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giardiniera

Condiments

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." Truman Capote

Defining a condiment is almost as troublesome as defining barbecue. Technically condiments are flavor elements added to enhance dishes after they are prepared, often as a topping, often applied at tableside by the diner. Some are like sauces such as ketchup, and others are chunky like relishes or chutneys. There is no hard and fast definition, espeically when one tries to define the difference between a sauce and a condiment especially since some condiments are used in making sauces and other dishes. If ketchup is a condiment, why isn't barbecue sauce? Or is it? Is pesto a sauce or a condiment? How about hot sauces? Makes my head hurt.

Zombie Blood (home made ketchup). Rich, thick, sweet, spreadable, Zombie Blood is great on fries or sandwiches, especially burgers, or as a glaze on meatloaf. But it is not a clone of grocery store ketchup. It is made to my taste.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce. In South Carolina mustard sauce is used on pulled pork and ribs, but it is also super on anything you would use mustard on, like hot dogs and sausages. Try it anywhere that you might use bottled mustard.

Grownup Mustard Sauce. If the classic South Carolina mustard sauces are trumpet solos, this is a full orchestra. There's a lotta stuff in this recipe, and it really makes sandwiches sing.

Fire Roasted Peppers. So simple to make, roasted peppers, a.k.a. pimentos, go great on steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and be used as an ingredient in such fun things as pimento cheese spread.

Tomato Salsas. Two versions of classic Mexican salsas: Pico de Gallo and a Grilled Salsa Roja.

Chicago-Style Italian Giarediniera. In Chicago giardinera is extremely popular and can be found in all the hundreds of restaurants that serve Italian Beef Sandwiches and Italian Sausage Sandwiches where it is practically a required topping. A jar of giardiniera can be found in the door of every Italian American fridge in Chicago.

Mayo Mojo. Mayo is a blank canvas on which you can paint a huge range flavors.

Controlled Burn Hot Sauce. There are a gazillion hot pepper sauces on the market. The problem I have with most of them is that they all about the heat. Well I'm all about the flavor. So I needed a recipe for a fiery sauce with multiple dimensions, complexity, and depth of flavor because sauce too hot makes me cry like a Cubs fan.

Harissa Hot Pepper Paste. Harissa has become my favorite hot sauce. I use it on everything from fajitas to stews, soups, couscous, fish, and meats. If made properly, it is a very deep, rich, complex paste, much more interesting than any bottled hot sauce. It's great mixed in mayo, ketchup, and barbecue sauce. Use it full strength or thin it with olive oil. So versatile. So good.

Green Chile Salsa New Mexico Style. The Green Chile Cheeseburger is one of the few truly authentic regional styles of hamburger in the nation. It seems as if every bar and burger joint in "The Land of Enchantment" has a green chile salsa with which they adorn their burgers, fries, chili, chips, beans, soups, stews, chiles rellenos, enchilladas, and whatever else is in the kitchen. Even if it tastes too hot out of the jar, you will be surprised how mild it is in situ.

Florida Tartar Sauce. Sauce tartare as it was originally called in France, has been around a long time. It is in the same family as Italian aioli (garlicy mayo), or French sauce remoulade (mayo, herbs, capers, cornichons, and anchovies), both oil and egg based sauces. Thought to be named after the Tartars, Mongolian conquerers who roamed what is now Russia and its neighbors in the 5th century, the recipe hasn't changed much over the years.

Horseradish Cream. Puts some giddyup in roast beef sandwiches, smoked salmon, baked potatoes, corned beef, carrots, celery, and potato chips.

Genovese Pesto. Pesto is one of the world's great and most versatile sauces, and making it is quick and dirty. It is a classic on pasta, but it also makes a superb spread on toast for a fresh tomato sandwich, a scoop into any spaghetti sauce brings it to life and adds depth, and toss some in with potatoes and go straight to heaven.

Steak Sauce. Brigit Binns was kind enough to share her recipe for steak sauce that actually makes something good enough to put on a properly-cooked steak. It is far deeper, richer, more complex, and bright than A-1. Try it on burgers, meatloaf, and calves liver, too.

Caramelized Onions. Mahogany colored caramelized onions are a wonderful sweet savory ingredient in French Onion Soup, and as a topping for burgers, dogs, ribs, brisket, caramelized onion pizza, chops, steaks, baked potatoes, your lover...

Pickled Onions. Try these on cold cut sandwiches, hotdogs, pulled pork, pizzas...

Cowboy Candy (Sweet Pickled Jalapeños). This is a sweet/sour pickled pepper that is great as a relish on hotdogs, burgers, cold cut sandwiches, pulled pork, coleslaw, potato salad, on grilled cheese sandwiches, on Italian beef and Italian Sausages, or mixed in with your cornbread. Take a block of cream cheese and cover the top with these tasty rings and serve with crackers as an appeteaser.

...more to come (to be notified when new recipes and other articles are published, be sure to subscribe to our free, spam free, email newsletter "Smoke Signals").

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