Browsing Tag

sauce

no-cook pizza sauce


I’ve made homemade pizza many times before. For the sauce I usually make everyday tomato sauce and have never second guessed it. But on one Friday night we had been planning a Star Wars pizza night with my five year old son River. We had been talking about it and thinking about it all week, which really means he had been talking about it and thinking about it all week haha.

On this particular day his little brother Fox would not let me put him down for a second. Like I couldn’t even wash a dish without his little cute hands pulling on my legs to pick him up. Tight for time, I lazily dumped all the ingredients into a blender and buzzed them for maybe 15 seconds. This is the best pizza sauce I have ever made or had for that matter. It’s not thick. This no-cook pizza sauce is light and bright and fresh tasting. The basil and garlic don’t get hidden in a thick tomato sauce.  I suggest scheduling your pizza parties now!

Ingredients
14.5 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. buzz all ingredients into a blender. boom you’re done.

Component in Action
-use as a fresh pasta sauce
-use as a dip for crusty garlic bread

Avocado Feta Dip

This avocado feta dip is good with so many things: raw veggies, pita, tortillas, chips, on tacos, sandwiches, in lettuce cups, grilled chicken, fish, etc. You can dip, spread, dunk, smear. Speaking of smearing, I almost forgot bagels! It would be so good on a bagel with turkey breast and sprouts. Wow. It’s almost midnight and I’m making myself hungry. Happy lunching folks!

Ingredients
1 avocado
2 scallions, sliced
½ c. feta, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. fresh mint leaves
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

romaine cups, veggies and/or fresh bread (for dipping)

Method

  1. combine all ingredients in a food processor. blend until as chunky or smooth as you like.
  2. if you don’t have a food processor no worries! Just use a fork to smash the avocado and feta, fold in sliced mint and scallions and fold in the rest of the ingredients with a rubber spatula. It might not look as smooth but I can guarantee it will taste just as good!

Component in Action
-use as a dip for raw veggies (aka crudites)
-spread on toasted pita
-use as a filling in tacos
-move over mayo. spread on sandwiches
-spread on romaine cups. crunch crunch yum.
-pair as a “sauce” with grilled veggies, chicken or fish

brown butter vinaigrette

Tis the season for salads that are as hearty as they are green. This brown butter vinaigrette is not just perfect for raw greens, it’s also a luscious dressing for many varieties of cooked vegetables as well. You can add fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, chives or parsley. You can play around with other acidity like fresh citrus juice, balsamic or sherry vinegar. This vinaigrette is nutty and bright, making it a perfect pairing for roasted root vegetables, chicken and even fish. The possibilities are endless. The question is, what will you make?

ingredients
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer. The butter will get foamy and then the foam will subside and the butter solids will begin to brown. Once the butter has turned a golden brown, turn off heat. Pour into medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon and salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate in a glass jar until ready to use. Put jar in hot water to re-warm before serving.

component in action
-pour warm over vegetables
-drizzle over green salads
-use as a sauce for chicken, pork or fish
-add herbs like rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, mint
-play around with other acids like orange juice, lemon juice, sherry or balsamic vinegars

Italian Salsa Verde

Italian salsa verde is one of the simplest classic sauces in Italy, not to be confused with the equally delicious but entirely different south of the border version made with tomatillo and jalapeno. This sauce is all about olive oil and parsley. The ingredients are so basic you can kind of whip this up fast and on the fly if you need a last minute dip, sauce or spread.

You can chop it by hand or pulse it a few times briefly in a food processor. Here’s the thing and it just might be my favorite thing, there is no right or wrong way here. What matters is that it makes a weekend night dinner not only delicious but fast. You are not cutting corners or compromising because something in a jar is easier. I guarantee you can make this faster than it takes to heat up a jar of pasta sauce.

I like basil so I use half parsley and half basil. It’s up to you. You could use all parsley or even add mint. Classically this is made with capers. But if I have a tub of olives or cornichons in the fridge I’m gonna use them instead. The last time I made this I didn’t have capers but I did have some gorgeous little red pickled peppers, so I used them and the end results was a zesty and herby treat for our grilled flank steaks a couple weeks ago.

Ingredients
1 c. flat leaf parsley (clean, leaves and thin stems)
1 c. basil leaves
1 lemon (zest only)
1 garlic clove (peeled)
1 T. dijon mustard
1 anchovy rinsed and drained (optional)
¼ c. capers, olives, cornichons or pickled peppers (make sure to pit the olives)
½ c. olive oil
Salt + pepper to taste

Method

  1. If you make using a food processor, add everything to the processor and pulse a few times. Check seasoning to see if you need to add any additional salt and pepper and BOOM you’re done!!
  2. If you want to chop by hand, chop garlic and lemon zest until finely chopped. Put in bowl.
  3. Roughly chop parsley and basil and add to bowl.
  4. Chop anchovy and add to bowl.
  5. Chop capers and add to bowl.
  6. Stir in dijon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Check seasoning.

Component in Action
-a dip for crudite (aka raw veggies)
-a sauce for grilled fish and meats
-add lemon juice and make into a zesty salad vinaigrette
-a drizzle for roasted or grilled veggies
-a spread for croustinis (aka toasted bread slices)
-a delicious pasta sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

For week #2 in our summer session I couldn’t resist. I mean, come on! Asparagus is popping up everywhere and is just begging to be the main attraction on the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

The pesky bugger of the brunch world is pesky no more. That’s right. Send out those brunch invitations because you are about to master hollandaise sauce in five minutes!

There is a beauty to the classical way of making this French sauce from Normandy. Thanks to my cooking school days, I still love to make things by hand like whipped cream. I use my biggest whisk and am always sweating by the time the cream has reached stiff peaks. I know I could use a mixer and have it done in a minute, but I like watching the cream slowly absorb the air and changing texture right before my eyes.

If you have the time, I don’t think a traditional method of making hollandaise is anything to be afraid of. It’s just one of those sauces that takes attention and a bit of elbow grease to make, two noble activities that almost always result in a satisfying and sometimes audible “yes!”

Lately I feel like I’ve been cooking while legos are flying over my head or transformers are sliding across the kitchen island so I’m all for a fool proof hollandaise I can make fast. The idea behind the sauce is simple: a luscious emulsification of egg yolks, butter (sometimes clarified), lemon (or vinegar). The most classical version includes a spiced vinegar reduction, a close sibling of Bearnaise sauce which includes peppercorn and tarragon, and is out of this world with a well cooked steak.

For this version I stick with lemon, straight up melted butter (as opposed to clarified) and a blender. Instead of being one of those recipes that “I’d love to make when I have the time”, this is a recipe you can whip up before your coffee is done brewing. Beautiful on eggs, vegetables or fish…and of course spooned over your favorite brunch Benedict.

Ingredients
2 egg yolks
2 T. (15 ml)  warm water
2 T. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 c. (113 g.) butter (melted + hot)
salt to taste

Method
1.) Put egg yolks, water, lemon juice and cayenne in a blender. Blend for around five seconds.
2.) If your blender has top with a vent, turn the blender on a medium speed and slowly drizzle in the melted butter into the egg mixture while the blender is running. You can also do this with an immersion blender.
3.) If your blender is an inverted bullet style blender, add the melted butter all at once and blend for 15-20 seconds until the sauce comes together and emulsifies.
4.) Pour sauce into a heat proof vessel like a pot or bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and keep somewhere warm. My favorite warm spot is a back stove burner that is not on, but picks up residual heat from the oven. OR, pre-heat a wide-mouthed, heat friendly thermos with (very) hot water for five minutes. Pour out the water and pour in the hollandaise. This will keep it perfectly warm until you’re ready to serve if you are using it within a couple of hours.

Component in Action
-pour over poached eggs
-once finished, add fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or chives and serve along side steak, chicken or fish
-drizzle over veggies like steamed asparagus or grilled tomatoes

Thai Lime Dressing

First, a disclaimer: I’m six months pregnant. My first pregnancy all I craved was frozen yogurt, which was strange enough only because I have never liked frozen yogurt before. This time around, my cravings are far reaching and more culturally well rounded (good job pregnancy cravings!) that have me constantly pining for sushi, coconut milk curry, ramen, pho, sweet and sour eggplant, I could go on. For a long time.

It all started on one of the many nights I was too tired to make dinner in my first trimester. I ordered Thai takeout and discovered the delights of green papaya salad. Ever since that night I have been hooked, a new craving carved into my brain that pops up pretty much any time I am hungry, which these days is almost all the time. I couldn’t believe all the flavor and texture notes it hits perfectly–the heat, the brightness, the briny punch, the hint of sweetness, the crunch.

The salad itself is an incredible mix of green (unripe) papaya, chilis, sometimes peanuts, and a plethora of variations based on who makes it (and believe me, I have tried every variation I can get my hands on). But the star of the show is the dressing, which can be made in many ways. Here is the version I am making at home, and has now become a regular go-to anytime the Thai craving hits. This little dressing can transform even the most unassuming veggie’s or greens into an exotic and satisfying treat.

Ingredients
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
3 T. honey
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. fish sauce
1 clove of garlic (thinly sliced) OR 1 t. chili garlic sauce
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1.) whisk or blend all ingredients together.

Component in Action

  • drizzle over roasted or grilled vegetables, fish, or meat
  • toss with salad greens
  • use as a dip for raw veggies or spring rolls
  • use as a dressing for rice noodle salad