Category Archives: Sauce

Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpicy Teriyaki Sauce

The year 2013 is quickly coming to a close and I wanted stop and say hello and squeeze in one last recipe for the year.  For so many dumb reasons, 2013 has not been the best year for me and frankly, I really look forward to a clean slate in 2014.  You know, you just have to realize that some years are just like that.  We’ve all had those years. Unfortunately, it is what it is. By late spring of this past year, I knew that I had to just had to put my head down, grit my teeth and push through it. And I did. It was hard. I endured a few bumps and bruises, spilled a few tears but I made it through 2013 in one piece and with my chin held high. This next year I plan on devoting more time to my blog, taking a much needed fly away tropical vacation with Bruce and most importantly, focus on simplifying my life. Oh, and I really would like to take a photography class…  Sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it?

Last week, I was thinking about making a batch of teriyaki sauce for some grilled salmon that I wanted to prepare later on in the work week.  This time, I wanted to prepare something different than the usual (but, delicious) teriyaki sauce that I make for my family.  I wanted a sauce that was sweet, spicy and packed a bit of heat.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce turned out to be just the ticket.  It’s great drizzled over grilled chicken, fish, tofu or beef.  For even more flavor, marinate your protein ingredients in the Spicy Teriyaki Sauce prior to tossing on the grill.  Maybe even use it in stir fried vegetables or noodles.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce is super simple to make and tastes delicious!  With that said, I hope that you will have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add more garlic chili sauce if desired.  Place over medium low heat, cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour in a clean airtight container.  Store refrigerated for up two weeks.  Makes about 2 cups.

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Grilled Steelhead Trout

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrilled Steelhead Trout

Now that the spring in Southern Oregon is in full force and the weather is warm, I prefer to prepare many of our meals outside on the backyard barbecue.  Our barbecue sits out on the back deck only a few short steps from the kitchen.  When barbecuing meals for our family, I simply roll the barbecue in front of the sliding glass door so I can easily keep an eye on the grill temperature and quickly deal with any flare ups as they may occur.

During the work week, I often cook fish for dinner for Bruce and myself.  I love to cook fish because it is quick, easy, healthy and most importantly, we both enjoy it.  What I enjoy about living in Southern Oregon is that we have access to some really great species of fish. For local fish, Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, bass and steelhead top the list. If we take a short drive west to the Oregon Coast, we have access to ling cod, tuna, and snapper fresh from the ocean.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABear Creek earlier this spring….

Bear Creek is a tributary of the Rogue River here in Southern Oregon.  Bear Creek runs through the middle of the Rogue Valley and during certain times of the year, you can actually see salmon and steelhead making their journey back from the ocean to their spawning grounds a few miles upstream.  Bear Creek is home to many species of plants and animals including otters, beavers, ducks, and turtles.

Of all the fish that I cook for my family, steelhead is one of my favorite fish to prepare.  Steelhead trout lead a different lifestyle as compared to the other species of trout that inhabit our local creeks, lakes and reservoirs.  It’s an anadromous fish and that means it is born in the fresh water, spends most of its life in the salt water ocean and returns later in life back to the fresh water stream where it was born to spawn.

My Grilled Steelhead Trout is simple to prepare and perfect for a busy weekday meal.  Steelhead trout is similar in texture and taste to salmon.  Just marinate the fresh fillets in a homemade teriyaki sauce, toss on the grill and within minutes dinner is done. Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 ounce steelhead fillet (use salmon if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and skin the steelhead fillet. Cut the fish into large serving sized pieces.  Marinate the fish in teriyaki sauce for at least 1/2 hour.  Heat up the barbecue and lightly oil the grates.  Place fillets on hot barbecue.  If you don’t have a barbecue, that’s okay…  Feel free to prepare the fish on a grill pan on your stove or broil it in your oven. Cook for only a few minutes, flipping fish only once.  Fish is done when it begins to flake with a fork.  Be sure to not over cook.  Remove from heat, drizzle with teriyaki sauce and serve.  Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

 

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Teriyaki Chicken

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Teriyaki Chicken

While digging through one of my mother’s old cookbooks a while back, I found this gem of a recipe.  It was handwritten on the back cover by my mother and is one of the dishes that I remembered as a child.  This recipe came from a woman named Kay who worked with my mother at a furniture factory over thirty years ago.  Kay’s teriyaki chicken is without a doubt one of my most favorite all time dishes.  I like to serve it with steamed jasmine rice and a crunchy Asian Cucumber salad.  I adapted Kay’s recipe by adding a little bit of cornstarch and removing the Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate).  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 – 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

To make the teriyaki chicken, marinate chicken in a cup of the teriyaki sauce for several hours in the refrigerator. Place chicken on barbecue or indoor grill and cook until juices run clear or reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Throw away the marinade, don’t even think about reusing it.  Remove chicken from grill and let rest for about five minutes.  Slice chicken and serve with jasmine rice.  Drizzle chicken with teriyaki sauce (don’t use the same the teriyaki sauce that you marinaded the chicken in) and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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Zucchini Salsa

Zucchini Salsa

If there is one single vegetable in this world that will make my husband cringe with disgust, it’s zucchini.  He has despised zucchini as long as I’ve known him and quite frankly, his extreme disdain for it perplexes me to this day.  He says it’s the taste.  Sometimes he says it’s the texture…   And, I completely disagree with him.  Fortunately, it’s one of the few things that we don’t see eye to eye on…  I look at it this way, there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy disagreement.  If Bruce and I were in unison on everything, I think our life together would be so boring :).

Zucchini squash is one of my favorite summer vegetables and I grow it every year in my little garden.  I like zucchini because it is so amazingly versatile.  It cooks quickly and marries well with a variety of flavors.  Not to mention, it grows like a weed and if you are not careful, you can end up with more zucchini than your family can eat.  That’s why I check on my plants everyday and pick my zucchini when they are young and tender.  Any overabundance, I simply bag it up and take to work to share with my coworkers.

My zucchini salsa is a great use for those extra zucchinis that you don’t want to give away.  It’s fresh, bright with flavor and super easy to make.  Zucchini salsa taste great with crunchy tortilla chips or wrapped up in a fish taco.  Be brave and add some fresh jalapeno peppers for a fiery flavor.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini (diced)
  • 1 cup onion (diced)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • few dashes hot sauce to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • jalapenos (diced)  **optional**

Begin by adding olive oil to a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and red bell pepper and cook until onion is opaque or about one minute.  Add zucchini, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked.  Do not over cook.  Add to a bowl, stir in lime juice, cilantro and hot sauce.  Place covered in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  You want to let this sit and chill so the flavors marry well.

Before serving, add salsa to food processor and lightly pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add a splash of water if the mixture is too thick.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Place in serving bowl and serve with crispy tortilla chips.  Makes about 2 cups.

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Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto

Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto

Every year I plant several basil plants in my little garden.  I just love basil…  It’s fragrant, versatile and tastes so amazingly fresh.  I’m really happy because this has been a surprisingly good year for my basil.  The bugs have left most of the plants alone and the weather has been just perfect for the rest of the plants in the garden.   When I walked outside this morning, I noticed immediately that it was time to harvest some of those gorgeous green leaves.

Basil ready to be picked.  I don’t know what I like better…  The beautiful bright green leaves or the fresh herbaceous aroma.

Thyme.  One of my favorite herbs…  The tiny delicate leaves are packed with flavor.

Mammoth Dill.  This is the first time I have tried growing dill in my garden.  I just love the delicate little yellow flowers!

Basil blossoms.  I pinch the blossoms off to encourage additional growth on my basil plants.

The main ingredients for my Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto.

My Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto is easy to make, nut free and delightfully vegan.  I like to use my pesto on pasta, pizza and especially on a warm crusty baguette with fresh mozzarella and sliced heirloom tomatoes.  Makes about 1 cup.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves lightly packed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (roasted and shelled)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp lemon juice or to taste (to prevent browning of the pesto)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or more if necessary

Add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor.  Pulse food processor while adding a steady stream of olive oil.  Scrap sides and pulse until well blended.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Use immediately or store (covered) in refrigerator up to 24 hours.  Makes about 1 cup.

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Mango Barbecue Sauce

Mango Barbecue Sauce

I love it when the weather here in Southern Oregon starts to warm up.  Warm weather is perfect barbecuing weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I barbecue at all times of the year and I even have been known to barbecue in the middle of a snowstorm…  It’s just that it so much more pleasant and enjoyable when the weather is nice.  Standing next to the BBQ, chatting with friends or family, grilling dinner with long stainless steel tongs in one hand and an ice cold beverage in the other hand.  You get the picture…

The other day at the local Food Coop, I found this gorgeous organic mango for a dollar and a half.  It was twice the size as my fist and was perfectly ripe.  I could not pass it up…  At first, I was going to make a dessert, I then quickly changed my mind after thinking about making a sweet and tangy Mango Barbecue Sauce.  I wanted a sauce that I can easily brush on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin during my busy work week for a fast and flavorful dinner.

While my Mango Barbecue Sauce was simmering away on the stove, I snagged my camera and headed out the back door.  The photo above is the backside of a perennial herb called “bloody dock” or “bloody sorrel”.  Yeah, I know, it’s a gory name for a lovely little plant. But when I bought them I was told that you could eat the leaves in a manner similar to spinach.  We’ll see.  The plants are not quite big enough for me to harvest a bunch of leaves yet.  Maybe in a few weeks I might be able to do that…

Up in the corner of the backyard, I heard all of this squawking…  It was a young blue jay that fell out of the nest a few days ago.  The parents were taking turns flying back and forth to feed their little down covered youngster.  The baby jay would hide in the bushes and only come out when its parents were around with their beaks full of food.  I’m hoping that within a week or so it will be able to take care of itself and be able to fly around on its own.  In the meantime, my Jack Russell Terrier is not allowed out in the back yard without a leash…  Poor dog!

My Mango Barbecue Sauce is easy to make and takes about an hour to prepare. I like to brush it on grilled chicken or if I have a more time on my hands, brushed on  succulent barbecued pork ribs.  Makes about 3 cups and it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 can Pepsi (you can use Coke if you want)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp Szechuan pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper (or to taste)

Grab a saucepan and add all the ingredients.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until the mango is cooked down and the sauce has thickened.  If it is too thin, cook a bit longer.  Too thick, then add water.  Be sure to taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat, blend with a hand or stick blender until smooth.  Brush on grilled chicken or pork.  Makes about 3 cups.  Keep in the refrigerator covered for about a week.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Champagne Mango Vinaigrette

Champagne Mango Vinaigrette

It’s mid spring in Southern Oregon and my little garden is producing lettuce like crazy.  A few weeks ago I planted a bunch of different varieties of lettuce, spinach and chard and with the cool wet weather we have had lately, they really have taken off.  With the abundance of lettuce available, it’s time for me to start preparing fresh and healthy spring salads for my family.

I have to tell you that it’s rare that I purchase store bought salad dressings anymore.  I prefer to make homemade vinaigrettes and dressings as opposed to using store bought ones.  In my opinion, homemade dressings are easy to make and taste incredibly fresh and delicious.  Trust me, once you get the hang of how to make your own salad dressings and vinaigrettes, I seriously doubt that you will ever go back to using the store bought stuff ever again…

My little garden.  I planted several types of lettuce.  There’s broccoli and snow peas in the back…

A close up of an onion blossom…

A pail full of fresh picked lettuce and spinach from my garden ready to be drizzled with Champagne Mango Vinaigrette.

If you never heard of or even seen Champagne Mangoes before, listen up…  Champagne Mangoes are an exotic fruit that are a gorgeous shade of golden yellow when perfectly ripe and are smaller in comparison to the other green and red colored mangoes you see in the store. Champagne Mangoes are sweet, juicy and delicious.  Whenever I am fortunate to find them at my local grocery store, I hoard them like nobody’s business. They are hands down one of my favorite type of fruit.

The original Champagne Mango Vinaigrette recipe that I found came from here.  The original recipe was created by Chef Wayne Elias of Mark’s Restaurant in West Hollywood, California for Ciruli Brothers’ champagnemangoes.com. Chef Wayne Elias’ Champagne Mango Vinaigrette is a brilliant combination of fresh champagne mangoes, champagne vinegar, pepper and a hint of sage.  I slightly adapted Chef Wayne Elias’ recipe with the addition of 1 Tbs fresh orange juice.  Champagne Mango Vinaigrette is wonderful drizzled over fresh picked lettuce or grilled fish.  The best way to describe Champagne Mango Vinaigrette is like having liquid sunshine on your salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 Champagne mango peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbs champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tbs orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground sage
  • salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Makes about 4 servings.

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Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

I have a bad habit…  Whenever Bruce and I have guests at our home, I tend to put out too much food.  Our guests always go home happy and with their bellies full but, dealing with party leftovers can be a pain.  Just like what happened over the past weekend.  We had a pound of leftover strawberries sitting in a bowl on the counter after our brunch and there’s only two of us living in the home.  Ugh!  I can’t believe I thought it and even worse, I can’t even believe that I said it out loud.  I bought way too many strawberries…

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

I have learned over the years that sometimes you just need to get creative to use up the ingredients you have on hand.  I personally like to use ingredients and flavor combinations in ways that most people would never think or even dream of.  A great example is my sweet and tangy homemade Strawberry Barbecue Sauce with spicy ancho chili, sweet and sticky Indonesian soy sauce and my favorite soda, Dr Pepper.  The flavor of my Strawberry Barbecue sauce is smoky, sweet and complex but on the other hand, it’s really easy to make.

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 pound of strawberries (cleaned, hulled and quartered)
  • 1 can Dr Pepper
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder (use more for a spicy kick)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste

Add all ingredients to saucepan. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.  Blend with hand blender to make the barbecue sauce smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Makes about 3 cups.  Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.  Brush it on barbecue beef, chicken, or pork..

Now that the sauce is done… Let’s fire up the Q!

Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

  • 6 pounds chicken (I like to use legs or thighs)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 cups Strawberry Barbecue Sauce (or to taste)

Fire up your barbecue or grill pan.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill on medium high heat until juices run clear or about 15 minutes.  Brush with sauce and cook a few minutes more…  Serve chicken with sauce on the side.   Makes about 12 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Looks delish!

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

Red Wine Vinaigrette

I love spring.  It’s without a doubt my favorite time of year.  By the time April rolls around I’m tired of preparing stews and soups for dinner and I am so ready for backyard barbeques and fresh picked produce.  This time of the year I am starting to find fresh local lettuce, spinach and chard in our farmers markets.  The perennial herbs like mint, chives and tarragon are also available.  In just a few short months we will be dealing with the onslaught of fresh zucchini, corn, tomatoes and beans.  I can’t even wait.  Store bought tomatoes can be so disappointing…

Miniature narcissus and spearmint from my garden.

It has been a few weeks since I planted my little pocket garden and I found that I have lettuce that needs to be thinned and picked.  The heads are not quite mature but I have learned that if I steal a few leaves from each plant when I want to make salad, nobody (not even the plants) seems to notice.  Today when I got home from work I made a beautiful green salad drizzled with my Red Wine Vinaigrette.  My Red Wine Vinaigrette tastes great on a pasta or red quinoa salad.  It’s made with kalamata olive oil, sweet basil, garlic, red wine vinegar and a few other ingredients.  It’s quick and easy and you will not want to buy store bought vinaigrette ever again.  Makes 1 cup.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kalamata olive oil (substitute olive oil if you want)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried sweet basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Keeps about 1 week.  Makes about 1 cup.

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Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

I gotta tell you… My brother in law makes the best fish tacos.  Better than anyone that I know.  And lucky for us, we were invited to dinner last night.  I am not one to ever go to someone’s home empty handed so I made some salsas to share.  First of all, I made my Black Bean Salsa and a yummy Restaurant Style Salsa by Tia at iamsimplytia.com.

My black bean salsa is good for you and super simple to make.  It has tender black beans, red onion, juicy grape tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, lime, and spices.  Both salsas were great additions to last night’s dinner.  As far as the fish tacos go…  I will share the recipe at a later date.  They were simply scrumptious.  Meanwhile, I hope that you enjoy the Black Bean Salsa.  We sure did!  Tessa

Black Bean Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp jalapeno pepper finely chopped (I like to use more)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or to taste

Begin by grabbing a medium sized mixing bowl.  Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Lightly toss and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors marry.  Serve with chips, put in burritos, tacos, salads or serve as a side dish.  Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Tia’s Restaurant Style Salsa.  You gotta try it, it’s really good!  Thanks Tia!  Click here to get the recipe.

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