Tomato Relish

Tomato RelishOk, This will be a quick post.  We have a friend that has had our Tomato Relish and wants it, so here it is.

Oh, and the difference between relish, tapenade, salsa, chutney and all other sorts of toppings?

Quick overview.

Pickle: preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.

Relish: A piquant or spicy condiment eaten with food to add flavor; specifically a sauce made of chopped pickled vegetables.

Chutney: a spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar, originating in India.

Salsa: a spicy tomato sauce.

Tapenade: a Provençal paste or dip, made from black olives, capers, and anchovies.


Basically, a relish is chopped and pickled vegetables, and a chutney is a particular type of relish (of which Tomato Relish is NOT).  Also, Even though this uses tomatoes, it is not spicy, so it is not a salsa.  Also?  No capers, olives, or anchovies, so tapenade is completely out.

“Relish” will have to do.


Chop up a couple of tomatoes.  Finely dice red onion.  Put them in a bowl.

Tomato Relish








Chop some fresh basil (love that stuff!). Add it to the bowl.

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Add olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and stir together.  Oh, and a good balsamic vinegar should be a taste thing, not an expensive thing.  $18-20 for a bottle should be sufficient, don’t go get that $60 bottle, and for the love of all that is good in the world, do NOT get the $4 bottle!  it won;t be balsamic vinegar, check the label.  If it says “musk wine”, then ditch it; that stuff is vile and not actually balsamic vinegar.  Wine musk is the dregs at the bottom of the wine barrel after they take out most of the wine.  Eww.

We buy from Mountain Town Olive Oil Company in Provo, at the River Bottoms shopping plaza.

Oh, and the relish is great right after made, but even better after a few hours.  But not the next day, not so much, so eat it fresh.

Tomato Relish








Buy or make some Crustini.  We bought here because we were in a hurry, but a decent loaf of crusty bread cut into 1/4″ slices, lightly brushed with olive oil then broiled until toasted will do just fine.  If you want to be authentic, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub all over the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven, while still hot.  Mmmmm.
Tomato Relish







Put some of the relish on the Crustini and enjoy.

Tomato Relish









Tomato Relish
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 bowl
Simple, fresh, and delicious topping for Crustinis or crusty bread
  • 4 cups diced tomato (2-3 large tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. May eat immediately, or let it blend for an hour or two. Eat while fresh, does NOT keep very well overnight.
  3. Server with Crustini or on slices of crusty bread.


Yellow Cake

yellow cakeI love a good Yellow Cake.  It is the de facto cake for many a fine dessert, and if you have a good one, you will rarely find anyone who is willing to complain about it.  A good Yellow Cake is moist, with a delicate crumb and a little spongy.  Ok, technically, it is a sponge cake, or even called a butter cake, but everyone thinks of it as a Yellow Cake.  You know, because of the color.

(If you get a bad one, they are dry, crumbly, and hard to make taste good with anything.  So let’s not make a bad one, ok?)

When we add a simple buttercream frosting, and you cannot go wrong.  Chocolate frosting and you have something wonderful.  Put strawberries and whipped cream on it, and you have something amazing.  Put pastry cream in it, with Chocolate Ganache over the top and you have Boston Cream Pie, which is spectacular.  I’ll put that into another post, because it is really (REALLY) worth doing.

Today, however, is the sublime, delicate, and incredible Yellow Cake.


Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl, with a whisk or a fork.  Mix the wet ingredients into a measuring cup.  You can skip the stirring of the wet stuff.

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Grease and flour your pans.  Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, and blend in.

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Alternatively add dry and wet ingredients in multiple additions, starting and ending with the dry. (You know: dry, wet, dry, wet, dry).

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  I use a scale to get them close.  They don’t have to be perfect, but if they are close they will cook evenly.  Once the batter is divided into the pans, use a spatula to spread it out evenly.

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Bake them for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Once a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, but not goopy, set them on a wire rack for ten minutes.  Run a knife (plastic knife for non-stick pans!) around the edges and turn onto the wire rack, making sure they are upside down.

yellow cake

Here is the trick to keeping them moist and wonderful.  While they are cooling for the ten minutes in the pan, before you turn them out onto the wire rack, you need to make a simple syrup.  That is heating 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar over heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  The photo is of the syrup, with the sugar dissolved.  Ok, maybe not, but it looks the same.

Hollandaise sauce

As soon as the cakes are turned out of the pans, you want to slowly coat the bottoms of the cakes with the syrup.  Spread it evenly, between both cakes.  You can tell that you are going at the right speed when it is soaking in and not beading up, or pouring around to any low spot.

yellow cake

Once all the syrup is soaked in, let the cakes completely cool before you frost them or wrap them up for later.  I find they are even better the next day, so I wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and put them far back on the counter where the little kids don’t play with them, leaving them upside down so gravity can continue to help the syrup distribute through the cake.

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In case you’re curious, my son helped me frost that cake.


Yellow Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2x 9" cake round
The divine, sublime, and delicious Yellow Cake
  • ½ lb unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup (minus ¾ Tablespoon) milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Syrup
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup water

  • Frosting
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour 2x 9" round cake pans, lining the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine ¼ C water, lemon juice, milk and vanilla in a measuring cup or separate bowl. Set aside.
  5. Cream butter and 2 Cups granulated sugar in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Blend in eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add dry and wet mixtures to batter, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  8. Divide batter evenly between pans, smoothing the tops.
  9. Bake 30 - 35 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
  10. When cakes are done, cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack.
  11. While the cakes are cooling, make the simple syrup: combine ½ Cup granulated sugar and ½ Cup water in small saucepan, stirring over low to medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  12. Remove cakes from pans and set on wire rack (best to set upside down on rack so that syrup absorbs better).
  13. Spoon simple syrup over cakes, slowly, trying to get even coverage.
  14. Allow cakes to cool completely.


French Crepes

French CrepesHave you ever had the desire to show off at the end of a meal, and create a simple but amazing dish that will get everyone to Ooh and Ah?  My friends, I present for your consideration, French Crepes!’

(Please note, these are dessert crepes, so are slightly sweeter than the kind you would make for the main meal.  Those are awesome as well, but for a different day.)

French Crepes are easy to make (with only a little practice), very few ingredients (all of which are common), and will delight and inspire your guests.  I invite the guests to join me in the kitchen, and sit around the island talking while I make them, switching between two pans on the stove-top to get them done a little faster.  The guests then fill them with an assortment of fillings, based on what i liked that day.  Fresh fruits, like strawberries and blueberries, chocolate spread (I prefer Justin’s Hazelnut Butter over Nutella), whipped cream, caramel syrup, nuts, and almost all Sundae Toppings are always a hit.

If there is a trick to this, and I am not saying there is, it would be to figure out the heat setting on your stove to cook them to golden brown without cooking them too quickly, so you have time to swirl them around the pan before they set.  Say, start with medium, and let the pan get warm for a couple of minutes before you start.  Oh, and a good non-stick pan is a major help.  Oh, and make the batter the night before you want to cook them so the it can rest, or at least a few hours before.

Don;t let any of that intimidate you.  The batter is cheap, mostly flour and butter, so make twice what you want and play with it.  It really is worth doing.

Let’s bring on the photos!

Make the batter beforehand, in a blender.  It beats hand whisking every time (at least for crepes).


When ready, I use a measuring cup to get the right amount for the pan.  I use 1/3 cup for a 10″ pan.  Once the pan is good and hot, i wipe it down with a little butter on a paper towel, not a lot, just a hint of it.  Then pour in the measures batter all at once, and start swirling the pan to make a nice thin coating across the entire bottom of the pan.

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Let that cook over the heat for a little bit, may 30-60 seconds, then check under the edge with a spatula.  You are looking for a nice, golden brown, and a little shake on the pan should have the crepe move loosely.

French Crepes

When it looks good, flip it over.  My inner self always wants to do a large flourish of the pan to flip it, but that’s just me wanting to show off.  It is much easier to use the spatula and kind of pick it up in the middle and unfold it on it’s other side.  It also ends up with a lot less broken, lost, or messed up crepes.

French Crepes

The second side needs less time than the first side, and won’t get all golden brown, but it will set and get some brown spots, then slide it out of the pan and onto a waiting plate.  Cover the plate with a clean dish towel, or right onto a guests plate, but be careful to not burn them with the pan.

French Crepes French Crepes

And that’s it!  add some filling, less is often more so don’t overfill them, and roll them up.

Your guests will thank you.  Several times.


Recipe is taken from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the wonderful Julia Childs.  If you don’t have it, go buy it.  Now.  I’ll wait.  It’s simple instructions and detailed recipes will make you a better cook, and the book is truly amazing.

French Crepes
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 6" crepes
As dessert crepes, they are slightly sweeter than the savory kind, and can be wrapped around many things for a sublime after dinner treat. Best when the batter gets to rest for 2-24 hours. Try to make the night before you want them.
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 3 egg yokes
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Put all the ingredients into the blender in the order they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides and blend again for a few seconds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or better overnight.
  2. heat a non-stick pan over medium heat for a few minutes until hot. Wipe with a very small amount of butter. Pour in about ⅓ cup of batter and slowly swirl around until the bottom of the pan is covered. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until golden brown, then flip over (using spatula, fingers, or wrist flip of the pan. Be careful to not burn yourself.) 30 seconds on the second side, and remove from pan.
  3. Repeat until all batter is used.