On making one’s own condiments

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March 5, 2013 by productoverprocessed

I love making sausage.  It’s time-intensive, so it feels like you’re taking on a big project. It’s also extremely rewarding (can you think of any reward better than sausage?), and best of all, it’s so damn impressive.  I had some friends over for dinner this past Saturday, and the garlic sausage, served simply on a bun with sides of mashed potatoes and shaved Brussels sprouts, was a jaw dropper.  

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Look at that jaw.  Dropped.  Kind of.  

But as much as I love whole-day (or multi-day) affairs like sausage making and bread baking, nothing beats discovering something delicious that takes 5 minutes to whip up a la minute.  When I make sausage, I know I have to make a huge batch, because it’s not something I have time (or money) to do every weekend.  But condiments and sauces, on the other hand, can be made in small amounts, as needed, whenever the hell I feel like it.  That’s what I call empowering.  

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My pesto is the best-o.

But seriously, there are so many reasons to make your own condiments.  The obvious ones are that a) they taste better and b) they contain a fraction of the sodium and sugar found in the bottled stuff, and none of the preservatives.  The best reason, though, is that they’re so easy!  For pesto, throw some basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, parmesan, and toasted pine nuts (honestly, these are optional) in a food processor or mini-chopper and give them a whiz, no knife skills necessary.  Toss it with penne and you’re done.  For mayonnaise, whisk together an egg yolk, a couple teaspoons of lemon juice, a teaspoon of water and some salt, and add a cup of oil in a thin stream, whisking until it emulsifies (an immersion blender makes this even easier).  Homemade mayonnaise tossed with leftover roast chicken and chopped celery makes the best chicken salad of all time.  Salad dressings are even easier: whisk together 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, add some salt and whatever else you fancy (mustard, honey, etc.).  Toss with some spring mix for a simple green salad.

My wife generally tries to get me from getting too pedantic with this stuff, but she’s snoring soundly, so here I am on my soapbox.  But really, this is less about “processed condiments are so bad!” and more about “homemade pesto is seriously the best shit ever.”  Make it and share some smiles.

 

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