Condiments Recipes

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Basil and Chive Flavored Homemade Butter Recipe

Nope, this is not ice cream. I can't believe it's butter! This recipe is ultra simple; all you need is a food processor and heavy cream. I always make butter whenever I have leftover heavy whipping cream from making desserts (usually from making cake frosting).

The flavored butter can be used as a spread for sandwiches, in pasta or as a garnish for a juicy steak; the possibilities are endless. How you flavor the butter is up to you and what you have in your pantry. I had some sweet basil and garlic chives from my garden. You'll never waste your remaining cream again.

For the more traditional method, check out the tip section.


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Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Vegetarian Mock Fish Sauce) Recipe

If you like seasoning your Asian dishes such as bánh xèo and bì cuốn chay (fresh spring rolls) with the typical Vietnamese condiment called nước mắm but find it too strong to your taste or simply if you're a vegetarian, this recipe is for you. The vegetarian equivalent is called nước chấm.

I use lemon-flavored soy sauce as a main ingredient but there is a new product called nước mắm chay available in Asian stores. It gets a "sea" flavor from the addition of seaweed to the product.

It is also a nice addition to Asian soups like my sweet and sour pineapple soup.  Just serve it on the side and let your guests add as much (or as little) as they like.  In Vietnam, this sauce, or its fish-based equivalent, is as common on the dinner table as a salt shaker is in the West.


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Fusion Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce) Recipe

Raita (click on the link for the traditional version) is an Indian condiment made with yogurt. It is paired with a lot of spicy dishes like biryani, tandoori chicken or vegetarian cutlets because dairy products have a cooling effect when food is extremely spicy. If you follow Ted Allen's show, Food Detectives, you've probably seen the premier episode which asks "What is the best way to cool your mouth after eating spicy food?" After some experimentation it was clear that dairy was the most effective.

This particular recipe is my take on traditional raita. Similar to the Greek sauce called tzatziki, I add dill, lemon, and olive oil. Being French, I also add some Dijon mustard to add some more complexity to the flavor. 

I know, some people are going to balk at my additions, but I think that sauces are the highlight of a meal, so why not enhance them with a lot of flavor? Sometimes I also add cilantro or dill, depending on what's available in my garden. I'll try to post the traditional recipe soon so that you can make your own variations to your taste.


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Vegetarian Quinoa and Eggplant Caviar Recipe

"Chose promise, chose due!" This is a French expression that translates as promises are made to be kept.

As promised, this is the recipe of the vegetarian equivalent of fish caviar that I served my "vegetarian" dinner guests last night. I paired it with mini-crumpets and a little dollop of crème fraîche in between.

This recipe was inspired by the Tassajara Cookbook by Karla Oliveira, which is an excellent resource for vegetarian party food recipes. The quinoa grains and eggplant seeds resemble the original fish eggs. It is basically eggplant caviar, very similar to baba ganoush, mixed with cooked quinoa.

For more flavor, I topped it with an Asian-style mint and cilantro sauce that added a beautiful, bright green color.


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Vietnamese  Dipping Sauce with Fermented Fish Sauce Base (Nuoc Mam) Recipe

Vietnamese dishes are generally very healthy. They are usually composed of a starch like noodles or jasmine rice, a meat or fish, a bunch of greens and the whole meal revolves around a strong-flavored dipping sauce called nước mắm. The main ingredient is made from fermented fish sauce, which is rich in calcium and salt. The smell is very pungent. It's a very common flavoring in Vietnamese cuisine.

I made some bún cá chiên, literally rice vermicelli noodles with fried fish. I love to dip the crispy fried fish in the nuoc mam sauce. The fish absorbs all the sauce and it's divine.

Just add pickled daikon radish, carrots, coarsely crushed peanuts, some Vietnamese mint, grilled beef (or fried tofu for vegetarians) and you get a fresh healthy meal in minutes!!

 


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