A Guide to Cheese & Condiments For Summer Meals

I consider both cheese and condiments to be essential when it comes to elevating a summer spread. Whether I’m making a cheese plate or a more formal meal, I always try to make sure sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami notes are present in the cheeses …

I consider both cheese and condiments to be essential when it comes to elevating a summer spread. Whether I’m making a cheese plate or a more formal meal, I always try to make sure sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami notes are present in the cheeses and condiments I put out: together, they make for a party on the taste buds. Try these 5 cheese and condiment pairings for a future summer cheese board, sandwich, or hot-off-the-grill dish.

1. Taleggio & Grainy Mustard

Photo by Marissa Mullen

Taleggio is a wash-rind cow’s milk cheese from Italy, notable for its creamy texture, orange exterior, and pungent aroma. Although Taleggio’s smell can be potent, its flavor is mild and buttery with a fruity tang. I love the combination of taleggio with a whole grain mustard, especially on something super-savory, like a hot dog. Cover a hot dog bun with room temperature taleggio, followed by a thin layer of mustard. The savory juices from the hot dog complement the pungent cheese, while the mustard cuts through with a tangy finish.

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Easy Mango Salsa

With Cinco de Mayo coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d pop in to share this mango salsa. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make throughout the spring and summer because it’s refreshing, fun, and so darn simple. Follow the recipe once o…


With Cinco de Mayo coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d pop in to share this mango salsa. It’s one of my favorite recipes to make throughout the spring and summer because it’s refreshing, fun, and so darn simple. Follow the recipe once or twice, and you’ll be able to leave the measuring cups in the drawer and just eyeball the ingredients. After that, you can change it up in all sorts of ways. Mix in avocado, or add some black beans. You could even toss in pickled jalapeños! Because this is such an easy, flexible recipe, it lends itself well […]

Heinz Ketchup Packet Shortage Has Delivery Services Seeing Red

The latest effect of pandemic-influenced consumer habits is a Heinz tomato ketchup package shortage that’s affecting food delivery services around the country. What’s the culprit behind this condiment scarcity? Food delivery services.
As restaurants c…

The latest effect of pandemic-influenced consumer habits is a Heinz tomato ketchup package shortage that's affecting food delivery services around the country. What's the culprit behind this condiment scarcity? Food delivery services.

As restaurants continue to limit in-person dining capacities and customers continue to order in food, the country's seemingly limitless supply of ketchup packets has begun to take a hit. Glass and plastic ketchup bottles that typically live on restaurant tables have been largely unused since restaurants pivoted to delivery and takeout models more than a year ago, and the sharp increase in to-go orders has resulted in elevated demand for single-serving condiments as well (a move first recommended by the CDC to avoid shared dispensers).

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The Case for Cooking With Vinegar

By an unfortunate set of circumstances, characterizing a person or thing as “sour as vinegar” implies negative traits. It may stem from the French origins of the word vinegar, vin aigre, meaning “sour wine”—an unfair assumption that all vinegar is made…

By an unfortunate set of circumstances, characterizing a person or thing as "sour as vinegar" implies negative traits. It may stem from the French origins of the word vinegar, vin aigre, meaning “sour wine”—an unfair assumption that all vinegar is made of bad juice. I can tell you for a fact, the best vinegars in the world are made of superlative ingredients, and fermented with intention. The outcome: a bright pantry staple that accentuates any food it touches.

Having worked in many restaurant kitchens, I couldn’t count if I tried the number of times I’ve heard a chef say, "If a dish is missing something, it probably needs acid." With this in mind, I wrote a book called Acid Trip, in which I traversed the globe learning how to make myriad vinegars, as well as cook with them. I’d be lying if I said I found one steadfast rule for how to use vinegar, aside from the belittling option to use it to clean.

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Preserved Lemons Belong in Dessert (Yes, Dessert!)—Here’s Why

Preserved lemon is one of those ingredients that, once it becomes a regular part of your cooking routine, it’s nearly impossible to do without. Savory dishes like crunchy salad, oil-slicked pasta, and tender roast chicken all beg for a hit of tangy, sa…

Preserved lemon is one of those ingredients that, once it becomes a regular part of your cooking routine, it’s nearly impossible to do without. Savory dishes like crunchy salad, oil-slicked pasta, and tender roast chicken all beg for a hit of tangy, salty preserved lemon. But what happens when, instead of stirring chopped preserved lemon into salad dressing or couscous, you fold it into cake batter? Magic, that’s what.

To back up: Preserved lemon, or salted whole lemons fermented until soft, is typically used as a seasoning or condiment in Tunisian, Moroccan, Israeli, Iranian, Turkish, and other North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, as well in dishes around the Indian subcontinent, where it’s known as lemon pickle, and is also seasoned with additional flavors like turmeric, chili powder, and cumin, among others, depending on the region. Chopped whole (yes, pith and peel, too) and seeded, preserved lemon can be stirred into nearly any dish that calls for fresh lemon, adding all the brightness of tart citrus with a bit more complexity. The brine, a deeply seasoned, lightly lemony syrup, should also be used in cooking, even after the lemons are gone.

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5 Tangy-Sweet Rice Vinegar Substitutes

Oh, the versatility of rice. Cooked simply, it can slant savory or sweet. Try as they may, vegetables repurposed as rice, like cauliflower, can only dream of imitating its likeness. And while we all know (and love) rice in its granular form, this shape…

Oh, the versatility of rice. Cooked simply, it can slant savory or sweet. Try as they may, vegetables repurposed as rice, like cauliflower, can only dream of imitating its likeness. And while we all know (and love) rice in its granular form, this shape-shifter pantry staple can be ground or soaked into the main ingredient for noodles, bread, milk—you name it. Rice can even be fermented and processed into the main ingredient in a boozy beverage (hello, sake!)

Speaking of fermented rice: Rice vinegar, or rice wine vinegar, is a seasoning agent derived from similar ingredients, albeit produced with a different technique. Commonly used in East Asian and some Southeast Asian cuisines, it's delicately tangy and slightly sweet, making it more mild in flavor and less acidic than its Western counterparts in the vinegar section. Rice vinegar comes in a range of colors, from white to yellow to red to black—each with varying flavor nuances and acidity strengths.

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7 Tomato Paste Substitutes for Pantry Pasta Emergencies (& More!)

Tomato paste is having a moment. Made by boiling down tomato juice into smooth, concentrated form, tomato paste is absolutely packed with umami. Just a tablespoon can transform a braise, stew, or soup, imbuing it with an unplaceable but vibrant richnes…

Tomato paste is having a moment. Made by boiling down tomato juice into smooth, concentrated form, tomato paste is absolutely packed with umami. Just a tablespoon can transform a braise, stew, or soup, imbuing it with an unplaceable but vibrant richness. Knead it into bread dough for a ruby-red pop, or add it to tomato sauce to make it even more tomato-y. The opportunities are endless, but this rich, sweet vermillion substance is just the kind of thing I’m constantly forgetting on my grocery runs. So if you’re staring down a recipe that calls for some paste and need a quick tomato paste substitute, we have your back.

Here are 7 tomato paste substitutes you probably have on hand:

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Lemon Vinaigrette

How is it possible that in 8+ years of writing Love and Lemons, I haven’t shared a basic lemon vinaigrette recipe until now?! Often, I post salad recipes with a dressing included – a kale salad with carrot ginger dressing, a watermelon sala…


How is it possible that in 8+ years of writing Love and Lemons, I haven’t shared a basic lemon vinaigrette recipe until now?! Often, I post salad recipes with a dressing included – a kale salad with carrot ginger dressing, a watermelon salad tossed with lime juice. But a few weeks ago, as I was whisking together this lemon vinaigrette, I realized that tying a dressing to a specific salad recipe can sometimes sell it short. This lemon vinaigrette is one of my favorite salad dressings. It’s zippy, fresh, and bright, it comes together in minutes, and it keeps well […]

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9 All-Star Condiments Always in My Kitchen

I am a condiment connoisseur. I have a hard time resisting any bottle, jar, or tin—be it spicy, pungent, tangy, salty, you name it. Sometimes I’ll buy a condiment to develop with or make a specific recipe, and other times I’m just attracted to a shiny …

I am a condiment connoisseur. I have a hard time resisting any bottle, jar, or tin—be it spicy, pungent, tangy, salty, you name it. Sometimes I’ll buy a condiment to develop with or make a specific recipe, and other times I’m just attracted to a shiny label (which probably means it’s getting added to my cart).

I’m always game to try something new, but after many years of cooking I’ve definitely honed in on a collection of staples I prefer never to be without—the all-star team, if you will. My trove of oils, pastes, and sauces all hail from different countries and different cuisines, and vary in texture and piquancy, but they all make regular appearances in my kitchen. And while everyone's definition differs, I consider many of the flavor-packed ingredients I use to boost dishes (either before, during, or after cooking) a condiment.

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Pico De Gallo

Hello & happy Friday! Today I’m sharing a super simple, fresh recipe that you’ll want to refer back to again and again. In my opinion, pico de gallo is the perfect finishing touch to everything from tacos to burrito bowls. It’s al…


Hello & happy Friday! Today I’m sharing a super simple, fresh recipe that you’ll want to refer back to again and again. In my opinion, pico de gallo is the perfect finishing touch to everything from tacos to burrito bowls. It’s also delicious spooned onto sizzling hot grilled vegetables… and whenever I have any leftover pico, I like to stir it into my scrambled eggs the next morning to make a quick migas-style breakfast. I hope you enjoy this versatile condiment! What is pico de gallo? Translated into English, the Spanish phrase “pico de gallo” literally means “rooster’s beak.” I’m not […]

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