From Condiments to Compliments
When most of us think about condiments, three things come to mind: mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish! And if most of us were asked for a definition of the word “condiment,” we would say something like, “Condiments are what we put on top of our food to add flavor.” I guess that definition might also include things like grape jelly and chocolate syrup.
At MorningStar Kitchen, we like to take it further. Our mustard doesn’t come in a bright yellow plastic container. That’s because we make it ourselves! And for almost everything except hot dogs, we’ve replaced ketchup with our homemade Tomato Jam. And, oh yes. We don’t use chocolate syrup from a bottle. When we want to serve something ooey and gooey on top of our home made ice cream, we make Chocolate Ganache.
Let me take it even further. Let me give you our favorite definition for “condiment:” A condiment is a sauce or other preparation that is added to food to impart, enhance, or complement (i.e. complete) the flavor of a particular dish.
In our Test Kitchen we depend on condiments like just described to create flavorful and memorable dishes.
That includes things like tapenade, pesto, aioli, and remoulade. Yes, it includes our Tomato Jam; but it also includes Onion Jam, Rhubarb Jam, Espresso Jam, and Lavender or Lemon Jelly; Balsamic Fig Sauce, Cranberry Mustard Sauce, and even Beet Jam!*
We make most of our condiments in our Test Kitchen when the key ingredients are in season and ready for harvest from our own gardens. We then process them in small batches (by freezing or canning) so that we can enjoy them throughout the year.
But don’t let the process scare you! And if you don’t have a garden, you should be able to buy most of the ingredients at your Farmers Market and make your own condiments. If you’re in a pinch, you can buy whatever suits your fancy and create something special. For example, you might buy blueberry jam at the grocery store, combine it with some stone ground mustard and balsamic vinegar from your pantry, and Voila! You’ve got an incredible condiment to serve with some goat cheese and crackers for an appetizer. Or you might add a little of the mixture to the pan drippings of braised chicken for a beautiful glaze!
The point is, when it comes to condiments, you don’t have to limit yourself to something that comes in a bottle with a big brand name on the front. In fact, once you’ve started making your own condiments, I’m confident you’ll never settle for the ordinary again. You will be well on the road to becoming an accomplished Home Chef. You’ll begin to make dishes that aren’t just delicious – they’ll be memorable. Your guests will thank you, and come back for more!
*For all these recipes and more, visit us online at www.morningstarkitchen.com