Top 5 Condiments You Should Make at Home
This one's great, as it meets all of the requirements for homemade condiments. Flavorwise, real mayonnaise vs. the jarred stuff is like the difference between carob and chocolate. You can kind of see what people are thinking when they substitute one for the other, but nobody is really able to fool themselves into thinking that the substitution is acceptable. Unless, of course, they haven't had real mayonnaise. Which many people haven't. Which is why you should make it.
Aside from the vast flavor differences, and the fact that you can't get real-deal mayonnaise in the store, mayonnaise is both simple and magical. Three ingredients (four if you count salt), three minutes (less if you use an immersion blender) and amazing results. If you want to get fancy, add finely chopped herbs and garlic for aioli. Make it today. Hell, make it right now. Slather it on your sandwiches (scrambled egg being a favorite of mine), spoon it over grilled fish, eat it out of a bowl with steamed vegetables.
2. Whipped Cream
Photo by Nicholas L. Hall These CSA peaches were basically perfect. I couldn't think of a better way to eat them.
This entry almost got booted by compound butter (soften butter, fold in flavoring -- try vadouvan -- mold into a cylinder using plastic wrap, refrigerate, slice to use), but won out for the sheer ridiculousness of Cool Whip. For starters, non-dairy whipped topping (and its nominal-dairy ilk) is disgusting. It's a textural nightmare, tastes like plastic and is overly sweet. I don't usually get so serious about food (not intended as a joke), but I actually take slight offense at a tub of Cool Whip accompanying the pies on a Thanksgiving buffet. It's just such a sad and careless food product.
The kicker is that actual whipped cream, and its pedantically sweet sister chantilly cream, are ridiculously easy to make. Put cream in a bowl. Beat it. Not too long, or you'll have butter. Which inadvertently reminds me of another positive of real whipped cream: if you screw it up, you get butter! Don't screw it up, and you have one of the best simple pleasures on the planet. True whipped cream is light and fragrant, with a subtle and pleasing sweetness even before you add sugar. It is worlds away from the tub stuff, and amazingly delicious. Sweetened, maybe with a bit of bourbon whipped in, it turns perfectly ripe fruit into a decadent dessert, while still managing to seem somewhat wholesome.
1. Salad Dressing
If you regularly buy bottled salad dressing, you're dead to me. Do you have oil? Of course you do. Vinegar (or pretty much any other acidic liquid)? Come on, now. Put them in a mason jar in a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, screw the lid on and shake the crap out of it. Make your kids do it for you. It's fun. Throw in a pinch of salt and pepper, a handful of herbs, maybe a minced shallot. Sometimes, I make mine in a tall pitcher, using an immersion blender. I throw in huge handfuls of herbs, no need to chop, and buzz the whole thing up in a minute flat. I've recently made both kosho and vadouvan vinaigrette, and they were amazing. I can't remember the last time I bought salad dressing, but it's been awhile. I think you'll find the same is true for you.
What are your favorite condiments to make at home?
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