New York Style Cheesecake

CheesecakeSo the last stop that Phileas Fogg and Passepartout made before returning to London, and completing their circumnavigation of the globe was in New York, New York, in the good ol’ US of A. So what could be a sweeter way to finish than with dessert? New York? Dessert? Hello cheesecake! New York–style cheesecake relies upon heavy cream or sour cream in addition to the cream cheese, and has a dense, smooth, and creamy consistency. Interesting note, the sour cream makes the cheesecake more resilient to freezing and is the method by which most frozen cheesecakes are made. Today’s recipe will give you a very basic cake, but I’ve added two sauces to choose from for toppings! Not in the mood to make a topping from scratch? You can always use your favourite flavour of pie filling! A dollop of any flavour will do ya! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, particularly up the sides of the pan. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

In a large bowl, using an electric beater, mix the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. By hand, blend in the milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Overmixing can affect the texture of the cake, so just mix by hand until combined. Pour filling into prepared crust.

You will be baking the cake in a water bath, to ensure even cooking. Take a large baking dish that will fit your springform pan inside of it, and is at least an inch and a half deep. Place the filled springform pan in your baking dish, and then fill the dish with hot water, so that the water comes up about 1 inch from the base of the springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn the oven off, and let the cake cool in the oven with the door closed for at least 3 hours, but more like 5-6. This will prevent cracking along the surface of the cake. Once the cake has sat, chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can enjoy this as is or with one of the toppings below.

Strawberry SauceStrawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

2 pints fresh strawberries*
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest**

* Click here to learn how to clean strawberries.
** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.

Directions:

Combine berries, sugar, water and zest and cook until berries are soft and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve.

Blueberry SauceBlueberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups water
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons orange zest**
1 ½ cups blueberries, picked over and rinsed*
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

* Click here to learn how to clean blueberries.
** Click here for my tips on zesting oranges.

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat stir together the sugar, cornstarch, water, orange juice, and orange zest. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the blueberries and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the berries have burst, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool before pouring over the cheesecake.

Dim Sum (Scallion Pancakes, Chinese Potstickers & Dipping Sauce)

So Hong Kong is known for it’s famous Dim Sum services, a unique style of buffet like eating, but where the food comes to you, rather than you to it! Like the Spanish Tapas, Dim Sum is a style of Cantonese dumpling prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. During a Dim Sum service, carts are wheeled around the restaurant filled with little bamboo steam baskets, each containing a new and wonderful dish. All in all, there may be dozens of different types of dishes served, on carts pushed by wait staff around the restaurant for diners to choose from. For today’s entry, I’ve chosen two dishes, a Scallion Pancake and a Vegetarian Potsticker, along with a dipping sauce that would go great with either. These recipes will serve 4-6 people, as part of a larger meal. I hope you enjoy!

Scallion Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup self-rising flour
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or sesame oil
2 scallions/green onions, washed and thinly sliced*
a bit of oil to brush on pancakes
a bit of salt to sprinkle on pancakes during frying

* Click here to learn how to clean scallions/green onions.

Directions:

Combine the flours in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil/sesame oil. Pour in half the boiling water into the flour and begin stirring immediately, then use your hands to combine into a dough. Add the remaining boiling water as needed. Cover the dough and let it rest for 2 hours.

While the dough is resting, wash and dice the spring onions. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead briefly, then cut into thirds and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Roll each of the three sections of dough out into a flat piece approximately ½ cm or ¼ inch thick. Brush the pancake with a bit of oil, and sprinkle with spring onion pieces. Roll up the pancake and cut into 7 – 8 pieces. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each piece. Stack the flattened pieces on top of each other, and then roll out again, to make one whole pancake again. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet. Shallow fry the pancakes until both sides are golden brown, being sure to sprinkle with a bit of salt during frying.

While cooking, press down on the centre with a spatula to make sure the pancake cooks. Serve whole or cut into wedges. Serve plain or with soy sauce or another dipping sauce if desired.

PotstickersChinese Potstickers

Ingredients:

½ pound firm tofu
½ cup finely shredded carrot
½ cup finely chopped bok choy*
¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts
¼ cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
¼ cup finely chopped garlic chives*
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers (in a pinch, wonton wrappers will suffice)
2 tablespoons oil for frying the dumplings

* Click here to learn how to clean bok choy and chives.

Directions:

Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings (except the wrappers and the oil used for frying).

Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier).

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok. When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add ½ cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve the potstickers with the burnt side on top, with potsticker dipping sauce or soy sauce mixed with minced ginger for dipping.

Dipping SaucePot Sticker Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
1-2 small chilies, finely sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced or grated
2 green onions/scallions, sliced thin*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients. For best results, prepare ahead of time to allow the flavors to blend. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Use within 3 to 4 days). Serve with potstickers.

English Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce

Fish and ChipsA classic English dish is Fish and Chips, served with a side of Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce. The trick to this dish is making sure that the oil is HOT! As for the peas, it may sound strange, but it’s savoury flavoured peas, that have been mushed or mashed, hence the name! This dish will serve 6 and the tartar sauce recipe will make about a cup of sauce. I suggest serving this with wedges of fresh lemon and malt vinegar!

Ingredients:

6 cod fish fillets or 6 haddock fillets
2 ¼ cups flour, plus more for dredging
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
12 oz. beer (preferably a dark stout)*
1 lemon, juiced
salt & pepper
6 large russet potatoes, peeled & cut into chips
good quality cooking fat or oil

For Peas:
3 cups frozen green peas
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Tartar Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder

* Click here for the kosher alcohol list.

Directions:

General tips:

  • Keep whatever you’re frying cold until you’re ready to submerge it. This will help with the frying process, giving you crispness rather than sogginess. I would even suggest resting the bowl of batter in a larger bowl filled with ice, so that it’s kept nice and chilly.
  • Set your oven to 200 degrees to keep the ready pieces of fish and chips warm while you’re preparing the rest.

For Fish & Chips:
Heat oil up in a large pot or deep fat fryer, you’re going to want to get it to about 375 degrees (You can test this with a cooking thermometer). Peel the potatoes and cut into chunky sized chips. Rinse and DRY THOROUGHLY. Water and hot oil are a VERY BAD combination! Fry the chips for about 3 minutes until soft but NOT browned or golden. Drain and shake well and set to one side.

Put some flour onto a plate. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour thoroughly – this is VERY important, it stops the batter sliding off when fried! Leave the fish fillets in the flour whilst you make the batter.

Put flour, baking soda, salt and pepper into a large roomy bowl. Add the beer gradually, stop when you have a thick coating type of batter. Drink any beer that is left! Whisk thoroughly until it is smooth and there are no lumps. Add the lemon juice OR a splash of malt vinegar if desired. Mix thoroughly again.

Adjust deep fat fryer to fish frying temperature of 320-325 degrees for frying the fish. Take one fillet of fish at a time and holding it by the tail or thin end and swirl it around the batter until well coated – plunge into hot fat immediately. As soon as it has crisped up and set, add your other fillets one at a time, taking out the first ones as they cook – about 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness. Place onto a tray and keep warm in the oven.

Once the fish is done turn up the heat setting to 375 degrees again and cook your chips until golden and crisp. Once done, toss your hot chips with salt. Serve on plates or newspaper with salt & vinegar!

For Mushy Peas:
Bring a shallow pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add frozen peas, and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain peas, and transfer back into the pot. Add the cream, butter, salt and pepper to peas, and mash with a potato masher, until the ingredients are blended, but still thick with small pieces of peas. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.

For Tartar Sauce:
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and the onion and garlic powders. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Israeli Couscous Salad

Couscous SaladSo I first had a version of this salad at a bridal shower for my sister-in-law. The woman who made it was one of my favourite Rebbitzens growing up, Mrs. Dassi Smolarcik. Subsequently, she and her family moved to Miami, (my Rebbitzen, not my sister-in-law…. my s-i-l moved to Savannah!), but what is Canada’s loss is Florida’s gain. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, but I’m sure Mrs. Smo will forgive me. I suggest making this for your next meal, dairy or meat, where you’d like a nice, light salad in the mix. This recipe will serve 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups uncooked Israeli couscous
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4-5 radishes, sliced thin*
4-5 green onions, sliced thin*
1 can of corn kernels, drained
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped fine*
½ bunch fresh dill, chopped fine*

Dressing:

½ cup oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper (more or less to taste)

* Click here to learn how to clean these herbs and vegetables.

Instructions:

Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the package. Drain, and set aside to cool. Combine the cooled couscous, along with the prepared vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Prepare the dressing in a small container and combine well, tasting for flavour. Once you are happy with it, pour it over the couscous salad and mix well to combine. This salad is best if let to sit covered in the refrigerator to marinate, preferably overnight. If you preparing it the day before, you may wish to leave the tomatoes out until about an hour before serving, so they don’t get soft.

Pan-Fried Whiting Fillets with Garlic Kale

Pan-Fried Whiting Fillets with Garlic KaleOkay, so Queen Victoria’s chef may not have made his whiting fillets like I have in the recipe below, but to be honest, it was probably pretty close. I found another recipe from the era and it gives a simple recipe for dusting the fillets and serving them with a Hollandaise sauce. I figure a beurre blanc sauce with garlic kale is a nice modern twist. This recipe will serve 6-8 people. I hope you enjoy it!

Fillets of Whitings FriedIngredients:

Garlic Kale:
2 large bunches (about 500g) kale, stems trimmed*
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes

Whiting Fillets:
⅔ cup olive oil
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
16 (about 1.1 kg) whiting fillets, skin off

Beurre Blanc:
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup white wine vinegar
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra wedges to serve
1 ¾ cup chilled unsalted butter, cubed (just under 4 sticks)
salt and white pepper, to taste

* Click here to learn about cleaning kale.

Directions:

For the beurre blanc, bring wine and vinegar to the boil in a saucepan. Add the shallots, and season with salt and white pepper and season. Reduce heat to low and cook for 6-8 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 3 tablespoons liquid should remain). Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Strain and return to a clean saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds to warm. Reduce heat to low. Add butter, a piece at a time, whisking constantly so it melts before more is added. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Season to taste, set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in a pan of salted boiling water for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Heat butter and extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili, then cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add kale, season and toss to coat. Cook for a further 10 minutes until tender.

To prepare the fillets, in a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Coat the fillets with the seasoned flour, and shake each fillet to remove any extra coating. Cook the fish in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes each side until golden.

To serve, divide the kale and fish among plates, and spoon the beurre blanc over the fish and serve with lemon wedges.

Sauce 5 – Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise SauceHollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a little white pepper or cayenne pepper. In appearance, it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy. The flavor is rich and buttery, with a mild tang added by an acidic component such as lemon juice, yet not so strong as to overpower mildly-flavoured foods. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoon lemon juice (the juice from 1 small lemon)
1 tablespoon cold water
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. Combine the egg yolks and the cold water in a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum) whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice, too. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the eggs for a minute or two, until they’re slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better.

After you’ve added all the butter, whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve hollandaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

Bernaise SauceBéarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise is a rich, buttery, aromatic sauce featuring shallots, tarragon and crushed black peppercorns. It’s one of the most amazing sauces to serve with a grilled steak. If you will be serving this sauce with meat, and you keep kosher, instead of using butter, you should use margarine so that the sauce remains pareve (non-dairy). This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon*
1 tablespoon chopped chervil (or parsley)*
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. In a separate saucepan, heat the vinegar, shallots, peppercorns and half of the tarragon to a simmer and reduce until the mixture is nearly dry (au sec). There should be about two tablespoons of liquid remaining. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum). Add the egg yolks and whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the egg-vinegar mixture for a minute or two, until it is slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter.

As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better. After you’ve added all the butter, strain the sauce into a new bowl, stir in the chervil and the remaining tarragon. Season to taste with lemon juice, Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished béarnaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve béarnaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

* click here to learn how to properly clean tarragon, chervil and parsley.

Chantilly SauceChantilly Sauce

The Chantilly Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding stiffly whipped cream to a basic Hollandaise sauce. Sometimes called Mousseline sauce, it can be served with seafood, vegetables or poultry, or, sweetened, on crepes and other desserts. The Chantilly Sauce can also be made with whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Hollandaise sauce
½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold it into 1 pint Hollandaise sauce. Serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 5

Mother SaucesAhh Hollandaise sauce! My absolute favourite out of the five, if not out of all the sauces out there. Yes, I realize that is a pretty big statement to make, but have you tasted it??? It is just so good! Hollandaise is a wonderfully rich, lemony and buttery sauce that goes with eggs, vegetables and poached fish. The sauce is pretty famous for being a key ingredient in Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine. But what about to accompany artichokes?! That is my absolute favourite way to eat both the sauce and the vegetable. I realize I’m being a little obsessive about this sauce, I mean it’s just a sauce for Pete’s sake, but it is just so good. You know how certain food things just make you happy? For me that would be roasted turkey (the white meat) with cranberry sauce, sashimi, creamy mashed potatoes with rich brown gravy, and you guessed it, artichokes with hollandaise sauce. I know, this isn’t the first time that I will call myself strange in this blog.

As for the history of the sauce, there is debate as to who originally developed it. Some historians believe that it was invented in the Netherlands then taken to France by the Huguenots (what the Protestants of the time where called in a mainly Catholic France). A recipe for hollandaise sauce appears in a Dutch cookbook by Carel Baten, which dates from 1593. In 1651, François Pierre La Varenne describes a sauce similar to hollandaise in his groundbreaking cookbook Le Cuisinier François: “avec du bon beurre frais, un peu de vinaigre, sel et muscade, et un jaune d’œuf pour lier la sauce” (“with good fresh butter, a little vinegar, salt, and nutmeg, and an egg yolk to bind the sauce”). The sauce using egg yolks and butter appeared in the 19th century. Although various sources say it was first known as “sauce Isigny” (a town in Normandy said to have been renowned for the quality of its butter), Isabella Beeton’s Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management has recipes in the first edition (1861) for “Dutch sauce, for fish” and its variant on the following page, “Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte”. Her directions for hollandaise were to “…put all the ingredients, except the lemon-juice, into a stew-pan; set it over the fire, and keep continually stirring. When it is sufficiently thick, take it off, as it should not boil…”

No matter where it orginated, it’s here now, and I for one am grateful. Hollandaise is made by emulsifying butter, lemon juice and egg yolks, and has a few popular small sauces. Here are a couple examples:

• Béarnaise = shallots + tarragon + chervil + peppercorns + white wine vinegar + hollandaise
• Chantilly = whipped heavy cream + hollandaise

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks journey into the mother of all sauces, and their children. Next week? I think things are going to get a little sweet around here.

Sauce 4 – Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce 1This is a traditional tomato sauce that I have adjusted to reflect a kosher kitchen: meaning that the salt pork and ham bone have been removed, and substituted with an equal amount of olive oil and the use of a beef marrow bone. Should you wish to make the sauce pareve, or vegetarian, you can leave out the bone all together. This recipe will make about 4 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups veal or chicken stock
1 beef marrow bone
Kosher salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
8-10 black peppercorns, crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Tie the sachet ingredients into a cheesecloth sack using a piece of kitchen twine. In a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven, bring the olive oil up to temperature. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes, the beef bone (if using), the stock and the sachet. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Simmer in the oven, partially covered, for two hours. Remove from oven. Remove sachet and bone and purée sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season to taste with Kosher salt and a small amount of sugar — just enough to cut the acid edge of the tomatoes. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Creole SauceCreole Sauce

Creole sauce, also referred to as creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Bahamian cuisine and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sautéeing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south and in Bahamas. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe above)
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of 1 lemon*
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, oregano and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with the salt, pepper and cayenne and serve right away.

* click here for my tips on zesting lemons and other citrus.

spanish sauceSpanish Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce with a spanish flair can also be refered to as a sofrito – which in Spanish cuisine, consists of garlic, onion, paprika, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. While there is no paprika in this recipe, the additions of the the mushrooms and olives add a nice earthy and salty kick. This sauce is great on meats and poultry, or even just over pasta. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce (or another hot pepper sauce), to taste
½ cup olives (black or green), sliced

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, Tabasco and olives, then serve right away.

Mother Sauces – Day 4

Mother SaucesSauce tomate is one of the five mother sauces of classical French cooking, as codified by Auguste Escoffier. It consists of salt belly of pork, onions, bay leaves, thyme, tomato purée or fresh tomatoes, roux, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. This sauce resembles the traditional tomato sauce that we might use on pasta and pizza, but it’s got much more flavor and requires a few more steps to make. Obviously in a kosher kitchen, you’re not going to find a salt belly of pork lying around anywhere. To duplicate this flavour profile, I would suggest using something that adds fat, saltiness and if you can, a touch of smoke. So, for the fat, I would suggest some nice olive oil, good quality, but nothing too expensive. For the salt and smoke aspects, you can add extra salt or even some of the smoked salts out there. That would be a nice double whammy. If you want to have it be meat based, you can always add a little smoked deli meat instead. That will get you most of what you need, though you may need a little more fat (oil). If you cook the sauce low and slow, the meat will break up and virtually disappear in the sauce. If you don’t want to go the meat way, you can go the fish one instead! Try adding a filet or two of anchovies right at the beginning when you are sautéeing your onions. The anchovies will disintegrate in the sauce, and it will have that je ne sais quoi or umami taste that people can’t place, but know that they like!

So, if tomato sauce is the mamma, then these two variations are her babies:

  • Creole = onion + celery + garlic + tomato sauce + bay leaf + thyme + green pepper + hot sauce
  • Spanish = creole sauce + mushrooms + olives

There are dozens of other variations out there, in fact, way too many to list (unless this site was devoted to only tomato sauces!) Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of sauce week with my all time favourite sauce: Hollandaise!

Sauce 3 – Espagnole Sauce

Please note that these recipes call for the use of butter and “brown stock” aka beef stock. Kosher regulations would not permit this, as we cannot mix dairy and meat together. The alternatives in this case are to either use margarine in place of the butter or to use imitation beef stock, which is pareve, and is not considered to be meat.

espagnole sauceEspagnole Sauce

In cooking, Espagnole sauce is one of Auguste Escoffier’s five mother sauces that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking. These types of sauces were already gathered in different Spanish cooking handbooks of the late 19th century. Escoffier popularized the recipe, which is still followed today. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups brown stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and sauté for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t let it burn, though. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste or roux. Lower the heat and cook the roux for another five minutes or so, until it’s light brown. Don’t let it burn! The roux will have a slightly nutty aroma at this point.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Bring to a boil, lower heat, add the sachet and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Demi-GlaceDemi-Glace Recipe

Demi-glace (pronounced “demi-GLASS”) is a rich and deeply flavorful sauce that is traditionally served with red meats. Demi-glace is made by reducing a mixture of half basic brown sauce and half brown stock. Demi-glace is also the starting point for many so-called “small sauces” that are derived from the espagnole. For more flavor, you can add a sachet d’epices while reducing the demi-glace, but this is strictly optional. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups brown stock
2 cups brown sauce (espagnole)
——– For Optional Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

Combine the brown sauce and the brown stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer, add the sachet and reduce for about 45 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by half. Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet. Carefully pour the demi-glace through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Bordelaise SauceBordelaise Sauce

Rich and flavorful, it takes just a small drizzle of this bordelaise sauce recipe to perk up a simple, grilled steak or slow-roasted beef. The tangy, savory red wine sauce is also a great accompaniment to roasted potatoes. This recipe will make about 1 ¼ cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

¾ cup dry red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cold butter or margarine

Directions:

Add the red wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to half its original volume. Add the beef stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, again. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce. Continue cooking the bordelaise until it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Use the sauce immediately or, if you are holding the sauce for later, lightly rub the cold butter across the hot surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.

Madeira SauceMadeira Sauce

The Madeira Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding Madeira wine to a basic demi-glace. The Madeira sauce is an excellent accompaniment for roasts and steaks. Making this sauce is easy enough — it’s simply a matter of stirring some Madeira wine and butter into a demi-glace. It’s making the demi-glace itself that’s the time-consuming part. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint demi-glace
¼ cup Madeira wine*
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the demi-glace to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira wine and swirl in the butter. Serve right away.

* If you can’t find kosher Madeira wine, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the ¼ cup called for in this recipe with either 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or about an equal amount of dry red wine or stock.

Mushroom SauceMushroom Sauce

This classic mushroom sauce can be served with all kinds of roasted or grilled meat dishes, including steaks. It’s made with sautéed mushrooms, shallots and just a splash of sherry, and simmered in a basic demi-glace. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry**
2 cups demi-glace
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it’s frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the demi-glace, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry, season to taste with lemon juice and serve right away.

** If you can’t find kosher Sherry, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe with either 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of either orange or pineapple juice.