Monday, 3 December 2012

I'm Feeling Saucy!

So I have had to take a brief food blogging break because I went and got myself some fantastic and jazzy Rihanna nails, which are delightfully fun, but a huge impediment on my typing and cooking. Or anything involving effort on my part really. These are lady of leisure nails.

But I am more used to them now, and yesterday I chopped up an onion with them, so I’m moving forward. Sadly, they did not find me a rich husband in the week I’ve had them, so I’m not a lady of leisure at all and I still find myself having to scrub the bathtub and make myself food.
In other news, last night I had a wonderful evening with my uncle and cousin watching football. My cousin is quite the chef as it turns out; we’ll see if we can get him to do a guest blog for us! He made roast chicken with olive oil, white wine and potatoes. It was delicious and so light, not an overly heavy roast chicken meal. That meal was wonderful, and afterwards we discussed food for quite some time.  He also asked me if I had ever made chimichurri sauce, which inspired today’s blog.
Now, I have not made chimichurri, but I have heard of it, and I have wanted to make it for some time. I found a recipe on, so I may try that recipe. It looks delish, similar to a pesto, but using parsley as a main ingredient instead of basil. I am WILD for pesto sauce, so next time I have myself a steak, I think I will try chimichurri. And then I will let you know how it goes!
Fish being cooked "en papillote" for the leek sauce

Two sauces I am very confident in are a white wine and leek sauce, which I love for fish, and a gorgonzola cheese sauce for beef. We are talking opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of calories probably, but my God they are both just a wonderful addition to any meal.

We’ll start with the lighter sauce, which is possibly a “beurre-blanc” sauce. If anyone would like to pay my tuition to go to Le Cordon Bleu, I will study these things and be much more of an expert on this.

Little packages of fish!

For now, we’ll go with Wikipedia. As it turns out, this sauce is not exactly a beurre-blanc, as it is not emulsified. But I feel confident in saying it is an adaptation on one. All you need are leeks, butter, white wine and some salt and pepper. So simple, and so yummy. And maybe not THAT low on calories, considering there is some hefty butter in the sauce. But anyway, it’s the holidays, so let’s not worry ourselves with that. Start by slicing your leeks. Let me just take a moment to give you a little advice about leeks. They grow in the ground. They are FULL of dirt and sand, always. Secretly, and don’t you tell anyone this, sometimes I don’t wash my produce. Unless there is visible dirt, I just skip it. Even apples.  What doesn’t kill you, right?

I can already hear the lectures I’m going to get about pesticides and germs, so we’ll move on. Just note that leeks really do require you to wash them thoroughly first, unless you want to serve your guests a mouth full of dirt and centipedes. (I’m just kidding, I have never seen an actual centipede in a leek- but I guess I’m feeling a little morbid today.) So wash your leeks, and wash fresh coriander too. That’s always full of the dirt.

This sauce is ready for a friend!
Now, that’s enough of a lecture on filth. Slice your leeks. In a pan, put a large chunk of butter, I’m going to say a two good tablespoons or so. (Don’t worry- it’s not THAT much! It is a sauce after all.) Let that melt and sauté your leeks. Just as they are turning golden, add about a cup of white wine. A nice white wine, because you are going to drink the rest of that bottle with your fish dinner. I learned pretty early on that cooking with cheap wine is a bad idea, because you never use the whole bottle in cooking, and then you drink the rest. Headaches are annoying, so use a wine that is not $7.45, as my first wine bottle for cooking was.
Stir that around and taste it. Add salt and pepper until it tastes great. Spoon on your fish and enjoy!

Now we’ll do the heavier sauce, which is amazing on steak and roast beef. I’m really into this blue cheese/red meat trend, it feels decadent, and with red wine, it’s just the best thing for a chilly December evening. This could be a really nice addition to a New Year’s Eve roast.

Completed fish dinner, and yes that is a fish plate!
Start with dicing 3-4 shallots very finely. Sauté them in some butter (only a little this time) until they are translucent. Add about a cup of cream to your pot. Here’s another tip- don’t boil your cream. Then it gets to be a strange texture. Last time I made this, I thought it was curdled and I had to screech out to my mother that the sauce was ruined. She told me not to be so dramatic and stirred it, and then it turned out just fine. But to avoid that kind of theatre at the dinner hour, just don’t boil your sauce. Once your cream is hot (not boiled and curdled) add half a cup of crumbled gorgonzola. In the same way that you want to use nice wine to cook with, go for a nice cheese. Blue cheese is great, but it does come in the fancy cheese section of Loblaws, so you will have to spend a bit more. It’s okay though, because you aren’t going to eat beef with gorgonzola sauce every single day, unless you are Elvis or King Henry or something.

Stir that sauce well and the cheese because melted in. Add the juice of one lemon to add a little freshness to it. Voila! So easy, so decadent, and so delicious.

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