Simple Syrup

1 part white sugar (or brown sugar for a more caramelized taste in some cocktails, great in iced coffee)

1 part water

Mix in a sauce pan on medium, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer 30-45 seconds further. Remove from heat and pour into a bottle – careful, that’s nearly boiling sugar.

Make it different:

  • Steep fresh herbs, spices, or citrus rinds in the warm syrup for 30 minutes – 4 hours. Time (heh, thyme) needed depends on herb and desired intensity.
  • Use a freshly brewed tea instead of the water. Green tea syrup has some great possibilities.


Balsamic Vinaigrette (my go to for a basic salad when I don’t feel like thinking of anything more complicated)

2 parts good quality balsamic vinegar (tends to be thicker than the cheaper varieties)

3 part full bodied olive oil (something with some pungency to it is nice)

1/4 tsp mustard powder or Dijon mustard per 2 tablespoons of vinegar – acts as an emulsifying agent which keeps the balsamic suspended in the oil for longer

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together in a small bowl or measuring cup (handy pour spout). Can be bottled and kept in the fridge, but the olive oil will solidify. To bring it back to a liquid state, just bring it out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before you need it or place the bottle in a bowl of warm water.

Make it different:

  • Experiment with adding spices relevant to your cuisine: sumac and cumin for Moroccan, 5-spice for Chinese, etc.
  • Use flavored Balsamic reductions
  • Add some lemon or orange zest