Although I love the time that I get to spend outside and the great physical exercise and mental therapy that I get tending my garden, gardening is not my first choice in hobbies, cooking is my real passion. Luckily they go hand in hand. What is better for someone who loves to cook than having ultra fresh, quality ingredients right in the back yard?

These sauces are unique in style and flavor compared to what is available in our local markets. I thought that it would be fun, interesting and mostly handy to have these sauces in the fridge to be able to pull off meals or appetizers on the fly, and I was right. We all need quick, healthy and delicious pantry items available for instant meals when we are out of time, creative ideas, when guests suddenly show up or even as a quick gift to bring to a party.

My sauces are usually based on what I am growing here on the farm, but sometimes I will create something new because there is simply a need, for example everyone needs a great fresh Mexican Salsa, even though I do not always have tomatoes in the garden, and Old El Paso just does not make the cut. I have a lot of fun coming up with recipes to "put up" or use up whatever is in season at the time.

I do want to point out that I can not make my sauces completely organic. Sometimes it is not economically feasible to use all organic ingredients or there is not an organic alternative available. I do strive to use the highest quality ingredients that I can such as Extra Virgin and lighter flavored Olive Oils, Turbinado (natural) Sugar, high quality spices from Penzey's Spice Company and Kosher Salt.

I make these sauces fresh, every week to ensure freshness. They need to be refrigerated. Even though I have done my share of canning and "putting up" food, I am at this time choosing not to "can" these sauces. I want to ensure fresh tasting products. With canning, I would have to cook the sauces, again in some cases, in their jars, to seal to lids. That obviously takes out the fresh quality.

My sauces are usually vegetarian, even vegan. I am not fancy with the packaging, I use recycled, sterilized jars and containers. They all should last for a very long time if kept in the fridge, but for reference, I have placed basic life terms in the description of each sauce.

Chile Pastes

Goan Style Indian Curry Paste

The food of Goa, which is located on the south-western coast of India, is based mostly of fish and coconut milk. Most Goan curries are usually yellow in color from the use of turmeric, cream and a slight sweetness from coconut milk and with a slight tang from tamarind. Mine has lots of turmeric and tamarind with Yellow Lemon Chile Pepper for a very small amount of heat ( it is really quite mild), ginger, onion, garlic and other Indian Curry spices. Throw a couple of tablespoons of the paste into a heated and oiled pan and saute for a minute or two and then add in the coconut milk. I spoon this over rice with sauteed veggies, chicken or fish and lots of chutneys and relishes as side dishes.

Harrisa – A Moroccan Chile Paste

Dried Red Chilies with lots of garlic and various spices, such as caraway and cumin that gives this chile paste a wonderful ethnic taste treat. Mix it with mayo for a sandwich spread or vegetable dip, drop a small spoonful into soups and stews and pastas. This is a common ingredient called for in Moroccan cuisine.

Skillet Serrano Hot Chile Paste - Sauce

This is a unique hot sauce. Mexican in style, I make this sauce with fire roasted onions and garlic. Different from the vinegar based hot sauces that is found in the market, this sauce is oil based. It has more of a pesto-like consistency. Where those other sauces would fail as a topping or a dip because of their thinness, this is a great topping on soups and stews or can be scooped as a dip. It is hot, with a rich flavor and unctuous texture, oh so good.

Thai Green Curry Paste (Krueng Gaeng Kiow Wahn)

A fresh and very aromatic blend of hot and tangy! This wonderful mixture makes a beautiful and celebratory meal with the mixture of fresh lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, and Hot Asian Green Chile. Mixed in with coconut milk a few vegetables, a little chicken over rice it is simply an explosion of flavor. Just follow the same recipe that I gave in the Thai Red Curry Paste description, maybe use a tablespoon or two more of the Green Paste. The coconut will give those intense flavors a little contrasting flavor of subtle sweetness, the Thai name actually means "green and sweet". Lovely served with a few coarsely shredded Basil and Cilantro with toasted peanut as a garnish. This paste is also made with a small amount of shrimp paste.

Thai Red Curry Paste (Krueng Gaeng Peht)

This curry paste is very different from East Indian Red Curry (Rogan Josh) in which paprika and cardamom seed are the main flavors. This one is made from Hot Red Chili Peppers, Lemon Grass, Cilantro and Onions along with other spices and garlic. This paste of course makes the dish called, Thai Red Curry which could be made a multitude of ways, but mainly, stir fry vegetables, add a meat if you want and mix in a tablespoon of curry paste and add coconut milk. Cook it all up together for a few minutes and serve over rice. This paste is not vegetarian, it has just a small amount of shrimp paste, but very versatile. This is a raw paste and is always cooked for a few minutes in soup or stew before consuming. Because of the lime juice it lasts indefinitely in the fridge.

Thai Yellow Curry Paste (Krueng Gaeng Kah-Ree)

This one is the mildest of the three Thai curry pastes, but still has lots of authentic flavors to enjoy. Made with Lemon Yellow Chile peppers, Lemongrass, Kaffir Wild Lime Leaves garlic, ginger, turmeric, spices, a small amount of shrimp paste for authentic Thai Curry flavors. Sometimes I make it without the shrimp paste if there are vegetarians who would rather do with out this ingredient.

Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste (Nahm Prik Pao)

This very hot condiment is made from our organically grown Hot Thai Peppers with roasted onions and garlic and a few other ingredients. It is both vegetarian and wheat free. This paste is a great for chili lovers. It gives rich, roasted chili flavors that when added to a rice dish, stir fry, soup or stew. It is a simple mixture that will not overpower dishes with a lot of other complicated spicing. Because of its simplicity it works well with many foods, not just Thai.


Mango Chutney

Not a Major Grey's Chutney. Let me explain. Major Grey's Chutney (he was a British Army officer during the 1800's stationed in, of course, India) is made from semi-ripe dried mangoes, lots of ginger and salt. The Major Grey's Chutney that I have have bought from Romero's is also filled with a bunch of preservatives and other junk for about $4- a 10 oz jar and it is, well, not so good, in my opinion. My mango chutney is distinctively different from that flavor and ingredient profile. Fresh, very ripe Mangoes, mostly from my tree, peppers, ginger and loads of spices that when thrown together say, "hey, where is the rogan josh and raita?". It is perfect for cooling down the heat and spices found in curries and Indian dishes.

In the future I would like to create a chutney that is less fruit and sweet and more spice and salt, like a Major Grey's in style. But I have been making this chutney recipe for over 20 years now and frankly, I love it so much that I have canned up most of my mangoes for this chutney and did not keep very many for plain eating!

Pineapple Chutney

As I am sure that you are aware by now that I love Indian food, maybe more than Mexican food. A well rounded Indian meal benefits with the additional side dish of chutneys, relishes and/or raitas. They are used as a coolant for the spicy heat that is contained in the main dishes. The fruit, fresh vegetables and/or yogurt also are good for contrasting flavor, color and texture. My pineapple chutney is spicy, sweet and fresh tasting. Not only for Indian food, It makes a great side dish for other entrees and a great topping on sandwiches as well.

Sesame Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Herb Sauces


Chimichurri is an Argentinian parsley-garlic sauce that is used as a condiment over grilled meats, particularly over steak. For a vegetarian dish, this sauce is great over grilled vegetables such as eggplant, onions and potatoes. The parsley gives this green sauce a very fresh taste as the vinegar and garlic make it pungent and rich. Made from parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil and various herbs and spices.

Many Herb Pesto

Usually pesto is made from basil, pine nuts, garlic and oil. But because I have so many other delicious herbs here on the farm that meld well together, I like to mix it up. In this pesto, I may use any blend of basil, parsley, cilantro, arugula and/or oregano. Sometimes I use pine nuts, sometimes walnuts, sometimes almonds. Sometimes I use lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Sometimes I add Parmesan Cheese. This pesto freezes up well to, I place mine into ice cube molds for smaller portions.

Swedish Mustard Dill Sauce

This is a sweet mustard dill sauce that is terribly addicting. It works with so many dishes and has so many uses, I never allow my fridge to run out. It is a marinade, glaze, dip or sauce. Although it's best on fish that has been cooked any way, but also veggies, chicken, pork, and even tofu go wonderfully with this sauce. For salad dressing it best complements cucumbers, potatoes and cheese. I mostly use it as a topping for bagels and cream cheese with tomato and cucumber or on top of a cracker that is topped with cheese or spread with liver pate.

Hot Sauce

Red Rum Mango

This was a given for me since I have been a Tabasco addict since I was small. Dad never understood it, he said Tabasco sauce was too vinegary. I resolved that issue with the addition of mango and rum in this homemade hot sauce, a great combo. Fire in the Tropics has been a hit since there are not a lot of choices for the hot sauce lovers here in Boquete. Made from Red Serranos.



Chinese Style Pickled Daikon Radishes

Now I know that not everyone is familiar with Daikons. They are a large long white radish that has given me good laugh when picked for its HUGE length and sometimes strange formations. They do not look like your ordinary red, cute, garden variety radish. They are sweeter, less pungent than regular radishes. After pickling in Japanese Rice Vinegar, a little salt and sugar, then with the additions of fresh hot and sweet pepper strips, the paper thin slices of Daikons turn almost translucent and take on a beautiful meld of flavors. A pretty pickle it is. Great to take as a gift to parties for a quick appetizer. It serves wonderfully as a condiment with Chinese or Indian food.

Korean Style Cabbage Kim Chi

Mexican Style Escabeche for Nachos

Jalapenos, Carrots and Onions are sliced thinly then marinaded in vinegar, garlic, Mexican Oregano and other herbs and spices. As the name suggests, they are the perfect topper for nachos, but I also put them on any of my Mexican dishes- tacos, burritos, enchiladas and huevos rancheros or just eat them strait out of the jar!

Infused Oils and Vinegars

Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3 Different Flavors


Basil, Garlic, Black Pepper with Red Chili
Rosemary, Lemon and Black Pepper
Sage, Orange and Bay Leaf


This infused oil was made specifically for bread dipping, but of course the uses are endless. Why just buy a regular bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the store? This one has style, great taste and is prettier on the counter!

I have been drizzling mine over baked potatoes and grilled vegetables. Actually, a drizzle of this oil on any meats or vegetables right after they have come off of the BBQ is amazing by adding flavor and keeping in moisture.

The Oil needs to be used up within the month or two because of the fresh ingredients, Sometimes I place it in the fridge for longer storage when I know I am not going to be using it soon. The oil will cloud over a little but once it comes to room temperature in about an one hour before use, the cloudiness clears.
Lemon Grass and Serrano Infused Vinegar

Mulberry Vinegar

I have taken the small amount of Mulberries that I was able to pick this year and made an Infused Fruit Vinegar with them. If you remember the fruit vinegar craze of the 90's, you already know how wonderful a condiment a fruit vinegar is to have in the cupboard. It is really fun to use this vinegar in fruit and vegetable salad dressings, splash it over greens and add it to marinades.


Jamacian Jerk Marinade

Jamaican Jerk marinade is great on Chicken, Pork and Veggies. It is traditionally always a grilled dish, although modern cooks are now using their broiler or oven for convience. Our Jamaican Jerk Marinade has lots of herbs added to the classic Jerk spices a little sugar, no soy. Even though Jerk is supposed to be spicy, ours is not as spicy as traditional jerks, and the cooking definitely tones down the heat. You could always blend in more peppers for more heat.  It comes in a 10 ounce jar, enough to marinade 2 to 3 pounds of meat or vegetables (squash, yucca and onions are my favorite vegetables for Jerking)

Moroccan Vegetable and Meat Marinade

This is a really tasty marinade. It uses Harrisa, Olive Oil, lots of garlic, Moroccan spices, lemon juice and freshly chopped mint, oregano and cilantro. Marinade potatoes, eggplant, peppers or squash then grill or bake and serve over rice. I just marinaded a whole cleaned Mackerel, stuffed fresh herbs in cut slits on the fish, baked it and it was amazing. Great on rotisserie chicken.

Miscellaneous Sauces

Char Grilled Marinara Pasta Sauce

Gazpacho Style Uncooked Tomato Sauce/Soup

West Indian Banana Ketchup

This is a Caribbean spiced banana spread that is really fun to use. It really does not taste much like bananas. Those who have sampled it have mentioned flavors like A-1 Pic a Pepper Sauce or Worcestershire with a slight sweetness to balance out the flavors. I have been using it as a condiment on hamburgers, pork and turkey sandwiches, mixing it with mayonnaise for a dressing for Cole Slaw and using it as a healthier and different replacement for the ol' Heinz bottle. This has become the new favorite in this household!

Sweet-Hot Thai Dipping Sauce

With a tasty combination of chilies, sugar, garlic and vinegar, this sauce is made especially for dipping spring rolls, summer rolls, lumpia or pot stickers. But it has so many other uses. Use it as a substitute for sweet and sour sauce in Chinese food. I use it as a glaze for a ham or meatloaf or as a sandwich spread on turkey or tuna sandwiches and on hamburgers.

Thai Peanut Sauce

There are many ways to make Thai Peanut Sauce, many are very simple and quick for dipping Sate Chicken Skewers. Mine includes coconut milk, soy sauce, many spices, sesame oil and lots of onion. After it is all cooked, I add fresh lime juice, cilantro and scallion greens. I always keep this around for spur of the moment appetizers or dinner as a dip with grilled or sauteed chicken tenders or large shrimp. It goes great with fried calamari or those pre-made pot stickers from Price Smart. And for a dish to bring to parties, I throw together some raw vegetable sticks in a bag and bring along some sauce for dip.One of the most commonly fast dinners that I make, and is always a hit is made by frying up some onions, bell peppers and potatoes serving them over rice and topping it all with Peanut Sauce and a little yogurt and chutney on the side.

Salad Dressings

Basil Balsamic Salad Dressing

This is the winner for the most popular sauce. It is technically a salad dressing, but works great for a marinade, vegetable dip, sauce for steak or chicken. I drizzle mine over mashed potatoes. It has an intense, rich flavor that includes loads of garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. It pairs up wonderfully with other strong flavors such as blue cheese, bacon or grilled onions.

Nutty Green Goddess Salad Dressing and Dip


Mexican Salsa Verde

Check out my blog entry in November of 2008 on Tomatillos. There is a great recipe using Salsa Verde, called Tequila Chicken. This sauce is made from juicy, tart tomatillos, garlic, onions, cilantro and special herbs and spices. Mexican Salsa Verde is probably most commonly known as the green sauce used in Enchiladas Suizas. Always a great dip with chips, this salsa is a nice addition or alternative to regular tomato salsa on tacos, burritos and quesadillas. It is very refreshing and fresh tasting.

Mexican Fresh Tomato Salsa

Some call it "Pico de Gallo". My family never called it that. I googled it. Obviously many call fresh salsa by that name. Call me crazy. My salsa will never be cooked. I use either my farm fresh tomatoes or for year round availability, the ripest, reddest, freshest tomatoes from the local mercado or my neighbors. Onions, garlic, cilantro, lime, hot chili and spices are added just enough to keep all the flavors fresh and not overwhelming. Y

I make this salsa mild, hot or Blazin' hot. I don't get the medium option that other salsas have. I also make a California style with fresh Pineapple - Great on grilled fish!

Sweet Stuff

Orange Marmalade

Since I have so many orange trees, and the season is just starting, I just have to do marmalade. Very simply made from my organically grown oranges and a little sugar. Now, I am not using any pectin here to make it jell up, so it is a little bit "softer" than store bought marmalade. Kept in the fridge it lasts for at least a month or more. I will keep making this until my orange and mandarin trees stop producing around February

Sweet Ginger Syrup-Sauce

I was tired of fake maple syrup and real maple syrup, when I can maybe find it is frankly out of this world price wise. This syrup-sauce is the thickened leftover juices and sugars from making crystallized ginger. Sweet Ginger Syrup-Sauce is not just great on pancakes, waffles and French toast; it is wonderful in drinks, as a topping for ice cream or on fruit salad. I often add a little into savory gravies or sauces that need a little something, but you can not figure out what it is. A little of the sweet gingery syrup often will balance out bitter flavors and add a kick of flavor.

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