Category Archives: Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc.

Mango Salsa

I don’t think I ever had a mango until about five years ago.  And if you would have asked me then I would have said something to the effect of, “Mangoes are a love it or hate it kind of food.”  Wegmans says on their signs that mangoes taste like a cross between a peach and a pineapple.  I remember thinking, “Yep.  That pretty much says it all.”

I wasn’t a fan.

But over the years I kept coming across recipes calling for mangoes.  They’re actually the most popular fruit in the world.  Did you know that?  Not here in the U.S., certainly.  But there are a whole lotta people around the globe that love these peculiar, sweet, large-pitted fruits.

I first fell in love with them when I had some Mango Sticky Rice at a block party downtown a few years ago.  A very simple Thai dish of sweetened coconutty rice with slices of mango served on top – it’s one of my favorite side dishes to bring to a party for it’s ease of prep and “wow” factor.

I had actually planned on doing a whole bunch of recipes with mango since I bought a crate of beautiful Champagne Mangoes at Sam’s Club last week.  Also known as Atualfo Mangoes, they are smaller and have a softer, less fibrous texture than the regular ones.

(I just wiktionaried the plural of “mango”.  Apparently both “mangos” and “mangoes” are correct but I have always intuitively spelled it the British English way.  I was so tickled by this mundane bit of info I had to share :p)

So anyway, here is my new favorite thing to do with them.  Great for parties, healthy, easy to prepare, and impressive to folks used to eating boring old tomato salsa out of a jar.

Here are the elements – 3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 of the bigger ones), pitted and chopped (we’re just going to pretend that my mangoes are not on the verge of going bad…), some finely chopped red onion (about 1/3 cup – not a whole onion), a handful of fresh cilantro, half of a jalapeno pepper (or a whole one if you like things really hot), seeded and finely minced, 1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of one fresh lime), and a good size pinch of salt.

Here is a video showing one method for cutting a mango.  Also – remember to handle jalapenos with great care.  Wear gloves if you have them.  Just a little bit of juice in the eye will burn for hours.

Chop and mix it all up and you have a fresh, wonderfully flavorful salsa.  It’s sweet, spicy, refreshing, and goes magnificently with salty tortilla chips.  It may just make a mango convert out of you.

Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

3 ripe Champagne Mangoes (or 2 regular ones), pitted, skinned, and chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced

a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp lime juice (or the juice of 1 fresh lime if you have it on hand)

a pinch of salt

Instructions:

Mix and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 cups of salsa

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Fresh Lemon Curd

Easter bunny?

Yeah, I know.  Easter’s still like  a month away.  But Wegmans has beautiful pastel displays featuring the most glorious looking chocolates so it put me in the mood to start Easter planning.

I start early every year.  We host 20+ people so it’s kind of a must.

Oh, and those Easter decorations?  Been sitting in my kitchen since last Easter.  Once it got to be November and I still hadn’t figured out where to store them I figured at least they wouldn’t get lost in the basement, right?

Right.  So anyway, lemon curd.  Not the most appealing name, I know.  But it is so wonderful.  Bright and tart, not too sweet, not too sour.  It’s basically lemon meringue pie filling but better.  I made it for the first time a couple years ago. I folded meringue and whipped cream into it to make a lusciously light mousse.  Then I layered it with cubes of pound cake and fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries to make the most amazing trifle ever.

And did I mention how much cheaper it is to make at home than buy it in the little jars they sell at the store?  MUCH.  And I think we can use all the help in that area that we can get.

Here’s what we need to get started – 3 XL eggs, 3 XL egg yolks, a stick of butter, sugar, a teeny bit of salt, and a couple/few lemons.  My lemons were large so you may need more than two (up to four).  There are a ton of lemon curd recipes out there.  Some only use egg yolks, some don’t use butter, some use less sugar, etc.  This recipe is a combination of a couple that I’ve come across.

You’re also gonna need to set up a double boiler.  If you have a double boiler already, good for you, use that.  Otherwise –  it’s worth monkeying around a few minutes with different sized bowls and pots until you find two that work together well.  It’s important – you want to be able to put about an inch of water in the pot, set the bowl on top, and have the bottom of the bowl NOT be touching the water.  You also want the pot to come up the sides of the bowl high enough so that when you put your ingredients in they aren’t any higher than the pot line.  I know, that was awkwardly explained.  You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Now that we’ve got that figured out it’s time to zest our lemons.  Remove all the yellow zest without grating off the bitter white pith beneath.  And please, try try try not to zest your finger.  Owie.

NAKED LEMONS!!!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

I don’t know about you guys but it drives me insane when I finish zesting a lemon and most of the coveted zest is hopelessly stuck in the zester.  I now keep a little toothbrush in my utensil drawer specifically for getting most of it out and into the bowl.

Next, we’re going to halve our lemons and squeeze out all the juice.  This is easier if your lemons are room temp.

There’s our lemon juice.  We should have 1/2 cup.  If you don’t have half a cup, squeeze another lemon until you get there.

Now, to our lemon juice and zest we’re going to add our egg yolks…

…our whole eggs, a pinch of salt…

…and a cup of sugar.

And we’re gonna whisk that all together.  Meanwhile, put an inch of water in your pot and set it over high heat.

Once the water is simmering, carefully set your bowl into the pot and turn the heat down to low.  We actually don’t want the water at a full boil (as the pic shows, I know, oops).  Double boiling is a gentle heating process.

Okay there.  See how my lemon mixture is right about at the line of the pot?  That’s good.  If it were higher, the mixture at the top wouldn’t be getting heated by the steam underneath.  Even with constant whisking that’s just inefficient.  This is good.  If I were making a larger quantity I’d need to grab a bigger pot and almost certainly a different bowl.  C’est la vie.

Now, we’re going to leave this on the stove, whisking (almost) constantly until it thickens.  The whisking keeps the curd from getting unevenly heated and lumpy.

And now, for your benefit, a quick bit of backstory (if anyone else just heard Doofenshmirtz’ voice in your head, cheers, you’re my kind of girl).

This is the point where I was sure I had done something wrong the first time I made it.  I watched a video where they said that this step would take about 10 minutes.  Ten minutes my butt.  It takes me just a bit over 20 to get the curd thickened.  I remember whisking and whisking, going waaaay, past the ten minute mark going, “I don’t know.  Is it thickened yet?  Is this the way it’s supposed to be?  It doesn’t look thick like when Tyler did it on the video.”  Trust me – when it thickens up – you’ll know.  It’s obvious.  This picture was taken at 20 minutes in.  Still thin and soupy as when we started.  But hot.  You’re almost there though you would never know it unless you’ve done this a few times.

Then suddenly, it changes.  And all is right in the world.  It becomes thick like hot pudding and paler in color.  You’ll be able to see distinct whisk marks in it when you stir.  Now, you can take it off the heat.  Hard part’s done!  Hooray!

Okay, last step.  Cut up the stick of butter into chunks…

…and whisk it into the curd, chunk by chunk until it’s all melted and incorporated.  Taste it now.  It’s totally divine.

As you can see, this recipe makes just a bit under 3 cups.  Now you can use the curd as a cake filling, a tart or pie filling.  You can mix it with meringue and whipped cream to make an awesome lemon mousse.  Or you can just eat it by the spoonful.  I made this yesterday in prep for a larger project which I shall share with you in a couple weeks in the Decorator’s Corner.  Until then –

Enjoy!

 

Fresh Lemon Curd

3 extra large eggs

3 extra large egg yolks

zest of 2 lemons (at least 2 teaspoons but more is okay)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

a pinch of salt

1 stick of butter

Instructions:

Set up double boiler.  Put an inch of water in a pot.  Set a mixing bowl in the pot.  The bowl should sit high enough that it does not touch the water but low enough so that the lemon curd will sit below the level of the top of the pot.

Zest and juice lemons until you have 1/2 cup of juice.

Add whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt to lemon juice and zest.  Whisk to combine.

Set pot of water over high heat until simmering.  This will only take a couple minutes with an inch of water inside.  Once simmering, carefully place bowl on top and turn heat down to low.

Whisk (almost) constantly until curd thickens.  Expect this to take around 20 minutes.  When the curd thickens it will have the consistency of hot pudding and it will turn a more pale yellow.  Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the butter, a tablespoonful at a time, until melted and fully incorporated.

Use as you would wherever “bottled lemon curd” is called for.  Stays good in the fridge for 3 weeks.  Makes just under 3 cups.

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Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

So let me just start by saying I’ve always said I’m not a fan of sweet potato fries.  And then I made these.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod were these good.  Not good – AWESOME.  I loved them so much I made them two nights in a row.  And kind of ate that entire plate right there for dinner last night.  S’okay.  Sweet potatoes are good for us right?

To start, grab a couple sweet potatoes.  Obviously there are four sitting here.  I only used two.  That’s all that would fit in one layer on the baking sheet.  We’re gonna slice these up into fries.  As thick as you like ’em.  I left the skins on but you can peel them first if the skin skeeves you out.  I did some a little thicker, some thinner.  We’ll say I was experimenting and not that my knife skills leave something to be desired.

Yeah…we’ll go with that.

Here my fries are all cut, tossed with canola oil, and in the oven (because I forgot to take a picture before they went in).  I also obviously forgot that copious amounts of steam do not a clear picture make.  Duh.

That’s better.  They’re in there at 400 degrees by the way.  For about 25 minutes or so, tossing them around about halfway through if you have the presence of mind to do so.  I often don’t.

While our fries are roasting let’s make our seasoning mix.  The ramekin in the middle is our mix.  Super simple – 1 teaspoon EACH sugar and Kosher Salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a dash of Ancho Chile Pepper.  (Not to be confused or substituted with Cayenne which is much hotter.)  Ancho Chile Pepper is smoky, a bit hot, and just a little sweet.  It doesn’t give the fries a lot of heat, just pumps the flavor up a notch.  Also – do use kosher salt here, not the regular kind – the granules are bigger and provide that great texture we love on our (fake) fried foods.

Finally, for our dipping sauce, should you choose to make it.  It’s just three ingredients – pomegranate juice, honey, and butter.  I used a pomegranate/cranberry 100% juice blend because buying straight pomegranate juice???  Too rich for my blood.  Er, wallet, anyways.

Just put 1 1/2 cups juice and 2 Tbsp honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling.  Lower the heat and let simmer until the juice mixture is reduced down to a third of it’s original volume.  Just leave it alone until it looks like you’ve only got about half a cup left.  (This takes a bit.  Maybe half an hour?  Can’t remember exactly.  I made this when I was not pressed for time.  So just in case, it’s probably best if you start this first before cutting the sweet potatoes up.)  Remove from the heat and swirl in 2 Tbsp butter.  The resulting pomegranate syrup will thicken as it cools.

Salty and sweet, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Yummy yummy yummy.  I will be making these often.  Enjoy!

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes/yams (a little over a pound)

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

a dash of Ancho Chile Pepper (found in the “gourmet” spices section)

Pomegranate Dipping Sauce

1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Cranberry 100% Juice Blend (I used Wegmans brand.  Ocean Spray has one too.)

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp butter

Instructions:

For sauce:

Combine juice and honey in a small saucepan.  Heat on medium-high until boiling.  Lower heat and allow to simmer until juice is reduced down to about 1/2 cup.  This takes some time, maybe half an hour.  Remove from heat and swirl in butter.

For fries:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut fries to your preferred thickness (I liked them best cut thick like steak fries).

On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with oil and spread out into one layer.

Bake for 25 minutes, turning with a spatula halfway through cooking time.

While fries are roasting, make seasoning mix.  Combine sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, and ancho chile pepper powder in a small bowl.

Toss fries with seasoning and serve with pomegranate dipping sauce.

Makes 4 (hefty) servings.

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Guacamole

Hey everyone!  See that wooden serving bowl there?  I bought that at a yard sale a couple summers ago for 50 cents.  And I’ve never used it.  Not once.  Not before today anyway.  Isn’t it cute?  Just perfect for showcasing our freshly made guacamole and tortilla chips.  And it also makes this picture oddly resemble the Lebanese flag.  Hmm.

Guess someone likes trees

I can’t tell you how much I love freshly made guacamole.  And it’s actually good for you, all those heart healthy, good cholesterol promoting fats and all.  When I was pregnant I used to make a whole recipe of it and eat it for dinner.  With a spoon.

“No, Doctor OBGYN, I don’t know why I’m gaining so much weight.  I eat a really healthy diet.”  (For four people anyway.)

So let’s get started shall we?

All you need is two ripe avocados, a handful of fresh cilantro, a red onion (you don’t even need a whole one), Tabasco sauce, salt, and lime juice.  Pay no attention to all the junk in the background.  I actually live in a house, not a photo studio.

Don’t mind me, I just had to show you a picture of the inside of my avocados because they were so beautiful.  These are actually not quite as ripe as I like them for guacamole though.  You want them soft but not turning brown inside yet.  The day after they turn black is probably the best day.  We’re going to dice them up rather large for some chunky guacamole.  No food processor this time.  Pureed guac makes me want to hurl.

Yay!  I love it when vegetables dice themselves!  Thanks guys!  Tell your onions to dice themselves pretty small.  I’ve learned from experience people don’t generally like biting into huge chunks of red onion.  To our avocados, cilantro, and onion I’m going to add four dashes of the Tabasco, a three-fingered pinch of kosher salt, and 1/2 Tbsp of lime juice.  I measure that because if I don’t I consistently use too much.

Here I have put all our ingredients in a bowl to be mixed.  Spatial reasoning is not my strong suit if you couldn’t tell before.

Here it all is, mixed (and just a little mashed), in a bowl big enough to mix it in.  I ❤ washing dishes.

Correct

Incorrect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, just real quickly here – if you have any leftover after your party or dinner – when you go to put it away you have two options.  You can cover it with plastic wrap like you do with everything or you can mush the plastic wrap down onto the guac, pressing out any air bubbles.  I’ll let you decide which method lasts longer before it turns brown.

And there we have it!  Enough guacamole to feed the party…or yourself if you are pregnant and consider this a suitable dinner….

On that note – enjoy!

 

 

Guacamole

2 Ripe Avocados, large diced

1/2 cup Red Onion, diced finely

1 handful Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice

4 dashes Tabasco Sauce

a three-fingered pinch of Kosher Salt (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)

 

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Serve with tortilla chips or alongside anything you want.  I love mine on burgers, omelets, and with all Mexican food, of course.

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Avocado Corn Salsa

I flip flopped over what to call this for a couple of days.  You know that sweet corn salsa they have at Chipotle?  Well, this isn’t that.  But it has many similar elements.  Guacamole?  Salad?  Is it one of those?

This doesn’t really fit neatly into any of those categories.  But whatever it is it’s GOOD.  We used it as a filling for burritos the other night and it was perfect.  With a little seasoned chicken or steak or pork and maybe some cheese.  Yum.  Is it dinner time yet???

Here’s what you need:  Two ripe avocados, four plum tomatoes, a handful of cilantro (less than the bunch shown here), a lime, about 1/2 cup of red onion (that little bit was all I had left or I would have used more), a box of frozen corn (thawed), a can of diced green chiles, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.  These are all ingredients I use frequently so it was easy to just throw this together with the tacos we were already having for dinner.  Well stocked pantry = Happiness.

Let’s start with our box of thawed corn and the can of chopped green chiles.  If I were feeling more ambitious I would grab a couple of Poblanos and put them on the grill to blacken and remove the skins.  Boil some fresh corn and chop them all up.  Oh wait.  I would do that if I were feeling more ambitious and it were JULY.  As it stands, fresh corn is gone and grilling in the mosquitoey dark is not fun.

Add in your chopped red onion.

Grab your microplane zester and zest a lime, being careful to take just the limey green zest and not the bitter, white pith underneath.  Oh, and also being careful not to zest your poor pinkie finger.  Ouch.

Look at all that green loveliness in there.  Once your lime is zested, cut it in half and squeeze all that wonderful juice into your bowl.  And for God’s sake, if you just zested your poor pinkie, do NOT use that same hand to squeeze acidic juice out of your lime.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuughhh!

Ahem…now…grab your salt and pepper and season to taste.  How much?  A pinch maybe?  I don’t usually measure salt and pepper.  Err on the side of too little and then taste.  I prefer Kosher Salt because it’s more difficult to accidentally over-salt your food.  And freshly ground pepper is great if you have a grinder.  If not, no big.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

And two tablespoons of good olive oil.

Chop up some fresh cilantro.  I never measure cilantro.  I find for most things, as much as I can tear off the bunch with one hand works just fine.

Chop up your tomatoes and add them as well.

And finally, let’s add in those beautiful avocados.  I love when I cut them open on their most perfect day.  Just ripe and soft but not turning brown inside yet.  It’s a short window.  That perfect day is approximately the day they turn black.  And maybe a day and a half after that at most.  It’s all downhill from there.  If you can, try to find the greenest Haas avocados in the produce section.  Often when you buy a black one it looks like it will be good,  but then you get it home and find it’s all brown and abused looking inside.  No thanks.

Anyway –  easiest way to remove the pit without sacrificing any of the precious green stuff is to (carefully) slam your chef’s knife into the pit, exert a little bit of pressure, and then rotate the pit out.  Then (again, carefully), bang the handle of your knife into the edge of the counter and the pit will release and fall wherever you have planned for it to go.  The garbage disposal is not the best place.  Word to the wise.

Use a spoon to separate your beautiful avocado halves from their skins.  Discard the skins.  Chop them up into bite size pieces and add them into your salsa.

Oh, and, I should probably mention now, just like guacamole, this is something you want to make shortly before you’re going to serve it.  The second you cut into an avocado, oxidation begins to turn it brown.  It’s not like it will be inedible but it will be unappetizing after a few hours time.  The lime juice helps slow that process, and certainly covering it well by pressing plastic wrap down directly onto the salsa will help – but avocado brownage is as inevitable as death and taxes…so…don’t put off until tomorrow what you can eat today.  All right, I’m done with cheap, throw away advice.  You’re on your own now.

And there we have it!  So colorful, so flavorful, and so amazingly good for you!  You could eat this with chips, in burritos, or with a spoon.  It’s just splendid.  All the flavors play off each other so nicely.  The creamy mild avocados, the sweet corn, tart lime, pungent red onions, firm, juicy tomatoes, bright fresh cilantro, the chiles adding just a touch of heat.  Mmm.  Simply awesome.  Go make some tonight!

Avocado Corn Salsa

1 box frozen corn

1 (4oz) can diced green chiles

4 plum tomatoes, diced

2 ripe avocados, diced

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and serve promptly.

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Butterscotch Sauce

 

You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to share this one with you.  Well, I guess since I only started this blog a couple weeks ago it’s been, like, a couple weeks.  But anyway, that’s beside the point.

Butterscotch sauce.  Ahhh.  Why don’t we make this wonderful satiny, thick, sweet, complex treasure at home?  This cousin of caramel that goes so wonderfully with soooo many things?  It’s really not difficult at all.  Actually, if you’ve ever been confounded by caramel, (and, come on, who hasn’t?) then you’ll really be surprised how easy it is to make this similar sauce.  It takes literally five (active) minutes to make.

Caramel is sugar, heated until it turns brown and caramelized (duh), then mixed with cream and usually butter,vanilla, and salt.  Caramel can be a tricky beast to master because of the heat element.  The longer it cooks, the hotter the sugar gets, the thicker/harder the caramel will be when it’s done.  So if you’re planning on having caramels you can cut into little cubes you’ve gotta get it to just the right temp.  And I suck at using a candy thermometer so I’ve never quite gotten it right.  Also, white sugar tends to crystallize the second you touch a spoon to it in the pan.  Not good for a smooth sauce.

Anyway, in butterscotch, we use dark brown sugar in place of the white.  You know how I prefer brown sugar in my baking for that molasses flavor?  Well, dark brown sugar has an even more intense molassesy flavor than it’s lighter counterpart.  Could you use light brown sugar simply because that’s what you have in your pantry and you’re dying to make this RIGHT NOW???  Yeah, sure.  Go for it.  The flavor probably won’t be as strong but it will still be wonderful.

 

So let’s get started, shall we?  First, measure out eight ounces of dark brown sugar.  “Hello kitchen scale, nice to see you again.”

Throw the sugar and a stick of butter into a large pan over medium heat.  Stir it around every once in a while to make sure everything heats evenly.

While the butter and sugar melt on the stove measure out 8 ounces of heavy cream.  I wasn’t sure if one cup of cream weighed eight ounces so I measured to be sure.  It does.  Close enough anyway.  In case you’re wondering, eight fluid ounces of water (volume) weighs almost exactly eight ounces (on the scale).  “A pint’s a pound the world round.”  (2 cups = 16 fluid oz = 16oz/1 lb)  That little ditty only works for water.  And apparently heavy cream is pretty close.

Our system of measurement is dumb.

Now meet the supporting players.  Each adds an important element to the sauce.  The salt and the vinegar both enhance the sweetness while the vanilla adds, well, vanilla flavor.  Without them, the sauce is lovely and sweet but nothing that would create a lasting memory.  With them… it’s like the flavor is set on fire.  Like it’s brought to life.  Vibrant and fully actualized as the thing it is meant to be…  I don’t know any better way to describe the difference.

So while you’ve been pulling out your other ingredients and reflecting on what makes you feel alive and whole like our sauce will soon be, the sugar will have completely dissolved and the whole mixture will bubble and get thick like lava.  When it’s ready for the next step it will actually pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir it.

When that happens, turn off the heat and pour in your cream.  If you warm your cream in the microwave first it will give you a bit more time for the next step.

Quickly whisk the cream into the thick, hot sugar mixture.  Don’t do anything like take pictures in the middle of it.  Because then you might get little lumps of hardening toffee that never fully mix in to the rest of your sauce.

Good thing that didn’t happen to me.  Now, leave your sauce alone for 10 minutes to cool a little bit.  Go check your email or something.  After those 10 minutes are up then add in the salt, vanilla, and vinegar.

Here it is after it has had time to cool.  Mmm, lick some off the spoon.  You know, just to make sure it’s good.

Now, you can do anything you want with this sauce but I’m gonna show you what I had for my lunch dessert today.  Yes, I always have dessert after lunch.  I strongly believe in balance when it comes to diet, exercise, and life in general.  And for me, that means a small dessert after pretty much every meal.

See my beautiful, potassium-rich banana there?

I’m gonna pour some of our luxurious butterscotch sauce over it.  Bananas and butterscotch are BFFs.  Did you know that butterscotch sauce was first introduced to the US via the banana split?  Our beloved dessert was first invented in 1904 by a pharmacist near Pittsburgh, PA.  There’s your fun fact for the day.

Now, if we added ice cream this would be a banana split.  And actually, it would also basically be Bananas Foster (minus the blow torch and the rum).  But ice cream does not a lunch dessert make.  I do have some rules, you know.  So I added whipped cream.

Doesn’t that look wonderful?  Om nom nom.  Just blissful.  Go make some.

Now.

Butterscotch Sauce

8 oz Dark Brown Sugar

4 oz (1 stick) Butter

1 cup Heavy Cream

2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions:

Heat a heavy pan over medium heat and add butter and sugar.  Stirring occasionally, heat until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved completely.

When butter/sugar mixture is thick and bubbly, turn off the heat, pour in cream and quickly whisk together until uniform.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

When cooled slightly, add vinegar, vanilla and salt.

Keep refrigerated.  Makes a little over 2 cups sauce.

 

 

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Fresh Peach Base

Millions of peaches.  Peaches for me.  Millions of peaches.  Peaches for free.  Okay, maybe not for free.  If you were alive in 1995 and listened to Top 40 radio at all you know EXACTLY what song I’m referencing and why it pops into my head every year about this time.  Yes, I do realize it’s now stuck in your head too.  Sorry ’bout that.

It’s not like we have a peach tree that actually produces anything in numbers that would require me to get creative with peaches.  I just always always buy WAY too many peaches the second they hit the stands.  I think it’s the feeling that this is it – the last hurrah of summer.  And that can’t be wasted.

These are my beauties this week.  They’re from local farms.  Smallish and fuzzier than the ones that are shipped in from I’m not really sure where –  and they are so good.  And buying them makes me feel like a good, responsible locavore (even though I am totally not, not yet, anyway).   So what to do with all these peaches?  Pie/crumble/crisp/cobbler?  Coffee Cake?  We’ve done a lot of that this summer.  Then I remembered all the coupons I have sitting in my purse for free Peach Milkshakes at Chik Fil A.  We got a ton of them at Relay for Life last July.  And have I used any of them?  Of course not.

But why drive to Chik Fil A when I can just make a fresh peach base at home and freeze it to use this winter?  What a lovely quick bread that would make… ohh, I’m just beginning to brainstorm the possibilities for this sweet, concentrated peach puree.  So let’s get started shall we?

Start by peeling, pitting, and quartering a bunch of peaches,  Keep going until you get about 5 cups.

That should do it.  This is my nine cup food processor so I just filled it a little over half full.

Add in a half cup of sugar…

…a tablespoon of lemon juice…

…a half teaspoon of vanilla extract (most are gluten free but check if this applies to you)…

…and a quarter teaspoon almond extract.  Imitation.  Cringe.  That’s all they had that day!  Alright, I’m done.

And puree it until all the little lumps are gone.  You could use a blender for this if you didn’t have a food processor.  I just got this little lady for Christmas last year.  I don’t know how I ever survived without it.

Now what we have is sweetened, pureed peaches.  But the water content is pretty high.  We’re gonna fix that without adding any thickeners here on the stove.  Pour your puree into a medium size pot and set it on Med High heat.  Bring the peaches up to a boil, turn down the heat, and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes at least.  You want to reduce it down by half, getting all that unnecessary water content out of there.

About 2 1/4 cups.  Perfect! Now, most of this is going in the freezer for use over the winter.  It will keep there for eight months.  Like it will last that long.  But for tonight, it’s going in a milkshake.

Just take half a cup of your peach puree, about 1 2/3 cup vanilla ice cream, and a quarter cup of milk and blend it up.

I LOVE my immersion blender for milkshakes.  I hate getting the entire blender dirty just for a milkshake.  Actually, I think I just hate my blender.  It all makes sense now.

And there we have it!  A perfectly balanced Peach Milkshake.  Now, if you wanted to get crazy you could TOTALLY add some booze in here.  Rum would be good.  (Making sure it’s gluten free of course if you are doing this GF).

Fresh Peach Base

5 cups peaches, pitted, peeled, and quartered

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

Pit, peel, and quarter peaches and put in food processor.  Add sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract and puree until completely smooth.

Transfer to a medium sized sauce pot over Med-High heat and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until reduced by half (about 2 1/4 cups).  Refrigerate or freeze.

Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Peach Milkshake

1/2 cup peach base

1 2/3 cup vanilla ice cream (less if you like your shake thinner)

1/4 cup milk

whipped cream for topping

Blend first three ingredients and top with whipped cream if desired.  Serve immediately.

Makes one 16oz milkshake.

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Filed under Homemade Ingredients, Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc.