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Archive for March 23, 2012

TIP OF THE DAY: Mother Sauces Part 2, The Secondary Sauces

Turn plain tomato sauce into Creole sauce.
Photo by Andrew Bossi | Wikimedia.

 

Earlier this week we introduced the five mother sauces, noting that each was the base for many other secondary sauces.

Today, chef Johnny Gnall explains how the secondary sauces are made. Email Chef Johnny with questions or suggestions for other cooking topics.

At some point in your mastery of Escoffier’s five mother sauces, they need to be taken to the next level. Yes, tomato sauce is versatile, and a luscious, creamy béchamel is quite heavenly. But at some point you’ll yearn for variety. In the words of Emeril, it’s time to “kick things up a notch.”

Each mother sauce has a “menu” of secondary sauces, many of which can be created by adding only a few additional ingredients.

 

The results include recent additions as well as classics that date back as far as the mother sauces themselves. Purists may follow a set of rules for what you can and can’t add to certain sauces for fear of “corrupting their integrity,” but let’s be frank: In your kitchen, you’re the boss.

For the next three days, we’ll focus on two “secondary sauces” for each mother sauce, starting with a quart of mother sauce as your base. The first will be a classic secondary sauce, straight from Escoffier; the second will be my own creation or suggestion.

Hopefully these suggestions will act as a jumping-off point for you to create your own sauces and dishes based on whatever it is that you like.

TOMATO SAUCE BECOMES CREOLE SAUCE

Creole sauce is an easy variation made with tomato sauce. You’ll be surprised at how some bell pepper can change the flavor profile of the original mother sauce. Creole sauce is delicious with chicken, fish/seafood, rice and pasta.

1. Dice half an onion, a stalk of celery and a bell pepper. Sauté them in oil along with a teaspoon of minced garlic.

2. Once the vegetables are soft, add a quart of tomato sauce, a bay leaf, a pinch of dried thyme and a teaspoon of lemon zest.

3. Simmer for 15 minutes, then season with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Variation #2: Tomato Vegetable Sauce

I like to build on tomato sauce simply by adding whatever seasonal vegetables I have on hand. Pretty much anything, from artichoke hearts to eggplant to zucchini, can be cleaned, diced and dropped in to simmer in the sauce. Frozen vegetables work just as well.

Freezing separate portions of the plain sauce gives you many opportunities to put a new spin on it. You can make a gallon or more of tomato sauce at once, then freeze portions in quart or even pint containers. At dinnertime, just pull one out, toss it into a pot with a little water, get it simmering and add the vegetables.

Serve with pasta, chicken or fish as a sauce; or even with a crusty chunk of bread—the sauce acts as a soup.

 

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE BECOMES BÉARNAISE
SAUCE

Béarnaise is a more complex form of hollandaise. The key difference is in the flavoring: Hollandaise is seasoned with lemon juice while béarnaise includes shallot and tarragon with vinegar instead of lemon juice. It is named after the province of Béarn, on the southwest border of France. Unlike tomato sauce and other sauces, hollandaise/béarnaise is delicate and can’t be frozen.

While hollandaise is popular with Eggs Benedict, asparagus, brussels sprouts and other green vegetables, béarnaise is typically served with steak and seafood. However, they are interchangeable, depending upon the flavors you’re looking for.

1. Combine 1 minced shallot, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of white wine, 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon and a pinch of salt and pepper in a saucepan. Reduce the mixture by three fourths.

 

Tarragon distinguishes béarnaise from hollandaise sauce. Photo courtesy Wizard Recipes.

 

2. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool for a minute, then add 12 egg yolks to the mixture and beat well. (Use the whites for omelets, Baked Alaska, lemon meringue pie or meringue cookies.) Continue beating over a bain-marie in the same way as you did with hollandaise.

3. Finish by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped parsley and a teaspoon of dried tarragon. Then, as long as you’re not cutting back on cholesterol, go all out and serve your béarnaise slathered over a nice big cut of filet mignon.

Variation #2: Spicy Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise is a great vehicle for spice, due to its richness; the texture and buttery flavor helps to soften serious heat and creates a pleasing warmth all over your palate. However, fat also conducts flavor, so a little spice goes a long way.

You can keep it simple and kick up the amount of Tabasco-type hot sauce you use to season, or you can branch out: Sriracha, sambal and other hot sauces and chile pastes all work beautifully. Just whisk them into your finished sauce, adding a teaspoon or so at a time until you reach the desired heat level and consistency.

Remember that hollandaise can be delicate, so too much of any one ingredient can cause it to break. To maintain the consistency of the sauce, you can substitute finely minced chiles, such as jalapeño and serrano. For the most heat, include the seeds and membrane, which contain the most capsaicin (the chemical that provides the heat).

NEXT: Secondary sauces for béchamel and velouté sauces, here.

  

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COOKING VIDEO: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

 

This recipe converts America’s favorite cookie, the chocolate chip cookie, into a gluten-free version.

More and more Americans are discovering they have a sensitivity to gluten, a protein in wheat and other popular grains such as barley and rye. A more serious manifestation is celiac disease.

Some of the best brands of gluten-free cookies we’ve tried are the result of a family member seeking to make the tastiest treats for a relative with gluten sensitivity. If you have a loved one who needs to avoid gluten, bake a batch of these as a gift.

There are more than 20 gluten-free or low-gluten alternatives to wheat flour, from familiar ingredients such as cornmeal and potato flour to amaranth and teff flours. They’re more expensive than wheat flour, which is why gluten-free baked goods, pasta, etc. are costlier than conventional products.

The substitutes vary widely in their flavor and texture contribution. People working on gluten-free recipes do a lot of experimenting to find the ingredients and proportions they like best.

TRIVIA: “Gluten” is the Latin word for glue. The protein acts as a binder to give elasticity to dough and a chewy texture to the final product.

Find more of our favorite gluten-free products.

   

   

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COCKTAILS: Classic Bourbon Recipes For “Mad Men”

On Sunday, March 25th at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central Time), millions of Americans will tune in to the 1960s, with the new season of “Mad Men.”

The show has inspired (and licensed) a Mad Men clothing line from Banana Republic and a Mad Men cosmetics line from Estée Lauder.

But what about Mad Men spirits? Those ad agency folk seemed to spend more time drinking than shopping for clothes and makeup.

Our recommendation: Settle down with a good bottle of Bourbon, like Maker’s Mark, and enjoy a couple of cocktails that surely would have been enjoyed by the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

You’ll Need Maraschino Cherries

Both the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned use maraschino cherries. Back in the day, before the advent of high fructose corn syrup, they probably tasted a lot better.

But there’s one premium brand of maraschino cherries to please picky palates, made by specialty food producer Tillen Farms. You can buy it online. The maraschinos are delicious, and a perfect gift for your favorite cocktail hound.

 

A premium Bourbon, Maker’s Mark is hand-dipped in red wax to signify its artisan origins. Photo courtesy Maker’s Mark.

 

MANHATTAN COCKTAIL RECIPE

One reference claims that the Manhattan was invented in the 1860s by the bartender of an establishment on Broadway near Houston Street in Manhattan. A number of printed references date to that time. The drink is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, and served straight up. The whiskey choice varies across the board: blended whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian whisky (spelled without the “e”), rye (the traditional choice) and Tennessee whiskey have all been used.

Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 parts Bourbon
  • 1/2 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Shake first four ingredients together with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled Manhattan glass (Martini glass).

    2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

     

    The Old Fashioned is one of six classic
    cocktails, along with the Gin and Tonic,
    Manhattan, Martini, Mint Julep and Whiskey
    Sour.

     

    OLD FASHIONED COCKTAIL RECIPE

    One of the original classic cocktails (see photo caption) the Old Fashioned was purportedly invented in the 1880s at a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. A member and Bourbon distiller brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. It is both strong and sweet. The original recipe had neither club soda nor a cherry, but both ingredients became popular over the years.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 2 orange slices
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 parts Bourbon
  • Optional: 1/2 part club soda
  •  

    Preparation

    1. Muddle 1 orange slice, 1 maraschino cherry, bitters and the sugar in an Old Fashioned (rocks) glass. Fill glass 3/4 full of ice.

    2. Add Bourbon and splash of club soda. Garnish with additional orange slice and maraschino cherry. For a more impressive garnish, you can fix the cherry to the top of the orange slice with a toothpick.

    If bitters and maraschino cherries are not your thing, you can find many Bourbon cocktail recipes at MakersMark.com.

    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.

      

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