Punk Domestics's blog

DIY Condiments for Summer Grilling and Entertaining

Summer grilling is great, but burgers and dogs are only as good as the condiments that dress them up. Step away from the packaged varieties and try your hand at DIY condiments to make haute dogs and hamburgers.

Ketchup, found on PunkDomestics.com
Ketchup
Heinz, schmeinz. Homemade ketchup is easy and delicious, and is open to a world of interpretation. Why stop at tomato? We've got recipes for ketchups made from cranberries, rose hips, figs and more.

Read More >

May Flowers

Bye bye, April showers. You know what that means. Spring is in full bloom, and edible flowers are bursting out all over. We've got a great big bouquet of blossoms for you to forage and incorporate in DIY projects.

Violets
Violets
Take a stroll through your local field, and capture dainty violets' delicate flavor and lurid color in syrup and jelly. (Image via Use Real butter)
Elderflower
Elderflower
Sweetly aromatic heads of elderflowers are cropping up all over. Capture their springlike essence while you can with these DIY elderflower projects. (Image via Well Hung Food)

Read More >

Maker Faire 2015

Thanks to everyone who came out for my demos at Maker Faire 2015! I had a great time, and am happy to answer any questions on the material I covered. And for those who expressed interest in our trips to Italy, check out the overview here, with links to full itineraries in October and January.

Duck Prosciutto
Duck Prosciutto
All it takes is duck breast, salt, and time to make a delicious "prosciutto" in about a week, right in your own home. Here's the piece I wrote for About.com, but there are plenty more posts on the site. For the demo, we used the "salt box" method.
Pancetta
Pancetta
Once you've conquered the duck breast move on to pork belly to make pancetta, a simple Italian bacon. Remember: 3% salt to meat ratio by weight, and cure in the fridge for about a week.
Bacon
Bacon
The holy grail! Basically the same thing as pancetta, but typically with a sweeter cure and smoked. Regular bacon is delicious (duh), but if you really want to blow some minds, step up to Sichuan bacon. BOOM.
Shrubs
These drinking vinegars are easy and surprisingly refreshing. Based on recipes from Michael Dietsch's book Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, we demoed a basic fruit shrub of 1 pound fruit macerated in 3/4 cup sugar, then strained and mixed with 3/4 cup vinegar. But the possibilities are limitless!

Read More >

Foraging Resources (and a Giveaway)

Win a copy of Foraging & Feasting by Dina Falconi, illustrated by Wendy Hollender, on PunkDomestics.com

Foraging season is nigh upon us. Ramps are peaking on the East Coast, Japanese knotweed is poking up; dandelions are blooming. Soon wild fruits will burst out all over. 

There's no shortage of resources for the budding forager, or even the more seasoned. A few favorites include: 

(Disclosure: Affiliate links from which I may derive revenue.)

One of the newest additions to the forager's library is also one of the most compelling. Dina Falconi's Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook stands apart from the pack in one key way. The large-format book is stunningly illustrated with botanicals by Wendy Hollender. These figures not only educate but delight the eye. (See the illustration for wild grape, above.) In fact, you'd want to frame them and hang them on the wall, except then they wouldn't help you in the field. 

Falconi follows up the identifying illustrations with a fleet of master recipes, applying your foraged foods to practical use. Take, for example, a barbecue sauce that employs a variety of wild fruit, as well as foraged herbs. 

You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

Read More >

11 Delicious DIY Dips

Friends don't let friends serve store-bought dips. Here's a handful of DIY dips for that will keep the chips and crudite diving in.

Chip Dip
Chip Dip
Fresh, creamy dips are the perfect complement to salty, crunchy chips or crisp crudite. Step away from the store-bought stuff in plastic tubs and make your own. (Image via Eating Rules)
Salsa
Salsa
America's favorite condiment comes in a dizzying array of colors and flavors, as diverse as the country it hails from. Whether you go for straight-up tomato, zesty green salsa verde, or salsas made with corn or fruit, your tortilla chips will thank you (and so will your guests). (Image via Cooking Channel)
Guacamole
Guacamole
Cool, creamy guacamole leverages the avocado's naturally rich texture. Kick it up as spicy as you like, or leave it mild as a delicious dip. (Image via Alyssa and Carla)

Read More >

Salsas and Moles: Review and Giveaway

Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider: Review and Giveaway, found on PunkDomestics.com

I make no secret of my love for Mexican food. Epicures may fawn over French fare, or extol the virtues of imperial Chinese, I think Mexican food is arguably the most underrated of cuisines, with an endlessly creative approach to combining flavors. 

The heart of Mexican food is in its salsas. Domestically we tend to think of salsa as just something that sits on a chip, but in fact they are, as the word translates, sauces that are designed to complement everything from snacks to mains to even desserts. 

Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach and Scottsdale, and Solita taco bars in Ventura and Huntington Beach, distills her extensive knowledge of the condiment in Salsas and MolesShe begins with some salsa basics: Principles of balance in flavor and texture, and a useful primer on types of chiles (and how to handle them.) And then she dives deep, clustering recipes into groups of table salsas, hot salsas, moles and enchilada sauces, sauces specifically for tacos, and chunky salsas and botanas. 

Think tomato salsa is a one-note symphony? The book features tomatoes in dozens of salsas. Fresh or simmered, mild or spiked with chile heat, as the star or backup singer; each is utterly distinct. You'll find familiar items like pico de gallo and guacamole, but also salsas that highlight the use of specific chiles, like habanero, manzana and güero. Got a bulletproof palate? Try the Evil Green Hot Sauce or Volcano Salsa. 

The book crescendos with those most sophisticated of sauces, moles. Schneider not only provides a thorough recipe for the classic mole poblano, queen of Mexican sauces, but a quick version as well. Moreover, she reveals the rainbow of other moles: Red chile, negro, verde, and the nutty, herby pipiàn. (Ready to try your hand at classic mole poblano? Get the recipe here.)

The book is accessible and tempting. It will inspire you to try your hand at homemade salsas, and incorporating them into your everyday cooking. 

You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

Read More >

¡Salsa!

Cinco de mayo has nothing to do with Mexican independence, but you can liberate yourself from store-bought salsa. Whatever kind you like, whip up a batch today for chip-dipping good times.

Tomato Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Tomato Salsa
It's the classic, and America's favorite condiment. Delicious on chips of course, but also a versatile side to fish and chicken. And if you use the right recipe, it can even be canned.
Fermented Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Fermented Salsa
Lacto-fermented salsa is one of the simplest ways for beginners to play with cultured and fermented foods. Ferment tomatoes, chilies and more to tickle your belly and tongue in a good way!
Salsa verde, found on PunkDomestics.com
Salsa Verde
Whir up some tomatillos, chilies and herbs for a tangy salsa with a slightly fruity flavor.
Corn Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Corn Salsa
Chunky, sweet and spicy, corn salsa is a summertime crowd-pleaser. Try it on dogs for your next barbecue!
Fruit Salsa, found on PunkDomestics.com
Fruit Salsa
Think beyond the love apple to create complex, flavorful salsas using all manner of fruit, like mangoes, peaches, pineapples.

Read More >

On a Rampage with Ramps

If you walk alongside waterways in the American East, you may see bright green blades protruding up from the leaf cover this time of year. Ramps, or wild leeks, are one of the earliest wild foods to forage, and a great delicacy they are. They're the surest sign that spring is really ramping up.

Foraging Ramps
Foraging Ramps
Ramps are one of the easiest and most rewarding wild foods to forage, but their popularity has put them at risk. Learn how to identify them, and what measures to take to prevent overharvesting. (Image via Garden of Eating)

Read More >

Ravishing Radishes!

Radishes are ravishing! These peppery spring roots are delicious out of hand as a snack or sliced in salads, but there's more to them yet.

Pickled Radishes
Pickled Radishes
Radishes: You can pickle that! Whether pickled in vinegar brine or lactofermented, pickled radishes are a tangy, crisp treat. (Image via Well Preserved)
Kkakdugi
Kkakdugi
There's more to kimchi than cabbage. Use the same spices to make radish kimchi, or kkakdugi.
Radish Relish
Radish Relish
Grate up the radishes to turn them into a relish that's simply great. (Image via Solid Gold Eats)
Radish Greens
Don't toss those greens! Whir them up into a peppery pesto, or ferment them for a probiotic snack. (Image via From Scratch Club)

Read More >

Steeped: Review and Giveaway

Steeped by Annelies Zijderveld: Review and Giveaway, found on PunkDomestics.com

Though I start most days with coffee, I am absolutely a tea drinker as well. Nepal black, jasmine green, matcha, genmai cha, lapsang souchong — you steep it, I'll drink it. 

But outside of a few exceptions, like tea smoking or green tea ice cream, I hadn't really given much thought to the use of tea as an ingredient in cooking. So when my friend Annelies announced she was writing a book in it, my interest was piqued.

In Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea, Annelies explores the use of various teas as flavoring agents much as you would go spelunking in your spice drawer. By using different techniques, such as hot versus cold infusion, or grinding dry tea into a spice-like powder, she teases out different aspects of each tea to particular effect. 

An aha moment for me was her recipe for Sweet Tea Jelly, a natural fit for preserving, but one that had never occurred to me. Yet how could it be anything less than perfect on scones? She incorporates tea in more clever ways, like mixing matcha into a pasta dough for Green Tea Noodles in Asparagus Sauce with Goat Cheese Pearls. 

The quietly vegetarian book is structured into teas as meals — morning tea, afternoon tea, high tea, and the like — and you'll find yourself integrating them into your regular rotation for all meals of the day. 

You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

Read More >

Recipes - Techniques - Tools