Friday, July 22, 2011

The 5 Sauces You Should Know By Heart

They aren't all exactly sauces, but I couldn't come up with another word to categorize, sauces, marinades and the sort. But let me tell you, these five recipes will become your go-to basics that will happily dress up most of your dishes. Most of the ingredients in these are probably in your pantry already. So if you are drawing a blank on how to make tonight's dinner a little different, think of these.


I'm sure most of you recognize this one. But most of you are probably using parsley instead. The parsley version has been one of my basics ever since I learned how to cook but in the past few months I have replaced the old standby with sage. The sage still gives you the lemony flavor that parsley would but it adds an incredible floral note that only sage can do. You will definitely taste the difference. 
The ingredients in this fresh and crisp tasting dressing remind me of a group of best friends. They know each other so well, and enhance each others greatest assets creating a beautiful and balanced flavor. This sauce works wonders with fish, and grilled vegetables. And it could be a great salad dressing as well, if you want something simpler than the now modern and fussy salad toppers. Take advantage of the lemon by using it's zest as well as the juice to give it more punch. And don't forget to season with salt and pepper. 

This robust marinade has lots of depth and plays positively to your sweet and savory notes. At first you might think, that each of these ingredients are too individually strong on their own to work well together. But actually they each have very different roles. And surprisingly somehow when you taste this on roast chicken or slow cooking meat, you will be able to taste all of the flavors in layers. While the balsamic vinegar is the anchor here, adding gorgeous depth, the honey sweetens, the garlic contributes a zing of spice, the paprika infuses an earthy smokiness, and the rosemary brightens everything up with its naturally lemony flavors. The soy sauce replaces salt and also mixes in its own nutty characteristic. This is probably one of my favorite marinades because it is so lavish that your guests will think you went to culinary school in Italy but it is so very simple to throw together, making any last minute dinner party a snap! I love this most on roast chicken but I've mixed this up into a great bread dipper, added with some nice coarsely ground black pepper. Don't try it on fish, as it may be very overpowering. But feel free to massage it over a nice roast and let it cook slowly for hours. It will absorb all of the flavors while adding the magical taste of roast meat. Yum.


Getting bored of basil pesto? How about sun dried tomato pesto. You can probably guess that I despise ready pestos. The whole beauty of a pesto are the fresh ingredients you grind up yourself! Now I know pesto can be an expensive thing to make. So this is the perfect less pricey version. Buying a jar of sun dried tomatoes is cheaper than buying a few bunches of fresh basil. After all, one bunch of basil will make a mere half a cup of pesto. So all you need for this version is a few leaves. Another price cutter I have used here are the walnuts. You will get all the rich nutty flavor of the original pine nut but for a fraction of the cost. In my opinion sun dried tomato pesto packs much more flavor than the basil version. Don't get me wrong, I love pesto, but I also love sun dried tomatoes. The sun mysteriously adds such intense and concentrated flavors that dance in your mouth. Use this pesto in your lasagna with goat cheese instead of mozzarella. You wont believe how delicious it is! And if you have any leftovers, it makes a mean gourmet sandwich spread. And of course, pesto was made for pasta. Try it on linguine or farfalle. 

Ginger has amazing health benefits but what I love most about it here, is that it makes fireworks when matched up with the fresh and fruity flavors of citrus. Sometimes I use only the orange, or only the lemon, but when I want to add just an extra dose of fancy, I use all three. And it's heavenly. The honey rounds out all the eager gusto of the ginger, citrus and garlic and creates an illuminating golden color when baked on chicken. But pour this on fish like salmon and trout and you have got yourself a fantastic and healthy dinner. Salads will love this too. Use a softer lettuce like bib or spinach for a new and nutritious lunch buddy!

I love aiolis. Mainly because I love mayo. That's right I said it. I loooveee mayo! And paired with divine Dijon mustard, lemon and garlic and it kicks your basic aioli up a notch. Originally I substituted this recipe when I decided I could no longer take the cheesy flavors of the original Cesar salad dressing. It's so good and tangy on icy crisp lettuce and croutons, that you will never turn back! But use this on salmon for a bright and creamy palate pleaser. And why not give your sandwiches a new best friend with this updated mayo spread? Trust me, it's perfect!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff! I'm deffinetly trying Them all.
    I love how you describe the tastes, it makes me wanna make dinner ;)