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Archive for the ‘Condiments and Sauces’ Category

Hang onto your fishnets, misfits–it’s time for another installment of “Ask Bad Mama Genny!”  And today’s episode is likely to pull at the heartstrings of all you sweet-toothed yet lactarded gals and fellas out there.  Read on for Michelle’s query:

Caramel! I miss it as a lactard, have you found any suitable alternatives; or even better, a way to make the real thing?
Thanks a million!
Michelle

Caramel is a tough one, misfits.

Hey, hey, hey, come back here!   I didn’t say it was “impossible,” misfits!  I said it was “a tough one,” okay?  Thereby causing you to realize the enormity of the task I have undertaken and increasing my glory tenfold when you watch me do it BECAUSE OH HELLZ YES I DID DO IT.

So as we’ve discussed in the past, I am lactose-intolerant.  This does not mean that I no longer live like A Rock Star.   Not living like A Rock Star is totally not an option for me.  Therefore I need caramel.  Everybody knows that rock stars and caramel go together like gin and tonic water which IS REALLY FUCKING WELL.

Me=Rock Star.

Stop laughing.

In any case, Your Bad Mama Genny does not possess the inner fortitude to give up things like ice cream and cream soups and caramel.  Simple as that.

But, uh, let’s be frank here: I also LITERALLY do not possess the inner fortitude to eat them.  So I find ways around it.  Coconut ice cream.  Almond milk.  Hallucinogenic substances.  You know, the usual.  I tweak my recipes until they’re just as satisfying as the original, and YOU, yes, YOU reap the benefits.

So let’s talk caramel–technically speaking, caramel can just be, well, caramel, as in caramelized sugar.  Sugar plus heat equals caramel.  But right now you’re all, Oh, Bad Mama Genny, that is SO NOT what Michelle meant.  And I so know you’re right.  What Michelle meant is that gooey, creamy stuff you could eat out of a jar with a spoon–that stuff you drizzle on ice cream, over cakes, or all over yourselves for a bizarre photo shoot that will probably surface in Sweden someday.

I canz handle that challenge, my wittle misfittles.

So onto the dang quesadillas! (Please tell me you got that reference.)

I mean, the dang caramel!

Dairy-Free, Vegan Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (seriously, misfits, vanilla bean paste is my MSG–use it, and use it liberally)
2 T. vegan Earth Balance spread–or butter, if you can tolerate it (I can) and don’t have a problem with dairy on principle
1 dash sea salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons cold water

Directions:
Put sugars and Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Meanwhile, set the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat to get steamy.  Now cook the sugars and butter, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it’s smooth and melty and sugars have dissolved (about 5 minutes).  Now toss in the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir quickly to incorporate–be careful, the mixture may froth up at this point.  Now slowly add the steaming coconut milk while stirring.  When it’s incorporated, mix the cornstarch with the cold water in a small bowl.  Add it to the caramel mixture while stirring, and let the mixture bubble until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Then transfer it to a jar or airtight container and OM NOM NOM NOM NOM start over again.

Enjoy, Michelle!

And for all of you lactarded misfits looking for a lil’ more non-dairy love, check out a few other recipes I’ve posted for your nomming pleasure:

Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegan Macaroni & Cheese

Dairy-free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Swedish Meatballs with Dairy-free “Sour Cream” and Mushroom Sauce

(Remember, misfits, you can submit your own question for your Bad Mama Genny to answer by clicking right here.)

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Before I launch into today’s post, I want to remind you to visit Monday’s post if you haven’t already and enter to win my giveaway!

All y’alls remember my bitchin’ strawberry rhubarb pie recipe, right?  The one that came with a similarly righteous pate brisee/pie crust recipe?  You know, where I talked all about my crippling paranoia.  Oh, nooooow you remember.   Well, misfits, I recently made it again and it remains the best strawberry rhubarb recipe your Bad Mama Genny has tried since then.

I left the burning juices on the cookie sheet in the photo above to demonstrate my humanity. Also, to remind you that that stuff will be on the bottom of your oven FOR ALL ETERNITY if you don't slip a cookie sheet under your pie. So slip a cookie sheet under your pie.

Okay, so it’s the only recipe I’ve tried since then.  Whatever, we play by different logic around here.

So I made this pie and it was wonderful but then I got OH HOLY more rhurbarb and more strawberries in this week’s CSA box.  And I didn’t want to make another pie.

Well, okay, so your Bad Mama Genny DID want to make another pie, but felt that she should abstain.  For the sake of her waistline.  Which will be greatly exposed this summer.  And does not benefit from the copious ingestion of pate brisee.  Go figure.

So I decided instead to make a strawberry rhubarb sauce–one that’s sweetened naturally, just a little, and without that uncomfortable blood sugar spike of sugar sugar SUGAR SUGGARRR SUUGGAAAAHH!

This version will not kick your ass.  At least, not very much.  It’s more like an ass bump.  Which, if you think about it, sounds pretty damn pleasant.

Ass bumps: try them today!

But there’s a story that goes along with this one.  A heartwarming tale of redemption, second chances, and dreams that just wouldn’t die.  Actually, my story is nothing like that.  But it’s still pretty good and I’m gonna make you listen.  Ignore that “X” in the box at the top right of the screen.  It is merely an illusion.  By the magic of My Bad Self you have been rendered unable to navigate from this page.  Just one of the perks of being me, I guess.

So I’m at my family’s house for a visit with all the ingredients for this sauce in tow, and I go, hey, don’t I remember reading on Farmgirl Susan’s blog about how turtles love strawberries and in some parts of the country will even crawl into your strawberry patch to have a little nom-fest?  And wasn’t there a precious photo of a baby turtle in the strawberry patch to boot?

Oh, yes.  Yes, there was. 

And then I got to thinking, well that’s just the preciousest thing I’ve ever seen and isn’t it sad that I don’t have a turtle to test that on.

Oh, wait.  I totally do.  Her name is Shelly.  And she lives in my family’s living room.

So I went into the living room to harass  horrify delight Shelly with my presence, lifted her out of her cage, and brought her into the kitchen for a lil’ experiment.

Here's Shelly all self-conscious, pretending to be all, "Oh, I care nothing for this strawberry feast you've set before me."

And here she is all of ten seconds later, eating her strawberries with ferocity while I'm all, "Yeah, guess who wants my berries NOW, hmm?" Taunting turtles. It's the American way.

Moral of the story?  Turtles like strawberries and you probably do, too, so make this sauce.  Some of you might want to serve it over ice cream or waffles.  To you, I say, holy crap that is a fucking fantastic idea.  Others will do as I do, and drizzle it all over their bodies and then wait for their own The Boy to come ho–I MEAN–eat it straight like applesauce, or enjoy it alongside some thick yogurt.  Wholesome things.  Like that.

All-Natural, No Refined Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup (Agave would work well, too, as would honey.  If you’re going to use cane sugar, bump up the amount to about 1/2 cup.)
2 T cornstarch
2 T lemon juice
dash salt
1 bunch rhubarb, sliced (about 4 cups)
1 quart strawberries (mine were little so I left them whole)

Directions:
Combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, rhubarb, and strawberries in a saucepot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Mix the cornstarch with 3 Tablespoons cold water and stir in, cooking for an additional 3 minutes, or until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool–keeps in an airtight container for about a week, longer if you’re feeling like a daring misfit.  And I know you are.

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Hola, tasty, tasty misfits!

I would love to excuse my brief shall-we-say hiccup in updating with a clever bullshit-laden post about how absence makes us appreciate what we have.  I would tell you that it heightens every sense, that it enchances our enjoyment of food, relationships, blah-blah-blah.  But quite honestly, your Bad Mama Genny was in her beautiful hometown of Chicago for two weeks for the holiday and oh!  The enjoyment!

In other news, congratulations to Peter of FotoCuisine for winning my panko challenge with his recipe, New Mexico Chile Three Cheese Mac and Cheese!  As promised, I’ll be sending Peter a free bag of panko as his prize.  ‘Cause I be keepin’ my bitchin’ promises.

But on another note, I’d like to talk to you about a serious problem, namely the lack of a readily-available, all-natural chocolate syrup.  Because when you’re drizzling stuff on bodies, you wanna know what’s in it, right?  Of course, your BMG would never leave you high and dry–she’d prefer to keep you wet and sticky AND corn syrup free, ladh-di-freaking-dah, my babies!

So here’s my recipe for Homemade, All-Natural Chocolate Syrup.  I tweaked my version from one I found on RecipeZaar (this be it)  to indicate the quality of ingredients, make it darker, and expand on the vague directions.  No HFCS, less sugar, and not very much time at all, so you can be basting yourself and all your friends and acquaintances in practically no time!

Basting friends and acquaintances.  It’s what I do best.

This recipe is very dark, thick, and rich, and should you be bored with basting people, lends itself so well to ice cream, chocolate milk, peanut butter…the list goes on.  I used vanilla extract in this recipe, but I could see trying it with mint, raspberry, orange, or even with a little espresso powder stirred in.  Or pour some into a little jar, smack a ribbon on that, and give it away, give it away, give it away now.

All-Natural Chocolate Syrup

Go Get:
1 cup 100% cocoa powder
1 cup raw cane sugar (this yields a darker syrup-add more if you prefer a sweeter chocolate)
1 dash high quality salt (think Celtic or Himalayan)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Go Do:
Put all ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk everything together until well combined. Turn the heat to medium, whisking constantly. When it begins to boil, watch it carefully, continuing to whisk constantly and quickly, being sure not to let any thick syrup collect on the bottom of the pot.
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Allow it to boil for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the desired thickness is achieved.

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I may have let mine go a little further than the original recipe’s author intended-no complaints here, though. I ended up with a thick, fudge-y sauce that I prefer to the thin, lifeless stuff in the brown plastic bottle. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool at room temperature; store, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups.

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Autumn is my favorite season, misfits…HANDS DOWN.

What does that mean, anyway, “hands down”?  Wouldn’t “hands up” imply more excitement, a la your Bad Mama Genny raises her hands in the air and waves them around in the manner of having nary a care?  But I digress.

Anyhoo, this crisp, clean fall air always makes me want to do one thing: sign a fetus over to Satan a la Rosemary’s Baby.

Oh, wait, that’s not right.

This crisp, clean fall air always makes me want to do one thing: apple picking. Probably some hangup from childhood, when I was raised by wolves and used to sleep in an apple tree so they wouldn’t accidentally tear me to pieces while dreaming about chasing bunnies.

Am I kidding or am I not, the world may never know.

But whatever my reason, there’s one thing that’s crystal clear to everybody: I will insist on picking in ridiculous quantities and any attempt to moderate my behavior will cause me to have a massive, dramatic, and scene-making seizure and then die in the naysayer’s arms.

Or maybe what happens is slightly less severe than that, but never you mind your pretty little heads about such details.

So The Boy and I spent a clear, luscious Sunday at the orchard climbing, lugging, juggling, falling over, causing ruckuses, and carefully considering how to maximize our bushel.  After loading our goods into the trunk (and just barely passing bag overfill inspection by some extremely scrupulous farmers who gave my fishnets a skeptical eye), we plotsed ourselves down onto a bench in a sunny spot of the orchard.  The two of us shared a cool pint of homemade cider and a few hot, fluffy apple cider doughnuts, fresh from the fryer.  These babies were fall personified.  If donuts were persons.  Fine, they were fall donuttified.

Mmm, donuttifying things.

Unexpected bonus: never had we inspired such fear and suspicion in our fellow New Yorkers as when they saw us approaching with our bushel of shiny new produce.

“Hark, it is the pale ones,” they said to themselves.

“But what of the crimson orbs the tall one carries?”

Or at least, that’s what I imagine they said–pedestrians passing by readily offered their comments, but they were rarely in English.  Of course, The Boy disagrees–he feels nothing but shame at what he assumes those landscapers were saying about his apples between enthusiastic whistles.

And so, having had the full reality of just how many apples we’d picked graciously driven home by our neighbors, I set to work making room in the refrigerator and brainstorming some applications.  Applesauce it was–but not the pale, sugary mess in a jar you might be used to seeing on store shelves. These apples didn’t need any sweetener at all.  They were sweet enough already.  They were well-behaved and chaste and good and OH JUST EVERYTHING THAT YOU AND I ARE NOT.

In fact, if you use a sweet, red, thin-skinned apple variety that’s been grown without sprays, you won’t even need to peel them.  This’ll get ya’ a gorgeous pink applesauce that just screams “misfit.”   You barely need a recipe for this, dudes and dudettes, and it’s perfect for freezing in batches, serving with crisp potato latkes and a brisket, using in recipes, or just enjoying as is.

So what did we do with the rest of the apples? A few are still taking up valuable refrigerator real estate, but some went toward a batch of Apple-Cherry Oatmeal Bars, others we’ve enjoyed as-is, and the rest went to two gallons of from-scratch Hard Apple Cider.

What, you thought I had enough shame not to drag moonshine into this?  HARDLY!

So did our excess of apples teach me a lesson about letting fall fever cloud my judgment? Absolutely–if I could do it all over again, I’d pick twice as many.  Then I wouldn’t be making a trip back to upstate New York tomorrow for another bushel.

What?

Sugar-Free Pink Applesauce
Makes approx. 1/2 cup finished sauce per apple (I used 20 Cortlands and had 5 pints for the freezer)

Go Get:
Da apples, thin-skinned, sweet, red variety, grown without sprays

Go Do:
Wash the apples thoroughly; then quarter and core them.  Put enough water into a large pot (think Dutch Oven size) pot to cover the bottom by 1/2 inch, and add your apples.  Put a medium-high flame under the pot and occasionally stir up from the bottom to redistribute the apples.  Cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes, adding more water to prevent scorching as necessary.  Allow the mixture to cool enough to safely handle, and then run it through the food processor until the skin is only visible as tiny red flecks in the sauce (You can also put it through a food mill, if you’re bitchin’ enough to have a food mill; I’m currently slightly less bitchin’ than that, but still bitchin’ enough to make pink applesauce which is STILL ALL KINDS OF BITCHIN’ SO RESERVE JUDGMENT MMKAY?). Cool the applesauce completely, divide it into containers, and refrigerate or freeze.

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