There is a particular bottled salsa on every table in Costa Rica. It's called Lizano and the first time you taste it you have to stop and think a minute. Do I like it or not? Sure, it tastes like a mass-produced bottled sauce but somehow it's also really pleasant in a sweet, smoky, tangy way — like A1 meets tamarind paste — and then you're addicted and you look at the label, and if you understand Spanish, as I do, you find that it's loaded with fun stuff like like sodium benzoate and MSG.
You're already hooked, so you continue eating it on your vacation knowing that soon you'll be home and can swear off the stuff, conveniently no longer within arms' reach of a bottle. You eat it because it's perpetually in front of you and is a perfect match for the day-in-day-out Gallo Pinto, literally "spotted rooster" or rice and beans in Costa Rica.
You hate Lizano and love it all at once, and when you get back home you can think of little else.
A condiment, a sauce, a basis for beans, rice, and stews – sofrito is all this and more. There are as many recipes for sofrito as there are cooks in Latin-Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, but just about everyone would agree it's an essential building block in the kitchen.
It can be daunting to start making a new style of food. Most ethnic cuisines involve complex spice mixes, and sometimes it seems that to make something at home you'll need a shopping list a mile long. So instead start small by making some condiments!
Who: Andrew H. Garrett What: Executive Chef/Hot Sauce developer at NW Elixirs Where: Portland, Oregon
Andrew H. Garrett is the executive chef/owner of NW Elixir's Hot Sauce line, creators of hot sauces with tang, pluck, flavor and heat unlike any I've tasted before. After years in the restaurant business, Andrew's recent turn to all things spicy has set Portland on fire!
Folks, I have a problem. It's called Withdrawal from Kansas City. Six month ago I moved away from my central Midwestern home, and I didn't plan on missing the condiment aisle at my local grocery store. I now call Chicago home, and while I'm hard pressed to find a "good" bottle of barbeque sauce, I'm learning to like new things instead (albeit begrudgingly).
Do you love picked ginger but aren't so interested in the red dye and white sugar many commercial brands use to sweeten and color the pickles? Or maybe you're curious about how to switch things up if you used a different vinegar/sweetener combination? Breakaway chef Eric Gower has been experimenting with pickled ginger for years, and he's found that you can step way out of the box with this delicious, palate cleansing condiment.
In college, I occasionally worked at a small café tucked inside a local art museum. It was a ladies-who-lunch scene, and the food was brought in by a local caterer. The menu was what one might expect for that crowd—chilled soups, tea sandwiches, and dainty salads. Accompanying every entreé was a pile of tangy yellow squash laced with diced red bell peppers; it was our signature side.
We love the salty, savory taste of miso, but hate ending up with leftover miso paste. Recipes rarely call for more than a few tablespoons of the stuff and suddenly it's months later and the package is still sitting in the back of your 'fridge. Does this happen to you? Read on for 10 ideas on how to use every last spoonful!
Have you ever smacked your forehead in December, wishing that you had started a DIY food gift earlier? Well, now is the time to do exactly that. Things like homemade vanilla and booze-spiked fruits are best when given several months to steep and mellow - not to mention the infamous fruitcake (which can be really delicious when you make it yourself).