honey (original recipe calls for dark corn syrup)

1 C. molasses

1 quart distilled white vinegar

1/4 pound fresh horseradish, peeled and grated


In a large, heavy sauce pan, combine the oil, onions and chiles and stir over high heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, anchovies, cloves, salt, lemon, honey, molasses, vinegar, horseradish and 2 C. of water and bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces and thickens and barely coats a wooden spoon, about 6 hours. Your kitchen will smell heavenly! Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press gently to release all the liquid. Discard the solids and let the sauce cool to room temperature. Store in a bottle or jar in the fridge. It keeps indefinitely, but you’ll be gobbling it up!

IQS Nomato Sauce

IQS Nomato Sauce

IQS Nomato Sauce

2 T. olive oil

4 shallots peeled and finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large beet (14 oz.), trimmed, scrubbed and coarsely grated

2 celery stalks, coarsely grated

3 carrots, coarsely grated

1 tsp. sea salt

1 T. finely chopped fresh Oregano

2 C. vegetable stock

1/4 C. pitted kalamata olives

2 T. lemon juice


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the shallots, garlic, beet, celery and carrots for 10 minutes or until the shallot is translucent. Add the salt, then the oregano and stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Transfer the mixture to a blender with the olives and lemon juice and process until smooth. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Berry Grown-Up Sauce (Spiced Berry Coulis)

Berry Grown-Up Sauce (Spiced Berry Coulis)

Berry Grown-Up Sauce (Spiced Berry Coulis)


Great as a sweet coulis accompaniment to desserts or spooned over yogurt.


2 C. frozen berries

1 T. brown rice syrup

1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

1 star anise, finely crushed

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon


Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store in a clean glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups

Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)

1 whole lime, juiced

2 T. olive oil

1/2 C. good-quality mayonnaise, (such as Hellmann’s)

3 ounces queso fresco or blanco

2 serrano peppers, ends trimmed

1 bunch cilantro (remove leaves from stems for blenders other than vitamix)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 green onions, ends trimmed and roughly chopped

2 tsp. huacatay paste, (optional)

1 T. aji amarillo paste, (optional)

1/4 tsp. kosher salt


To a blender, add the lime juice, olive oil, cheese, mayonnaise, serrano peppers, cilantro leaves, garlic cloves, green onions, huacatay paste, aji amarillo and salt. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until very smooth. At first the cilantro leaves won’t be totally smooth, but keep the blender running and it will eventually become cohesive and smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt according to your liking. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Quick and Easy Gravy from Scratch

Homemade gravy is quick and easy. If you’ve roasted chicken, turkey or beef, use the drippings left in the roasting pan. They make the gravy extra flavorful and seasoned. You can make gravy without drippings and use stock or broth in its place. Store-bought stock is usually under seasoned. Take care when seasoning with salt and pepper towards the end of the recipe. Finally, for more flavor, whisk in mushroom powder. This is optional but adds a deep savory flavor.


1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups warm stock (poultry, beef or vegetable stock) or use pan drippings, see note below

1/2 teaspoon mushroom powder, optional

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (try sage, thyme or rosemary)

2 to 3 tablespoons half and half or cream, optional

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


In a wide skillet with sides, melt butter over medium heat. When melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour. Whisk until the flour and butter turn into a smooth paste and look medium blonde in color; about 1 minute. It smells toasty, like browned butter.  Pour in stock and whisk until smooth. Bring the gravy to a low simmer. As it simmers, it thickens and becomes glossy.  Whisk in the herbs and mushroom powder then cook at a low simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat then stir in half and half or cream (optional).  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper (we like a generous amount of pepper).  TIPS FOR USING PAN DRIPPINGS:  Substitute some or all the butter with fat left in the pan from roasting. If there are juices left in the pan, strain them then swap all or some of the stock for the pan juices. Pan drippings and juices will be well seasoned compared to the stock. When seasoning, taste the gravy first then adjust with more salt and/or pepper. If you used a stove-top safe pan such as a Dutch oven or stainless steel pan for roasting, there is no need for the skillet. Make the gravy directly in the roasting pan.

Canning Spaghetti Sauce

Canning Spaghetti Sauce

Canning Spaghetti Sauce

10 lbs fresh tomatoes

3 tablespoons oil

4 1⁄2 cups onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1⁄2 teaspoons oregano, crushed

2 bay leaves, crushed

1 tablespoon plain non-iodized salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper, crushed

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon celery leaves, minced


Peel, core and chop tomatoes. Combine with remaining ingredients in heavy saucepan. Simmer 2 hours stirring often until desired consistency. Pour into hot jars to 1/2 inch from top. Wipe jar top and threads carefully with damp cloth making sure they are thoroughly clean. Put on lids and bands. Place in water canner with at least 2 inches of hot water over tops of jars. Bring canner to gentle boil and process 30 minutes. At end of processing time, remove jars to draft free area to cool at least 12 hours. Inspect each jar to make sure it is sealed, remove bands and wipe with damp cloth. Label with date and store.

Canning Pizza Sauce

Canning Pizza Sauce

Canning Pizza Sauce

4 pints

25 -28 tomatoes

2 large onions, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tsp. olive oil

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. cracked pepper

1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. parsley, chopped

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. rosemary

1 tsp. celery seed

2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. summer savory


Peel and puree the tomatoes. Mince the onion and garlic. Put olive oil in deep pan and sauté the onions and garlic until transparent. Add the tomato puree and the rest of the ingredients; stir well to blend. Cook on low until mixture is reduced by ½, stirring occasionally. This will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. When sauce is done and nicely thickened, ladle into hot pint size jars, clean the rims of the jars, and seal. Process for 25 minutes in water bath.

Herbed Marmalade Marinade

Herbed Marmalade Marinade

Herbed Marmalade Marinade

Use as a salad dressing, vegetable marinade and sandwich spread, as a marinade for chicken thighs and zucchini that are destined for the grill, and for chopped salads.

2/3 C. extra-virgin olive oil

3 T. red wine vinegar

3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T. lemon or orange marmalade

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 T. dried basil

1 T. dried oregano

1 T. dried thyme

2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, marmalade, garlic cloves, basil, oregano, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until just incorporated and pour into a mason jar for storage. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Fennel Frond Salsa Verde

Fennel Frond Salsa Verde

Fennel Frond Salsa Verde


1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled (number depends on your preference and the size of your cloves)

1 handful of capers, rinsed

2 whole anchovies (I prefer large salt-packed anchovies), rinsed

3 handfuls of fennel fronds, washed and dried

1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

2 tablespoons rosemary leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

8 tablespoons really good extra-virgin olive oil (approximately)

Juice of half a lemon


Finely chop the garlic, capers, and anchovies; place them in a mortar (or bowl) and pound them with the pestle until a rough paste forms (or pulse in a food processor). Finely chop the fennel fronds and herbs and add them to the mortar; pound and grind a bit more. Add a good pinch of salt, a few grinds (four or so) of black pepper, and lemon zest; pound until combined. Slowly stir in the olive oil until you achieve the right consistency. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (I often have to balance the flavors with freshly ground black pepper, a bit more salt and a bit more lemon).


Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

Easy Red Enchilada Sauce

½ tsp. Garlic Powder

1 ½ T. Chili Powder

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Sugar

¼ tsp. Oregano

Salt, to taste

8oz. can Tomato Sauce


Place small saucepan over medium heat and add all ingredients except the tomato sauce. Stir until fragrant, toasting the dried herbs and spices. Add tomato sauce and 1 C. of water, stir well and simmer a few minutes to blend spices into the sauce.  Use for homemade enchiladas or enchilada tacos, or try spooned over poached eggs.


Yield: 8 ¼ C. Servings

Calories: 15

Fat: 0g

Fiber: 1g

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

2 C. tomatoes, in addition to their juices (for example, a 28-oz. can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
5 tsp. butter
1 onion, peeled and cut in half

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

Spicy Tunisian Tomato Sauce with Olives & Preserved Lemon

Spicy Tunisian Tomato Sauce with Olives & Preserved Lemon

Tomato sauce is infinitely adaptable. This version takes the basic Italian sauce and heads south with it, across the Mediterranean Sea, to Tunisia. It includes either Baharat or Ras el Hanout spice blend, along with paprika, cinnamon, preserved lemons, and olives. It’s fabulous as the base for a Moroccan Tagine (and is specified for Moroccan Kefta Tagine (Spicy Meatballs & Tunisian Tomato Sauce). But it’s also delicious tossed with linguini or strozzapreti pasta, Italian-style.

¼ C. cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, minced (2½ C. or 10 oz. minced)
4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. Baharat or Moroccan Ras el Hanout
2 tsp. ground cumin (only if Ras el Hanout contains no cumin)
2 tsp. ground paprika
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ C. dry white wine
28 oz. canned, crushed tomatoes
2 C. chicken stock, plus more as needed
2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tsp. wildflower honey, plus more to taste
1 C. large cerignola mix, calamata, or green olives, pits removed, and cut into quarters lengthwise
½ C. small preserved lemons, cut into quarters or eighths lengthwise, pits removed
¼ C. chopped cilantro

In a large sauté pan, over medium-low heat, heat the oil and add the onions. Cook the onions slowly, partially covered, until soft and translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring to incorporate. Add the baharat or ras el hanout, cumin (if needed), paprika, and cinnamon. Stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up and add the wine. Simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer slowly, partially covered for 15 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes longer, until sauce is slightly thickened, with a silky sheen. Total cooking time will be about 30 minutes. If the spices still taste harsh at this point, add a little more stock, and simmer longer. If needed, thin the sauce with additional chicken stock. Sauce should not be too thick. Taste for seasoning, and add salt, pepper, and honey to taste. Just before serving, add the cilantro. Sauce can be used immediately or cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days. It’s even better on day two. Makes about 2 quarts.

Uses for Barbecue Sauce

Uses for Barbecue Sauce

To give meat loaf a whole new taste, replace the tomato sauce or ketchup in your favorite recipe with bottled barbecue sauce. The smoky taste of the barbecue sauce will add a new dimension of flavor to your old recipe.

For a smoky hamburger spread, stir together 1 T. barbecue sauce and 2 T. mayonnaise. Use on hamburgers or in salads.

To mix up a quick steaming liquid for clams, put 3 dozen scrubbed littleneck clams on a very large sheet of heavy-duty foil and drizzle with 1/2 C. spicy barbecue sauce and the juice of 1 lemon. Fold the foil over the clams, leaving ample space for the clams to open, and crimp the edges to seal. Bake at 375°F or put the foil bag on the grill and cook until the liquid in the foil is bubbling and the clams open, 10 to 12 minutes. Slit open the foil and serve the clams with the sauce. Discard any unopened clams.

For moist and marvelous hamburgers, mix 1/4 C. barbecue sauce into 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef. Shape into 4 patties and grill, broil, or pan-fry over medium heat. Cooked to about 160°F on an instant-read thermometer and the meat is no longer pink, about 4 to 6 minutes per side, basting the burgers with additional barbecue sauce as they cook.

To make delicious baked turkey tenderloins, split 2 turkey tenderloins lengthwise in half and remove the vein. Place the tenderloins in a foil-lined baking dish. Mix together 1/2 C. barbecue sauce, 1/4 C. finely chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, and 1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder. Spoon or brush over the turkey until completely covered. Bake at 350°F until a thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest portion registers 165°F and the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

For hot roast beef sandwiches with just the right flavor, bring 1/4 C. bottled barbecue sauce to a simmer in a saucepan. Add 1/4 pound sliced deli roast beef and heat through for 5 minutes. Put on a roll with some prepared horseradish.

Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce (Bahamas)

Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce (Bahamas)

3 oz. distilled white vinegar
1 T. ground turmeric, or 1/2 T. Turmeric + 1/2 T. Bajan Spice Blend
5 tsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 3/4 oz. fresh habanero chiles (6 to 9)
1/2 C. coarsely chopped onion

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, turmeric and brown sugar together until smooth. Place mustard seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat and dry roast just until aromatic or the seeds start to pop. Immediately remove seeds from heat and stir into vinegar mixture. Place vinegar mixture, habaneros and onions into a blender and puree to a smooth, pourable texture.

This sauce is hot! Use as a spicy topping or dipping sauce. Use as a marinade or rub for beef, pork, poultry, seafood, tofu or veggies. Great as a dip for our Bajan Seafood Hushpuppies and a key ingredient in our Bajan Hot Pepper Grilled Chicken.

You can purchase commercial Bajan spice blends that are nice in this, they usually contain lots of spices such as:  onion, thyme, garlic, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, parsley, marjoram, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, anise, allspice, habanero, makrut lime, cinnamon, mustard, mace and cardamom.

Everyday Tomato Sauce

Everyday Tomato Sauce

Everyday Tomato Sauce¼ C. EVOO
1 large Onion, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and minced
46oz. can Tomato Juice
29oz. can Tomato Puree
2 6oz. cans Tomato Paste
1 T. each dried Basil, Oregano, and Thyme
2 Bay Leaves

In large saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato juice, puree and paste and stir until blended. Crush basil, oregano and thyme in your hands and add to sauce. Add nay leaves. Lower heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, up to several hours, until thick. When ready to serve, remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste. ¼ tsp. crushed Fennel seeds may be added with herbs, if desired.

Claudia’s Mexican Sauces

Claudia’s Mexican Sauces

claudia saucesCrema de Aguacate Oazaquena (Oaxacan Avocado Cream)

1 lg. Ripe Hass Avocado
½ C. Oazacan Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
1 T. Lime Juice

Using a 6-inch (15-cm) knife, carefully slice through the stem end of the avocado until you can feel the pit. Proceed to run your knife down one side following the pit, but don’t press too eagerly. A ripe avocado will be very easy to cut, so don’t exert yourself or you can risk a cut. Continue cutting all the way around the pit until you reach the original cut. Set your knife down, hold each side of the avocado in your hands, and twist in opposite directions. Carefully remove the pit of the avocado either with a spoon or fork. (If your avocado isn’t ripe enough, this may prove difficult; if so, stab your knife into the pit and twist in order to remove it. If you are unable to remove the pit, use another avocado, as this avocado is not ripe and will taste too earthy.) Run a large spoon along the inside of the skin of the avocado to remove the flesh from the skin. Don’t worry how perfectly the avocado comes out, as you are going to be pureeing it anyway! In a small blender or food processor (a mini food processor works well), combine the avocado flesh, sour cream, and lime juice, and blend until smooth. If your avocado is not ripe enough or the sour cream is too thick, add a tablespoon or so of water to get things moving in the machine, but make sure to keep the consistency thick and mousse-like. Remove from the blender and season with salt. Fit a piping bag with a small circular tip and add the avocado cream to the bag or spoon the cream into a squeeze bottle. To plate with tamales or tacos, place your point close to the plate, squeeze out a little cream, and lift the tip straight up. This will make your dollop look like the perfect kiss! Because avocados are finicky and will turn brown and dull, this creme will not keep longer than 4 hours, even when stored in an airtight container. So put it on everything and be generous with it!

Oaxacan sour cream is denser than typical sour cream and is salted and textured much
like a creme fraiche. If you cannot find it, use creme fraiche or, in a pinch, regular sour cream and a bit more salt to achieve a similar balance of flavor. Err on the side of thicker (but not chunky) than thinner for your avocado cream, because if it is too thin, you will have a dripping mess that cannot be piped.

Chipotle Crema (Chipotle Cream Sauce)

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 medium white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 small tomato, chopped
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

Heat the oil in a medium sautepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until the garlic starts to soften. Add the tomato and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, carefully pour in the cream, and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat. A little bit goes a long way with smoky chipotle chiles, so if you have never worked with them, start with one, and then add another if you want to turn up the heat. Place the chile in a blender, carefully pour in the hot cream mixture, and blend on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth and bright orange in color. Taste for salt and season accordingly; if the sauce is not spicy enough for you, add an additional chile and blend again until smooth. This is a dairy-based cream sauce that will keep a maximum of 3 to 4 days in the fridge, so use it quickly.

Salsa de Chile Tatemado (Roasted Red Pepper Sauce)

2 medium Roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno chile
1 pound (455 g) fresh piquillo peppers, roasted, or 1 (14-ounce/400-g) can roasted piquillo peppers, drained
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small yellow onion, quartered
½ cup (120 ml) beef stock or veal demi-glace, plus more if needed
4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)

Heat a skillet or comal (tortilla griddle) over medium-low heat. Place the tomatoes and jalapeno on the skillet and heat until the tomatoes are almost completely darkened on all sides, softened, and releasing their juices and the jalapeno is fragrant and blistered. Remove the stem and cut the jalapeno in half. Remove the seeds using a spoon if you’d like your sauce on the milder side. In a blender, combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, piquillo peppers, garlic, onion, and stock, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer, adding a little more stock if it’s too thick. Once it simmers, remove the thyme, taste for heat, and add a little cayenne if needed. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. Bring it to a boil before serving.

Aceite de Cilantro (Cilantro Oil)

2 large bunches fresh cilantro
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) canola oil

Start by cutting 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the thick ends of the cilantro stems. Chop the leaves and tender stems (stop about 1 inch/2.5 cm from the bottom of the cut stems) until you have 2 packed cups (80 g). Save any remaining cilantro for another recipe. Place the cilantro in the blender with ¼ cup (60 ml) of the oil. Blend on low speed, slowly drizzling in the remaining oil through the hole in the top of the blender. Do not overblend or blend on high speed, as this can cook the cilantro and turn it a dark green or brown color. Season with salt and pulse until incorporated. Line a fine-mesh sieve or chinois with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the blended oil into the sieve and, using a large rubber spatula, push the oil mixture through the sieve into a large bowl, pressing on it with the spatula to get out all the flavored oil. Discard the cilantro pulp. Using a funnel, pour into a squeeze bottle for ease of plating. It will keep, refrigerated, up to 5 days.

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 red chili peppers, minced (for more heat leave the seeds in, for less remove them)
1 tsp ginger, grated
½ cup sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
½ cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
salt to taste

In a small saucepan, combine garlic, chili pepper, ginger, sugar, rice vinegar and water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Pour cornstarch mixture into the sauce whisking constantly until it thickens. Allow mixture to cool and store it in a mason jar in the refrigerator.

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco

queso1 cup monterey jack cheese or 1 cup asadero cheese or 1 cup chihuahua cheese, shredded fine
4 ounces green chilies
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons onions, chopped fine
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 serrano pepper, chopped fine (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped fine (optional)

Put all ingredients in a double boiler and heat on medium. Cook until melted and well blended, stirring occasionally. Serve with fresh tostadas or hot flour tortillas.