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Archive for Sauces/Rubs/Marinades

RECIPE: Flavorful Tofu Salad Dressing

Tofu salsa verde makes a delicious salad dressing and all-around condiment. Photo courtesy House Foods.

 

We’re in an Asian state of mind today; in addition to this homemade ramen soup recipe, we whipped up a green salad with a salsa verde tofu dressing.

Tofu is a wonderful ingredient for salad dressing, adding protein and fiber to a condiment that typically has neither.

This recipe was created by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. They used House Foods Organic Soft Tofu, but you can use any soft/silken tofu.

ABOUT SALSA VERDE

Salsa verde is a cold rustic sauce/dressing that typically includes anchovies, capers, garlic, olive oil, onion, parsley, vinegar and sometimes, mustard. The parsley provides a green tint. Salsa verde is used as a condiment or dipping sauce for meats, fish, poultry, or vegetables.

 

In some regions, cubed bread is soaked in vinegar and then blended with the other ingredients, creating an emulsion somewhat similar to a vinaigrette.

Another variation of the recipe, gremolata, is the traditional accompaniment to osso bucco, the popular braised veal shank dish.

Salsa verde is a great accent to many dishes. And because it’s so flavorful, you can cut back on added salt.

Use it as a condiment with meat (from lamb, pork or rib roast to veal and venison), poultry, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables (we love it with sautéed string beans) or salad.

The salsa verde concept probably originated in the Near East some 2,000 years old. The Roman Legions brought it back home to Italy, from where it traveled to other countries.

In their recipe, Debi and Gabriele substitute tofu for the olive oil.

 

HEARTS OF ROMAINE SALAD WITH TOFU SALSA VERDE (SALAD DRESSING)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 package (14 ounces) soft (silken) tofu
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers (packed in vinegar)
  • 2 oil-packed anchovies
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 hearts of romaine, chopped, and any other desired salad ingredients
  •  

    Use soft tofu or silken tofu. Photo courtesy
    HouseFoods.com.

     
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE tofu, parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.

    2. PLACE romaine and other salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with salsa verde. Leftover dressing can be kept refrigerated in a covered container for 2 days.

    VARIATION: To make this recipe vegetarian/vegan, replace the anchovies with 2 more teaspoons of capers.

    Find more delicious recipes with tofu at House-Foods.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Asian Peanut Sauce

    For both Asian- and Western-style salads,
    peanut sauce is a delicious dressing. Photo
    courtesy National Almond Board.

     

    If you enjoy a plate of Asian sesame noodles, that yummy, peanut butter-based sauce is equally versatile as a:

  • Dip for raw vegetables (crudités)
  • Grilled chicken, fish or tofu sauce or dip for
    skewers
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice and grains sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Sandwich and wrap condiment
  • Steamed or grilled vegetable sauce
  •  
    While peanut butter, coconut milk or cream, garlic and soy sauce are common to all recipes, there is no one version of peanut sauce. Every region has its own signature style.

    For example, Indonesian peanut sauce uses lemongrass, tamarind juice and miso; Thai peanut sauce uses lime juice and cilantro.

     

    You can make a double batch and keep it tightly sealed in the fridge, ready to add flavor to so many different dishes. It’s a quick and nutritious snack with baby carrots or hard-cooked eggs, and delicious with leftovers (one of our favorites: mix with leftover rice; add some peas, chopped green onions and diced bell pepper).

     

    ASIAN PEANUT SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce†
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  •  

    Grilled fish is delicious with peanut sauce. Photo courtesy Pollen restaurant.

     

    *For more heat and colorful flecks, add red chili flakes to taste.

    †If you don’t want to buy fish sauce just for this recipe, substitute Worcestershire sauce. If you think you’ll be making peanut sauce regularly, invest in the fish sauce.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together ingredients, except cilantro, in a small bowl.

    2. MIX in cilantro just before serving.

    3. FOR A THINNER SAUCE OR DIP, dilute with water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Other Ways To Use Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

    If you like spicy Thai peanut sauce on noodles, expand the ways you use it:

  • On grilled chicken, shrimp or other seafood, along with rice or noodles
  • As the sauce for Thai chicken pizza (top with diced cooked chicken breast, sliced green onions, grated mozzarella, grated carrot and chopped fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, diced red pepper—bell pepper or hot variety)
  • On Pad Thai, Thai chicken, beef or fish wraps; grilled beef/chicken fish, satay or skewers
  • As a dip with crudités
  •  
    Crudités have long been served with a creamy dip based on mayonnaise, sour cream and/or yogurt—which means cholesterol, unless you use fat-free products. Substitute creamy butter and keep the creaminess, while trading the animal fats for healthier peanut oil.

    If you don’t like heat, spicy peanut dip can be made without the spice. It’s still delicious.

     

    A creamy, spicy peanut dip for raw vegetables. Photo by Andrea Hernandez | Peanut Butter & Co.

     

    SPICY THAI PEANUT SAUCE

    Makes 3 cups sauce. If you’re using the sauce on an entrée, versus as a dip, make it more complex by adding the two optional ingredients.

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced; or 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1-1/4 cups coconut milk (you can substitute water; the result will be less rich)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add onion and sauté until tender.

    2. ADD garlic, jalapeño and ginger; stir for 2 minutes.

    3. ADD peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and honey; stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat; add vinegar.

    4. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: Add shredded basil. Heat through, and remove from heat.

    5. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: stir in chopped peanuts.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.

      

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    PRODUCT: Bill’s Best BBQ Sauce

    The sauce is delicious, and a percentage of
    sales do some good in the world. Photo
    courtesy Bill’s Best BBQ Sauce.

     

    Barbecue sauce is the number one product we receive over the transom. Living in an apartment with no outdoor space to barbecue, it’s not a product we used much—until it started to arrive in droves a few years ago.

    The majority of the products we taste are perfectly fine, but not special enough to write about. Most are made from ketchup or tomato paste, vinegar, a sweetener (often high fructose corn syrup—HFCS), salt, onion powder and other spices (including cayenne or other chile), molasses and maybe some mustard.

    Then Bill’s BBQ Sauce showed up.

    Bill Fehon created the “secret family recipe” for what is now Bill’s Best Original Organic BBQ Sauce in the early 1990s. He gave jars to family and friends. The sweet and tangy flavor, combined with a mild kick, says Bill’s family, appealed to everyone.

    Unfortunately, in the fall of 2009, Bill was diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration and was no longer able to do everyday tasks like making the sauce.

     

    In his honor, his family now makes it and donates 10% of the profit to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Learn more at BillsBestBBQ.com.

    So if you’re looking for an inexpensive food gift that combines the spirit of generosity, consider this delicious barbecue sauce. Even if there were no story of hope, the sauce stands on its own.

    As an organic product, it’s made with quality ingredients and has no HFCS.

    An 18-ounce bottle is $6.99, with discounts for multiple orders, on Amazon.com:

  • Original, which has a gentle kick
  • Spicy
  •  
    Find more of our favorite barbecue sauces and recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Parsnip Chips

    Parsnip: the new snack chip. Photo and
    recipe courtesy Actifry.

     

    Earlier this year, we wrote about the new healthy chip craze, nutritious kale chips.

    Will the next hot snack be parsnip chips? These root vegetables, cousins of carrots, are popular in soups and stews. But they also lend their honeyed sweetness to a crunchy snack chip.

    Full of fiber, folate, manganese, potassium and vitamins C and K, parsnips are healthy, filling and surprising “gourmet.”

    If you have an ActiFry, you need very little oil to make the chips. Alternatively, you can bake the chips in the oven,* use a Mastrad chip maker in the microwave, or fry them in the conventional (but less healthy) manner.

    Parsnip chips can also be served as a side vegetable, with or without the dip. We sprinkled ours with a touch of sea salt and chopped fresh parsley or rosemary.

    *Baked parsnip chips: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the parsnips and coat in olive oil and spices (chile powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, other favorites). Place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until crispy. Toss the chips halfway through to ensure even cooking.

    RECIPE: PARSNIP CHIPS AND MAPLE MUSTARD DIP

    Ingredients

  • 2 parsnips, washed but not peeled
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour (also available in whole grain brown rice flour)
  • 1 scoop olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Slice the parsnips very thinly, preferably with a mandoline slicer. The thinner the slices, the crisper the chips.
    2. Toss the parsnip slices with the rice flour in a bowl.

    3. Add the olive oil and parsnips to the ActiFry and cook for about 35 minutes, or until brown and mostly crisp.

    MAPLE DIP RECIPE

    The creamy maple mustard dip is lighter and has less saturated fat than rich sour cream based dips

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lowfat mayonnaise
  •  

    Preparation

    Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, olive oil and mayonnaise, until creamy and well combined. Serve dip with parsnip chips.

    The sweetness of the maple syrup complements the sweetness of the parsnips, but if you can use your favorite tangy dip or salsa.

    FOOD TRIVIA

    Parsnips originated in the Mediterranean basin. Wild parsnips were the size of baby carrots. The Roman brought the parsnip north through Europe, finding that the farther north they were planted, the bigger the root vegetable grew.

    Parsnips are members of the taproot (true root) family, a group of plants whose roots are eaten as vegetables. The family also includes beet, black salsify, burdock, carrot, celeriac, daikon and radish, rutabaga and turnip, among others.

    Find more of our favorite savory snacks and vegetables.

     

    Freshly harvested parsnips. Photo © Uros Petrovic | Fotolia.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Nonna Iole’s Soffritto

    Soffritto is a mixture of minced vegetables and aromatic herbs cooked in extra virgin olive oil. The name means “fry slowly,” although you might think of it as “yummy flavor.”

    This healthful cooking ingredient enhances the flavor of many everyday dishes, and is waiting to be your new best friend in the kitchen. The basic recipe combines carrots, celery, garlic, onions, salt and sometimes a splash of white wine vinegar.

    You can make your own soffritto and store it in the fridge (we’ve included the recipe in the full review). Or you can buy a jar of Nonna Iole’s Soffritto. It’s a quick, easy and delicious solution to amping up your food. It’s also a nice party favor, stocking stuffer and small ”thank you” gift.

    In fact, you can buy boxed gift sets as well as individual jars on the company website. You’ll also find a store locator.

    Check out the full review.

     

    Soffritto: Your new friend in the kitchen. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: La Pan’s Gourmet BBQ Sauce

    The number one product we receive over the transom (unsolicited) is barbecue sauce. We get so much, that we joke that aliens from another planet who happen into THE NIBBLE offices would think that earthlings live on barbecue sauce.

    On a less jocular note, most of the barbecue sauces sent to us are simplistic recipes of what we pejoratively call “meat sugar”: ketchup (there’s already plenty of it in the ketchup), more sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and some onion and garlic powder that aren’t strong enough to cut through the sweetness.

    Every now and then, we receive a barbecue sauce that we enjoy. It has complex flavors and a smaller dose of sweeteners.

    So it was a good day when a box of samples from Le Pan’s arrived.

    All natural La Pan barbecue sauces have more layering of flavors than we’ve seen just about anywhere.

     

    Spicy and regular barbecue sauces hit the spot. Photo courtesy La Pan’s.

     

    Prior to developing his own line, Jon La Pan of Ladera Ranch, California was a foodie who liked to tinker with recipes to turn them into his vision of perfection. When he started to make barbecue sauce, his goal was “…to help anyone…turn a $5 piece of meat into a $50 steak.”

    As tasty as the sauces may be, they won’t tenderize a $5 flank steak into anything resembling a $50 strip steak; but the sauces will taste good on just about anything.

    Enjoy them with meat, poultry, hearty fish or tofu. Jon Le Pan uses them as a bread dipper, too. We prefer them with fries, instead of ketchup.

    Foundation Gourmet BBQ Sauce

    The first four ingredients in this barbecue sauce, are common to many recipes: water, tomato paste, sugar and brown sugar, along with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper and vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and yellow mustard. More complex sauces add ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, molasses and natural smoke flavor. Spicy versions add cayenne pepper, chipotle and other chiles and hot pepper sauce,

    But La Pan’s further layers on celery salt, cinnamon, coffee, cumin, honey, lemon juice concentrate, maple syrup, oregano, turmeric, and and raspberry juice concentrate.

    That’s a lot of measuring, but the result is worth it.

    Fiery Fusion BBQ Sauce

    An excellent balance of fruit and medium heat, this sauce makes things interesting with the addition of apricot, mango, pineapple and habanero. Many spicy sauces just ratchet up the spice level on the basic sauce.

    Don’t choose: try both. A 16-ounce bottle is $8.00 at LaPans.com.

    The company also makes seasoning and Bloody Mary mix.

    Find more of our favorite barbecue sauces.

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Make Barbecue Sauce From Scratch

     

    There’s so much over-sugared barbecue sauce for sale; we wonder why people don’t make their own. It’s easy and more nutritious—and it costs less, too. You eliminate the high fructose corn syrup and can moderate the level of sweetener you do use (agave, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup).

    Your homemade sauce uses other superior ingredients, as well: sautéed fresh onions and garlic instead of onion and garlic powders, and crushed tomatoes instead of ketchup.

    This video shows just one basic recipe; but if you like the results, you can make hundreds of variations, incorporating your favorite flavors—mustard, vinegar, horseradish, the works.

    For expert guidance, pick up a copy of Steve Raichlen’s Barbecue! Bible: Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes.

    But start with the simple recipe below. You can make it today with ingredients you already have in the kitchen.

       

       

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Secondary Sauces, Part 3, Demi-Glace

    Become a sauce master: Here’s Part 3 of chef Johnny Gnall’s tutorial on the secondary sauces. Start at the beginning with:

  • The Five Mother Sauces
  • Secondary Sauces: Bearnaise and Creole
  • Secondary Sauces: Cheddar Cheese Sauce and Sauce Suprême
  •  
    If you have questions or suggestions for other tips, email Chef Johnny.

    ESPAGNOLE SAUCE BECOMES DEMI-GLACE

    Demi-glace (pronounced DEH-me GLAHS) is a rich brown sauce that is often served with beef, lamb and pork. The term comes from the French word glace, which means icing or glaze (among other things, including ice and ice cream); demi means half. Demi-glace is thicker and contains more gelatin than espagnole alone, so it has more body.

  • Demi-glace is traditionally made by combining equal parts veal stock or other brown stock and the mother sauce, espagnole.
  • Then reduce the liquid by half and strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
  •  

    A Berkshire pork chop atop a demi-glace sauce. Photo courtesy AllenBrothers.com.

     

    Marchand De Vin Sauce

    A variation of demi-glace is sauce marchand de vin (marchand de vin is French for wine merchant), which, not surprisingly, includes wine.

  • Combine 3/4 cup red wine and one minced shallot; reduce by three fourths.
  • Whisk in a quart of demi-glace; reduce, simmer and season to your liking.
  •  
    You now have a sauce that is perfect for pretty much any meat you can cook up!

    Beyond the myriad classic sauces that stem from espagnole sauce, I am always up for some boundary crossing between cuisines—otherwise known as fusion food. I am a big fan of taking this classic French sauce and bringing it down to Mexico.

    Mole Sauce

    By adding a little cocoa powder and very little chile powder to a quart of espagnole sauce, you turn it into variety of mole sauce.

  • Start with 2 tablespoons cocoa and 2 teaspoons chile powder; add both in small doses to the sauce until you achieve your liking. Depending on how much you use, cocoa has a distinct and earthy flavor that can exist in the background or take over the stage (so bear that in mind as you add it).
  • You can also sweeten the sauce to your liking. I suggest using palm sugar or brown sugar, as sweeteners with color often have a bit of character that can add another bit of complexity to the sauce. Just remember to always add ingredients in small amounts and taste often in order to get the flavor profile just right. Reduce at a simmer if you’d like to thicken your sauce or intensify the flavors, season with a pinch or two of salt, and you’re ready to go.
  •  
    This variation of mole is not precisely the traditional Mexican procedure, but nobody will be complaining.

    My mom, who grew up in Mexico, serves her mole sauce with lamb chops and mashed potatoes.

  • Whip some goat cheese into the mashed potatoes.
  • Marinate the lamb chops with some sherry vinegar: The tartness on the lamb chop alongside the creamy mashed potatoes, all drizzled with that sweet, earthy sauce, comes together like a symphony in your mouth.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Secondary Sauces, Part 2, Cheddar Cheese Sauce & Sauce Suprême

    Become a sauce master: Here’s Part 2 of chef Johnny Gnall’s tutorial on the secondary sauces. Start at the beginning with:

  • The Five Mother Sauces
  • Secondary Sauces: Béarnaise and Creole
  •  
    If you have questions or suggestions for other tips, email email Chef Johnny.

    BÉCHAMEL SAUCE BECOMES CHEDDAR CHEESE SAUCE

    It’s easy to make a robust Cheddar cheese sauce from a base of creamy, delicate béchamel (BAY-sha-mell) sauce. Just stir the following ingredients into one quart of béchamel:

  • 8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Rich, creamy Cheddar cheese sauce. Photo courtesy AztecaFoods-Europe.com.

     

    In addition to saucing proteins, starches and vegetables—and making a superior macaroni and cheese—it’s phenomenal for dipping hot pretzel nuggets at parties: A crowd tends to form around the bowl.

    Bacon Béchamel.
    If you believe, as I do, that bacon makes everything better, you can go big and cook some bacon to add to the béchamel (finely chopped). Or you can whisk in bacon fat that you’ve previously reserved (I always save the drippings when I cook bacon and store them in a small plastic container that I keep on the shelf of my fridge).

  • If you’re adding bacon to your béchamel, go lighter on the salt, as bacon has plenty of its own.
  • If you know in advance that you’re going to make a bacon béchamel, start your roux with bacon, similar to the first step of making tomato sauce. Just render the bacon on medium heat until crispy, then begin to stir in flour to make the roux, and continue with the béchamel as usual. You may need to supplement with a little butter if you run short on bacon fat and want to create more béchamel.
  •  

    Roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and
    fiddlehead ferns on a bed of sauce suprême.
    Photo by JohnHerschell | Wikimedia.jpg

     

    VELOUTÉ SAUCE BECOMES SAUCE SUPRÊME
    (SUPREME SAUCE)

    Sauce suprême is a very rich sauce that adds cream to chicken velouté. It’s the perfect “luxury” sauce for roast chicken or pork. One chef we know calls it “the most upscale gravy.”

  • Reduce the velouté by a fourth at a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Temper a pint of cream in a bowl. To do this, whisk a bit of the hot velouté into the cream to bring its temperature up. Then add it slowly to the simmering velouté.
  • Season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.
  •  

    Variations

  • Mushrooms. To make the sauce even more exciting, turn it into mushroom sauce by adding 4 ounces of sliced white/button mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter. If you add a tablespoon of lemon juice while sautéing the mushrooms, they will stay whiter and make your sauce that much more attractive.
  • Caramelized Onions. I like to add sweetness to a sauce suprême with caramelized onions (how to caramelize onions). Cook the onions to their sweetest, brownest, softest point (think French onion soup consistency) and stir them into the sauce along with any excess liquid in the pan. Then use an immersion blender (or countertop blender) to purée them into smoothness. Between the richness of the cream, the sweetness of the onions, and the depth of flavor from the reduced stock, you end up with a unique and complex sauce that works well with any number of proteins, starches and vegetables.
     
    There’s one more mother sauce/secondary sauce tip to go. Tune in tomorrow.

      

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