Super Simple Pizza Sauce

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Year of the Sauce: Week 13

Usually when I make pizza sauce, I start with a can of plain tomato sauce and just add dried herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper until I think it tastes good.  But something told me there might be a better way.

There’s hardly even a recipe for this sauce, it’s that simple.  It’s perfect for summertime pizzas when the toppings are piles of fresh veggies whose flavors you want to let shine.  The sauce adds just enough tomato flavor without overpowering anything.  Quick, easy, delicious.

Ingredients

1 can whole tomatoes, drained

Olive oil

Salt

Directions

In a food processor or blender, blend tomatoes with a swirl of olive oil and salt to taste.

Source:  New York Times

Eggs Florentine with Smoky Mornay Sauce & Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 11 & 12

It was a brunch without photos.  A couple of friends, a couple of sauces, and zero evidence.  Plates were practically licked clean.  There may be no photos to prove it, but I’d call that two successful sauces.

The mornay sauce keeps well in the fridge for a few days if you want to add some flavor to your weekday breakfasts.  The blueberry sauce is excellent accompanied with homemade granola on top of your favorite pancake recipe.  Serve them together and you’ll have some very happy brunch guests.

Eggs Florentine with Smoky Mornay Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
10 ounces baby spinach
4 large eggs
2 English muffins, split and toasted
Snipped chives, for garnish

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and simmer, whisking, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, until no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Gruyère and pimentón. Season the Mornay sauce with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook over moderately high heat, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large, deep skillet of water to a simmer. Crack the eggs into the skillet and simmer over moderately low heat until the whites are set and the yolks are runny, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached eggs to a plate; blot dry with paper towels.
Arrange 2 English muffin halves on each plate. Mound the spinach on the English muffins and top with the poached eggs. Spoon the Mornay sauce over the eggs and garnish with the chives. Serve right away.

Source: Food and Wine

Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients

2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons corn starch

Directions

Cook blueberries, agave or honey, water, and corn starch on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve warm over pancakes.  Garnish with fresh granola if available.

Source:  Two Peas and Their Pod

Tzatziki

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 10

When we spent a month living in Crete, we ate a boatload of tzatziki.  Spread on sandwiches, as a dip for veggies, smeared on chunks of pita…I think we ate it every day.  I always bought the pre-made stuff at the small local grocery store, which was excellent, but somehow I doubt the stuff they sell in the US will be the same quality.  So I thought I’d make my own to eat with all the fresh veggies that are coming into season.

This sauce is super easy to make, but in the future I’d probably grate the cucumber rather than chop it.  That’s how it was done in Greece, and it seemed to have a better texture.  Also, go easy on the kosher salt if you drain the cucumber.  It adds quite a bit of salty flavor to the end product, so you don’t want to go overboard.

Ingredients

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into large chunks
1½ teaspoons kosher salt (for draining cucumber)
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 small clove garlic, grated
4½ teaspoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Directions

1. Place the cucumber in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Let sit and drain for 30 minutes. Dry thoroughly with paper towels, then chop very finely.

2. Combine the finely chopped cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and dill. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.

Source:  Brown Eyed Baker

Roasted Asparagus with Bearnaise Sauce

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Year of the Sauce:  Week 9

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve made a sauce.  I’m behind.  First trimester will do that to you.  Now that I’m safely back in the camp of people who can eat foods other than Cheerios and macaroni and cheese, I’m back to making sauces.

Bearnaise is like a sibling to Hollandaise – same base of butter and egg yolks but with a little more flavor.  It’s delicious on asparagus, and probably many other things.  This recipe makes a large batch, so I’m sure I’ll be eating it on several other things in the next couple of days.

Ingredients

1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves (4 sprigs), finely chopped, divided

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed 1/2″
2 tbsp cooking fat (lard, duck fat, olive oil, ghee)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3 egg yolks
1 stick butter (or 8 tbsp ghee), cut into 8 pieces
salt to taste

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 450F. In a small saucepan, combine the shallot, vinegar, wine, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of the tarragon. Bring to a boil on med-high heat and simmer until reduced to approximately 2 tbsp of liquid, about 4 minutes. Strain the liquid into a metal bowl (or a double boiler insert if you have one) and set aside, discarding the solids. This reduction will be your Béarnaise sauce base (similar to lemon juice’s function when making Hollandaise sauce).

2. Wash and trim the asparagus, then arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with your favorite cooking fat (I prefer lard) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until softened, about 10 minutes.

3. As the asparagus is cooking, let’s finish your Béarnaise sauce using a double-boiler setup. Bring some water to simmer in a saucepan, then place the metal bowl (the one with the Béarnaise sauce base) over the saucepan. You want the bowl to rest on the edges of the saucepan, suspended above the water but not touching it. This will allow you to gently heat the sauce and prevent the egg yolks and butter from separating.

4. Place the metal bowl over the gently simmering water and whisk the egg yolks into the Béarnaise sauce base. Whisk constantly as the yolks slightly thicken but before they solidify, about 20 seconds, then add a piece of butter, continuing to whisk constantly. As the piece of butter is just about melted, add the next piece of butter, and repeat until all of the butter is incorporated. Alternatively, you can use melted butter or ghee, adding in 1/8 of it at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, whisk in the remaining tarragon and salt to taste; you should be able to leave it in the double boiler for a couple minutes (stirring often) as you wait for the asparagus to finish, but with any luck it’ll finish at the same time as your veggies.

5. Once the asparagus is done roasting, place it in a serving dish and pour the sauce over it. Serve immediately.

Source:  The Domestic Man

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

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