Archive for Condiments & Sauces

Bacon Bourbon Butter

Bacon Bourbon Butter takes butter to a whole new level. My friend Jessica brought this for Baconfest – The Sequel and it was a huge hit. She was so sweet she made an extra one just for the family that we wouldn’t have to share with anyone!! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Chill Time – at least 2 hours


1 slice smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 tsp. bacon drippings
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter room temp
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tsp. brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste

Preparing Bacon Bourbon Butter:

Using a fork, vigorously whisk together all ingredients in medium bowl until well combined. Transfer to wax or parchment paper.  Fold over paper and roll into a cylinder. Chill until solid. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 3 months!


Bacon Bourbon Butter 

Meal Ideas:

Jessica served her Bacon Bourbon Butter with a warm baguette. I used it in baked potatoes and it was delicious! I think next I will try it in with pasta and see how it tastes. I’m sure it will be amazing!! 

Fire Roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Salsa

Filet topped with tomatillo chimichuri

I made this fire roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa as part of our one dish, two ways entire meal on the grill series. Wow! What a versatile little recipe. I’ve already eaten it three different ways!! This was a fantastic accompaniment to my Mexican themed meal to top the steak like a different type of chimichuri. 

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 5min; Cook Time – 10 min


6 tomatillos

2 onions

1 bunch of cilantro

1 large poblano pepper

6 cloves of garlic

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Blender or Food Processor (or what Denise calls a Cuisinart as if that’s the only appliance Cuisinart makes!!)

How to make fire roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa:

Get the grill going and then prep your ingredients. Peel the tomatillos and cut in half. Cut the onion in quarters. You can leave the cloves of garlic together so they won’t fall through the grill grate. Throw all of this and the big poblano on the grill. Let them char and turn a couple of times.

roasted salsa

Maybe 5-7 minutes and it should be ready. Dump all of it into the food processor (if you don’t want this too hot, remove the seeds from the poblano first), add salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and the cilantro leaves (avoid as many stems as possible without picking each leaf off).

Give the food processor a whirl and blend until the consistency of a salsa. Taste. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Roasted salsa


I deseeded the poblano and this salsa was not spicy at all. Next time, I might add a jalapeno too to help pick up the heat.

Got Leftovers?:

Eat as a salsa with chips, top a steak as a chimichuri, make a salad dressing, endless possibilities!

Do you see what I put up with? I bet 9 out of 10 people think of “food processor” when you say “Cuisinart”. -Denise

Really? You’re going with mob rule? ~Melissa

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter is the type of dish I expected our good friend, Andrea to bring to Winefest. She is a great cook and always comes up with recipes that are a little more “sophisticated” than I do. Pinot Noir Butter? Really? How could I have missed this? In a word…”Fantastic!” She got it off of

Level of Difficulty: Difficult



[slightly adapted from my cranberry biscuits, which were adapted from bon appetit]

makes about 20 round biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)

6 ounces gorgonzola cheese (or your favorite blue), crumbled


[slightly adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain]

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 cups pinot noir

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

pinch of black pepper

Preparing Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter:



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and whisk until combined. Using a fork, pastry blender or your hands, add butter pieces to the flour and mix until coarse little crumbles remain. Add in crumbled gorgonzola. Pour in milk and stir with a spoon until just combined, not overmixing. Use your hands if needed to bring the dough together – I did.

Use a 1/4 cup measure to drop batter onto a nonstick baking sheet, or press dough on a sheet of parchment paper or cutting board, then using a biscuit cutter to shape the dough into rounds. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.


Bring the wine to a boil in a saucepan (be careful so it does not boil over!) and cook until reduced to just under  1/4 cup – this took me about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Once wine is cool, combine with softened butter, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly to combine. I had some issues with the butter absorbing all of the wine, so what I did was place the entire bowl in the fridge, and pop it out every 15 minutes or so, mixing really well with a spoon until all of the wine mixed in. Once mixed completely, chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes, then form into a square or log with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use – best if used after 2-3 days so the flavors can mesh!

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter 

Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving Cranberries

When I was a kid, the only cranberry sauce I knew came out of a can in one big cylindrical lump. It was then, put on a plate and sliced. You could still see the ridges from the tin can!! Dear Lord, that just ain’t right!! And they wondered why I didn’t eat it.

The pleasures of growing up and having the ‘opportunity’ to start your own traditions. We serve fresh cranberry at Thanksgiving and Christmas now. I had no idea how ri-donk-u-lously simple it was until my HUSBAND taught me how to make it after we got married. That’s just how easy it is folks.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep/Cook Time – 20min; Chill time – 2+ hours


12 oz fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

fresh orange zest and the juice of whatever orange you zested (ok, I added this little touch)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Zester (I use my microplane)

How to make fresh cranberry sauce:

Rinse the berries. Place in a pot. Add water, sugar, zest and juice.

Thanksgiving Cranberries

Heat over medium high heat until sugar is melted and berries burst (about 20 mins). Remove from heat and let cool. Place in fridge to cool the rest of the way. You can make this a couple of days in advance and serve cold or room temperature. If you want a kind of a chutney, add some toasted walnuts just before serving (ok, I added this one too, sorry Mark).

Thanksgiving Cranberries


Use the cranberry sauce over baked brie for a fantastic holiday appetizer!

Use it as preserves and eat on biscuits or toast for breakfast.

Pesto Sauce

pesto sauce

With the chill in the air, it reminds me it won’t be too much longer until our first frost. For some of you, that will come a lot sooner than it will for us in Atlanta but it’s coming! I love the cooler weather, but it does make me at least a little sad I won’t be able to walk outside and cut fresh herbs for dinner.

Never fear, there are ways to preserve those herbs in different forms to last you through the winter. My basil right now is out of control!

basil pesto

This is a perfect time to cut a lot back and make pesto sauce. Pesto tastes great on pasta, pizza, fish and much more.

Best part about it – it freezes remarkably well. In fact, people make pesto sauce, freeze it in ice cube trays until solid and then transfer to freezer zip top bags to be used one cube at a time all winter. Try it out!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min


4 cups basil leaves (you’ll want to pack them if you actually measure them)

1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts (your choice)

4-5 cloves of garlic depending on your taste

about 1 cup quality olive oil (depending on the use for the pesto – for pasta I add a little more)

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

salt and pepper to taste

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Food processor

How to make basil pesto sauce:

Remove the basil leaves from the stem. Peel the garlic cloves. Measure out your ingredients. Grab your food processor with the chopping blade and you are ready to go.

Place the basil, nuts, garlic and salt and pepper in the food processor.

how to make pesto

Blend until pureed. With the top on the food processor and the blade running (but the little stopper removed from the tube), slowly pour in the olive oil until blended and at your desired consistency.

making pesto

Remove the lid, add the cheese and blend until well incorporated. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately. See “Got Leftovers” for an important note if not using immediately.


You can change the basil to something like arugula. Try it with pine nuts or walnuts or maybe even  a different one and see what you think. You can even swap out parmesan for pecorino or other hard Italian cheeses.

Meal Ideas:

Toss it with your favorite pasta – orecchiette shown here (topped with fresh mozzarella and fresh diced tomatoes).

basil pesto


Use it as your sauce for a pizza and top with grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. Also great in a Stromboli.

Top salmon with it like this great recipe.

Got Leftovers?:

Pesto can freeze or stay in your fridge for a couple of days. It is critical to keep the air off of it so the basil doesn’t discolor on you. If freezing, cover with plastic wrap where you slightly press the wrap against the pesto to remove any air from touching it. Once it is frozen you are ok.

If leaving in the fridge, place in a container and cover with olive oil to keep the air off before sealing the container.

Fig Preserves – Quick and easy recipe at home

homemade fig preserves recipe

This is a quick and easy fig preserve recipe and will last a few days in the fridge (if you don’t manage to eat it all immediately!). You don’t have to be all formal about how it is made and jarred if you plan on eating it quickly.

While figs are in season, I am enjoying eating them. One of my great aunts, Aunt Peg, had a fig tree in her yard and she made amazing fig preserves. I remember them well! These are good but I’ll never say they compete at all with hers. But, it still brings back some great memories!!


1lb figs

1 cup sugar

2T balsamic vinegar

How to make homemade fig preserves:

Cut off the stems and cut up the figs into quarters. Place in a quality stainless steel pot with the sugar and vinegar.

homemade fig preserves

Cook over low heat and stir frequently until the sugar melts. Let cook for about 30 minutes or until desired consistency. This is great on a piece of toast or a biscuit.

homemade fig preserves recipe

It would also be a great topping for a baked brie!! Just place your brie in oven safe dish and top with the fig preserves. When the brie is soft, remove from oven and serve with crackers. Delicious!!

Mango Chutney with Tomatoes

A chutney is just a nice condiment to compliment many different dishes. I like to think of it as a cooked salsa. It is very versatile and can be made with any assortment of fruit and spices. Just mix to desired taste, add some sugar, cook it to desired consistency and you’re done.

how to make a chutney

This mango chutney with tomatoes and spices is yet another great recipe idea Denise and I received from our time with Asha Gomez, chef/owner at Cardamom Hill restaurant in Atlanta.

Check out our previous post if you missed it on our experience there.

Level of Difficulty: Easy Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 2min – 15min


2 cups mango, diced

2 cups tomatoes, diced

2 green chilis, diced (how to cut a pepper), I used jalepenos because I’ve got so many right now

1/2 cup sugar

3T salt

2t mustard seeds

2t cayenne (I made this with a little heat but you can add less (or more) to suit your pallet)

2T oil

Making the Mango Chutney:

Add the  oil to the pan over medium-high heat. Add the chilis and mustard seeds. Add the mango. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium.Continue to sauté until it is your desired consistency. I cooked mine about 15 minutes.

how to make chutney