The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials. Every recipe in the book makes a pantry staple, from Dijon mustard to chicken stock to ketchup. With this book and some raw ingredients, one can make pretty much any condiment, even Thousand Island Dressing, that tastes as good or better than store-bought...and without high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or other additives.
The book's intro emphasizes the importance of knowing where food comes from and how its grown. GMOs are everywhere, and especially in processed foods. Avoid them by buying the most basic items (like eggs for mayo), make sure as many of them are fresh as can be, and create your own pickles and vinaigrettes. Sure, home-made products won't last as long as store-bought, especially since the recipes in this book are for single-batch, eat in a couple weeks, un-preserved foods. But you'll feel better. And they'll probably taste better, too.
Sometimes Neal and I like a little French dressing on our salad. Yes, real French dressing is just vinaigrette and not neon orange glop, but neon orange glop tastes good. Especially when it's home-made. So I tried the French dressing recipe from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook. And it was terrific - and terrifically easy to make. Just mix sugar and some spices, add ketchup, oil, and mayonnaise, and voila! A tasty dressing that's much less-expensive than pre-made stuff from the supermarket, and if you use home-made ketchup and mayonnaise, much healthier, too, as you know it won't have corn syrup and whatnot.
I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot of use out of this book, especially as I like to make my own condiments anyway. Now I need to procure large quantities of mustard seed so I can make one or more of the mustard variants in the book (ballpark, Dijon, honey). Homemade mustard might just be a great gift, too, and Christmas is right around the corner....
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