Archive for the ‘Sauces’ Category

BBQ Sauces

29 July 15

[Herself is publishing this (as usual!)]

No real directions needed! Just mix ’em up and heat ’em up.

01 – Big Daddys Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs liquid smoke (hickory flavoring)

02 – St. Louis Barbecue Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne

03 – Classic BBQ Rib Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs water
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne
fresh ground pepper to taste

04 – Kansas City Rib Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne

05 – Memphis Barbecue Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs prepared mustard
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs mild chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne (optional)

06 – Best Odds Pulled Pork Sauce
1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne

07 – Piedmont Barbecue Sauce
1-1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

08 – Mustard Sauce
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cayenne

09 – North Carolina BBQ Chicken Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs butter
2 tsp salt
1/4 Tbs hot pepper sauce

10 – Jack Daniel’s Rib Glaze
1 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

11 – Columbia Gold Barbecue Sauce Recipe
2 cups prepared yellow mustard
2/3 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp chipotle Tabasco sauce or you favorite hot sauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube
2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp celery seed
3 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

12 – East Carolina Barbecue Sauce
2 cups cider vinegar (you can cut this in half if you think it will be too vinegary for you)
2 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs ground dry mustard
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs Worcestershire
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tsp cornstarch

13 – East Carolina Kiss & Vinegar Barbecue Sauce & Mop
1-1/2 cups of distilled vinegar
1 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbs sugar (white, light brown, or dark brown)
1 Tbs salt
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp finely ground black pepper

14 – MTR (Himself) KC Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup white wine or some decent vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbs black worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs white worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves minced fresh garlic (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
about 20 grinds black pepper

Experiment! Enjoy!


Marinara Gravy

7 December 12

2012-09-06 - Spicy Marinara Sauce - 0002

2012-09-06 – Spicy Marinara Sauce [Gravy] – 0002 (Photo credit: smiteme)

Kind of a funny name. You have heard of marinara sauce forever. OK – let’s clear up that little bit of linguistic mystery. To the Italians, sauce has no meat in it. If it has meat or meat juice it is gravy. So – this is a marinara with meat. You can make it without the meat, of course, and then it would be marinara sauce. You will find this to be totally superior to the heavy tomato paste based Americanized stuff.

 olive oil
 1  small onion, finely chopped
 1  large garlic clove, finely chopped
 1  stalk celery, finely chopped
 1  carrot, finely chopped
 1  small handful mushrooms, rough chopped
 1/4  tsp  sea salt
 1/4  tsp  freshly ground black pepper
 1  28-oz. can diced tomatoes
 several fresh basil leaves chiffonade
 1  sweet Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled

Chop up the veggies, heat up the oil in a pot large enough to hold all the stuff. Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and sweat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. If you want to increase the garlic to a maximum of 5 cloves and gag your neighbors feel free. The Italians range from reasonable garlic use to totally ridiculous. Too much garlic and you can’t possibly taste anything else.

Oh yeah, chiffonade, just a French word for shredding or making rag-like. Easiest way is to take some sharp scissors and snip the basil up. Traditional chiffonade method is to stack the leaves, roll them into a tight tube, then cut into narrow strips. Either way is OK. The traditional method does produce prettier, more uniform strips. There are some good videos on YouTube and other places to learn good chiffonade technique.

Add the celery, carrots, sausage, salt, and pepper. Sweat until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and basil. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Don’t let it dry out, add a bit more water as needed. Serve over spaghetti or as a side dish.

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true “parmesan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste only if needed.

You could shred a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano, but don’t use the powdered crap in the can. I advise tasting before adding anything.

Easy Spaghetti Sauce

27 September 12
July's Tomato Haul

July’s Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)

Herself has threatened bodily harm if I didn’t write this down and forgot it. She wants it again, you see.

olive oil
mushrooms, button & chanterelle work well. Rough chop.
red wine or red vermouth
meat – spicy sausage works well
fresh tomato – chunked
Clamato Juice

If the chanterelles are dried then soak them in just enough red vermouth or red wine to soften.

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in the olive oil until softened – about 5 minutes covered. If the sausage is link remove it from the skin. If patties this is not necessary. Cut the sausage into chunks, add to the pan and brown lightly.

Add minced garlic. When the fragrance of garlic diffuses add the tomatoes. Reduce the liquid on high heat to about half volume.

Add the clamato juice and reduce to about half volume. Serve over pasta.

Oh yeah, add spices as you like. The Clamato and the sausage that I use have enough spices that I don’t need any more. Taste and embellish to your heart’s content.

A little discussion of ingredients: You can use any sausage that you have on hand. I use the homade Southern breakfast sausage patties that I wrote up elsewhere. A good sweet Italian would also go well, I think. Notice the Clamato juice. You should be able to find it at your local grocery. It is kind of like V-8 or other tomato juice with clam juice mixed in. Totally superior to any other tomato juice you have tasted. As a nice side bonus also makes the best Bloody Mary you ever got near. Be sure to use Stolichnaya vodka.

Herself’s Shrimp and Seafood Sauce

13 March 11
A steamed tail-on shrimp.

Image via Wikipedia

This is Herself posting today. Himself was without inspiration for supper tonight – so he fixed jumbo shrimp, cooked, shelled and chilled along with my favorite rice – a mix of white, wild and red rice cooked in vegetable stock. Oh Yum! But we didn’t have any seafood sauce for the shrimp. Himself was content with lemon and butter to dip his, but I wanted that good cocktail sauce. We didn’t have any, and Himself had only told me what we were having about 15 minutes before serving – no time to go to the store. So I raided the refrigerator, in search of a “Taste.” This is what I did, and I think it turned out very well!

2-3 Tbs Hunt’s Ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice (RealLemon works)
1/2 – 3/4 tsp prepared horseradish

Mix and change amounts to your taste.


Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls) and Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Fish Sauce)

25 February 11
Chả giò

Image via Wikipedia

Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

This is one of the most magical tastes in the world. Chả giò translates as minced pork roll. What we have here a basic kitchen sink recipe. You can put in whatever you have on hand that appeals to your taste buds. This is just the basic, jazz up or down as you like. You can make ‘em strictly vegan if you like. We like protein. Well, I suppose you could use some hard tofu for protein, but it is not quite the same.

2 oz cellophane noodles OR rice vermicelli
vegetable oil (peanut works well)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (your taste rules)
4 oz shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz pork, minced OR fine chopped chicken
1 carrot, grated
3 green onions, sliced
1 oz mung bean sprouts OR 3-4 Napa cabbage leaves
2 tsp nước chấm (fish sauce)

2 Tbs Vietnamese chile sauce
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
2 tsp water, cold (optional)
~32 spring roll wrappers

Boil the cellophane noodles for about 5 minutes. You can also use rice vermicelli if you can’t find the noodles. Drain and cool a bit and then cut into 1 inch pieces. You don’t need to get fancy, just dump them out of the strainer onto your cutting board and chop them up in 1 inch strips, then cut another path of 1 inch strips at right angles. Set aside on a plate.

You should use a wok if you’ve got one, if not, a large skillet will do. Put a little oil in the wok and when it is hot add the chopped garlic. You do know how to tell if the oil is hot enough, don’t you? OK, simple: shove the end of a chopstick into the oil, vertically, to rest on the bottom of the wok. If you see bubbles coming up the oil is hot enough, if no bubbles, it is not hot yet. When the garlic aroma starts to diffuse (about 45 seconds) add in the meat. Pork is traditional, but chicken is also good. When it is just about halfway done add in the shrimp. When they are done take them out and chop fine. Add everything to the pan – meat, veggies, fish sauce, chile sauce, and noodles. If you don’t have bean sprouts you can use 3 to 4 leaves of fine shredded Napa cabbage. Cook until the veggies, particularly the carrots, are softened. Immediately transfer to a plate and let it cool down.

Wrappers: What you want is the Chinese wrappers which are wheat based and need refrigeration; they are not rice paper. Rice paper is mostly for the uncooked party rolls and can be a whole lot of fun to handle. If you have trouble getting the flap to stick down mix up the cornstarch and water so you can glue it down. Keep a damp (almost wet) towel over your skin stack as you work, otherwise they will get dry and unworkable. (You could do something radical like follow the directions on the skin package.) If you can’t find them at the local grocery try to find an Asian store. They will have them. Our local Publix does not carry them, but they do stock egg roll skins. Not quite the same, but they could be used in a pinch.

If you’ve got square skins set with a corner pointing directly at yourself. If they are round, it doesn’t matter. Put a tablespoon full of cooled filling in the skin off center near yourself. Fold the bottom up and around the filling, fold in the sides, and roll from the bottom into a tight cylinder. For Vietnamese style they should be rather long and thin. The Chinese style rolls are shorter and fatter. Brush the edge with the cornstarch water mixture if you need it to seal. Chinese skins don’t always need the extra since they are wheat based. Square skins tend to seal a little better also. If you have trouble there are beau-coup videos on the web showing how to roll them.

You can fry them up with the same wok you used earlier. You will need enough oil to float the rolls about 4 at a time. I use a deep fryer, specifically a Cool Daddy, or an electric skillet because it is much easier. Anyway, get the oil between 325°F and 350°F. Cook them between 1 minute and 5 minutes, depending on the inside goodies and your individual taste. Let them drain and cool for a little while and then serve with nước chấm (dipping sauce).

Just for info: most of the stuff is actually made in Thailand or Taiwan and is quite satisfactory. Vietnam is still not exactly a favored trading partner.

Nước chấm (Southeast Asian Dipping Sauce)

This is the basic Vietnamese fish sauce the secondhand smell of which every GI shipped to Southeast Asia in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s learned to identify. The Vietnamese would curl up and die without their fish sauce. The smell gave away many an ambush in the jungle. You can get the basic ingredients on the internet or at a local Asian grocery. If your grocery has much of an international selection you may find it there. If there is a Whole Foods near you, you probably can find much (or all) of what you need there. Good luck.

You can’t say that there is any one way to make the dipping sauce that goes so beautifully with spring rolls and egg rolls and the like. I’ll give you the basic basic, but the variations are endless and are totally up to you. And when you get it to your liking it is now the dipping sauce known as nước chấm.

The basic ingredients:

2 parts water
1 part sugar
1 part lime/lemon juice. Fresh is best, but bottled juice will work in a pinch.
1 part fish sauce (nước mắm)
Optional additions:
garlic, minced
minced Serrano peppers or
minced small chili peppers or
chili paste
rice vinegar

It best to heat the water and stir in the sugar while the water is hot, then set aside to cool. You get much better combination this way. After things cool down add the citrus juice and the fish sauce and stir together. That’s it. You now have the basic dunking sauce. However, I do not regard the garlic or the rice vinegar as optional. I think the sauce is incomplete without it. My normal would be 1/4 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar, 1/8 cup fish sauce, 1 Tbs rice vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, minced. I’m not a big fan of peppers so mostly I don’t.

Also however – big time. There is no cast in stone way to make this stuff, the proportions and ingredients vary all over the map. If you want more or less of any given ingredient – fine. If you want to add something else or subtract something – also fine. The only constant is that there is fish sauce in there somewhere. And even so there are a million and one different kinds of fish sauce. Mostly the stuff I’m used to is fermented anchovy based, but there are many other variations. Experiment. Enjoy.

Introduction to the Mother Sauces

7 November 09
Spinach bechamel sauce farfalle pasta

Image by HatM via Flickr

No one really knows how long sauces have been used in cooking. Probably since early civilizations figured out how to make cooking vessels – it is hard to make a sauce on a spit. We know that people started writing about sauces during the middle ages.

As usual – where food is concerned – the great French chef Marie-Antoine Carême did the first analytical study of sauces. His system had four basic sauces from which all the rest derived. Carême’s four sauces were: Béchamel, Espagnole, Velouté, and Allemande. By the early 20th century the great Georges Auguste Escoffier added tomato sauces and emulsified sauces. Don’t worry – we will define all of these as we go along.

There are several interpretations of the sauces, even several different groupings. For our uses here are the classifications that we will use:

Espagnole: Brown sauce based on brown stock such as beef. Sauces under this heading would include Bordelaise, Chasseur, Lyonnaise, Madeira, Robert, and many others. That is pronounced Español – just like the name of the Spanish language.

Velouté: White sauces that are made with white stock such as chicken, fish, or veal and roux. Sauces under this grouping are Allemande, Ravigote, Suprème, and many more.

Béchamel – Named after the inventor Louis de Béchamel the steward of Louis XIV. These sauces are made with milk and pale roux. Common sauces in this group include Crème, Mornay and Soubise. Modern base Béchamel is somewhat simpler than the original.

Red sauces: Usually tomato based. Spaghetti sauces and Marinara sauces are included in this group.

Emulsions: The ever-wonderful Hollandaise and Mayonnaise are in this group. Emulsions are the blending of two immiscible (unblendable) liquids. Oil/water emulsions are quite common. There are two basic type of emulsion: oil-in-water and water-in-oil. Butter is a water-in-oil – the fat surrounds droplets of water. Milk and cream are just the reverse: oil-in-water where water surrounds droplets of fat. Kitchen chemistry for real.

After you fiddle with sauces for a while you come to realize that most sauces are some kind of liquid base plus something to thicken it up a bit plus some thing(s) for flavor. Shortly thereafter you realize that the liquid is usually what determines which family the sauce belongs to. If you learn to make the mother sauces you have the basic skills to make just about any sauce on earth. Here’s the liquid breakdown for this grouping:

1. Espagnole – brown stock.
2. Velouté – white stock.
3. Béchamel – milk.
4. Red – tomato.
5. Emulsions – fat.

There are many different thickeners used.

1. Roux – pretty much equal flour and fat

a. White – cooked rather short time – white in color – used in Béchamel.
b. Blonde – cooked medium time – blondish in color – used in Velouté.
c. Brown – cooked fairly long time – brown in color – used in Espagnole.

2. Whitewash – a slurry of flour and cold water.
3. Cornstarch – a slurry of cornstarch and cold water.
4. Liason – egg yolks. Do not add until tempered.

Tempering egg yolks. Well, let see – you’ve got a really hot (as in warm – not spicy) sauce going. If you just dump in the yolks, they will cook before they mix. So what you do is add small amounts of the really hot sauce base to the egg yolks a bit at a time and mix like crazy until the eggs are blended in and brought up to temperature. Then you dump the mix back into the hot sauce and stir it in. Good blend and no mess and no lumping.

Flavorings: Kinda’ sorta’ you name it and it has probably been used in one or more sauces. Flavorings frequently begin with the base liquid and may also add changes of consistency as well as flavor.

Common techniques in making sauces will frequently involve reducing the liquid by boiling off a considerable amount of the water content, which will concentrate the flavor left.

In the spices the most commonly misused is probably salt. Salt should be added last and only after tasting. The common stocks purchased already have salt in them and it is therefore quite easy to over salt, especially if the stock is reduced and concentrated. If you can get low salt or salt free stock do so. Even better – if you have the energy (I don’t) make your own stock.

A common characteristic of good sauces is that they usually involve a great deal of mixing and whisking. Most will lump up or not begin to combine if not stirred pretty constantly. Another characteristic is the careful control of temperature required by so many of the good sauces. Holding things just shy of a boil will take a bit of practice. Works best on a gas stove. On an electric you may have to move the pan off and on the burner to maintain correct temperature. The advent of the gas stove and the electric mixing appliance has really simplified the making of sauces. However – do remember that most of the world’s great sauces were developed and perfected with wood stoves and elbow grease.

A note on groupings: Julia Child groups them as White (Velouté and Béchamel) and Brown. She then groups Tomato, Egg Yolk and Butter Sauces together as the Hollandaise family. And finally the dressing or oil and vinegar group. She also adds flavored butters as a group. While I am nowhere near Julia as an expert I tend to go with the grouping I outlined.

Roux is the basis for many sauce’s thickening agent. It can be made from standard all-purpose flour and butter or just about any other fat desired. Start by melting butter (or heating fat) in a good saucepan, then add an equal amount of flour and stir constantly. When the mix is smooth and bubbly – usually 1 to 2 minutes – then you have a basic white roux.

There are different thicknesses recognized:

1. Thin – 1 Tbs flour per cup of liquid.
2. Medium – 1-1/2 Tbs flour per cup (probably the most common)
3. Thick – 2 Tbs flour per cup
4. Ridiculous – 3 Tbs flour per cup (Soufflés and the like)

Sauce Béchamel – make a basic white roux. When it is to the smooth and bubbly stage remove from the heat and when it stops bubbling pour in the required amount of boiling milk. You can add a pinch of salt at this point. Whisk the roux and milk together enthusiastically until all roux is incorporated. Return to the heat and boil and whisk for about a minute. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Did you notice the boiling milk? For most sauces you do not want to add something cold to something hot – this can really gum up the works. Pay attention to temperature.

Sauce Velouté – same as above but use a white stock instead of milk.

Milk or cream = Béchamel. Stock = Velouté. Now you see why Julia lumped them together. If you add cheese to Béchamel it becomes Mornay. If you add cream to Béchamel it becomes Sauce Crème. If you add cream to Velouté it becomes Sauce Suprème. All the other snazzy/fancy sauces in this group are simply additions or variations on these basics. Not to oversimplify, since there can be a great deal of stirring, careful heat control, and/or reduction of one or more ingredients before you get to the final product. But – if you conquer these basics and understand what you are doing you can deal with any variation with relative ease.

You should not have a whole lot of lumpy problems if the liquid is hot when it is added (and the roux is hot). If it does lump up you can force it through a strainer and then boil for a few minutes stirring like mad. So sayeth many authorities. I dunno’. If mine is lumpy it is easier to toss and redo. Suit yourself. If you got it too thin, then reduce it by simmering and stirring for a few minutes. If too thick add a bit more of the base liquid and stir it in. (Notice how many times the word stir is used in this discussion?)

The Brown sauces are harder in terms of number of ingredients and length of cooking time. But there is nowhere near the amount of constant stirring. Here is the basic brown sauce that is the mother of almost all brown sauces:

1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 Tbs clarified butter
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
6 cups brown stock
1/4 cup tomato purée
Bouquet Garni:

1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 fresh parsley stems

In an iron skillet or other heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat until it is frothy. Add the veggies and sauté until lightly browned. Stir the flour in a bit at a time until fully mixed and makes a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes until it becomes brown – but not burned. This only takes a few minutes. By the way – this particular mix of veggies is considered something almost mystical by most of the great chefs. In English this mix is known as the Trinity. In French they call it Mirepoix (“Meer-pwah”). Either way it means onions, carrots, celery in a 2-1-1 proportion.

Whisk in the stock and the tomato puree, whisking firmly. Bring up to a boil, add the bouquet garni and simmer for about 45 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly so as not to burn.

Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Strain through a sieve and cheesecloth. This will make about a quart of Espagnole sauce, which is pretty good over red meat and such. Mostly this will be the base for many other wonderful sauces. You can refrigerate for a while and be fine.

Notice that this wasn’t all that hard – congrats – you are halfway through the mother sauces.

Red – tomato based sauces. Aw- c’mon, you’ve made spaghetti sauce at some point in your cooking. If you count the dressings in this class – throw together some decent oil. Olive oil is good, but extra virgin may or may not have enough flavor for you. Try some EVOO and some regular olive oil in similar dressings and see which you prefer. Anyway – oil, vinegar (preferably wine vinegar), salt, pepper, and other spices of choice and you have a basic dressing. Best made fresh at the table or just before serving.

Now the fun stuff – emulsions! I’ve already written up mayonnaise – the hard way, the easy way, and the embarrassingly easy way. Actually I’ve written about Hollandaise also, but I’ll recap that one for you:

3 egg yolks
1 Tbs hot water (optional – I usually don’t)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and hot
Salt and white pepper to taste

Put everything except the butter into a blender. Blend for 1 minute on the lowest speed. With the blender running, dribble the hot butter through the open hole of the blender lid. Use a funnel if you are making a mess with the butter through the hole routine. Season to taste with salt and white pepper and keep warm.

There you have it: the basic mother sauces. If you learn these then every other sauce that you are likely to need will be simple (and probably based on one of these!)

Oh yeah – allemande. Well – that’s actually a Velouté derivative that is thickened with egg yolk, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Allemande was known as German sauce because of the color. Escoffier renamed it when it declined in popularity at the beginning of WWI to sauce blonde. Anything German wasn’t exactly popular at that time – even if only named that. It is usually called Sauce Parisienne nowadays. And it is not really a mother sauce – it is a derivative.

Mayonnaise the Easy Way

21 September 09

Now that you have seen the original energetic way to make mayonnaise and have discovered the full flavor of the real stuff, you may wish there were an easier way. There is (are). The first method requires a food processor, which I suppose that most people have nowadays. This is pretty easy in that the processor does all the elbow work, but it is still a drop at a time method.

1 large egg
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice or wine vinegar
1-1/4 cups oil

If you have an emulsifying disk – use it – it works much better. Otherwise use the normal chopping blade. Then add the egg, mustard, cayenne, sugar and vinegar and blend until smooth. Now, you still need to add the oil SLOWLY! So – with the motor running, slowly dribble in the oil. The mixture will become thick and creamy. You may want to scrape down the processor side and mix again once or twice. You can stop blending when you have gotten to mayonnaise thickness. Keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. This uses the whole egg and does not get as nicely stiff as the yolk only recipes.

Now – the best possible way. You need two things: first – one of those handy stick-type blenders – you know the type – the blade is on the bottom of a fairly long stick. Also called an immersion blender by the technically correct. The second thing you need is a jar that is tall and not much wider than the bell of your blender. It so happens that a standard dill pickle jar works nicely for me. Oh, yeah. It should also be large enough to hold all the mayo for that session plus some extra room.

4 egg yolks
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
2-1/8 cups sunflower oil or safflower oil
1 Tbs lemon juice

Put the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in the jar. Mix them together until smooth. Turn off the blender but leave it in the jar. Gently pour in the oil – all of it. You will notice that the oil sits on top of the egg yolk mixture, and that’s the secret. With the bell at the bottom of the jar, turn on the blender and slowly draw it up to the top of the oil. As you will have noticed, when you draw the blender up you keep blending only the small amount of oil that is at the border of the emulsified liquid. Pretty slick. You will probably need to keep the blender running and move it up and down and around a bit until all the oil is blended in and the more you beat it the stiffer the mix will get. You will get up to full mayo stiffness in a very short time. At this point add in the lemon juice and blend it in.

Take a taste and adjust your seasonings as you like. There is only one problem with this method: it is so easy that you may be ashamed to let anyone see you do it. After all – mayonnaise is supposed to be one of those things that only real cooks do. Oh yeah – since you should have mixed the stuff in the container that you are going to store it in there is much less waste since you don’t have to transfer the goodie – and one less mess to wash. Just scrape of the blender, cap the jar, and stuff it in the fridge. Too easy – way too easy.

Now then – you can add other things in as you see fit. Crush a clove of garlic and dump it in – wonderful. Add a bit of sugar – either white or powdered – for that sweet flavor that commercial mayo has. Try different mustards and more or less mustard for different kicks. French mayo has mustard – non-French has none – simple. Try cayenne pepper. Now the other thing to notice is that all the mayo recipes differ slightly in ingredients and/or proportions. That is fine. You need 3 things: egg, oil, and acid. Which ones you use and which other things you add will determine flavor. The essential method is: beat the devil out of the eggs as you add in the oil slowly. This forces an emulsion to take place. That is mayo.

Here are some variations:

Remoulade: chop up a hardboiled egg, some capers, parsley. Blend in & add a little more lemon juice to taste.

Aioli: Add 4 cloves minced garlic. Mediterranean sauce used with fish, veggies and such.

Add some sour cream, sweet cream, or yoghurt.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the herb of choice.

Add more mustard and some brown sugar and dill to taste.

Dream up your own variation(s).

Finally – use any of the mayo recipes with any of the methods – and enjoy superior flavor.

This stuff will keep for a week in a cold refrigerator.

{{Herself Sez: I keep our “upstairs” refrigerator at about 33 – 34 degrees – colder than most. Things tend to keep longer at this temp than at the “normal” temp of about 38 degrees. Problem is, occasionally it drops a degree or so, and some things freeze. Usually not a problem. Even the eggs will be ok if you plan to scramble them or beat them up in a recipe. But you can’t separate them and make the whites “work” for meringue. The lettuce, however, has to be tossed! O Well!!}}

Mayonnaise – The Real Thing

11 September 09

Or – How to get some exercise.

This is the second great classic sauce that every cook should be able to hammer out with little or no effort. I’ve already covered Hollandaise (see Eggs Benedict), so this bit on mayonnaise completes the Allemande (emulsion of lemon and egg yolk) class of the mother sauces of Escoffier. One of these days I’ll gather them all together in one place.

There are all kinds of stories about how mayonnaise came about and was named. I suspect that anywhere quality oil and eggs were available someone figured out how to emulsify the oil into the egg yolk. The name seems to be French in origin.

For those who are used to modern mayo from the jar this stuff is a bit of a shock. It actually has real flavor – and lots of it. It is also about 10 minutes of work – guaranteed to work your arm and give you a bit of cardio-vascular workout.

3 egg yolks
1 Tbs acid: wine vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp dry mustard – up to ½ tsp by taste for French style (optional)
2 cups corn or safflower oil or NON-Virgin olive oil
2 Tbs boiling water

Make sure the mixing bowl is big enough for lots of elbow action. Also make sure the whisk is comfortable to use.

You want ingredients room temperature: 70°F or so. So don’t take stuff right out of the refrigerator and expect good results. If the eggs are cold you may heat up the mixing bowl with lots of hot water – just not hot enough to cook the yolks. It also helps to separate the yolks by hand, which will help warm them up. If your oil is cold, warm it up – but then, why should your oil be cold?

Whisk the egg yolks for a few seconds until they start to thicken a bit.

Add the acid – whether lemon juice or wine vinegar – and salt. Bit of discussion here: adding mustard is French, most others don’t. The mustard not only adds flavor but also helps to stabilize the mixture – your choice. Anyway – continue whisking while you add this stuff and beat for about another 30 seconds to a minute.

Take a deep breath. Shake your arms and get some blood into them. Relax. From here you cannot stop whisking for the next 5 to 8 minutes or so.

You do not have to whisk particularly fast – just steady – without stopping. You can switch hands or change directions – just don’t stop. Use a teaspoon and dribble the oil in a drop at a time while whisking steadily. When about half of the oil is in you can take a deep breath and take a SHORT pause. Then start adding from the measuring cup, about a teaspoonful at a time – whisking steadily. If at any time you see the mix looking oily stop adding oil and continue whisking until all has been absorbed. Usually it works out that about every 2 or 3 teaspoons of oil you will need to stir for a few extra seconds to get proper absorption. At no time let the mix get oily and loose.

When you get about ½ the oil worked in the danger of failure is pretty much over.

If you don’t get enough volume before the mix stiffens up too much to add more, then you can dribble in a few more drops of the acid, then go back to adding oil.

Add the boiling water, which will help the final consistency. Correct the seasoning to taste.

You can decant into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for a few days. This is NOT commercial stuff with all the preservatives, etc. Therefore don’t think that you can ignore it in the fridge for more than a very few days.

Yes – you can make this in a blender on the lowest speed. Yes – you can use olive oil but it must NOT be extra virgin. Olive oil works and tastes very nice, but corn oil is a whole bunch easier to work with and tastes very, very good.

{{HERSELF SEZ: There is nothing – absolutely nothing – like homemade mayonnaise! This version is similar to other versions of homemade mayo that I’ve had or made – it’s a little “runnier” than the commercial kind. Doesn’t seem to be anything to do with this recipe to make it a thicker consistency. But I can easily get used to a runnier mayo for the taste!! Yum!}}

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