I blame my upbringing have to thank my parents for that. One of the first times My Man had dinner with my family in our dating days, we ordered a simple take-out meal from Willy’s—Atlanta’s version of Moe’s or Chipotle. He thought that we would just get home, plate it up and enjoy. He was way off. The salads and burritos were really just a blank canvas for creation. The refrigerator opened and out came three different kinds of salsa, salad dressings, cheese dip, sour cream and other enhancements. After thirty minutes of “doctoring up,” dinner was served. It’s not high maintenance, its good taste.
I have always been a bit of a condiment connoisseur, having numerous types of salsa, mustards and salad dressings on hand and I am always on the lookout for something new. Here are some of my favorite refrigerator staples:
Guiltless Gourmet Black Bean Dip (Medium). We love this dip around here. It is great with chips and salsa, with veggies in place of or in addition to hummus, and it makes a nice complement to a taco salad.
Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. This dressing was the star of my Grapefruit Avocado salad and goes really well on so many different salads. Although it is not overly sweet, sometimes I add a little balsamic vinegar to cut the sweetness if I’m in the mood. It lives in the refrigerator section of the store–not the dressing aisle. Try it. You’ll like it or your money back, guaranteed.
Costco Balsamic Vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is like wine and olive oil insofar as taste, quality and prices are all over the place. A cheap balsamic, like a bad cheap wine, can taste like astringent gasoline. Believe it or not, the “Kirkland Signature” variety is absolutely fabulous and as good if not better than her more expensive cousins at Williams-Sonoma and other gourmet varieties. It is thick and is good enough to stand alone as dressing on a salad. I use this in everything, I add a splash to my homemade jacked up store-bought marinara, or reduce it and pour it over salmon or strawberries. Buy some. Drink it out of a wine glass.
Gulden’s Mustard and Heinz 57 Ketchup. Of course, no condiment list would be complete without mustard and the king of condiments, Heinz 57 Ketchup. If I had to pick one mustard (but really, what kind of evil person would make me choose just one!), it would be the classic Gulden’s. Just spicy enough and a great compliment to Ketchup or BBQ sauce. Onto Ketchup! Now I know we are all trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup in our diets these days, but when it comes to Ketchup there is no substitute for the 57. I was on an organic kick a few months ago and I bought organic Ketchup, made with real sugar instead of HFCS. It is just not the same and the nearly full bottle is still in our refrigerator where it will stay until I don’t feel guilty throwing it away give it away.
George’s Restaurant, our local hamburger bar serves their “famous” burgers with Hunts Ketchup and yellow mustard. Confusing, I know. And an insult to all of the work that goes into their delicious bunned creations.
POP QUIZ!!! SAT Prep question in the form of an analogy:
Heinz 57: Hunts
A) Diet Coke: Diet Rite
B) Moët et Chandon: Andres Champagne
C) Charmin Ultra: printing paper
D) Manolo Blahnik: Easy Spirit
E) All of the Above
If you answered E) all of the above, treat yourself to a sweet potato fry, scrambled eggs or finger dipped in the real ketchup.
So that’s my quick list of condiment hits. I could go on and on and this very well might be a two part post (fascinating!).
What’s on your list?