Condiment

Condiment

Spiced Preserved Lemon Butter

Makes ½ cup. Refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

Savory and lemony with a whisper of sweetness, this butter makes a fine finishing touch for vegetables, fish, or chicken.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon sweet vermouth, such as Cocchi
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 preserved lemon quarters
Zest from half a fresh lemon

Rinse the lemon quarters under cold, running water for a minute or two, then pat them dry.

Scrape the pulp off both quarters, then scrape them again to remove any lingering pith. Finely mince the skins. Discard the pulp of one of the lemon quarters; remove the membrane and seeds from the pulp of the other, then chop/mash it to a purée.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add the shallots and sautée until they soften, 1–2 minutes. Add the vermouth and lemon pulp to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the vermouth has evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the cardamom and pepper. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Add the remaining butter, shallot mixture, and lemon zest to a small mixing bowl. Beat together until no lumps of plain butter remain. Scoop the butter into a ramekin, cover tightly, and refrigerate for several hours before using.

Condiment

Hot Moroccan Pickled Carrots

Makes 1 pint.

Try these spicy carrot pickles in a hummus wrap, on a lamb & feta burger, or add them to potato salad.

2 cups julienned carrots*
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Moroccan Pickling Spice

Dry brine the carrots, mix them with the salt and one teaspoon of sugar in a large metal or glass mixing bowl. Set aside for at least 45 minutes (or as long as two hours), stir occasionally.

Drain the carrots and return them to the mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water, swish the carrots in the water and drain again. Repeat this once more. Pat the carrots dry with a clean tea towel and put half of them into the jar.

Make the pickling brine by combining the vinegar, water, two tablespoons of sugar, and the Moroccan Pickling Spice in a small sauce pan. Set over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stir to make sure the sugar has dissolved, and simmer for a minute more.

Make the pickles by pouring half of the hot brine, including all the spices, into the pickle jar, over the carrots. Add the remaining carrots to the jar and pour in the remaining brine. Put the lid securely on the jar. Let the pickles cool to room temp, then store them in the fridge.

*Alternately, cut the carrots into sticks or thin rounds.

[sidebar]

Our Moroccan Pickling Spice is a lovely blend with big flavor and spicy heat! Great for pickling carrots, cauliflower, or turnips. Also fun used to flavor fruit chutney or to make cocktail syrup.

Condiment

Herbed Goat Cheese Dressing

Makes a bit more than 1 cup.

Creamy goat cheese and our Herbes de Romance team up in this luscious dressing. The recipe comes just in time for the start of salad season, but we suspect that you’ll want to make it year round.

Try drizzling the dressing over a simple salad of early season head lettuce, baby arugula, some chive flowers, and lots of thinly sliced radishes. Top with crumbled hard-boiled egg.

2 ounces chèvre-style goat cheese
2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain kefir
½ cup mild oil, such as canola or grapeseed
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, grated (½ teaspoon)
1½ tablespoons Herbes de Romance blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and use stick blender to combine them until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Use the dressing right away or store it, tightly covered, in the fridge for a week or more.

Note: You can make another delicious salad dressing by following this recipe and substituting our Kozani Spice blend for the Herbes de Romance.

[Sidebar]

Our Herbes de Romance blend is inspired by the French classic “Herbes de Provence.”

Its fragrant combination of herbs and flowers almost magically transforms the humblest dish into something special, try it on omelets, baked fish, roast chicken, and in potato salad or rice.

Condiment

Fleur Spiced Cranberry Relish

Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh cranberry relish adds a welcome tart, bright counterpoint for a rich holiday menu. It’s dead easy to make and can be made days in advance.

8 ounces fresh cranberries
1 orange
4 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup diced, peeled apple
1 tablespoon Fleur Spice
Pinch ground Ceylon cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Put the cranberries into the bowl of a food processor that’s fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse a few times to coarsely chop the cranberries. Add the sugar and spices, salt and pepper, and the grated zest of the orange. Pulse a few more times to combine.

Cut the orange in half. Cut the peel off one orange half. Roughly chop the peeled orange half and add it to the to the cranberry mixture in the food processor; add the juice of the other half. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is the texture of very coarse sand.

Finally transfer the cranberry mixture a bowl or storage container and stir in the diced apples. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days) before serving, so that the flavors have time to settle into one another.

[Sidebar]

Fleur Spice is a flower-filled blend — pink pepper imparts its bright, floral note which is balanced by the citrusy flavor of hibiscus and the intoxicating scent of rose petals.

Condiment

Chili Today Pimento Cheese

Makes about 3 cups.

Pimento cheese is a treat that’s especially beloved down South. It makes a mean cheese sandwich, is mighty fine on a hamburger, and is right at home served with crackers or crudités. Our version gets its rich flavor from Chili Today and smoked paprika.

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 clove garlic, mashed or grated
2½ teaspoons Chili Today
½ teaspoon (heaping) smoked paprika
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
½ cup diced, roasted red pepper*
½ cup good, store-bought mayonnaise
Black pepper to taste

Grate the cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater into a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, broken into chunks, then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer (or by hand) until well combined and you can’t see any distinct chunks of cream cheese. Taste and add more vinegar or Chili Today, if desired.

Transfer the pimento cheese to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Tightly covered, pimento cheese will keep for more than a week in the fridge.

*Jarred red peppers are fine, here. Just make sure that they’re well drained.

[Sidebar]

Chili Today is a house-made chili powder. It’s a complex, yet subtle, combination of fruity ancho and smoky Urfa chilies ground with paprika, ginger, cinnamon, Mexican oregano, onion, cumin, garlic, and long pepper.

Condiment

Celery Pickles

Makes 1 quart.
10 ounces sliced celery (in 1/8” thick slices, from about 8 stalks)
1/4 white onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 cup shaved fennel
4-6 strips lemon peel cut into a very thin julienne
1 tablespoon kosher or flaky sea salt)
3/8 cup plus 2 teaspoons natural sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon (scant) nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon (scant) ajwain seeds*
1 teaspoon (scant) pink pepper corns
1 “point” from a star anise

Put the celery, onion, and fennel into a good-sized, non-reactive bowl (stainless, ceramic, glass). Add the salt and two teaspoons of sugar. Stir to mix/coat the vegetables with the salt and sugar. Cover the bowl loosely and let stand for at least 45 minutes (up to a couple of hours if you get busy with something else). At this point, you’ll see a lot of liquid collected in the bottom of the bowl, which is just what you want.

Dump the celery mixture into a strainer, fill the bowl with cold, clean water, return the celery mixture to the bowl, swish, and drain. Then, return the celery mixture to the bowl, fill with cold water, swish, and drain (again). After the second rinse/drain, leave the celery mixture to drain for about 10 minutes, before dumping it onto the center of a clean kitchen towel. Gather the corners of the towel and gently squeeze the celery mixture to remove some excess liquid. Wipe out the bowl and dump the celery mixture back into it. Add the lemon zest (and a few fennel fronds if you’d like).

Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, spices, together and bring to a boil. (on the stove or in the microwave). Stir to make sure that the sugar is dissolved, then pour the steaming hot liquid over the celery mix. Transfer the vegetables and vinegar to a clean (scalded) jar, screw down the jar lid, and let the pickles cool to room temperature. Or, loosely cover the bowl and let the pickles cool before jarring them — obviously, they cool more quickly this way. That’s it. They’re ready to eat, but are tastier the next day.

Makes 1 quart.

10 ounces sliced celery (in 1/8” thick slices, from about 8 stalks)

1/4 white onion, sliced very thinly

1/2 cup shaved fennel

4-6 strips lemon peel cut into a very thin julienne

1 tablespoon kosher or flaky sea salt)

3/8 cup plus 2 teaspoons natural sugar

1 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon (scant) nigella seeds

1/2 teaspoon (scant) ajwain seeds*

1 teaspoon (scant) pink pepper corns

1 “point” from a star anise

Put the celery, onion, and fennel into a good-sized, non-reactive bowl (stainless, ceramic, glass). Add the salt and two teaspoons of sugar. Stir to mix/coat the vegetables with the salt and sugar. Cover the bowl loosely and let stand for at least 45 minutes (up to a couple of hours if you get busy with something else). At this point, you’ll see a lot of liquid collected in the bottom of the bowl, which is just what you want.

Dump the celery mixture into a strainer, fill the bowl with cold, clean water, return the celery mixture to the bowl, swish, and drain. Then, return the celery mixture to the bowl, fill with cold water, swish, and drain (again). After the second rinse/drain, leave the celery mixture to drain for about 10 minutes, before dumping it onto the center of a clean kitchen towel. Gather the corners of the towel and gently squeeze the celery mixture to remove some excess liquid. Wipe out the bowl and dump the celery mixture back into it. Add the lemon zest (and a few fennel fronds if you’d like).

Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, spices, together and bring to a boil. (on the stove or in the microwave). Stir to make sure that the sugar is dissolved, then pour the steaming hot liquid over the celery mix.

Transfer the vegetables and vinegar to a clean (scalded) jar, screw down the jar lid, and let the pickles cool to room temperature. Or, loosely cover the bowl and let the pickles cool before jarring them — obviously, they cool more quickly this way. That’s it. They’re ready to eat, but are tastier the next day.

*Celery seed can be substituted for the ajwain, but use only a 1/4 teaspoon.

Condiment

Curio’s Vinaigrette Template

Curio’s Vinaigrette Template

Makes about 1 cup.

We love homemade vinaigrette! This lemony version is a great base for lots of variations using different herbs & spices. Start by adding one teaspoon of a spice blend or dried herb — Kozani Spice, Herbes de Romance, Comfort Curry, or tarragon would work well.

6 tablespoons neutral oil*
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 medium clove garlic, mashed to a paste
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt
Black pepper & spices of choice, to taste

Use a whisk or emulsion blender to combine the ingredients until the dressing is creamy & emulsified. Taste, adding more lemon, vinegar or honey, to suit your liking. The dressing keeps for a week or more, tightly covered, in the fridge. It will separate in the cold — just give it a vigorous shake before using, the dressing will re-emulsify. If the olive oil has congealed in the fridge, set the jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, before shaking the jar.

*Neutral oils include: canola, avocado, almond, grapeseed, etc.

Condiment

Malagasy Spiced Marmalade

Makes 21⁄2 pints.

2 pink grapefruits
1 teaspoon voatsiperifery
1 vanilla bean
2 cups sugar
2 pink grapefruits
1 teaspoon voatsiperifery
1 vanilla bean
2 cups sugar

Madagascar vanilla and its famous wild pepper, voatsiperifery, add balance and depth to this grapefruit marmalade. Use it to fill thumbprint cookies, serve it with roast chicken, or dollop it on buttered toast.

Peel both grapefruits. Save the peel of one grapefruit and scrape away its pith. (Discard the peel from the other fruit). Slice the scraped peel into thin strips. Cut the grapefruits’ flesh cross-wise into 1⁄2-inch thick rounds and pick out the seeds. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, cut the bean’s husk in half.

Put the grapefruit flesh and peel strips, along with the vanilla seeds and husk into a large, heavy saucepan. Add the voatsiperifery and 4 cups of water. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the contents to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 11⁄2 hours, or until the mixture is reduced to about half or three quarters of its original volume.

Stir in the sugar and let the marmalade simmer until it’s thickened and syrupy, about another 11⁄2 hours. Pour the marmalade into scalded jars and screw on the jar lids. Leave the jars on the counter until they’re completely cooled, then stow them in the fridge, where they’ll keep happily for a least a couple of months.

Appetizer, Condiment

Vanilla-Infused Tomato Sauce

Serves 4.

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
1 allspice leaf
1 bay leaf
1 vanilla bean
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste

Vanilla’s sweet aromatics make it a charming complement to tomatoes, taming their acidity with a little help from good ol’ butter. Allspice leaf adds another layer of spice with an herbal quality that bridges the sweet and savory gap. This sauce is terrific with roast cauliflower, ricotta gnocchi, lobster ravioli, and grilled or pan-fried fish, such as monkfish or haddock.

Put the onion (cut side down) and the remaining ingredients into a sauce pan. Use your hands to break the tomatoes into rough pieces, removing any tough, stem-end bits. Add 1⁄2 cup water to the pan.

Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring its contents to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the fat is floating on top, around the edges.

Fish out the onion, vanilla, and the spice leaves. (For a cook’s treat, cut up the onion and top it with toasted bread crumbs, a little Parmesan cheese, and some black pepper.) Stir the sauce — it should be glossy. If it’s not, stir in another tablespoon of butter. Taste and add salt or pepper, if needed. You can crush the tomatoes further with a spoon or purée the sauce with a stick blender.

Wash and dry the vanilla bean and save it to use another time. The sauce will keep nicely in the fridge, for a couple of days.