Archive for the ‘Sauces’ Category

Those fine folks at the James Beard Foundation share some recipes that make my mouth water when I look at the pictures and read the recipes.

But hold on there! This recipe sounds like it comes straight from a snooty French eatery. But a quick scan of the ingredients and the directions reveals a simple recipe with some amazing flavors. I think the specific scallops suggested in the recipe will make it taste fantastic. But I suspect any fresh scallops will do the trick. Who knows…give the frozen ones a try?


Four servings

8 diver scallops, rinsed and dried
1 cup raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
Salt and white ground pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cooking oil

Beurre Blanc:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, sliced and softened, plus more for sautéing
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped basil


To make the scallops, use a rotary cheese grater to grate the macadamia nuts into a bowl, or chop using a knife. Season the scallops with salt and white pepper. Dredge the scallops in the flour, removing any excess. Coat the scallops in the beaten eggs, covering them completely. Dredge the scallops in the grated nuts.

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Heat an oven-safe pan over medium heat and add the oil. When very hot, place the scallops in the pan. Brown on one side until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn onto the other side and place the pan into the oven until done, about 4 minutes. The scallops should be golden brown and firm to the touch.

To make the beurre blanc, melt a little butter in a medium saucepan. Sauté the shallots until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, orange juice, and lime juice and reduce to a syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the butter one slice at a time while whisking constantly.

Place 2 scallops on each plate. Drizzle with the beurre blanc sauce. Garnish with chopped basil.

From: The James Beard Foundation

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This recipe had me at BLT…then burger…aaahhh happiness.


1-1/2 lb. ground chuck (80 to 85% lean)

1 tsp. coarse salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 slices best-quality cheddar cheese

4 brioche-style hamburger buns

8 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and drained on paper towels

4 leaves green leaf lettuce

2 medium or 1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, thickly sliced

1 avocado, peeled and thickly sliced

1 recipe Kicked-Up Ketchup

Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Mix gently and briefly to avoid overworking the meat. Shape the seasoned beef into four patties that are about 1 inch thick.

Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill fire. Grill the burgers, covered with vents open, until nicely marked and cooked to your liking (about 7 to 8 minutes total for medium-rare). Don’t press on the burgers while they’re cooking—you want to keep the juices inside the burger, not on your grill. Top each burger with a slice of cheddar in the last-minute of cooking so that it melts slightly.

Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent them with aluminum foil while you toast the buns briefly on the grill, cut side down. Serve the burgers on the buns, topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and ketchup.

From: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/blt-burger.aspx

Kicked up Ketchup:


1 Tbs. canola oil
1 small yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz or Del Monte
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the ketchup, red pepper flakes, chile powder, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, several grinds of black pepper, and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly and meld the flavors. The ketchup keeps for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator; serve at room temperature.

From:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/spicy-kicked-up-ketchup.aspx

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I didn’t realize it until I heard this discussion on the Splendid Table…but spring/summer is the best time to buy the best milk. According to the show it has a lot to do with the fresh green grass the cows are eating as opposed to the dried up hay. Maybe this is why ice cream tastes so good in the summer.

The recipe begins…  

Makes 1 1/4 pounds

This is simply the easiest and quickest way to create something that borders on amazing. Try this once and you’ll be making your own cheese every week.

Consider this recipe Cheese Making 101. Cheeses gain their individual characters from different cultures and methods, but here we keep them pared down to the basics: milk, something acidic to separate the milk’s solids (the curds) from the liquid (the whey) and salt for seasoning. Once you taste what you can pull off, who knows where you might take it.


1 gallon high quality whole milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Here, what separates ricotta from cream cheese is the amount of fat in the milk. Straight milk gives you ricotta; cream and milk gives you cream cheese. As you drain the cheese it goes from creamy to firmer. Just decide where you want to take it.

Cook to Cook: Rinsing the pot with cold water before pouring in the milk will save you some serious cleanup! The liquid whey can go into soups, stews and curries, and be used to cook pasta and rice.

1. Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place in the sink or over a bowl if you want to save the whey. Wet the cheesecloth to hold it firmly in place.

2. Over medium-high heat, bring the milk and salt to a gentle simmer in a heavy large pot. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer gently until curds begin to form and float to the top, 1 to 2 minutes. They will first look like spatters of white, then gather into soft, cloud-like clumps. When you see the liquid begin to clear of cloudiness and the curds are firming up but not hard, scoop them out with a slotted spoon or sieve.

3. Let the curds drain thoroughly in the lined colander. If very soft, press gently to extract a little moisture, but take care not to dry out the cheese. Turn into a bowl, cover and chill.

Variation: Homemade Cream Cheese

Substitute for the 1 gallon whole milk: 2 quarts heavy cream, 1 quart half and half and 1 quart whole milk.

Refrigerated cheeses keep for a week, but the ricotta is at its best eaten fresh.

From: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/homemade-ricotta-cream-cheese.shtml

Listen to podcast segment: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=splendid_table/2010/06/26/splendidtable_20100626_64&starttime=00:12:38&endtime=00:14:18

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I have to stop listening to the Splendid Table podcast when I drive. Not really. When I heard Lynne talking about this one I wanted to point the car in the direction of the nearest Asian grocery store and make a beeline for home.

Can’t wait to give this one a try. The youngest loves Hoisin sauce so this could become a quick favorite.  

Serves 4 as a main dish

15 minutes prep time; 10 minutes stove time

This dish is best cooked and served immediately


The Four Flavors:

1-1/2 cups thin-sliced radishes

1-1/2 cups bean sprouts

1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers

1-1/2 cups thin-sliced fresh spinach leaves


5 quarts salted water in a 6-quart pot

3/4 pound narrow Chinese egg noodles or imported spaghetti

Stir-Fried “Sauce”:

1 pound ground pork butt

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot chile paste or hot chile powder (use more or less to taste)

3 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil or other neutral-tasting oil

Heaping 1/2 cup thin-sliced whole scallions (about 4)

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts

3/4 cup Cheater’s Homemade Chicken Broth (recipe follows) or canned chicken broth


1. Place each of the “four flavors” in a separate small serving bowl.

2. Bring the salted water to a boil. Drop the noodles into the boiling water and boil, stirring often, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain them in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, use a fork to blend the pork with the sherry, garlic, and sugar. Let stand while prepping the rest of the dish.

4. In a small bowl, blend together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile paste.

5. Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat. Swirl in the oil. When it is hot, add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes, breaking up any chunks. The meat is ready when it is no longer pink and most of its liquid has cooked off. Add the scallions and water chestnuts. Stir-fry for 45 seconds more.

6. Stir in the soy sauce mixture, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the broth and heat quickly. Then cook, stirring, for 2-1/2 minutes over high heat.

7. Add the noodles and stir-fry for 1 minute to permeate the noodles with the sauce. Turn the noodles into a large bowl. Serve them immediately, with the bowls of the four flavors.

Cheater’s Broth

Makes about 4 cups; doubles and triples easily.
10 minutes prep time; 12 minutes stove time
This is good warm and cool and keeps in the refrigerator for a day or two.


  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed (leave unpeeled if organic)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 canned tomato
  • 1 bay leaf, broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • Three 14-ounce cans chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium to large onion, coarse chopped (if organic, trim away root but leave skin)
  • 1/2 large celery stalk with leaves, coarse chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, coarse chopped (leave unpeeled if organic)


1. In a 4-quart pot, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

2. Strain the broth into a bowl or a storage container. Either use it right away, refrigerate it, or freeze it.

From http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/main_hoisinnoodles.shtml

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Cola BBQ Sauce

More MacGyver food here.

Imagine: You’re stranded on a cookout and you forgot the BBQ sauce…but you have a case of Coke in the cooler (along with some other ingredients that you just happen to have handy)…YOU have saved the day!


4 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a generous pinch for the garlic

3 cups cola

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus additional for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice


Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste.

Stir garlic paste, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, cola, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and allspice together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, stir in the lime juice, and season with black pepper and hot sauce, to taste.

Know-How: Barbecue sauces are all about balance: a sweet note offset by sour with a jolt of spice, all of which flourish in a cloud of smoke. There are lots of ways to work this magic-thick, thin, and in-between. Concocting a signature sauce is compulsory in some barbecue circles. Start with this basic riff and play with variations to suit your style.

From: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cola-barbecue-sauce-recipe2/index.html

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I love Teriyaki and anything that comes on a stick is easy to cook and eat with your fingers. The sauce in this recipe could also be used for other dishes.

Makes 6 good-sized skewers

For the Teriyaki sauce:

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup water

3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

2 teaspoons shaved fresh ginger (see note below)

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped

For the kebabs:

2 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (meat from 10 – 12 thighs)

Teriyaki sauce for marinade

½ of a medium-sized yellow onion

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

4 6-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Make the Teriyaki sauce: Put first 7 ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.

Marinate the chicken: Cut the meat from each thigh into 4 pieces, removing and discarding any large blobs of chicken fat as you go. Put the meat into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Pour on the Teriyaki sauce, cover and let sit for at least 3 hours in the fridge. You can let the chicken sit overnight if need be, with excellent results.

Assemble the Kebabs: If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes. Peel, top and tail the onion half and cut it into 3 wedges, and then cut each wedge crosswise in half. Separate the onion segments.

Put 6 or 7 pieces of chicken on each skewer, separating each chunk with a piece or two of onion.

Arrange the skewers on a plate. Pour half of the remaining Teriyaki sauce over the chicken and grind black pepper over the kebabs. Drizzle with olive oil.

In the broiler: You can also make these in your indoor oven under the broiler. Put the kebabs 4 or 5 inches from the broiler for 2 minutes on each of 4 sides.

Grill the Kebabs: Put the stainless steel grill over the coals, and clean with a steel brush or metal spatula. After a few minutes, brush a little olive oil over the metal so that the chicken won’t stick. I do this using a few sprigs of rosemary as the brush and, just before I put on the chicken, I put the rosemary on the coals to let its flavor flame-infuse the meat.

Grill the kebabs for 3 minutes on one side. Turn over to grill for another 3 minutes and at the same time pour a few tablespoons of the marinade over the kebabs. Now turn ¼ turn, grill for a further 2 minutes and turn all the way over to finish.

Serve Tender Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs with rice and fresh veggies or a spring salad. After all, once it turns 70, it must be spring!

A note about ginger: I keep a 4-ounce piece of ginger in my freezer, wrapped tightly in a small plastic bag. For a recipe like this, I peel it and slice it frozen with a santuko knife. In Teriyaki sauce, I use a piece the thickness of my thumb about 1” long, and slice it as thinly as the iciness will allow. Perfect!

From: www.woodfiredkitchen.com

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Some of my favorite recipes come from Kid’s Cookbooks. This one is from Emeril. It is his daughter’s recipe. I figure if a kid can make it with minimal adult supervision then a college student shouldn’t have a problem.  

I’ve taken this and made it in a blender or a food processor. It works well with angel hair pasta. Or better yet nuke a block of cream cheese for 10-15 seconds. Dump some of this on top and nuke it an extra 5-10 seconds. You want it warm and gooey, not too liquid-like.  The cheese and the garlic will add some saltiness to it so find a sturdy somewhat salty cracker and dig in. Make sure you have friends to share with or you will burn a few days of Weight Watchers points.


2 tablespoons lightly toasted walnut pieces

1 cup cleaned basil leaves, tightly packed ( I trim off the stems off)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (add a little more if you want)

1/2 cup olive oil

Why not some Shrimp or Chicken?


In a blender, combine all the ingredients and process on high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days. (The pesto also will keep in an airtight container frozen for up to 2 months.)

I like to make it a day before so the flavors really mix, but there’s nothing wrong with making it using it right way.

Yield: 1 cup

From:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/jillies-pesto-cheese-dip-recipe/index.html

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