Fry Sauce

Fry SauceFrench fries from Common Link are my favorite in town!  Especially if you get them from the food truck because you have the option of getting some cajun fries.  Which are crispy and slightly spicy.

And if you are getting them from the food truck then you’re probably at Odell Brewing which means you are having a great weekend.

The offer several sauces for the fries but my favorite is their club sauce. Creamy and tangy, it goes perfect with their fries.

I wanted to create a similar sauce for when we are eating fries at home so I got busy experimenting.

This Fry Sauce is a good substitute when you can’t get your hands on some of the best in town.

Andrea’s Fry Sauce

  • 1/4C Mayo
  • 1TBSP Ketchup
  • 1TBSP Yellow Mustard (not dijon, must be yellow)
  • 2TBSP Prepared Horseradish
  • 1/2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/8tsp (dash) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Mix everything together in a small bowl and store in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  Serve with your favorite fries!

Fry SauceThis makes enough for two people to have some dipping sauce with their homemade fries.  It was perfect!  Some slight heat from the horseradish with just enough tang from the mustard and Worcestershire sauce to keep you coming back for more.

Don’t just stop at fries though! Put this sauce on a burger with some relish or use it as a dip for chicken tenders.

This sauce comes together easily and can be adjusted to make more if you need to feed a crowd.

I’m turning to this fry sauce to fulfill the craving when I can’t get the original stuff!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Quick and Dirty Beer Ketchup

Beer KetchupI’m still trying to find my cooking mojo since we moved here.  Part of it is just finding a routine that works for me and part of it is finding where to get the best supplies.  I’m slowly getting there though! Thank you for being patient as I get back into the swing of cooking.

Living in the land of beer, I have access to a lot of great local (to me) brews.  I’m constantly looking for a new ways to incorporate some of the beer in with cooking.

We were enjoying a lovely stretch of warm weather a couple of weeks ago, perfect for patio sitting and grilling.  I experimented with some burgers (recipe soon!) and needed a topping for them.

I originally was thinking of creating some sort of steak sauce but then my experiment morphed into a more ketchup type of sauce.

We had some Fat Tire from New Belgium on hand so I used that in the sauce to make what I’m calling a Quick and Dirty Ketchup because there aren’t many ingredients and it comes together lickity-split!

Andrea’s Quick and Dirty Beer Ketchup:

  • 1 6oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1/2C Fat Tire (or amber ale of your choice)
  • 1TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Dry Mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients and whisk together.  Heat over medium-low heat, just bringing the mixture up to a simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool in a glass or non-reactive bowl.

Serve as a dipping sauce or use as a topping for burgers!

Beer Ketchup

The ketchup went great with our burgers!  It was tangy with slight sweetness along with a little earthy depth from the beer.

This would also work great as a meatloaf topper!  Or use as a dipping sauce for your favorite fries.

No worries if you don’t have Fat Tire on hand, just use your favorite amber ale!

Enjoy guys, and remember, always play with your food!

90 Shilling Ham Barbecue Sandwiches

90 Schilling BBQ Sauce Ham barbecue is most definitely a Western PA thing. It’s pretty simple combo, barbecue sauce and some chipped ham.

That would be “shaved” ham for those outside of Western PA.

Buying chipped ham in the Pittsburgh area is no big deal. Deli workers fully expect that order to come in and don’t bat an eye.

There are automatic slicers that the deli workers can program and then move on taking other orders.  It takes a long time to get a pound of chipped ham.

Since I love chipped ham, I still order it even though I don’t live in Western PA any longer. I have to say “shaved” and oh do I get the stink eye from the deli workers when I do.  I’ll gladly risk it to get some delicious chipped ham though. Stink eye be damn.

Ham barbecue was a staple growing up and I admit that I wasn’t that big of a fan.  I love chipped ham and I love barbecue sauce but for some reason I did not find the two enjoyable.

It wasn’t until I started making my own version did I truly start to enjoy the ham barbecue experience.  Since I was revisiting some childhood sandwiches recently, I decided to make some ham barbecue making the barbecue sauce using some local beer.

90 Schilling Ham Barbecue Sandwich

Andrea’s 90 Shilling Ham Barbecue Sandwiches

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 1/2C Ketchup
  • 1/2C Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chunked
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, chunked
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper plus 1TBSP Adobo Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4C Brown Sugar
  • 2TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1C 90 Shilling Beer
  • 1tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Chili Powder
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • 1TBSP Light Olive Oil for Sauteeing

In a medium sized sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the garlic, onion, green pepper, and chipotle pepper.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, sautee for about 5 minutes.  Until the onion and pepper just start to soften.

Add in the ketchup and mustard and stir.  Then add in the beer and the remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and add mixture to a blender or food processor.  Blend until the sauce is completely smooth.  You can strain the sauce for an even smoother consistency but I prefer it to have some texture.

Return sauce to the pan and gently heat bringing it back up to a very slight simmer.  Simmer for another 10 minutes and then remove from heat to cool.

Makes almost 1 quart of BBQ sauce.  Store in airtight glass container and this will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Freeze any leftovers.

For the Sandwiches:

  • 1lb of Chipped (“shaved”) Ham of your choice (you can use any flavor or style, it just has to be chipped)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Green Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2TBSP Light Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 1 1/2C 90 Shilling BBQ Sauce
  • Buns or rolls for serving

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and peppers and sauté until they are soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the pound of ham and heat that with the onions and peppers for about 3 minutes.

Add in the barbecue sauce and stir.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 7 minutes.  Serve warm on buns.

Makes about 6 servings.

90 Schilling Ham Barbecue SandwichesI like the addition of the peppers and onions to the sandwich, it gives a little more texture and some crunch.  This sandwich is messy and great on a chilly day.

It also does well in a crockpot, perfect for game days or potlucks.

Making the barbecue sauce at home gives the sandwich a little more zing and makes it a little more special.  I recommend making the sauce the day before. Allowing it to sit in the fridge for a day brings all the flavors together nicely.

If you can’t get 90 Shilling, an amber or brown ale will work well in this recipe.

A sandwich from my childhood, kicked up to an adult version.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayo I started experimenting with homemade mayo several months ago and have fallen head over heels for it.

I have always been a huge mayo fan, preferring creamy mayo over tangy mustard.

Whenever I got sandwichs from delis, I asked for extra mayo.

When we changed our diet around, we stopped eating mayo.  Most mayos that you purchase from the store have lots of additional crap in them that just isn’t needed.  Because of that, we nixed the mayo from our diet.

I came across a few recipes for homemade mayo and since I had a Vitamix (not required but super handy) I decided to give it a go.

The recipe I was using is by Mel over at The Clothes Make The Girl. It was a nice starting point and a very simple recipe to making mayo.

Since I’ve gotten the hang of making mayo, I’ve done some tweaks and added my own spin to the mayo.

Andrea’s Homemade Mayo

  • 1C Light Olive Oil + 1/4C Light Olive Oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4tsp Onion Powder
  • Pinch Salt

In a blender add in the egg, lemon juice, dijon, and 1/4C of olive oil.  Let sit for about half an hour until everything is at room temperature.

Add in the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder and light blend for about 20 seconds.  Just until everything is well incorporated.

Turn blender to it’s lowest setting (On my Vitamix I start at 1) and start drizzling in the 1C of olive oil.  Slow and steady drizzle all of the olive oil.  At about 30 seconds or so when you start drizzling, you’ll notice that the consistency has changed and the oil is starting to turn into mayo.  Keep going slow and steady.

Once all the oil is incorporated, slowly turn the blender up to a faster speed and continue to blend allowing the mayo to start thickening up.  I go no faster than 3 on the Vitamix at this point and let it blend for about another two minutes.

That’s it!  Pour into a glass container and you’ve got homemade mayo!

Ham sandwichThe mayo won’t be super thick but it will thicken up a little more once it’s been in the fridge for a bit.

Mayo lasts for a couple of weeks in an airtight glass container.

If you’re worried about raw eggs, that’s what the lemon juice is for.  The acid in the lemon juice will take care of any bacteria that you might be concerned about.

However if that doesn’t satisfy you then either use eggs that you know their source (like your local farmer) or use eggs that have been pasteurized.

You can make mayo by hand but it will take longer and you need more patience! Or you can use a food processor which I believe that Alton Brown has a tutorial about on the interwebs.

The dijon along with the garlic and onion powder give the mayo some zing.  I use the Extra Light Olive Oil by Bertolli.  It doesn’t have any overpowering flavor and is easily found in most supermarkets.  It’s a much better oil than say canola or corn (ick).

Now you have no excuse! Free yourself from store bought mayo and go for the good stuff at home!



Ranch Dressing

ranch_dressing Growing up Ranch Dressing was the only salad dressing in the house. Occasionally some Italian dressing would appear but only if pasta salad was in the near future.

The only time I ever had “fresh” Ranch Dressing was out at a restaurant someplace.

I never tried making my own until a couple of years ago.  I was using lemon juice, coconut milk, and Greek yogurt to make the dressing.

It was a fail each and every time.  It just didn’t have the right tanginess that I was looking for.

Since we started getting milk again, I decided I was going to have another go at making Ranch Dressing.

While it’s not perfect just yet, I’m on the right track!

My basic recipe includes:

  • Whole Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Green Onions
  • Garlic Clove
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Lots of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Ranch DressingEverything gets combined in a blender and then drizzled over a salad.

It’s a work in progress for sure but I’m close to perfection.  Even though it isn’t perfect, it is tasty and we have no problems going through a jar of it.


Bourbon BBQ Sauce

I’m pretty sure that I’ve stated it before but I’m a huge BBQ sauce fan.

None of this vinegar based stuff, I want a nice thick tomato based sauce.  That’s sweet and spicy.

You can dip with it or you can slather it all over some ribs.

Or you can toss it with some pulled pork and call it dinner.

That’s BBQ sauce to me.

I’ve been experimenting with making my own at home.  Sometimes I use ketchup as a base and sometimes I don’t.  Ketchup seems to yield the best results though and this latest version is by far our favorite.

Andrea’s Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2C Bourbon
  • 1C Ketchup (look for one without HFCS)
  • 1/3C Dijon Mustard
  • 2TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1 Fresno Pepper
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chunked
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, chunked
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2tsp Chili Powder
  • 1tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Big Pinch of Salt
  • 1TBSP Light Olive Oil for sauteeing

In a medium sized sauce pan add olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add in the peppers, onion, and garlic along with the pinch of salt.  Stir and sautee for about 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and add in remaining ingredients.  Add in the ketchup and mustard first before adding in the bourbon.  Take caution when adding the bourbon, add slowly to avoid a flare up.

Stir and combine everything.  Place back on medium heat.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Place mixture in blender and blend until very smooth.  Pour back into sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer again for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into a glass container.  Either serve immediately or cover once cooled and store in fridge for up to a week.

Both of us really love this BBQ sauce.  We’ve had it on sandwiches, dipped fries in it, used it for shredded pork and even had it on pizza.

I’ll be making it again for sure!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Horseradish Cream Sauce

I wasn’t a huge beef eater growing up but I did enjoy a nice deli roast beef sandwich on occasion.  Horseradish was always paired with beef and I never understood that.  Maybe because I didn’t really enjoy that flavor unless it was part of cocktail sauce. I always opted for a light smidge of mayo instead.

I know, shame on me.

For several years now, I have been making my own cocktail sauce so we always have horseradish on hand.  You can purchase fresh grated horseradish in a jar and it’s typically located in the refrigerated section where the shredded cheeses and dips are.  This is not horseradish sauce but fresh horseradish.  Make sure you read the label when you’re purchasing it so you don’t buy the wrong thing by accident.

I buy the HUGE bottles of it because now I can’t get enough horseradish.  A few years back we were having some prime rib for Christmas dinner and I decided to make some cream sauce to go along with it.  We loved it so much that now anytime we have beef (especially grilled steaks), horseradish cream sauce is always made.

It’s super easy and best if you make it ahead of time and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Andrea’s Horseradish Cream Sauce

  • 2% Greek Yogurt (you can use sour cream if you want)
  • Whole Grain Mustard
  • Grated Horseradish

Mix in a bowl and serve!

Crazy simple, right?  No measurements because it depends on how much you need to make and what your taste preferences are.  We like it very spicy and horseradish-y so I use a big heaping spoonful of the mustard and several heaping spoonfuls of the horseradish.

This tastes amazing with steak. The crispy cooked ends and warm earthy tones of beef paired with the cool burn of the sauce are one of my favorite combos, hands down.

This sauce also goes well with grilled veggies and baked potatoes.  And also great sauce for dipping oven fries!  Basically it works well with a lot of stuff.

Do you like horseradish? Have you ever had a cream sauce paired with beef or veggies?

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Chipotle Glaze

Chipotle Glaze

Chipotle Glaze

This was another idea I came up with while working and thinking about what to make for dinner.  At least I’m a great multitasker!  Scott and I love fish and seafood.  Because it’s such a great protein source along with all the other goodies it contains, I try to make sure we get fish at least twice a week.  We were having salmon one night and I wanted a different way to serve it up.  I usually marinade the salmon in a teriyaki mixture because it takes to that flavor so well.  But this time I wanted something a little different.

Since I’ve been working on my heat tolerance level, I decided to try something new with the salmon by creating a sweet and spicy glaze.  Glazes aren’t something I really work with too much and I thought it was about time I changed that up.  I pulled out some chipotles and put together this really great tasting glaze.

Andrea’s Chipotle Glaze

  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP of the adobo sauce
  • 1TBSP honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2TBSP soy sauce
  • 2tsp grill seasoning (salt free!)
  • 1/2tsp smoked paparika
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp of lime juice
  • Pinch sea salt

Put all ingredients in a mini-food processor and pulse until a nice thick sauce is formed.

Simple right?  And this glaze could be used on anything from tofu to chicken. I used it on salmon steaks and here’s what I did:

Chipotle Glazed Salmon

Chipotle Glazed Salmon

Andrea’s Chipotle Glazed Salmon

  • 2 salmon steaks
  • Chipotle glaze

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet with nonstick foil and place the salmon on top.  Brush the salmon with some of the glaze reserving about 1/3.  Allow the salmon to cook for a few minutes and then add the rest of the glaze.  Finish cooking the salmon, about 7-9 minutes total cook time. Allow to rest for a minute and serve!

The glaze worked exactly how I was expecting it too and it was so tasty!  I was a bit worried if it would be too spicy for me and it was not at all.  It was spicy and sweet, the prefect balance.  Completely full of flavor and made one of the best salmon dishes we’ve had yet.  The smokiness of the adobo sauce provided a nice background while the honey helped the glaze stick and provide nice carmelization as the salmon baked.

I wasn’t done with it though.  I wanted to know how this was going to work with something grilled.  An even bigger test.  I still wanted to work with seafood and decided to try this out on some shrimp, but how? I finally decided to make some shrimp and pineapple skewers.

Because I wasn’t brushing this on but using it as a quick marinade and coating, I needed to bump up the glaze amount a bit.  Here’s what I did:

Andrea’s Chipotle Glaze for marinading

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chipotle peppers
  • 1TBSP sauce (plus a pinch more)
  • 1.5TBSP soy sauce
  • 1TBSP honey
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 2tsp grill seasoning
  • Pinch seasalt

Add all ingredients to a mini food processor and pulse until you get a sauce mixture.  By upping some of the ingredients, you get a little bit more of a sauce which makes it more appropriate for a marinade.  Seafood you only want to sit in the marinade for a few minutes. Things like pork, chicken, and steak can handle it for a bit longer.

Shrimp and pineapple skewers

Shrimp and pineapple skewers

Now I made shrimp and pineapple skewers with this and grilled.  Here’s what I did:

Andrea’s Chipotle Glazed Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

  • This makes 4 shrimp and pineapple skewers
  • 1C pineapple chunks
  • 1/2-1 lb of EZpeel shrimp
  • Chipotle marinade

If you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them for about 15 minutes in water first.  Then rub them with a little bit of olive oil. This helps prevent food from sticking to them and from burning on the grill.  In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Then assemble the skewers alternating pineapple and shrimp and plate.  Pour the remaining sauce over the skewers and squeeze a little lime juice over top. Place skewers on a hot grill.  Cook about 2 minutes on each side.  You’ll notice the shrimp turning pink and that means they are cooked and done on that side.  Shrimp do not take long to cook at all, be careful not to overcook them. When cooked, remove from grill and allow to rest for a minute, then serve!

Sweet and spicy

Sweet and spicy

These were perfect!  Slightly spicy with a sweet finish from the honey and the pineapple.  Grilled pineapple is such a surprisingly tasty experience.  The smokiness from the grill and the sweetness from the fruit make for a great flavor combination.  The shrimp were juicy and flavorful.

In the glaze, I used seasalt but if you don’t have any, kosher will work fine.  Just a very small pinch because there is plenty of salt action from the soy sauce.

You’ll also notice that for the skewers, I added the lime juice last. When working with seafood, the citric acid will start to “cook” the seafood which can result in a mushy texture after you actually cook it with heat.  Save the lime for right before cooking.  If you’re working with something other than seafood, you can add the lime juice before cooking.

There you go guys!  Two great applications for my Chipotle Glaze!

Chipotle Glazed Salmon

Chipotle Glazed Salmon

Chipotle Glazed Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple skewers

Chipotle Glazed Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple skewers

Enjoy guys!  And remember, always play with your food!