Category Archives: Sauces


Simple Pickled Peppers






Have a garden full of peppers and not sure you can keep up?  No problem!

This year I planted a garden made up almost exclusively of hot chili peppers.  We have been getting a lot of rain and the garden is going wild!  Peppers are rolling in faster than we can eat them.  Last week I made an awesome hot pepper sauce, this week they are destined for a pickle jar! This very simple pickled pepper recipe will not only help you preserve your peppers but it has great flavor too.  Your pickled peppers will be great on sandwiches, pizzas, salads and just about anywhere you want a little heat.

I use this same simple pickle recipe to pickle all sorts of vegetables when I have the chance.  It makes great pickled carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, or green beans.  I have even used it to pickle hard boiled eggs.

For this recipe, which is just a quick simple pickle, I cooled the liquid before pouring on the peppers. This will help them keep the color and crisp texture. You don’t have to do that. You can pour the hot liquid on the peppers (be careful) and the peppers will take on a softer texture and will take on the pickle flavor faster.


Simple Pickled Peppers

Makes 1 quart jar of pickled peppers



Enough peppers to fill a 1 quart canning jar

2 cup vinegar (either white wine or red wine)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

5 sprigs of thyme

  1. In a non-reactive sauce pot combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer just enough to dissolve everything.
  2. Put the liquid in a refrigerator and chill.
  3. While the liquid is chilling, wash all the peppers and put in the caning jar. You want to fill the jar but not to pack them too tight. The peppers can be touching but not jammed in there as you need the liquid to work its magic.
  4. Pour the cooled liquid over the peppers, add the sprigs of thyme, cover and put in the refrigerator for a minimum of three days. Then enjoy.
  5. These peppers will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator as long as they are covered.

Thyme Out!



Easy and Quick Hot Sauce




If you are like me you believe that hot chilies are one of the four basic food groups. It is a rare day when I don’t use some sort of hot sauce, salsa or chili relish. My garden this year is almost entirely made up of hot chilies. Today I picked so many chilies I decided it was a perfect opportunity to make some awesome hot sauce. A simple hot sauce is surprisingly easy and quick to make. What I like about a simple chili sauce is that it’s a great representation of the chilies used. If you make it with jalapeños, it tastes like jalapeños. If you make it with cayenne, it tastes like cayenne.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s easy and quick!

Quick Hot Chili Sauce

Makes 2 cups



8 ounces garden fresh hot chilies

2 ounces white onion (about ¼ of an onion)

3 cloves garlic (about ½ ounce)

1 ½ cups red wine vinegar

½ cup water

1 lime (juice of)

1 lemon (juice of)

2 teaspoons salt

  1. Wash the chilies well and then cut the tops off (it’s good to wear gloves for this process).  Cut them into rough slices (doesn’t have to be perfect as you will be pureeing later). Put in to a pot that will hold all ingredients, but that is not too big.
  2. Rough chop the onion and garlic and add to the pot.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, put on the stove and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached turn to a simmer and simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Carefully put in a blender (it’s good to have a blender that has a variable control). Start on low and gradually turn up to high. Liquefy the mixture (this may take a few minutes in the blender).
  5. If your blender did not do the job it is ok to strain the sauce. If you have a good blender you should not need to strain.
  6. Chill the sauce right away. It will keep in the cooler for a few weeks. The sauce has a high vinegar content and therefor a good shelf life.

Thyme for some heat!







Essential Charred Tomato Salsa










What would the world be without salsa? Salsa is healthy, vibrant, and simple while at the same time capable of great complexity.  There was a time in our country when ketchup ruled the condiment world, a bleak time in history to be sure. Thankfully we are now in the know and have at our disposable thousands of recipes for glorious salsa.

This particular salsa is quite simple.  Not a lot of ingredients, easy and quick to make, and it allows the natural flavors of the tomatoes and peppers to shine through.  I consider it an essential recipe.  The problem with simple recipes is that when there are not a lot of ingredients the quality of technique and integrity of the ingredients are paramount.   Be sure to char the tomatoes, peppers, and onions well in the oven.  The other key is the dry pan roasting of the garlic.  The unpeeled cloves of garlic get roasted in a medium hot pan until blackened and charred.  This adds a smoky sweet element to the salsa that is really amazing.


Essential Charred Tomato Salsa

Makes 1 quart



2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 7 Roma tomatoes)

2 to 4  Jalapeño Chili’s

1 habanero chili (optional)

1 onion, rough chopped

8 garlic cloves, fresh and not peeled!

2/3 cup fresh cilantro (about 2 bunches)

3 fresh limes

3 teaspoons kosher salt

  1. Start the broiler on your oven on high.
  2. Begin by slicing the stem off of all the tomatoes and slicing them in half lengthwise.  Also slice the stem off all the chilies and slice them in half as well. You may want to use gloves to avoid getting any of the oils on your fingers . . .  then eventually in your eyes!
  3. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil, oil it or spray it lightly with pan spray.  Place the tomatoes on the tray with skin side up.  Scatter the jalapeños skin side up on the try as well.  Scatter the rough chopped onions as well.
  4. Place the tray in the oven under the hot broiler until the skin on the tomatoes and peppers are blisters and blackened.  In my oven this takes about 20 minutes.  While they are broiling heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.  When hot add the garlic cloves (do not peel) and cook on medium heat, with no oil, until blackened, charred, and soft (about 15 minutes).  Cool everything down in refrigerator.
  5. Once everything is cool peel the garlic and put in a blender with the tomatoes, peppers and onions.  Add the juice of two limes and two teaspoons of the salt.  Puree until roughly pureed, not too smooth.
  6. Use the remaining salt and lime to adjust the seasoning.  It should be highly seasoned!!

Thyme for some spice,






Cilantro Chimichurri



It was only a matter of time until I posted this recipe.  I have used it for years in multiple ways.  This is one of my “have-to-have-it-around” sauces.  Having a sauce like this on had makes it easy whip up something delicious.   It is, by its very nature, a perfect sauce for steak. But, it is also so much more!  I use it on fish, chicken, pork, I toss roasted fingerling potatoes in it, finish sauces, use it to flavor compound butter, and even add it to vinegar and oil for salad dressings.  It also make a nice dip for appetizers like crab cakes or spring rolls.  If you make it . . . you will use it!

For old thymes sake,


Cilantro Chimichurri



2 bunches cilantro

1 bunch parsley

4 garlic cloves

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 small hot chili (optional)

  1. The first thing to do is get your blender out.  It is very helpful to have a blender with a plunger such as a Vita Prep.  Adjustable speed is a plus too. The mixture is very dry at first and the plunger will help.
  2. Wash the herbs under cold running water.  I break the stems at the point where there are no more leaves.  Discard the lower stems and then put the herbs (upper stems and leaves) in the blender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients.  Add the hot chili only if you want to spice it up!
  4. Puree in the blender until smooth.  Use the plunger to push down on the herbs.  Once it starts to become a puree it will be thin enough that you won’t need to plunge.   Puree until its smooth, but don’t over puree.  The heat from friction will warm the sauce and cause it to turn a dull color if you over blend.  This sauce should be as bright green as it tastes!



Peanut Butter Syrup


Peanut Butter Syrup

A legendary recipe (at our house)

Most people I know want to create a legacy, something for their children, and their children’s children –something that makes the world a better place.  For me, it is the invention of Peanut Butter Syrup.  In our house, this invention made me a superhero.   It is our Sunday morning, special occasion, it’s my special day, get to choose breakfast . . . thing.  It sounds something like this; “I got an A on my math test, can Dad make peanut butter syrup?”, “It’s my birthday, can we have peanut butter syrup?”

I have a vision, many years in the future, of my sons making peanut butter syrup for their kids on special days (which include Sunday), or their families all at our house some holiday morning, I will make peanut butter syrup for the grandkids.  Of course my peanut butter syrup will not be as good as their Dad makes for them at home!  I hope that there will be stories of “Dad’s peanut butter syrup” for many generations to come.

The peanut butter for this recipe is simply grocery store peanut butter complete with sugar and emulsifiers.  I have made it with Jiff, Kroger brand and most likely many others.  I have never made it with natural “hippie” peanut butter.  Why you ask?  This was a recipe made on the fly from ingredients that our kids love, and that happened to be in the pantry when I invented it.

Peanut Butter Syrup


1 cup peanut butter (regular jiff or our favorite creamy brand)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/8 cup water

Later in the recipe

¼ cup water

  1. In a microwave proof bowl add all the ingredients except the ¼ cup of water which is to be used later in the recipe.
  2. Heat in the microwave on high for 35 seconds.  Pull out and whisk well.
  3. Heat again for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Pull out and whisk well. At this point it may look a bit rough and partially broken.  It’s ok!
  4. Add the ¼ cup of water and whisk again, in fact, whisk like heck.  This will bring it all together in a beautiful batch of sweet peanut butter goodness.
  5. If you wish you can add a bit more water to thin it more.  The boys and I like it a bit thick, my amazing wife would favor a bit more water.

Do not let the sands of Thyme find their way into your lunch!


Spicy Hoisin, Onion Jam



Spicy Hoisin Onion Jam

Drop whatever you are doing and make this sauce.    After you are done with that please do resume what you were doing!  This is a good one to have in the refrigerator, ready to go.  Tonight we had this with burgers!   It was great.  The only thing I would change, being the chili head I am, would be to switch out the Jalapeños with my beloved habaneros.

I whipped this sauce out based on what was in the refrigerator and a few things that were in the pantry.  It was fast to make, has a good bit of spice, with sweet and tangy finish.   What more could you ask for?

I can see this being a condiment for rice, noodles, or even, dare I say, spring rolls.  This will be great on any fried dumpling, or egg roll as well.



Make 1 ½ cups of Jam

1 large onion

4 cloves garlic

1 large jalapeño chili or two smaller ones (habanero if you dare)

¼ cup hosin sauce

2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

2 cups cilantro (roughly 1 bunch)

About 3 tablespoons olive oil to cook

  1.  Dice the onions, you should have about 2 cups medium dice.
  2. Begin cooking the onions in the olive oil over medium heat.  This will take about 10 minutes. Stir the onions often.
  3. While the onions are cooking dice the garlic and the Jalapeños.  Add these to the onions after 10 minutes of cooking.  Cook 3 to 4 more minutes, the onions should be looking golden brown.
  4. Add the hosin, siracha, and red wine vinegar.  Cook for 30 seconds while stirring.  This should be a nice tight jam.
  5. Chop and add the cilantro.
  6. This will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

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