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Cranberry and apricot sauce

Something a little different that goes so well with turkey, pork or ham

Makes 2 1/4 cups

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil.
Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add the cranberries, apricots, sugar, vinegar and 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring, until the cranberries start to burst; 5 minutes.
Mash some of the cranberries and cook, stirring, until the chutney thickens, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice: season with salt and pepper.
Let cool before serving


Tonnato sauce

This is one of the loveliest cold sauces to put over thin slices of cold chicken, turkey, veal or roasted red peppers. The lovely tuna flavor with the capers is really special and it’s very silky.

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Sea salt
2 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 7oz can good quality tuna packed in oil
5 anchovy fillets
3 tbsp capers, drained

For garnish
extra capers, thin slices lemon, pitted black olives, parsley leaves or anchovy fillets.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 tsp salt until pale yellow and the consistency of cream.
Beginning a drop at a time, add 1 1/4 cups olive oil, whisking continually.
As the mixture thickens, you can add the oil a little quicker. When it gets quite thick, whisk in 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Continue adding the oil until the whole 1 1/4 cups has been absorbed and the mayonnaise is quite thick and shiny.
Whisk in another tbsp of lemon juice.

Drain the tuna and put it in a food processor with the anchovies, remaining cup of olive oil, remaining lemon juice and capers.
Process until you get a creamy uniformly blended sauce.
Scrape the sauce into a bowl with the mayonnaise and fold to combine.
Taste for seasoning. It should be tangy and highly seasoned.
Refrigerate until needed


Best Caesar Salad dressing

This recipe is great as it par-cooks the egg for those who are worried about salmonella!

Serves 4 to 6

1 large egg
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tsp anchovy paste to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Immerse the egg in a small pan of boiling water. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it for 10 minutes.
Remove the egg from the water and let it cool for 10 more minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. While the motor is running, add the lemon juice, anchovy paste and pepper and process to combine.
Crack the egg, then spoon it out of the shell into the food processor feed tube.
Pulse the egg with the other ingredients until combined.
Add the oil in a small steady stream until emulsified.
Whisk in 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
Taste for seasoning, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the salad.

Remaining ingredients of a caesar salad 

Chopped Romaine lettuce
Grated parmesan cheese


Two delicious Asian fusion sauces for fish, chicken or pasta

Chilli-lime cream sauce

This sauce is terrific with either grilled fish or pasta. Thanks to Bon Appetite magazine back in 2005.
Makes about 2/3 cup

1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp *chili-garlic sauce
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan.
Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes or so.
Add the cream and boil until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, mix in the chili-garlic sauce. Add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking just until melted before adding the next piece. Warm through without boiling and serve.

* Chili-garlic sauce is available in the Asian section of the supermarket or at Asian supermarkets

Coconut-Curry Butter Sauce

A mixture of South Indian and Asian fusion flavors. Lovely with salmon.

3/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Premium unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp Indian curry powder
2 bay leaves
3 -4 whole cloves
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, but keep chilled
Kosher salt to taste

In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the sauce except for the butter and salt.
Bring to a light boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce reduces to 1/2 cup.
Turn the heat down to low, then whisk in the butter until it is incorporated into the sauce.
DO NOT let the sauce boil at this point or it will curdle horribly!
Season to taste and serve

Pesto a la Arriabiata sauce

We are going out for dinner tonight to some vegetarian friends and I didn’t just want to take wine, so was wondering what I could make with whatever I had in the house that only took 30 minutes.
Looking outside on the table, I noticed the three full basil plants we bought at Trader Joes.
“Ahh, pesto sauce”, I thought, “but how could I make it different”?

My husband came into the kitchen while I was throwing stuff into the processor and after I made it, pronounced it “lovely” so that was the seal I needed.

1 whole (full-leaved) Trader Joes basil plant stripped completely and the leaves washed and spun in the salad spinner.
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmegiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp drained capers
1/2 heaped cup pitted kalamata olives
6 sun dried tomatoes (in oil)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 lemon, juice only

(cream added can make it more luxurious!)

Start by putting all the basil into a food processor and turn it on. Through the tube in the top, put the garlic, chilli flakes, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, capers,sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon juice, olives and anything else you may have forgotten.
Puree for a few minutes, then taste and add more seasoning if it needs it.
Pour into a lovely glass jar with a lid and you have a great pasta sauce, or a base for crunchy, toasted bruschetta, or a base for many seafood dishes. It’s lovely as a dip for grilled shrimp, a coating on a piece of white fish, or even added to a soup as a dollop in the middle of the bowl just as you serve it, as in “pistou”.

There are endless ways to use it and it lasts a long time, including freezes well.
The Trader Joes basil plants are the most economical way to make pesto based sauces if you don’t grow basil. Unforunately we are having a battle with the garden snails and they claimed this year’s basil!

My special bolognese sauce

Serves about 6
Olive oil and butter
1lb Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled finely
1lb Ground pork
1lb Ground lamb
4oz small cubed pancetta
1 and 1/2 large onions diced finely
3 carrots diced finely
3 sticks celery diced finely
Garlic 3 cloves crushed,
Tomato paste (1/2 a small can)
1 x large jar of (San Marzano) marinara sauce
Whole milk  (1 cup at least)
1 cup Chianti (at least)
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground in mortar
fresh rosemary, chopped fine
salt and pepper

Chop fine all the vegetables and garlic and sauté in large pan of olive oil and butter.
Add the pancetta and ground fennel seeds and stir over moderate heat.
Add the sausage meat from the sausages, removing the casings and crumbling as fine as possible. Stir into vegetables and brown.
Add the pork and lamb and stir over a high heat to brown. Keep it all from sticking together.
Add red wine, milk and tomato paste and stir in Marinara Sauce. Stir well and lower heat and simmer for 1 and ½ hours.
Season and add parmesan cheese and cream if necessary before serving.
Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce and add more on top when serving in the bowls.
The milk is great and acts like cream and tenderizes the meat.