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Archive for Sauces/Rubs/Marinades

TIP OF THE DAY: Horseradish Sauce

Pork With Horseradish Sauce

Salmon & Horseradish Sauce

Steak & Horseradish Sauce

Fresh Horseradish Roots

Horseradish Root

Horseradish sauce on: (1) roast pork sandwich (from National Pork Board), (2) poached salmon with dill-horseradish sauce (Sysco), (3) steak salad (Good Eggs); (4) horseradish root, freshly dug (North Fork Horseradish Festival) and (5) horseradish root as it often looks in the market (Markon.com).

 

In the U.K., horseradish sauce has long been paired with roast beef. But its zinginess enhances other beef preparations from filet mignon to steak, brisket and corned beef; other meat dishes (pork, lamb, smoked chicken) including sandwiches; assertive seafood like mackerel, salmon and smoked fish; even veggies.

To make horseradish sauce, you can use a base of sour cream or heavy cream, or substitute fat-free Greek yogurt. Made with fat-free yogurt, it’s a low-calorie sauce.

You can add other flavor accents, from capers to herbs to Dijon mustard to lemon zest, all with negligible caloric impact.

The sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 
RECIPE #1: HORSERADISH SAUCE WITH HERBED WHIPPED CREAM

Ingredients

  • 1 horseradish root, peeled
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herb: chervil, dill, parsley or chervil (or capers or lemon zest)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRATE the horseradish root finely with a microplane into a small bowl. Mix it with a splash of white wine vinegar to prevent browning.

    2. WHIP the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the whipped cream with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix in the herb as desired.

    3. PLACE in the fridge for 2-4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

     
    RECIPE #2: HORSERADISH SAUCE WITH DIJON SOUR CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRATE the horseradish root finely with a microplane into a small bowl. Mix it with a splash of white wine vinegar to prevent browning.

    2. PLACE all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy.

    3. PLACE in the fridge for 2-4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
     
    WHAT IS HORSERADISH?

    Believed to be native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, horseradish has been cultivated for some 3,000 years, prized for its culinary uses as well as for homeopathy.

    A pungent root, horseradish is a perennial plant in the Brassicaceae family* of cruciferous vegetables, known for their antioxidant, cancer-fighting properties. It is a root vegetable that is used as a spice.

     
    Like mustard, the raw plant is not pungent. The heat and aroma only appear when the appropriate part of the plant is crushed (mustard seeds), cut or grated (horseradish root), creating a chemical reaction. Once exposed to air or heat, the pungency begins to erode. Prepared horseradish is grated root that adds vinegar to preserve the pungency (and needs to be refrigerated).
     
    Why is it a “horse” radish?

    In German, the root is called meerrettich, sea radish, because it grows by the sea. It is believed that the English mispronounced the German word “meer” as “mare,” and began calling it mare radish, which evolved to horseradish. “Radish” comes from the Latin radix, meaning root.

    While horseradish and conventional radishes are both members of the Brassicacae family (“Brassica” in English), they are from different geniuses. The horseradish genus and species is Amoracia rustincana, and the radish is Raphanus sativus.

    During the Renaissance, horseradish consumption spread northward from Central Europe to England and Scandinavia. While it was used medicinally, it wasn’t until 1640 that the British began to eat horseradish, and then only by the rural people who grew it.

    But by the late 1600s, horseradish had become the standard English accompaniment for both beef and oysters. The English, in fact, grew the pungent root at inns and coach stations, to make cordials to revive exhausted travelers.

    Early settlers to the American Colonies brought horseradish to cultivate. It was common in the northeast by 1806.

    In the U.S., commercial cultivation began in the mid 1850s, when immigrants started horseradish farms in the Midwest. After World War II, horseradish was planted commercially in Northern California and other areas in the country. Today, approximately 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish are produced annually in the U.S., with a much smaller amount of fresh root sales.

    While the root gets all the press, horseradish leaves are also edible: raw or cooked, in pestos, salads, sautés and stir fries. They have a sharp, bitter, peppery taste similar to arugula and kale, their Brassica cousins.

    Horseradish.org, which supplied some of this information, has dozens of horseradish-related recipes from the expected (dips and sauces) to the intriguing (cream of horseradish soup with peas and bacon).

    Two of our favorite recipes are horseradish compound butter for steak, and horseradish mashed potatoes.
     
    ________________________________

    *The Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, called Brassicaceae in the Latin-based taxonomy system, includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes and turnips, among others.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Agrodolce & Gastrique

    If you watch Top Chef, you’ve heard the term gastrique (gas-TREEK).

    While it sounds like the French word for gastric system*, it’s actually a sweet and sour sauce, similar to the Italian sauce agrodolce (agro-DOLE-chay, meaning sour [agro] and sweet [dolce]).
     
    Gastrique and agrodolce have a broad use: as sauces for meat, poultry, fish, pasta sauce, vegetables—even dessert (where chocolate can be used instead of the sugar), and to flavor cocktails. They’re good pairings for dishes that are high in fat content, since the vinegar cuts the richness.
     
    The sauce is made by reducing sweet and sour ingredients, typically sugar and vinegar. The sauces are very similar and the terms are often used interchangeably, but there is one key difference: With a gastrique, the sugar is first caramelized in a pan over low heat. The sticky syrup is deglazed with vinegar, and stock is added to thin the sauce.
     
    Additional flavorings can be added to create a more complex sauce—often fruit and/or wine; and flavored vinegars can add still more flavor. Both the type of stock and the vinegar greatly affect the flavor of the finished sauce.

  • Red wine vinegar and vincotto, for example, contribute a raspberry or grape flavor, respectively, that pairs well with chicken, lamb, pork, and seafood.
  • Cider vinegar has a sharper flavor, and is used with spicier dishes.
  • Gastrique or agrodolce made with preserves creates a flavorful bread dipper.
  • Pair your vinegar choice, stock, fruits, spices, etc. to the dish.
  •  
    TYPES OF GASTRIQUE & AGRDOLCE

    Duck à l’orange is a good example. But you can also use an orange sauce with sea scallops, as in this recipe from NewFinMySoup.blogspot.com. Chef Marcus Samuelsson and bloggers Smith & Ratliff among others, have a similar scallop recipe.

    Just do a web search for anything you want to make, plus gastrique (e.g. “chicken gastrique”).

    Also consider the classic Italian onion side and antipasto dish, Cippolini in Agrodolce. This recipe, from Williams-Sonoma, uses white and brown sugars and white wine and balsamic vinegars. In Italy, sweet peppers also get the agrodolce treatment.

    Consider this elegant sweet-and-sour sauce for Asian dishes—very different from cornstarch-thickened Chinese sweet and sour sauce.

    Drizzle it over steaks or chops.

    Use it as a salad dressing.

    The options go on forever.
     
    __________________________
    *In French, gastrique plus a modifying word refers to gastrointestinal matters (e.g., suc gastrique is gastric juice).

     

    Scallop Gastrique

    Lamb With Gastrique

    Agrodolce

    Top: Seared scallops with blood orange gastrique from Center: Rack of lamb with rhubarb-sour cherry gastrique from SpoonForkBacon.com. Here’s the recipe. Bottom: Cippollini in Agrodolce from Williams-Sonoma.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 10+ Good For You, Quick Sauces

    We’re still in “New Year’s Resolutions Month,” and today the tip is good-for-you sauces.

    Perhaps you’ve already been cooking dinner regularly; or perhaps you’re trying to do more of it to avoid sugar-, salt- and fat-laden take-out food.

    One of the easiest ways to complete a simple home-cooked meal is to cover it with purchased sauces. That’s no better for you than take-out, as reading the nutrition labels will prove.

    Here are 10 couldn’t-be-easier sauces that are good for you, and good on chicken, fish, grains, pasta, and so forth. Before you make a sauce from a can of soup, read the ingredients label—and see how easy these alternatives are:
     
    JUST POUR

  • Flavored Olive Oil. Drizzle basil-, rosemary- or other infused olive oil under the main food (chicken breast, fish fillet, pasta—see top photo) or drizzle it it around the perimeter of the plate (see second photo). Use a pour-top or a squeeze bottle for a thinner drizzle. With flavors from blood orange to garlic and hot chile, you can deliver lots of flavor while enjoying your government-approved two tablespoons of olive oil daily. Here are other ways to use infused olive oil.
  • Unflavored Olive Oil & Herbs. No flavored olive oil at hand? Sprinkle in some dried herbs before drizzling. We add both to a Pyrex measuring cup, stir in a pinch of salt and pepper, and pour.
  • Balsamic vinegar. Balsamic adds great flavor to just about anything. You can layer it on top of the oil. We use a small squeeze bottle and squeeze dots of balsamic on top of the oil (very arty!). You can also use a clean medicine dropper.
  • Pesto.You can also make pesto and keep it in the fridge. Then, 10 seconds in the microwave gives you a delicious hot sauce.
  •  
    LESS THAN 5 MINUTES OF COOKING

  • Tomato sauce: There are many riffs on quick tomato sauce, but they all involve cooking, usually for a minimum of 25 minutes. Here’s our quickest technique, using a can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or other quality tomatoes). Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan and cook a clove of sliced garlic. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a minute or two. Add salt and pepper (or red pepper flakes) to taste, plus any herbs (basil, oregano, thyme). Voilà!
  • Vegetable purée. If you have leftover cooked vegetables, purée them into a sauce. Pop them into the food processor, purée, taste and add seasonings as desired (salt, garlic salt, pepper or other heat). Thin the purée to the desired consistency with a bit of olive oil or broth.
  •  
    PAN SAUCES

    The easiest sauce for pan-cooked food is to deglaze the pan.

    Another French technique typically combines butter or cream with other ingredients to make an on-the-spot sauce for the just-cooked dish. The sauce is thickened by the butter or cream—two ingredients we want to cut back on.

    So here we’re substituting chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and olive oil. The ingredients below are basic, and you should already have them in the kitchen. Feel free to add whatever else you have: capers, garlic and other herbs, lemon zest, minced onion, etc.—or to substitute flavorful balsamic vinegar for the white wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Quick Mushroom Sauce. Microwave 1 cup chicken broth and 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried mushrooms until hot. Stir to combine, and pour into a hot skillet. Simmer until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in 4 teaspoons of milk (or cream, if you will) to form a lightly thickened sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Quick Dijon Mustard Sauce. Follow the same recipe as above, but substitute 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard for the mushrooms.
  • Quick Herbed Tomato Sauce. Heat the skillet over hot heat; combine 1/3 cup chicken broth, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, ¼ cup canned crushed tomatoes and a generous pinch of tarragon or other herb in a small bowl or mixing cup. Pour into the hot skillet, simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce by half. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  •  
    NONFAT “CREAM SAUCE”

    You can turn any of these sauces into a creamy sauce with the addition of nonfat Greek yogurt. There’s a hitch, though: Yogurt curdles over heat and can’t be added to a hot pan. Instead, use this technique:

     

    Steak With Rosemary

    Grilled Salmon With Gremolata

    Steak and Gravy

    Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce

    Top: Pan-grilled steak atop a pool of garlic-infused olive oil. Photo courtesy Quinciple. Second: Grilled salmon on a plate rimmed with basil olive oil and a garnish of gremolata: finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Photo courtesy Eddie Merlot’s. Third: Have fun with it: Use a squeeze bottle to turn your sauce into polka dots or zig-zags. Photo courtesy Strip House. Fourth: A can of San Marzano tomatoes becomes a quick sauce. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

  • Spoon the yogurt into a bowl and let it warm to room temperature.
  • Temper the yogurt by stirring in a tablespoon of the hot sauce—not enough to curdle it but enough to get the yogurt used to it.
  • Blend in the rest of the sauce.
  •  
    Bon appétit!
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chermoula Sauce

    Last night at a nine-course feast at the home of our wine editor, we were served a dish of scallops, sautéed greens and a hearty topping of freshly-made pesto.

    A conversation ensued among the nut-averse and lactose-intolerant in attendance, that they didn’t use pesto because of the cheese or the nuts.

    There’s an easy alternative: chermoula, a Middle Eastern marinade and sauce popular in the cuisines of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

    As with pesto recipes, there are countless regional variations both in ingredients and proportions. But chermoula usually starts with a mixture of fresh herbs (especially cilantro), olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt.

    Flavorful chermoula is typically used with fish and seafood, and its green color adds brightness to what we personally refer to as “beige and brown foods.” It is also used to flavor meat, poultry and vegetable dishes.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula offthemeathook 230

    At Off The (Meat) Hook, it’s used to coat broiled halibut. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy OffTheMeatHook.com.

     

    Variations include black pepper, fresh coriander, ground chiles, onion, pickled lemons and saffron, among other ingredients.

  • The preferred recipe in Sfax, a port city in Tunisia, incorporates a purée of dried dark grapes, with onions sautéed in olive oil, black pepper, cumin and chiles, but also cinnamon and cloves.
  • Two countries to the west, in Morocco, one popular recipe uses dried parsley, cumin, salt and pepper with paprika as the variable seasoning. It’s often served with grilled meat and fish.
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula lamb pumpkin broadbeans taste.com .au 2301

    Chermoula on lamb chops, rice and vegetables. Photo courtesy Taste.com.au.

     

    RECIPE: CHERMOULA SAUCE

    In the Middle East, chermoula is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. In our tests making pesto, the mortar and pestle produced a more flavorful pesto than the food processor. So we pulled it out to make this recipe. Feel free to switch on the food processor instead.

    This recipe is a Moroccan variation, with paprika. As with pesto, it is easy to make. Prep time is just 10 minutes. You can make extra and freeze it.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves*
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika (or a combination)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or 1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
  • Large pinch saffron
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil†
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  •  
    You can put your own stamp on the recipe, of course. We had some leftover fresh mint, so added it to the second batch.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a mortar or food processor. Grind or pulse into a thick paste. It’s that easy!

    2. STORE the chermoula in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, needing only to be stirred.

    3. FREEZE extra in the compartments of an ice cube tray that has been sprayed with nonstick olive oil spray. When the cubes have frozen, remove them to a freezer bag.
     
    MORE GOOD FOOD FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

    This weekend we perused a book that had been sent to us on The Food of Oman, a sultanate on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

    When we pulled it out of its packaging, our first reaction was, “We have no time to figure out the cooking of Oman.” But as we thumbed our way through the book, we wanted to eat everything!

    If you enjoy learning new cuisines, or know someone who does, pick up a copy. The author, an American food writer who lived in the Middle East, takes readers on a journey that is delightful.
    ____________________________

    *You can include the small stems that attach the leaves to the main stalks.

    †A fruity style (as opposed to peppery) is preferable.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

    October is National Pasta Month, and we’ll be sharing different takes on pasta. We start with tomato sauce.

    Some people use fresh summer tomatoes to make their sauce, freezing batches to last through the year. Others used canned tomatoes year-round. Less often, cherry tomatoes are employed.

    For us, since lush summer tomatoes have drifted into memory until next year, cherry tomatoes are the go-to for homemade sauce.

    While cherry tomatoes can be puréed into a conventional smooth sauce, first up is a version that roasts the cherry tomatoes and uses them whole, rather than cooking them on the stove top and pureeing in a conventional sauce.

    Essentially, your sauce is seasoned whole roasted cherry tomatoes in olive oil; and beyond pasta, it can accompany rice and grains, polenta, eggs, grilled cheese, burgers and sandwiches, even savory waffles.

    Since the cherry tomatoes keep their shape, this is especially beautiful when made with mixed-color heirloom cherry tomatoes, or a combination of red and gold.

       

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/ravioli cherry tomato saucedelfinarestaurant 230

    Colorful cherry tomatoes are a beautiful accent to beige pasta. Photo courtesy Delfina Restaurant | San Francisco.

     
    You can simply sauté cherry tomatoes in olive oil with seasonings. Or, here are two recipes that impart a bit more complexity.

    RECIPE: ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Place the tomatoes in a nonreactive* 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the garlic. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar, salt and optional ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over the tomatoes.

    2. BAKE for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes are softened and caramelized. Serve warm or at room temperature.
     
    *Reactive vs. Non-Reactive Cookware: Aluminum, cast iron and copper are popular for cookware because of their superior heat-conducting properties. However, these metals can react with acids in a recipe (citrus, tomato, vinegar, etc.), imparting a metallic taste and discoloration of light-colored foods. This is also true with mixing bowls and utensils. Non-reactive materials include enameled metal, glass, plastic and stainless steel.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Spaghetti chunky tomato sauce ps 230r

    Here, 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes have been quartered instead of pulsed, for a chunky sauce. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    RECIPE: CHUNKY CHERRY TOMATO SAUCE

    In this recipe, the tomatoes are pulsed in the food processor so do not maintain their shape, as in the recipe above. The reason to use them is because of superior flavor in the off season, and/or to take advantage of good prices.

    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the garlic in a food processor. Add the onion and pulse 3-4 times, until finely chopped.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. CLEAN the food processor bowl, add 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes and pulse 3-4 times, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat to process the remaining 2 pints of tomatoes.

    4. ADD the chopped tomatoes to the skillet. Simmer, stirring frequently, until they turn into sauce (about 15-20 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

      

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    RECIPE: Oktoberfest Burger With Pork Schnitzel

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/samuel adams Octoberfest burger 230L

    The Oktoberfest Burger, with breaded pork
    cutlets. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     

    Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating Oktoberfest with a Germany-inspired burger, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest Schnitzel Burger.

    Available September through October 31st, it has German flavor accents: schnitzel (breaded pork cutlets) instead of beef patties, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard and beer-accented cheese sauce, all on a pretzel bun.

    The Oktoberfest burger is similar to the Schnitzel Local Legendary Burger served year-round at Hard Rock Cafe locations in Germany. Here’s more about schnitzel.

    The Oktoberfest Burger is served with a side of seasoned fries and a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer.

    What’s an Oktoberfest beer?

    Oktoberfest Beer, or Märzen, is a smooth and malty amber lager with an ABV* of 6% or higher. See our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer.

     
    RECIPE: SCHNITZEL BURGER

    Ingredients Per Burger

  • Lightly breaded tender pork schnitzel
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest-infused beer cheese sauce (recipe below)
  • Smoked bacon
  • Sauerkraut
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Fresh baby arugula
  • Pretzel bun
  • Optional: long toothpick
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the schnitzel (recipe—substitute pork cutlets for the veal) and toast the buns.

    2. LAYER atop the bottom bun: mustard, arugula, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, bacon, mustard. Fasten with a toothpick if needed.

     

    RECIPE: BEER CHEESE SAUCE

    Cheese sauce can be used on everything from breakfast eggs to dinner grains, potatoes, rice and veggies. This recipe is adapted from on TheBeeroness.com, a great resource for cooking with beer.

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup Oktoberfest beer (substitute other beer of choice)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Gouda†
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar†
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste (or substitute cayenne or chili flakes)
  •  

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    Make cheese sauce with freshly-grated cheese. Photo courtesy Azteca-Foods.Europe.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process on high until very well blended, about 5-8 minutes.

    2. EMPTY the contents into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Whisk rapidly and continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired; for an extra kick use the cayenne or chili flakes. For a perfectly smooth sauce, use an immersion blender as necessary.

    3. SERVE warm.

    _______________________
     
    *ABV is Alcohol By Volume.

    †Do not use pre-shredded cheese.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chimichurri Sauce

    Each country in Latin America has a national salsa, or sauce. In Argentina, it’s chimichurri.

    Chimichurri sauce is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, white or red vinegar and red pepper flakes. Oregano can be added. Cilantro can replace parsley in some regions; vegetable oil can replace the olive oil.

    The original sauce is green from the parsley; later red versions add tomatoes, red bell peppers and/or hot chiles.

    In beef-endowed Argentina chimichurri is the steak sauce of choice, also used with other beef-based dishes and any grilled meats.

    As one story goes, the name name evolved from “Jimmy McCurry,” an Irishman who developed the recipe in Argentina. However, there is no written documentation of this.

    Purportedly, McCurry was sympathetic to the cause of Argentine independence in the 19th century, and served in a troop under the command of General Jasson Ospina. The sauce was popular but “Jimmy McCurry” was difficult for Argentineans to say, so it became “chimichurri” sauce (pronounced chimmy CHOO-ree).

       

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    Classic: grilled beef with chimichurri sauce. Photo courtesy D’Artagnan.

     
    Another theory is that the name comes from the Basque settlers who arrived in Argentina in the 19th century. According to grilling expert Steve Raichlen, the name of the sauce comes from the Basque term tximitxurri, loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order.” [Source: Raichlen, Steven, “Planet Barbecue!,” Workman Publishing Company. p. 159. ]

    It’s easy to make chimichurri in a blender or food processor; but purists may want to make it the original way, with a mortar and pestle. We find that pesto made this way tastes better than food processor pesto, even when the exact same ingredients are used.
     
    RECIPE: BASIC CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    Ideally, make the chimichurri sauce a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

    Ingredients For 1-1/2 Cups

  • 2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves, tightly packed
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves or 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute total.

    2. ADD the oil in a steady stream, with the motor running. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few times to combine.

    3. TRANSFER the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day, allowing the flavors to meld. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

     

    Grilled Halloumi With Chimichurri Sauce

    This chimichurri sauce has been made elegant by pureeing. It’s served with a vegetarian dish, Grilled Halloumi And trumpet Mushrooms. Photo courtesy Gardenia Restaurant | NYC.

     

    CREATE YOUR SIGNATURE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    You can adding or substitute other ingredients to create a signature chimichurri:

  • Substitute lemon or lime juice for the vinegar.
  • Use fresh or roasted chiles instead of the red pepper flakes.
  • Add minced onion.
  • Try balsamic or flavored vinegar instead of wine vinegar
  • Give it an Asian spin with fresh ginger and mint, or an Indian influence of green curry and cilantro.
  • Turn it into mint sauce by substituting mint for the parsley; or make a parsley-mint blend.
  • Substitute basil for “Caprese sauce.”
  • Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard.
  • Make red chimichurri sauce by adding red bell peppers and/or raw or roasted tomatos (Red Chimichurri Rcipe).
  • For elegance, purée the naturally textured sauce into a smooth one (see photo at left).
  •  
    21+ WAYS TO USE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    Like Italy’s pesto, chimichurri is a bright green, herb-based, versatile sauce that you can use with:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Burgers
  • Caprese salad dressing
  • Crostini (serve the toasts with grilled meats)
  • Eggs, any style
  • Egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad, tuna salad, etc.
  • Fries and onion rings
  • Grilled fish or seafood (recipe: Mango Grilled Shrimp With Chimichurri Grilled Mango-Citrus Chimichurri Shrimp)
  • Grilled halloumi or other grilling cheese (see photo above)
  • Grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb, pork
  • Hot dogs, brats and other sausages
  • Marinades (add more oil, vinegar, citrus juice or and/or water to thin out)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta (toss pasta lightly with EVOO before adding the chimichurri)
  • Rice and other cooked grains
  • Soup and stew garnish
  • Tacos
  • Tofu
  • Sandwich spread (mix with mayo or mustard)
  • Vegetarian dishes, including veggie wraps
  • Vinaigrette
  • Yogurt sauce (blend into plain Greek yogurt)
  •  
    Other ideas? Post them here.
     
    SEE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALSA IN OUR SALSA GLOSSARY.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Sauce For Chicken & Fish

    salmon-blueberry-sauce-munchery-230

    Rare-cooked salmon with blueberry sauce,
    couscous, pattypan squash and zucchini.
    Photo courtesy Munchery.

     

    One of the easiest routes to a protein-filled, home-cooked dinner is grilled chicken or fish. We often hear from people that they can grill (or poach, roast or sauté) the protein, but because they’re not “good at cooking,” they don’t know what else to do with it.

    Earlier this year we published two articles:

  • Grilled Chicken Or Fish With Salsa
  • Grilled Chicken Or Fish With Pico De Gallo
  •  
    Today, we suggest a fruit sauce, the easiest of which, we think, is a berry sauce. You can use any berry in these recipes, and can use them over rice and other grains instead of on the proteins.

  • If you use larger berries—blackberries or strawberries—slice them first.
  • If these recipes are a bit too sweet for you, lessen the sweetness with fruit spread instead of jam, substitute cider or wine vinegar for the balsamic vinegar and eliminate the sugar.
  •  
    RECIPE: SWEET & HOT BLUEBERRY SAUCE

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons fig or apricot jam
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce (we used sriracha)
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the jam, vinegar, sugar and chili sauce in a small pan.

    2. STIR in the blueberries gently. If using frozen berries, first thaw and drain them.

    3. HEAT over medium low, stirring occasionally (and gently) until the desired heat is reached. We recommend heating the sauce until just warmed, not hot.

     

    RECIPE: SWEET & SAVORY BLUEBERRY SAUCE

    This recipe omits the heat of the first recipe and instead adds vegetables—onions and cherry tomatoes—for more savory notes. While berries and onions may sound incongruous, they are great partners when the onions are caramelized.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple or grape juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

     

    blueberry-carton-burpee-230

    Turn the season’s fresh fruit into fruit sauce. Photo courtesy Burpee.com.

     
    1. HEAT the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

    2. ADD the sugar and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the juice, vinegar, blueberries and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then remove from the heat and serve.
     
    MUNCHERY DINNER DELIVERY SERVICE

    We typically don’t write about the mushrooming category of prepared dinner home delivery services. They deliver better-for-you meals instead of conventional takeout and delivery options.

    It’s not easy for us to cover them because we have a national readership, and each company services only a few cities, or just one.

    But we fell in love with Munchery, and you will, too, after scrolling through these photos of the chef-cooked meals that can be on your table. It’s like having a personal chef who cooks in his/her own kitchen and brings the food to you.

    Munchery currently serves Los Angeles, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

    You can try it out at Munchery.com. We love that we can send a gift card to friends and family who are overworked, new parents or otherwise have no time to cook.

      

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    TIP: Ways To Add More Flavor To Food

    caperberries-2-elvirakalviste-230

    Caperberries or capers (capers are the flower
    bud of the plant, caperberries are the fruit
    with seeds inside) are brined and thus
    contribute saltiness as well as flavor to dishes. They and other ingredients (olives, soy sauce, etc.) reduce the need to add table
    salt. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Today’s tip comes from Flavor & The Menu, a magazine and website for chefs of fine dining restaurants.

    They “employ every trick in the flavor toolbox to get explosive taste and texture,” according to author Pam Smith, co-chair of The Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative. “Creating flavor is no magic trick,” she says, “but certain ingredients and techniques can magically make reduced-calorie dishes satisfying—even indulgent.”

    The advice:

  • Acids. High-acid ingredients lend sharp, bright flavor to replace salt or fat. Reduce wines and vinegars to concentrate their flavor; add a squeeze of citrus to finished dishes.
  • Cooking meats. Spices added to rubs and marinades brings out surface flavor, as does caramelization from grilling or searing meats.
  • Healthful fats. Beneficial fats and oils—nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, avocados—enhance mouthfeel and flavor.
  • Herbs. Savory* herbs (basil, dill, oregano, thyme, sage, cilantro) enable the reduction of salt. Finishing a dish with fresh herbs punches up the flavor.
  • High-sodium ingredients. Replace the salt in a recipe with more flavorful sodium: capers, feta, olives, olives or soy sauce, for example.
  • Onions. Members of the onion family, which also includes chives, garlic, scallions (green onions) and shallots, lend a sharp taste and aroma to dishes, whether raw, caramelized, roasted or grilled (how to caramelize onions).
  •  

  • Spices. Use spice and heat to distract the palate. Make use of strong flavors like cayenne, cumin, curry, ginger, horseradish/wasabi, mustard seed, and peppercorn. Toast whole spices before grinding to heighten the flavor and aroma.
  • Umami. Go for “exponential umami” by combining two nucleotide compounds, such as a burger made with beef and roasted mushrooms or tuna with a dash of soy sauce (more about umami).
  •  
    What are you cooking this weekend? Employ as many of these tricks as you can and see how they improve your recipes.

     
    *As opposed to savory herbs, sweet herbs are typically used to flavor beverages and desserts. Examples include apple mint, lavender, peppermint, pineapple mint, pineapple sage and rose geranium. Savory herbs used in sweet applications include anise, basil, licorice and rosemary. Stevia is a sweet herb that is largely a sugar substitute, adding sweetness without additional flavor.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ají Sauce

    Hot sauce lovers should take a closer look at ají sauce, a standard in Ecuador and Peru. Aji amarillo is one of the most common types of chiles in the area, and is also one of the most important ingredients in the two countries.

    While, like all salsas, there are as many variations as there are cooks, a basic ají criollo is made from the ají amarillo (yellow ají*), along with cilantro, garlic, onion and lime.

    Each region and city has its own unique recipe. For example, ají de tomate de árbol—tree tomato or tamarillo ají—uses tamarillo as well as ají amarillo. (A recipe is below.)

    Andrés Dávila, executive chef of Casa Gangotena, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top Ten Hotel, offers tourists a journey through the different types of ají, with a selection of six sauces carefully paired with a dish that heightens the flavors of the local cuisine. He’s also sent us a standard recipe so you can make your own.

    Great for sauces and to kick up any meal with a great flavor and medium heat. Chewing on the chiles adds more heat.

  • Ají mixed with passion fruit, which colors the sauce a spectacular yellow, goes well paired with chicken or pork.
  • Ají with sambo squash seeds, a light green cream with a subtle smell and taste that goes well with white meats.
  •    

    aji-amarillo-perudelights-230r

    Ají amarillo, in shades of yellow and orange. Photo courtesy PeruDelights.com.

  • Manaba-style pickled ají, flavored and colored with carrots, is the perfect accompaniment to fish.
  • Orange ají is made with tree tomato (tamarillo) and chochos (lupines).
  • Purple ají, colored with beets, has a complex layering of fruit vinegar, grated carrots and pickle slices, goes well with both seafood and red meats.
  •  
    PICK UP A JAR OF AJÍ AMARILLO (YELLOW AJÍ) PASTE

    You can probably find a jar of ají paste in the Latin foods section of your supermarket. Goya makes it, of course, and you can find specialty brands such as Costa Peruana and Inca’s Food online.

    Aji paste is simply a purée of fresh ajis. “American fusion” uses include:

  • Mix a tablespoon with a cup of Alfredo or other white sauce, red sauce or brown sauce or gravy.
  • Add to soup (including chicken soup).
  • Add to a ceviche marinade.
  • Mix into condiments to add flavor and heat.
  •  
    *While ají is Spanish for chile pepper and amarillo means yellow, the color changes to orange as the chiles mature. You can see the deepening colors in the photo above.

     

    aji-amarillo-paste-incasfood-230

    Add bold flavor to many dishes with ají
    amarillo (yellow chile) paste. Photo courtesy
    Inca’s Food.

     

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE AJÍ SAUCE

    This classic ají sauce combines tree tomato (tamarillo), ají amarillo and chochos (lupines, or lupin beans). Lupins are a large yellow Italian bean. You can substitute lima beans or fava beans for the lupins.

    Ingredients

  • 4-5 tomatillos
  • 2 ajís (you can substitute serranos or other red chilies, or yellow habaneros for extra heat)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: cooked and peeled chochos (lupin beans)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL the tomatillos and boil them for 5 minutes.

    2. BLEND the tomatillos with ají chiles. For a milder sauce, seed and devein the chiles. You can always save a few seeds and add them in if it’s too mild.

    3. TRANSFER the mix to a small sauce pan, add the water (you can add more if you want a more liquid sauce) and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. You can also skip the cooking part; the sauce will be fresher in taste, but will need to be consumed more quickly.

    4. ADD the onion, lime juice, cilantro, optional chochos and salt to taste. Serve warm or cold.

    VARIATION: Replace the water with oil (avocado, light olive oil or a mild flavored oil) for a creamier Cuencano-style ají, and do not cook it after blending.

    Recipe courtesy Laylita.com.

      

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