Try these recipes, tips and tricks for putting a squeeze bottle to good use. You’ll never look at a ketchup container the same way again.
Bottle This: A single recipe can enhance a week’s worth of meals when properly handled and the squeeze bottle doubles as its own storage container.
Pro Power: Instantly boost your cooking cred by using a squeeze bottle to plate meals. Very impressive.
Holiday Bonus: Fine tipped squeeze bottles are also excellent for decorating holiday cookies with skillful precision…no skill required. Score!
No-Measure Red Wine and Shallot Vinaigrette
1 part finely chopped shallots
1 part red wine vinegar
3 parts olive oil
Simply add the ingredients to a transparent squeeze bottle in the order listed. Use the 1-1-3 ratio to eyeball the amounts. Add enough shallots to fill ¼ of the bottle, and then add enough vinegar to completely submerge the shallots. Finish by pouring in the oil, leaving a bit of space at the top, this will help the dressing emulsify when shaken.
Before pouring the dressing, use kitchen shears or sharp scissors to snip the lid’s tip, just wide enough so that the shallots can escape. Then toss the greens with a pinch of salt and pepper and just before using, cover the bottle’s tip with your pointer finger and shake vigorously to combine the oil and vinegar.
Serving Suggestion: While this dressing is near universal, I’m particularly fond of it on a salad of escarole, tossed with toasted walnuts and shaved ricotta salata.
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces canola oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, Dijon, lemon juice and salt. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. If the mixture becomes broken, stop adding the oil and whisk vigorously (adding a teaspoon of water if necessary) until the oil has been fully absorbed then continue to whisk in the remaining oil. Makes about 8 ounces.
Helping Hand: Want to keep that bowl from scooting away, while you’re whisking with one hand and slowly streaming with the other? Wind up a damp kitchen towel (think locker room) and coil it on the countertop to create a no-slip nest for your bowl. Voilà! A third hand. Makes about 8 ounces
Aioli-fy Store Bought Mayonnaise: thin jarred mayo with a squirt of lemon juice and a splash of water to brighten the dressing and give it a pour-able consistency.
Serving Suggestions: A single ingredient stir-in can add a whole new layer of flavor to a weeknight meal with hardly a lick of effort.
Minced garlic – zigzag across the tops of grilled steaks
Chopped tarragon – dress a chicken salad
Chipotle en adobo - garnish tacos or quesadillas
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a medium saucepot, whisk to combine the sugar, cocoa powder and salt; slowly whisk in the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often, and cook 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before stirring in the vanilla and pouring syrup into the squeeze bottle. Chill in fridge without the top until completely cool. Makes about 12 ounces
Serving Suggestions: Squeeze around the inside of a martini glass and freeze for a chocolate-coated espresso martini.
Decorate plated desserts, like chocolate cake. Try “drawing” quick, loose concentric circles around a slice of cake or crisscross syrup over top.
Stir into cold milk. Makes about 12 ounces
(Three 12-oz squeeze bottles for $7.95 available at Amazon.com)
Following recipes can be frustrating for new cooks (and isn’t so unusual for seasoned cooks, either!). Some recipes are rampant with culinary verbs that aren’t part of our everyday vernacular. Often the culprit is a disarmingly familiar word that has a separate culinary application. For example, a friend and budding culinarian, phoned recently to express her aggravation with the instruction to, ‘cream butter and sugar.’ “There isn’t even any cream in this recipe!” she lamented.
(A sidebar for those of you who didn’t get the joke; don’t worry; I’ve got your back! Cream v. to beat one or more ingredients until smooth, light and creamy.)
In an effort to reduce my frustration-causing emissions, I’ll do my best to include a glossary of culinary terms, ingredients and tools that could potentially drive a person to Wikipedia or the takeout counter.
Vinaigrette: At it’s most basic, a combination of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Variations include herbs, spices, onions and mustard.
Emulsion: A mixture of two liquids that don’t normally combine smoothly. Achieved by slowly adding one ingredient to the other, while mixing rapidly.
Ricotta Salata: Produced by pressing the whey of Pecorino Romano with salt, then drying until firm. This sheep’s milk cheese has recently become more readily available at supermarkets. It’s briny and tangy and totally delicious.
Broken: When oil is added too quickly to an emulsion like mayonnaise or mustard vinaigrette and can’t be absorbed fast enough, it remains separate, leaving the mixture looking greasy and curdled.
Chipotle en Adobo: A dried, smoked jalapeno chile, canned in a sauce of pureed chiles, herbs and vinegar. Finely chopped chiles and adobo sauce can be used together, or separately.
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