Condiments 101 (aka how to make cooking fun)

posted in: Food & Recipes | 0

Read: You do NOT need to know how to cook to start cooking.

Also, we’re not preaching. It’s hard to cook for yourself/family of vultures when you’re running around. I get it. It’s also really nice to tell everyone in the house to get the heck out the kitchen so you can zen out a little. Even if you don’t like cooking. I’ll start with 30 minutes, once a week (see? already easier than the stupid sit-up video that promise hard abs). We are going to make three condiments together that will make you enjoy the food you put together at home.

1. Pickled Onions. Grab a jar or a container. Something that closes so you can shake it. Cut a red onion in half from end to end (not across the Equator). Slice off one nub from each half. Slice thin slices of onion. Place in said jar/container/bottle. Pour vinegar until it covers the onions; plain distilled vinegar, rice vinegar, champagne- anything but an aged one. Shake. Wait at least 30 minutes to use OR keep in the fridge for two weeks. You can also do this with shallots. Mmmm… Uses: Plop a few pieces between your lettuce and tomatoes in a sandwich; Dice to jazz up your salad dressing; Pour some of the pickled juice into meats you are braising.

2. Fried Chickpeas. Cook dried garbanzos or drain a can. Follow these easy steps. Store in the fridge for quick snacks. Uses: Toss in salads for crunch and protein; Add to soups; Toss with yogurt, mint and lemon juice for a great dip. 

3. Garlic Confit. Easiest thing ever. Peel some garlic cloves. Place them in a pot and cover them with olive oil or grapeseed oil. Bake at 200 for 30 minutes. Result? Crazy creamy and oil-poached garlic. Uses: Mash into potatoes; Use garlic-infused oil in dressings or over pasta; Cream with leftover garbanzos from recipe above to make the best hummus ever; Stuff into a whole chicken-throw some lemons, thyme and salt on top and roast.

4. Cilantro-lime Yogurt. Quite possibly my favorite thing ever. Take 2 cups plain yogurt or labneh (whole milk preferably), squeeze in the juice of a lime and its zest (lemon will do if limes aren’t available), 1 tsp salt and a pinch of cumin. Finely chop a bunch of cilantro. Mix it. Done. Uses: Best sandwich/pita spread ever; Great dip for pita chips; Serve with chicken; A dollop with some saffron rice; Cools down spice food; Sky’s the limit here.

5. Homemade Croutons. Because a salad is just better with gluten. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grab a loaf of sourdough, focaccia, whatever crusty bread is feeling a little, um, crusty (Feeling the itch? Try your hand at making it from scratch. If you fail, it’ll still make great croutons). Slice into 1″ thick slices, then turn them and slice into 1″ cubes and throw them into a bowl. Warm up 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil with 2 tsps salt and a sprig of rosemary. Or whatever- use thyme- throw in a couple cloves of the garlic confit, some fennel seeds- choose your own adventure. Pour this over the bread and toss. Pour onto a cookie sheet, single layer and bake until golden. Flip them around a bit and bake until the other side is golden delicious. Uses: Salads; Soups; Snacking; Dry them out and food processor them to make killer breadcrumbs.