Tag Archives: add-ins

Homemade Hot Sauce

Relax, dear friends, and take a deep breath–maybe not too deep, you might inhale something.  But rejoice, because no, there will not be a Sriracha shortage after all.  Yay.

Now, I don’t currently make anything that rivals the marvel that is sriracha sauce, but it did get me thinking about how much I love hot sauce in general.  It’s a lot.  But the importance of a good sauce is not just the heat, it’s also about flavor.  And many hot sauces really just one or the other.


Of all the things you know how to make in your home kitchen, hot sauce might not have been on the list.  It should be, though, because it’s one of the easiest things to do and then you can control both the heat and the flavor.

In my case, I like to use poblano peppers, because I love the way they taste, and serranos.  Sometimes I amp it up with habaneros or do a mix of serranos, jalapenos and other peppers.  The fun part is playing around.  Also, eating.  Definitely eating.

I’ve posted on this before, and you can find that post plus the original recipe here.

No, seriously, apple syrup is a thing

I first wrote about apple syrup a couple years ago.  I just wanted to remind you all that seriously, this stuff is legit.  You should make some while you can still find unpasteurized cider in the store.

I do love living in Michigan for a number of reasons, but the apple harvest is definitely in the top ten.  Josh purchased 15 gallons of freshly pressed cider to make hard cider.  I had him pick up a couple extra gallons for me to make syrup.  We got a cran-apple blend, and a semisweet blend.

The first syrup I’ve made this week used the cran-apple blend plus a couple of Tahitian vanilla beans and 40 minutes later, the result was a gorgeously amber-colored syrupy explosion of flavor.  We actually drank a little from a cocktail glass; it’s that fancy.

I think that next will be a cinnamon-heavy blend for my french toast (yum).  But seriously, go forth and make yourselves some yum.

Basic apple syrup recipe


A farm near us opened last week for strawberry-picking season.  Josh and I, eager to get our berry on, showed up on Wednesday.  “We’ll pick a few pounds,” I thought, “No big deal.”  I mean, we were only there for an hour, the two of us.  No big deal…

Yeah.  It’s all fun and games until you get up the scale at the end of your trip and you have to shell out money for the 25 pounds of strawberries you just plucked from the earth.

So we took this story to its natural conclusion and made jam.  Lots of jam.  25 half pints of jam…plus a couple quarts of strawberry ice cream…and still have half a flat of strawberries left. Continue reading

Make Me a Sammich: Chicken with Leek Confit

“Make me a sandwich.”
“Poof!  You’re a sandwich.

You want jokes?  I got ‘em.  You want funny jokes?  Try back next week.

Josh and I have been trying this radical new thing: “making our own lunches and taking them to work.”  Innovative right?

You see, I work on a college campus that happens to be nicely situated amongst the city’s downtown area.  I am surrounded by restaurants of all kinds–Indian buffets, sandwich places, Mediterranean joints, sushi places, pizza delivery, milkshake delivery and the best soup-shack this side of Heaven.  It is, needless to say, very difficult for me to ignore all of that and eat a lunch I packed.  If I packed.  Hey, sometimes I’m too lazy busy to remember little details like that.  But the down side of this genuine first-world problem of having lots of restaurants nearby is that it’s expensive to eat out all the time for lunch and frankly, eventually it gets boring. Continue reading

As I mentioned in the apple dumpling post, we (Josh, Paul and I) recently took a mini-foodie-field trip to Dexter Cider Mill to stock up for Falltopia.  (I’ve decided to re-name autumn from the pessimistic “Pre-Winter” to the more halcyon-sounding “Falltopia” in hopes of learning to appreciate it more.  Will it work?  Probably, right up until it gets cold again.)  We got donuts, apples, and plenty of cider for drinking, making hard cider (Josh’s thing) and lots of other goodies.  This apple syrup here is the first of those “other goodies.”

Continue reading

Lemon Aid

homemade limoncello

I know what’s going on.  Your path to life has taken a sour turn.  Your mojo is running out of juice.  Food has lost its a-peel.  And my pith-y jokes…well, they lack a certain zest today.  But it’s okay.  I’ve got the cure for what ails ya.  Because, my dear friend, when life has given you lemons, sometimes you wonder…”What the hell am I going to do with this?  Make lemonade?  Uh hello, that is so 1956.  Laaaame.”  Well today, we are going to save your relationship with the lemon.

Because after all, the lemon is a little culinary powerhouse.  There is nothing it can’t make better.  Not only is it full of vitamin C, and not only is it an awesome little addition to homemade cleaning solutions, and not only does it bring out the delicious flavors of foods it’s paired with, but its own flavor is bright and tart and yummy.  To steal a line from Genie, the lemon is “phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space.” Continue reading

New Math: Amazing Additions

When I was young, I had one of the infamous Teen Talk Barbies.  She and I would have long, imaginary conversations about the sociopolitical unrest in the Middle East, the impending real estate bubble, the stylistic value of cinéma verité…you know, all the usual interests of a ten year old girl.  At least, I would talk about those things.  Barbie, dear sweet, plastic-headed Barbie, would spout delightfully silly exclamations, like “Wanna have a pizza party?” and “Math class is tough.  Let’s go shopping!”

Actually, that’s not true.  I never had one of those Barbies and I only know about the infamous Teen Talk version off the doll because it was later parodied in a Simpsons episode where Lisa’s Malibu Stacy doll proclaims, “Math is hard.  Let’s go shopping!”

But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that I did have one of those dolls and in that case, alternative-reality me would be reminded of it years later when various friends and readers would flop down in their chairs, sigh, or type frowny-faced emoticons into messages and declare, “Cooking is hard.  Let’s eat out.”

Now, I may never teach you to like math–I’m not even going to try; after all, this is “Have Fork, Will Eat” not “Have FOIL, Will Calculate.”  I will, however, try to prove to you that not only is cooking not hard but it can also make basic math terribly tasty like these delicious make-ahead recipes that can be added to future meals for a nice boost of flavor and are easy to multiply and divide so you can make as much or as little as you want. Continue reading

Summer Dreams of Strawberry Salsa

It is a really icky day here.  Cold, wet, rainy, some hail.  Not exactly a vision of spring bursting forth with sunshine and warm rays and flowers and bunnies with miniature gold pocket watches in little tiny pockets.

But that’s ok, because summer marches on an endless parade in my head.  Well, summer and a small battalion of green plastic army men, à la Toy Story but with less realism.  I decided that since I was on my own, I should make a dinner that was as seasonally uplifting as my imagination.  In the winter, I stay about two energy levels above hibernation and only because as of this writing, there is no way for humans to safely and economically hibernate through the less desirable parts of the calendar so far as I know.  (If you know of something…email me.)  I stay indoors, surrounded by warm blankets and fuzzy socks and eat hot, heavy, delicious comfort foods like chili, short ribs, mac and cheese, meatballs and lasagna.  But in the summer, I tend to slide more towards light, fruit and veggie heavy meals.  This dinner totally fits the bill. Continue reading

Seeing Red: Farmers Markets and Roasted Tomato Salsa

This was a most excellent weekend.  A busy, exhausting one, but most excellent indeed.  Let’s recap, shall we?

First, Josh and I had breakfast with my friend Jessica and her mom at Beezy’s in Ypsilanti, which is my favorite restaurant in the entire city, I’m pretty sure.  We stopped at the Depot Town Farmer’s Market to do a bit of shopping and to pick up our farm share with Needle Lane Farm.  I love this share so much.  It’s ending soon and I know from last year, I’m going to miss it so much over the winter.  Plus, I love the people at the farm, so I’ll miss seeing them.  But anyway, we picked up our share and got some good peppers and cabbage and beans and a big bag of tomatoes.  Remember that, because it’s going to come up again later.  And you will be tested.   Anyway, after the market, we wandered up to Beezy’s for some delicious breakfast food with which to celebrate Jessica’s passing out on the bar…exam.  (Love you, Jess :-))  I am convinced that Beezy’s has the best breakfast sandwiches in Washtenaw County at the very least.  I got the breakfast eggel—-asiago bagel with scrambled eggs, ham and provolone cheese.  And a hot chocolate.  Which, by the way, was not a cup of hot water or milk with powdered mix thrown in.  Or syrup.  Oh no.  This was Calder Dairy chocolate milk that was steamed and frothed.  It was amazing.  I live three blocks from Beezy’s.  I think it’s safe to say that if you can’t find me this winter, it’s because I’m down there, face-down in a cup of their hot chocolate, trying to make it through the winter. Continue reading

“They’ve jammed the radar!”

That headline’s a reference to Spaceballs, by the way, if you didn’t recognize it.  And if you didn’t recognize it, shame on you.  Your penance shall be sitting down immediately and watching this national treasure of a film—while you’re waiting for this jam to cook down, that is.

So I’ll be up front here.  I am not a domestic goddess of any sort.  I’m barely a domestic imp.  I don’t sew–I can, but I don’t and I don’t have any desire to.  I clean but not nearly as much as I should.  I don’t really decorate.  My gardening skills and interests are minimal.  I don’t can.  (That sentence looks so wrong, by the way.)  I don’t bake my own bread.  And I know those things seem kind of odd, seeing as how I do cook a great deal and I’ll even make my own candy, chocolate, oreos and now I’m working on Snickers bars.  But I dunno.  Canning doesn’t really appeal to me and seems like quite a bit of work for an end result that’s not chocolate.  But I do like jam, and I like it minimally processed (as I prefer all foods to be, except Taco Bell, which gets an exception because it’s not really food anyway).  I don’t like jelly though.  I guess you could say that I’m not ready for this jelly. (No?  No good?  Well they can’t all be winners).  But I do love jam, especially stirred into some plain Greek yogurt with some chocolate chips and walnuts—that’s a winning breakfast right there, my friends.  Raspberry jam is awesome.  But strawberry jam is awesomer still.  Because I love strawberries so, so much.  It’s my second favorite flavor next to chocolate, and right before “barbecue.”  And it’s June!  Fresh strawberries abound cheaply.  Take advantage of it. Continue reading

Citrus Salt: just what you scurvy dogs need

I’m so terribly sorry.  I’ve been neglecting you, I know.  You want to read about food, I want to eat that food, but sadly, the past couple of weeks have not been conducive to deliciousness.  There was illness, dental surgery and the tedious anxiety and paperwork of attempting to buy our first house.  In the meantime, recipe ideas have just been piling up one after another.  It’s a culinary tragedy.

But never fear.  Slowly, the art of food is making its way back to the foreground of the landscape that is my life (poetic, aren’t I?).  I thought I’d ease back into things with something simple but effective.  A nice mix on an old standby.  Something to bring some sunlight and vitamin C into your day.  Maybe you’re a pirate suffering from a terrible case of scurvy and running out of ingredients for your morning hardtack.  Well look no further, matey, I have exactly what you need.

Citrus Flavored Salt
1/4 c. sea salt
the zest of one large orange
the zest of one large lemon

Lay the zest from both fruits out on a paper towel for about 5 minutes to dry out a bit.  Mix and mash into the salt, stirring thoroughly.  Store in an airtight container and use as a finisher for fish, pork, chicken and well..anything you want :-).

Wasn’t that easy?  It’s like your very own flavor-based Easy button.

Everything you ever didn't know you wanted to know about vinegar

Thanks to the Ann Arbor People’s Co-op Facebook feed, I found this jazzy little article all about vinegar, by professional Chef Kelly Myers

Vinegar quality depends on two things: the vinegar’s source material (what the vinegar is made from) and the length of time, if any, the vinegar is allowed to age and develop flavors.

Vinegar can be made from any sugar, making for a broad spectrum of choices. Besides wine vinegar, there is cane vinegar, malt vinegar, cider vinegar, East Asian black vinegar, purple sweet potato vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and vinegars made from white and red rice.

Read all about the magical wonderland that is vinegar in her article on culinate.com