Category Archives: Copious Condiments

Cucumber salsa

Rain, rain, go away. Or don’t your choice. Because right now, you’re giving me the excuse I needed to sit inside and pour over those many recipes I’ve been clipping and relaxing with Himself as we watch that creek in the backyard transform itself into a mighty river. Oh, not to worry, there’s little danger of it reaching the house. It’s a gorgeous thing to see, though. This week, the awesome power of nature was driven home once again as we woke in the middle of the night to closer than you’d wish lightning strikes and rain playing its staccato beats on the windows and roof.

The next morning, said creek reached higher than I’d ever seen. High enough that later that afternoon, I saw a man kayaking through my backyard. Yeah, that’s right kayaking! And with already swollen waterways, today’s (and last night’s and all yesterday afternoon’s) rain have resulted in flood warnings. But oooh, does it transform our backyard into a thing of beauty.

A thing of beauty and an excuse to stay indoors and revel in each other’s company. And we have a new Sunday tradition that’s aiding in said revelry. Now stop right there, this here is a completely PG blog, my friends. No, what we’ve decided is that Sundays are for sans phones. That’s right, the completely tech-obsessed girl goes sans phone and except for the time needed to make a quick blog post, sans internet too. No facebook, no phones, no email. Oh sure, if you really tried you could get a hold of us, but this whole hermit-y hiding thing is getting to be a Sunday tradition.

You know what else Sundays are for? Smoking meat. Mmmmm, smoked pork to be precise. A little rain (or even a lot) isn’t going to get in the way of that. And how, one wonders, can they possibly make meat in the smoker or on the grill even better? Well, I’ve got the answer for you – cucumber salsa. This sweetly heated salsa is the perfect accompaniment to pork or steak, grilled or smoked. Heck, it’d be awfully tasty on baked tofu too. A little crunch, a little heat, it’ll dress up whichever protein you have on hand.


Cucumber salsa from thePenandthePan

Cucumber salsa

Inspired by the Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ poblano pepper, seeded and chopped finely
2 green topped onions, white and green portions chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
good pinch cumin
hot sauce to taste

Place cucumber, pepper, onions, garlic and cilantro in a medium bowl. Toss together.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Drizzle over cucumber mixture and toss again. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Serve as a topping to your favorite meats or baked tofu.


Homemade butter

You know what guys, I married a saint. A saint, I tell you. And yes, I hear the audible groans, I mean you’re all well aware that I love my husband. But, I realized this weekend, that in additional to all the other crazy this poor guy puts up with on a regular basis, he also doesn’t bat an eye at my terrible singing. A little background info first…Himself is a wonderful singer, he’s performed in musicals and choirs, and even got a college scholarship for that voice of his. I mean we are talking perfect pitch. I am the complete and total opposite. It’s probably an accident if I hit the note, and the world will tumble in its tracks if I ever do learn to hold one. That said, I love singing. Love, love, love it. I adore belting tunes out, after all I can’t tell how bad I am, I’ve got headphones, yo! I will readily admit, that were our roles reversed, I would be much less accepting of my tendency to bust out in song.

Having the most understanding husband isn’t the only reason this gal is flying high today. You may notice that this post is coming to you a little later in the day. Wanna know why? Don’t be silly, of course you do! It’s because I spent the day at my amazingly awesome new job! Sure it’s only day two, but I am loving this! I get to write and and plan and check off lists (as I so adore to do) AND I’m doing it for a worthwhile organization. So winning!

Wait! There’s more! I might be sitting here with the proudest of grins on my face. You know what I did? I. Made. BUTTER! Yup, you read that right, I turned a pint of cream into butter. Ok, I know there’s not a whole lotta call for this, except that it’s super easy and fun, not to mention a good workout. One takeaway, butter making is far better with a partner. And homemade compound butter is the very best thing you ever put on pasta or a steak or even just the most amazing piece of toast you ever did eat (especially if you use that Dijon cheddar bread!).


Homemade butter

Homemade butter

1 pint heavy cream
1 large plastic jar (an old peanut jar works really well)
¼ – ½ teaspoon salt (smoked or flavored salt if you’ve got it!)
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped finely

1 hour before beginning, remove cream from the fridge and allow to warm to near temperature (recommending this goes against everything in my nature, but you’re going to need to do it anyway).

Pour cream into jar and shake vigorously for at least 15 minutes. You’re going to want to quit about ⅔ of the way through, when your cream starts to sound solid. Don’t. Stop.You’re not there yet. Keep shaking until you hear liquid again. This has taken me as long as 18 minutes.

Open the jar and pour off the liquid (buttermilk). Shake the butter out into a large bowl and cover with ice water. Mix around with hands to form small balls, squeezing out any liquid. Place the butter balls into a second bowl. Rinse a second time, squeezing out any additional liquid. Transfer the butter back to the original bowl (that has been rinsed clean)

Add the salt and herbs to the butter. Get in there and mix it up with your hands. Form the butter into a log and wrap with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator and use within the week. You can also wrap the plastic wrapped butter in foil and store in the freezer for up to a month.

Cilantro cream

You might just look at this recipe and say, “Hmmmm, that seems a little too simple Jess.” Well, yes, it is simple, but the taste is simply phenomenal. This is going to dress up anything you put it on. Especially the burritos that I plan on sharing with you next week.

And guys, I’m going to be real candid here. This gal needed an easy recipe that would knock it out of the park when I served it to Himself. You see, with the change in the weather and all the holiday baking articles in my food magazines, naturally my thoughts turned to holiday fudge making. Some people make Christmas cookies, but me, I’m a fan of Festivus Fudge. So, I had these amazing, grandiose fudge ideas just rolling around in my brain last week, but they just aren’t translating to the pan. Although I can say that I’ve got the flavor straight on, it’s the pesky texture or it’s not setting. But you know what you do with a fudge that won’t set? Why dig in with a spoon, of course. Which really only works for a few tastes. In my mind fudge is meant to be shared, sampled, and sent off to friends. Not one of which I was able to do with these three different iterations. Le sigh.

But this recipe however, is a fully different story. You can put this cilantro cream on tacos and burritos, use it as a dip for veg or chips, or on a hot dog with salsa (my personal favorite today), it’s even super tasty on a spicy taco pizza. So easy, so simple, so tasty.


Cilantro cream

Cilantro cream

Adapted from Bev Cooks Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

¾ cup cilantro, loosely packed
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream

Add cilantro, lime, and taco seasoning to blender or food process. Pulse until cilantro is finely chopped, resembling pesto. Add sour cream and mix well. Chill at least one hour before serving.

Homemade BBQ sauce

It’s a big day here in Jessica-land! Guess who’s got two thumbs and 47 miles of garage sales to check out? Yup, you read that right, 47 miles! I’m on my usual garage sale hunt – vintage cookbooks and servingware. Wish me luck!

I am looking forward to fun-filled weekend here, guys. Himself and I both have two glorious days off in a row. For the most part, we have Wednesdays and Sundays off, but today, the stars have shone upon me, and I plan on making the most of it. Garage sales, scenic drives to see the leaves changing, roller derby, and watching the football game with G’pa and G’ma! Does it get more perfect? I’m even giving myself permission not to accomplish all the things <gasp>! We’re really kicking up our heels here!

Not having to accomplish all the things, means a little extra time in the kitchen. Extra time means homemade BBQ sauce. Now guys, homemade BBQ sauce is the easiest, and the taste can’t be beat. Seriously, I don’t even bother with that store bought stuff anymore. The caveat, it does take two hours to make, but it’s not two supervised hours. For me it’s two eps of The Good Wife (don’t you judge me) on Hulu, and before you know it, all done.

So this recipe mushes up two of my favorite cooks’ recipes – my grandma’s and Jessica from How Sweet Eats with my own flair. Stick around and you guys will find that I reference these two awesome ladies a lot. Now, here’s the thing. I like a tangy BBQ sauce with a hint of heat.

If sweet’s more your thing, go ahead reduce the vinegar and replace with water. Also, I really want to take this time to tell you about my favorite hot sauce, which has no idea who I am and would probably scoff at me singing their praises. Standing in front of the hot sauce section of the grocery store can be a little overwhelming, so many choices! Well, imagine how lucky I felt when I saw a label that said, “Try Me!” Yup, that’s right, I’m like Alice, tell me, “Try me,” and I usually will. So that’s how I happened upon Cajun Sunshine, and it’s now my go-to hot sauce. Recently, when I hit our new grocery store, I discovered that they have a whole line of sauces. Happy day!

Enough hot sauce talk, you’re looking for that BBQ sauce recipe. Here you go, enjoy!

Homemade BBQ Sauce

¼ cup butterHomemade BBQ sauce
3 cup brown sugar
2 cups ketchup
½ cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
¼ cup water
½ Tbsp molasses
½ Tbsp soy sauce
½ Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder

In a small, sturdy saucepan melt butter and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered two hours, stirring periodically. When cooled transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate.

Fromage Homage

A British Isles Cheese Odyssey

My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

Wholesome family living, simple recipes and crafts

Urban Nettle

Rooted in Nature…A Commitment to Ourselves

Swirls and Spice

Kissing Dairy Goodbye Never Tasted So Good!

Shivaay Delights

Sharing my passion for cooking and baking ♡

Simple Life Mom

Natural Beauty and Homemade Everything


grapefriend. wine. fun.

Andie Duncan : Motherload VO

Where smart, silly and serious play extremely well together.


Food Innovator, Clean Eater, Recipe Sharer. My kitchen is small but mighty.

My Favourite Pastime

Food, Travel and Eating Out