Blue Cheese Dressing

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 8

I love blue cheese dressing, but not that watery tangy stuff that comes out of a bottle.  In my mind, blue cheese dressing should be thick and full of chunks, and it shouldn’t taste like vinegar.  It should taste like what it is – blue cheese.

This is the kind of thick blue cheese dressing you expect to get on a wedge salad at a steak restaurant.  I like it just as well on a spinach salad or as a dip for veggies.  It doesn’t take long to whip up a batch, but beware that you should let it sit for a few hours before tasting it.  That blue cheese flavor takes a while to infuse through the yogurt and mayo, so plan ahead.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup and low fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients.   Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably overnight, so that flavors have a chance to meld.  (Do not taste it immediately and make adjustments – this dressing MUST sit for a few hours before the flavors truly come together.)

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 7

Maple Cream Cheese Glaze is a sauce.

Yes, it is.

Don’t argue with me.  I make the rules around here.  It’s a sauce.  A creamy, sweet frosting-like sauce that melts all over these delicious cinnamon rolls when they are fresh out of the oven.  The tangy maple flavor is far more complimentary to the sweet potato cinnamon rolls than the weak brown sugar glaze I’ve previously tried with them.  Definitely a win.

And definitely a sauce.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Dough

  • 1 0.25-oz. pkg. active dry yeast
  • 3 ⅓ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅔ cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Directions

1. To make Sweet Potato Dough: Stir yeast into 1/3 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl bowl. (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)

3. Stir sweet potato and oil into 1/3 cup warm water. Stir yeast mixture and sweet potato mixture into flour mixture. Turn dough onto work surface dusted with reserved flour. Gather the edges of dough into center to make a tight ball, and press with heel of hand several times to remove air from dough. Let dough rest 4 to 5 minutes so it will be less sticky when you knead. Flatten dough ball by pushing down and away from you with the heel of your hand (dough will be an oval-shaped blob). Pull and fold far edge back over dough. Turn dough a quarter turn. Repeat. Kneading can take 2 to 10 minutes. Fully kneaded dough will be smooth and won’t stick to your hands.

4. Place dough in oiled bowl; cover. Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

5. To make filling: Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in bowl.

6. Roll dough into 14- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over dough. Starting at long edge, roll up dough. Slice 1 inch off each end; discard. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick 
pieces, and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns 
18 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

8. To make Maple Glaze: Combine ingredients. Spread glaze over warm buns.

Source: Vegetarian Times and The Comfort of Cooking

Scalloped Potatoes with Bechamel Sauce

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 6

Bechamel is one of the five French “Mother Sauces.”  It acts as a base for any milk sauce, and can be easily transformed into a whole host of other sauces.  I’ve always made it as the base for my homemade macaroni and cheese, but since I rarely use a recipe for that dish I have always just guessed at the amounts of butter and flour required to thicken the sauce.  After making a true Bechamel from a recipe, I now know that I’ve been putting far too much flour into my sauce and over-thickening it.  Good to know!

I have a better recipe for scalloped potatoes somewhere, but this one is nice and quick and can be on the table in less than 40 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups skim milk
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced using mandoline
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Directions

1. Melt butter in a medium – heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour. Whisk to combine.

2. Add milk, continue to whisk until mixture comes to to a boil. Add nutmeg, season with salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Stirring frequently, cook until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, approximately 15 minutes.

3. Check for seasoning add more salt if necessary.

4. To assemble: arrange potato slices so that they slightly overlap each other. Season potatoes with salt. Lightly spoon bechamel sauce over potato layer. Continue until all layers are complete. Pour remaining bechamel sauce on top of potatoes. Sprinkle cheese and parsley on top. Season with pepper.

5. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Source: Bellalimento

Herb-Garlic Mayo

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 5

My arm feels like it’s going to fall off.

Homemade mayo requires a lot of whisking, something I tried to outsource to my blender.  Usually the blender is happy to take this task on for me, but after I broke my first batch of mayo (by adding the oil too fast) it went into protest during the second batch.  Back to hand whisking for me.

Good thing homemade mayo is so delicious, or I definitely would have stopped whisking halfway through.  Stay committed though – this herb and garlic infused spread is tasty.  Especially on a veggie burger with provolone and red onion.  yum!

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Directions

Place a large bowl on a folded damp kitchen towel to keep bowl from slipping. Vigorously whisk yolks, vinegar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 1 Tbsp. water in bowl to blend. While whisking continuously, slowly add oil drop by drop to form an emulsion. Continue whisking, slowly adding the remaining oil, until mayonnaise is smooth and creamy. Fold in garlic, chives, parsley, and tarragon. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Source: Bon Appetit

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 4

I don’t actually know the difference between bourbon, whiskey and scotch.  I could be wrong, but aren’t they all essentially the same thing?  Just made in different places and (maybe) aged for different amounts of time?  Friends have tried explaining the nuances to me before, but I just can’t seem to keep that information in my head.  Must not be important.

It is important to know if you like bourbon or not before you decide to make this recipe.  This bread pudding is full of bourbon flavor, and the bourbon sauce just takes it up another notch.  Personally, I like the flavor of bourbon, but it might be a bit too strong in this dessert for my tastes.  Which is probably a good thing, because this dessert is incredibly high in sugar and fat (not something you want to be craving all the time, if you know what I mean.)

Ingredients

For the Bread Pudding:
1 (18 to 20-inch) French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces (10 cups)
1 cup raisins
¾ cup bourbon, divided
8 egg yolks
1½ cups light brown sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

For the Bourbon Sauce:
¼ cup bourbon, divided
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.

2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and ½ cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in in the remaining ¼ cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, mix the granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into the sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove the foil from pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 2 minutes.

7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce (I strongly recommend the bourbon sauce).

8. To Make the Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of bourbon until well combined.

9. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

10. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

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