SuzerSauce

It’s not pretty, but it’s a pretty tasty condiment

Every good food establishment has it’s special sauce.

Some go as far as to call them “secret” which sounds even more special, but in truth, most of the mainstream ones (or the one’s with cult followings) have their recipes appear in copycat versions on various websites.

Until recently, I’ve been pretty content to put bottled barbecue sauce on my veggie burgers. Mr SuzerSpace is a fan of Worcestershire.

But a few weeks ago, Mr. SuzerSpace and I were browsing in a high end kitchen store and stumbled upon an “artisan” hamburger condiment. They wanted $14.95 for 8 ounces, and the ingredient list was right on the back (has to – it’s the law). There was nothing special in the list.

After laughing ourselves to tears in the aisle, Mr. SuzerSpace remembered a burger place he really enjoyed in Wisconsin, known for it’s secret sauce recipe.

And I recalled a totally different burger place from my high school years in Texas, which sadly appears to have closed this past January.

And then we went home to make dinner. After all the story telling, it had to be burgers. And we definitely needed our own sauce.

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SuzerSauce

Prep Time 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 4-5 sliced pickled Jalapeños, diced
  • 1/4 tablespoon pickle relish
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl (preferably one with a lid) combine all ingredients.
  2. Spread on bun for hamburger, or use as a spread for sandwiches
  3. Leftovers keep refrigerated for weeks - stir before using.

 

Foolproof rice

A super easy method for cooking a main dish staple

I’m not sure if this is a recipe or a teeny tiny tip, so I’ll categorize it as both.

Making rice always seems more difficult than it should be. There’s that magic formula of water vs. rice and cooking time with the lid on that generally didn’t really work out that well for me. So I bought a rice cooker, and for about 10 years never gave rice a second thought.

Then last summer, a co-worker gifted me a box from one of the meal subscription services, and it contained a stuffed pepper recipe that featured a new-to-me method of rice cooking. And I’ve never gone back to the rice cooker – in fact, it has moved from the kitchen to the basement, along with other one-trick appliances that aren’t earning their keep.

The technique is ridiculously simple – you just prepare rice as if it were pasta.

Cook rice like pasta for a foolproof dish

Bring a pot of water to boil, add rice, continue to boil uncovered until the rice is cooked to your desired finish. Drain and serve.

Never too crunchy or too soggy. The only caveat on this method is to make sure the holes in your colander are small enough to catch the rice and not let it all go down the drain.

Foolproof Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice

Directions

  1. Bring a medium to large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add rice to pot, reduce heat slightly so it doesn’t boil over and stir.
  3. Keep rice cooking at a boil, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Test occasionally beginning at about the 15 minute mark (longer if you are using brown rice).
  5. Remove from heat when rice is cooked to your desired finish. Drain and serve. Don’t forget to freeze the leftovers.

Teeny Tiny Tip: Microwave Splatter Shield

A cool trick that doesn’t require a 500 word essay

I’m a big fan of kitchen gadget stores. I love to browse the catalogs, websites and the actual aisles, looking at tools, appliances and decorator items.

But I rarely buy anything. I like to be resourceful and use what I have. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box.

Take microwave splatter shields. Really good idea. I hate, hate, hate to clean the microwave (true fact: more than once I’ve thought about just buying a new one instead of scrubbing something off the ceiling of the existing one). But they seem really expensive for what they are.

Last winter, in a fit of organizing, I threw away or gave away all my mismatched plastic food storage containers and switched over to glass. At the last second, I snatched two very sturdy lids back from the pile.

Why? Because they were the perfect size to use as splatter shields for my  bowls. They cover almost all of the top of the bowl, but let a little space exist on the corners for steam to escape.

And they are sturdy enough to use as a placemat/trivet for the hot item to be carried from the microwave to the coffee table.

You do eat all your meals on your coffee table, right? 🙂

Teeny Tiny Tip: Lunch

Batch cook to fill the freezer with ready to go meals

Cook ahead and freeze lunch meals so have a healthy, tasty and economical choice available.

Quick, tasty lunches for work used to be a challenge.

I’d look for the best prices on frozen entrees, but they tended to either be good but expensive or cheap and disapppointing. And almost all of them seemed high in carbs and sodium.

Those cups of instant mac ‘n cheese seem tempting, but they also fall into the expensive and high sodium camp.

My solution is to do a batch cook on Sunday afternoon of one type of meal. Once it cools, part it out into 5 or 6 lunch-serving sized zip bags into the freezer. If you do this every other Sunday, and vary the meals you make, you end up with a variety of freezer entrees to choose from on days when dinner doesn’t yield nice leftovers. It’s also good in a pinch on a weeknight when you are starving and just don’t feel like cooking.

I don’t have a big deep-freeze. I just pack the bags flat to take up less room. And it isn’t really very time consuming – I have a couple of easy meals I make that don’t require much hands-on time, so I can craft while they cook.

And the math ends up as amazing – this box of maccaroni and cheese was 29 cents. To make it a more interesting meal I added lentils to the water as it was boiling before adding the noodles and then added a bit of a low-sodium taco season packet when I made the cheese sauce. With the addition of the lentils, this made six lunches.

 

Baked Tofu

Tofu isn’t scary. Really.

Tofu is kind of like the opposite of Fight Club.

EVERYONE talks about tofu. I read so much about making tofu that it scared me.

I will confess it took me a few tries to nail down a solid system. My general cooking technique for most food involves skipping any steps I don’t want to do or don’t have a gadget to do it with.

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