July 18, 2013

Store-Bought Products with a Homemade Twist

This morning I visited my friends Abby Ham and Moira Kaye at Knoxville's WTNZ Fox43 for my regular Southern Belle Simple segment. For today's installment, I shared tips and tricks to give store-bought products homemade flair! You can watch the segment below. For full details of the recipes I shared, read on!

Store-bought Dill Pickles with a Homemade Twist

I've been making these easy hot & sweet pickles for a few years now. The recipe came from my friend Shannon's sister-in-law's mom (I think)...isn't that how all good southern recipes are? Passed around from family to family, friend to friend? 

To make them, all you need is a jar of store-bought dill pickles, granulated sugar and crushed red pepper flakes. I prefer whole dills because I think they have better texture than the dill pickle chips. 

Pour the pickle juice out of the jar, but save it for later. Slice the pickles. Now put them back in the jar in layers, beginning with a layer of pickle slices plus a sprinkling of sugar and red pepper flakes. Repeat these layers until the jar is filled with pickles and then pour the juice back over the jar's contents. Replace the lid and refrigerate for a day or two. You'll swear these sweet & spicy pickles are homemade! 

Sweet & Savory Butter 

Flavored butter is so easy to make, yet it makes an average meal more special. As I mentioned in the segment, I love having herb butter at one of my favorite Knoxville restaurants, The Northshore Brasserie. 

To make flavored butter, simply decide what flavors you want to incorporate. For a savory option, I used fresh chopped garlic chives. For a sweet version, I added some Key Lime marmalade to room temperature unsalted butter. This tastes awesome on croissants and I'm sure would be wonderful on pancakes, scones or biscuits too. 

For the savory butter, you can use any herbs you like...basil, oregano, dill, thyme...the possibilities are endless! Try it on fish, potatoes or warm crusty bread. Your family and/or dinner guests will love you! 

Condiments with a Kick 

Finally, condiments! It's so easy to jazz up even the most boring condiments with a little creative ingenuity! Ketchup gets bolder with the addition of curry powder. For a sweeter option, mix peach preserves or even sweet onion jelly.

Mayo (or in the case of my segment, Vegenaise) is a great starter for all sorts of add-ins. Sriracha is my favorite...it's a perfect topping for sweet potato fries! 

I hope these ideas inspired you to think outside the store-bought box. It's easy to take everyday store-bought products and give them a homemade twist...with a little creativity! 

[fries image via  by stevendepolo (contact)]