Tangy barbecue sauce

After a too-long hiatus on making my own condiments, I decided to tackle barbecue sauce.

Barbecue sauce is a very personal choice. There are almost as many variations on barbecue sauce as there are people who eat it. I don’t like mine too sticky or sweet. So when I found a tangy coffee sauce recipe that sounded good, I figure it was time to try it. All it calls for is to mix a few basic ingredients together and simmer. I can do that!

It took less than 20 minutes to make the sauce, and not long to eat it all. Once the sauce was cool, I poured it over tofu to marinade. I then made baked tofu and added it to grains and veggies for a quick and easy rice bowl.

Tangy coffee barbecue sauce

Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 cup no-salt-added ketchup (I used store bought since I don’t use it much, but you could make your own)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (I grated some fresh onion)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder(I grated some fresh garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce


  1. Combine ketchup, coffee, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in pepper, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.

Other barbecue sauce recipes (I haven’t tried these but they all sound good):

What is your favorite style of barbecue sauce?

Sweet pepper relish

I’ve been slacking on making condiments, but one I love and wanted to make at home is pepper relish. Living in South Florida, I have access to peppers of many colors and levels of sweetness or heat.

I used bell peppers, but once they get with the sugar and spices, this becomes a sweet relish that is a different take on pickle relish. This recipe is adapted from a few different recipes found online (something I often do to make it my own and customize it to my liking).

Pepper relish


  • 3 cups mixed peppers, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon celery seed


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Once cool, put it in an airtight container.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days to develop flavor. Goes great on burgers and sandwiches.

Pumpkin butter

With the fall upon us and Halloween at the end of the month, I’ve had cravings for all things pumpkin. Since the temperate is still in the 80′s in South Florida, I have to turn to smells and tastes to celebrate my favorite season and month.

Pumpkin butter

I found a recipe for pumpkin butter that looked simple, so I gave it a try. I had never heard of pumpkin butter but I guess it is like apple butter, something else I hadn’t heard of. I have used it on oatmeal wheat muffins, but plan to make some pumpkin butter and cream cheese croissants or could see it jazzing up oatmeal or yogurt.

Bill likes it will pretzels (The salty and sweet combo is good!) and he’s already mentioned how easy it would be to make again, even as we still have half our first batch. And having this simmer while cooking filled our kitchen with wonderful scentsof fall.



Simmering and smelling great

I have a lot of other pumpkin recipes I plan to make and post this month, so if you are a fan of pumpkin, ginger, cloves or cinnamon like me, please check back!

Pumpkin Butter


  • 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups or fresh
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices and sugar in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered with lid ajar, for 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Makes enough to fill one large mason jar or about 3.5 cups.

What food or flavor do you most look forward to every autumn?

Making mustard

After taking a crack at relish, I knew what I wanted to make for my next homemade condiment: mustard. In my house it goes on everything. Everything.

I had leftover mustard seeds from the relish recipe and since we were almost out of mustard, I gave it a shot. It’s super easy and customizable.

There are endless recipes with a variety of liquids and spices. I went with the most basic recipe I could find to get a good base standard and see if it would even work and if I would like it. It took about five minutes and four ingredients and turned out great. Equal to or better than store-bought. I will definitely be making this again very soon (it might replace store-bought mustard altogether).

Homemade mustard

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Soak mustard seeds in vinegar and water at room temperature 2 days. If seeds are not submerged, add just enough extra water to cover.

Puree mixture in a food processor with sugar and salt until almost smooth, about 2 minutes. Thin to desired consistency with water and season with salt. (This is where I will add more seasoning [cumin, perhaps] next time, though it is great as is. I didn’t add any extra salt or water, but it’s a personal preference.)

If you want to try a variation first or after you have mastered the basic version, Sunset has six varieties of mustard that all look awesome (except yellow mustard, I’m not really a fan for some reason, I prefer brown).

What is your favorite type of mustard? What do you use it with?

Condiment: Cucumber relish

cucumber relish

Sweet cucumber relish

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to make my own condiments. I hadn’t done this beyond a basic vinaigrette, but when this sweet cucumber relish popped into my Google Reader, I had to try it no matter time or cost. Lucky for me, it was very easy and calls for basic ingredients.

The relish takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time, and is worth it. I’m glad I made this, and it has inspired me to start making other condiments. Even at more than two cups, this didn’t last long in our house, and I plant to make it again soon.

Sweet cucumber relish from Serious Eats

Makes 2 1/2 cups


  • 3 large cucumbers, washed, seeded and cut into large chunks
  • 2 medium white onions, quartered
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed


  1. Grate the cucumbers using the grating disc in a food processor. Switch to the steel blade and pulse until cucumber is finely chopped. Repeat with onions and peppers.
  2. Place chopped cucumbers, onions and peppers in a medium bowl and mix in salt. Cover and allow to sit overnight.
  3. Pour vegetable mixture out into fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water and strain, pushing the vegetables against the side of the strainer using a rubber spatula to remove as much water as possible.
  4. In a medium saucepan bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add vegetable mixture, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, transfer relish to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

I have plans in the very near future to make a variety of other condiments, so keep an eye out here!

If you are interested in trying your hand at condiments (I would love to hear about it!), some good resources are Serious Eats, The Kitchn, Chow and (to my surprise) Salon.

Have you ever made condiments?  What is your favorite condiment? I’m undecided about which to make next, so if there is one you want me to try and report how it turned out, please let me know.