Condiments & Sauces Tips

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How do I thicken a sauce?

Thickening Sauces

Using a beurre manier is a popular method for thickening a sauce without having to make a roux or using a white sauce base.

To make beurre manier:

1 pound flour
1 pound unsalted butter at room temp

1. Let butter come to room temp.

2. Add the flour and knead it in with a wooden spoon.

Use right away or wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator.

How do I make flavored vinegars?

Garlic Vinegar

6 cloves garlic
1 quart red wine or cider vinegar

Peel, then crush the garlic cloves and put them in a quart jar or bottle.

Heat the vinegar to the boiling point, then pour it into the jar. Cover and store in a cool place, out of the sunlight, for 10 days to 2 weeks. Shake occasionally.

Strain into bottles and stop with a cork.

How do I make mayonnaise?

Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. This recipe will yield about 2 1/2 cups.

1 cup light olive oil
1 cup vegetable or safflower oil
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine the oils in a large glass measuring cup. Place the eggs, mustard and the 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor.

Process until the mixture is foamy and pale, about 1 1/2 minutes.

With the machine running, add the oil, drop by drop, until the mixture starts to thicken (about 1/2 cup of the oil total). Do not stop the machine at this point or the mayonnaise may not come together.

Add the remaining oil in a slow steady stream. When all the oil has been incorporated slowly add the lemon juice.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

How do I use pesto?

Pesto Alfredo Pasta

Prepare your favorite recipe for Fettucine Alfredo and then stir in 1 Tablespoon of Pesto per serving.

How do I fix pale gravy?

Pale Gravy

If your gravy is too pale for your taste, simply add
1/2 a teaspoon of instant coffee.

This will darken the gravy and not affect the taste.

flavored butter

Cinnamon Butter

Cream together equal parts unsalted butter and brown sugar. Add in cinnamon to taste.

Excellent on pancakes, waffles and breakfast biscuits.


Cranberry & Orange Relish

1 package fresh cranberries (4 cups)
1 whole orange, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar (more as needed)
8 ounces pecans, chopped

Place cranberries and orange in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Pulse until desired texture is reached. (This should not be a puree, but rather a coarse texture.)

Add sugar and nuts and refrigerate overnight.

How do I make Bechamel sauce?

Basic Bechamel Sauce

1/8 cup butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups hot broth or milk

Melt butter, add flour and cook, stirring rapidly, for a few minutes, until the paste acquires some colouring (the French call it roux).

Gradually add broth or milk and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until thickened.

Add salt and pepper and reduce over low heat for about 30 minutes until you have about 1 cup of thickened sauce.

This basic Bechamel Sauce is used as a base for Mornay Sauce

How do I fix a sauce that´s too sweet?

Too Sweet?

If you find that a sauce you've made for a vegetable dish
is too sweet for your taste, just add a teaspoon of cider

The tartness of the vinegar will counteract the
undesired sweetness.

How do I thicken gravy?

How to thicken gravy

If time permits, allow the gravy to simmer over low heat until
it reduced to the desired consistency.

If time is short, Blend 1 teaspoon of cornstarch per cup of
liquid being thickened in cold water to form a thin paste.

Pour the cornstarch paste into the gravy, and continue to whisk over medium heat to thicken.

How do I fix salty gravy?

Salty Gravy

If your gravy is too salty, don't despair. Try one of these
simple Repair 101 tips.

A) Add a few slices of sliced potatoes to the gravy and
let them cook until fork tender. Remove the slices before

B) Make a second batch of gravy omitting any salt from the
recipe and blend with the first batch. Freeze leftovers.

How do I make watermelon jelly

Watermelon Jelly

Save the flavor of summer by making this easy watermelon jelly.

5 cups watermelon juice
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

To get watermelon juice, remove rind from watermelon slices and place flesh in a blender. Select liquify.

Bring the juice to a boil; add sugar, a little at a time. Add all the lemon juice. Cook until
jelly will sheet off a spoon. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

Yields: 8 half-pints

Vegetable dipping sauce

Herbed Dipping Sauce

This pleasantly colored dipping sauce is excellent for steamed artichokes or other crudite of your choosing.

2 Tablespoons yogurt
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (or sour cream)
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
1/2 Tablespoon chopped scallion
1/2 Tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 Tablespoon dry sherry
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Dash of lemon juice, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well.
2. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

How do I make flavored oil

Garlic Oil

For a decorative effect, thread garlic cloves on bamboo skewer.

1 head garlic
3 cups olive oil

Separate garlic into cloves and peel. Place in jar or bottle. Fill with oil and tightly seal. Let stand overnight before using, then store in refrigerator. Use for dressings, marinades and sautes.

Makes 3 cups.

How do I make Tartar sauce?

Tartar Sauce

Simple & delicious homemade Tartar Sauce.

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons dill pickles, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine all ingredients in the order given. Blend well.

2. Cover and refrigerate. Sauce will last for up to 2 weeks

How do I make salsa?

Summer Salsa

Make this salsa when the tomatoes in your garden are ripe
and the herbs are fresh.

Use this as a dip, as a topping for crostini, or
with hummus and pita.

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander sprigs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
Tabasco to taste

In a bowl stir together salsa ingredients.

Salsa may be made 2 hours ahead, covered and chilled.

Makes about 3 cups.

What can I make with Rhubarb?

Rhubarb Relish

Use this relish with grilled chicken or pork.

Rhubarb Relish

2 cups rhubarb -- finely chopped
2 cups onion -- finely chopped
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Cool and store in the refrigerator

How do I fix greasy gravy?

Greasy Gravy

If your gravy has turned out too greasy, don't fret, it's
easy to repair.

For an immediate fix, the fat can be skimmed off the top or soaked up with a fresh bread slice gently
floated on top of the hot gravy. Remove bread when saturated and discard.

If more time allows, chill the gravy, skim off the congealed fat from the
top and reheat the gravy until it bubbles.

Cocktail sauce

Fresh Cocktail Sauce

Homemade cocktail sauce has a much nicer taste than store bought and it's so simple to make.
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup fresh horseradish, peeled & finely grated
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Grate horseradish on the finest holes of your grater or shred finely in your food processor.

Combine all ingredients and let sit for one day to meld flavors.

How do I use pesto?

Pesto Rice

Stir 1/4 cup prepared pesto into 3 cups of hot cooked rice for a delicious gourmet rice, FAST!

How do I prepare hot mustard?

Perk up dry mustard

When preparing dry mustard into "wet mustard" always use cold water or the flavor will be greatly diminished.

If you want mustard with a kick, mix the mustard powder with beer instead of water.

Tarragon Marinade

Tarragon Marinade

This marinade is especially good on poultry or vegetables. To get the full flavor of the Tarragon, marinate overnight.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup champagne wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon -- chopped
salt and pepper -- to taste

Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and whisk together.

How do I make cranberry sauce?

Cranberry Port Sauce

Cranberries with a twist! This recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce which is plenty for 10-12 people.

2 cups Cranberries
1 orange, zest & juice
1/4 cup Port
1/2 cup Sugar, adjust as needed
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally.

In a small cup mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens.

Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.

How do I make an Asian marinade?

Asian Hoisin Marinade

Asian Hoisin Marinade

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice wine or cooking sherry
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 whole green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chile sauce

Whisk together all ingredients. Pour over chicken, pork or beef. Let marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

How do I make flavored oil

Curry Oil

Drizzle this curry scented oil sparingly over seafood or steamed vegetables or stir into steamed rice.

4 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a 1-cup metal measure or very small metal bowl, combine all ingredients. Set the measuring cup or bowl on a baking sheet and cook in lower third of oven for one hour. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

Line a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and strain oil into a glass jar.

Covered loosely and refrigerated at all times, flavored oil keeps for one month.

How do I make Pesto?

Spinach Pesto

An excellent winter recipe, serve this Spinach Pesto tossed with warm linguine cooked al dente.

1/2 cup minced spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine spinach, parsley, dried basil, garlic, walnuts, oil, and Parmesan in a food processor until a thick paste is formed.

How do I make raspberry vinegar?

Raspberry Vinegar

This vinegar takes four days to prepare and is better if you let it stand for a week or two before using.

3 quarts raspberries
1 quart vinegar

Wash one quart raspberries; drain well. Place in a glass jar or crock and pour in the vinegar; let stand one day.

On the second day, strain off the vinegar onto a second quart of fresh raspberries. Let stand overnight.

On the third day, strain off the vinegar again and pour it over the third quart of raspberries.

On the fourth day, strain off the vinegar again. Add 2 cups of sugar to each pint of vinegar mixture, place in a pan and bring to a slow simmer. When it is scalded through, place in jars and seal while still hot.

How do I store oil?

Freshness Test

Oil can go rancid if not stored properly. Keep all oils
stored in a cool dark place. Nut oils especially are prone
to spoilage and are best kept refrigerated after opening.


Cranberry Mustard

This mustard is excellent on leftover Turkey Sandwiches. It also stores well, and makes a much appreciated addition to a gourmet gift basket

2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
6 Tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons orange zest
32 ounces cranberry sauce (with whole berries)
2/3 cup prepared mustard

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion in oil about five mins or until onion is tender.
Add brown sugar and orange zest.
Stirring frequently, cook about a minute just to dissolve the sugar.

Add the cranberry sauce and mustard; stir until well blended. Remove from the heat and cool.

Serve at room temperature as a condiment, use as a sauce for grilling or a spread for sandwiches.

Store in an air tight container in refrigerator.

How do I make salsa?

Salsa Ranchera

Broiled serrano chilies and tomatoes simmered with garlic and sautéed onions; served as a dip, sauce or topping.
2 pounds tomatoes, broiled
5 serrano chili peppers, broiled
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons Vidalia onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

Broil tomatoes and chilies until black spots appear on both. Place in food processor and pulse along with garlic and salt until rough-textured mixture is formed.

Heat oil and fry onions until clear. Add tomato and pepper mixture, cook over high heat until reduced; about 10 minutes. Chill.

Stir often, add more chiles if hotter sauce is desired.

Yields 2 cups.

You can make this as hot as you want by varying amount and variety of chiles.

Horseradish sauce

Horseradish Sauce

Let the horseradish sauce sit covered overnight in the refrigerator for the best flavor. Excellent with roast beef.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 lemon

Place mayonnaise, sour cream, and horseradish in a bowl and stir well to mix. Squeeze juice of lemon into bowl and blend all contents together.

How do I make Pesto?

Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro and Seafood are an excellent match. Toss raw shrimp in Cilantro Pesto, marinate and grill or toss with fresh cooked pasta and seafood of your choice.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons pepitas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup fresh lime juice

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until a paste forms.

How do I make flavored oil

Pesto Oil

Pesto Oil

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a 1-cup metal measure or very small metal bowl,
combine all ingredients. Set the measuring
cup or bowl on a baking sheet and cook in lower third
of oven for one hour.

Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

Line a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and strain oil into a glass jar.

Covered loosely and refrigerated at all times, flavored oil keeps for one month. Makes about 1/2 cup.

This oil is good in vinaigrettes, on mashed potatoes or rice and can
be sprinkled on fish, or poutry to perk up the most basic of meals.

How can I use pesto?

Soup a la Pesto

Perk up your traditional vegetable soup by swirling 2 teaspoons of pesto into each serving bowl.

How do I fix lumpy gravy?

Lumpy Gravy

If your gravy has become lumpy from the addition of flour,
don't despair; follow this simple repair 101 advice.

With a whisk, vigorously beat the gravy over medium high heat until it becomes smooth, about 5 minutes.

If this fails, strain the gravy, pressing out the lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
Reheat, stirring constantly; serve.


Champagne Mustard

This makes a nice, smooth tasting mustard.

2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup champagne
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black and white pepper
6 ounces dry colemans mustard
3 eggs -- beaten

Heat vinegar and sugar to dissolve in large heavy saucepan. Cool.

Add the rest of ingredients, beating in the eggs one at a time. Bring to a gentle boil stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Boil 5 minutes.

Bottle, cool, cap and put in the refrigerator.

How do I freeze pesto?

Freezing Pesto

Has Basil taken over your garden? Have extra Pesto?

Worry not, you can easily save this wonderful condiment for months to come.

Take your favorite Pesto recipe (or use mine) and spoon by the Tablespoonful into an icecube tray.
Allow to freeze about 4 hours, remove and place in a double freezer bag.

These cubes will remain fresh for about 6 months.

How do I make mustard?

Cajun Mustard

Use this spicy mustard on any deli style sandwich.

2 ounces dry mustard
1 Tablespoon flour
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

In a bowl, combine dry mustard and flour. Gradually stir in 1/4 cup cold water; let stand 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.

Store covered in refrigerator for up to a month.

How do I make Pesto?

Standard Basil Pesto

Make sure to use fresh, bright green basil leaves for the best flavor.
Wilted leaves or those with brown or black spots are old and bruised and will not produce good results.

You must use freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, pre-grated will not do in this recipe.

2 cups Fresh basil leaves
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 ounces Pine nuts
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup FRESH Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil

1. Remove basil leaves from their stems, rinse well to remove any sand, and pat dry.

2. Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the food processor, grind into a thick paste. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and process until well mixed and quite smooth.

3. With the food processor running, slowly add the oil until all combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.

4. Pour into a bowl.

Recipe yield: 1 cup pesto sauce

Corn Salsa

Corn & Avocado Salsa

This unusual salsa recipe is excellent served with grilled shrimp or chicken.

2 cups corn kernels
3 avocados -- diced large
1 red onion -- diced small
1 red bell pepper -- diced small
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic -- minced
4 dashes Tabasco sauce -- to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano -- chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
Salt and freshly cracked pepper -- to taste

Blanch the corn in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and cool under cold water. Cut the kernels off the cob and mix together with all the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

How do I fix thick gravy?

Too Thick Gravy

If you've added too much starch to your gravy or it's
evaporated and now too thick, it's easy to fix.

Simply whisk in more broth (chicken or beef) until desired consistency is reached.

Pear jam

Gingered Pear Jam

This recipe makes approximately 6 half pints.

3 pounds fresh Bartlett pears
1 orange
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup diced candied ginger
1 package powdered fruit pectin, (1-3/4 oz.)
5 cups sugar

Core and finely dice pears to make 4 cups. Put orange and lemon through food chopper, or process coarsely. Combine pears, orange, lemon, candied ginger and fruit pectin. Bring to boil.

Add sugar and bring back to full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim with metal spoon. Cool 5 minutes, skim again. Put in sterilized jars and seal. Process according to manufacturer's directions.

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