Monday, October 31, 2011

My friends feel that if I should happen to hit PowerBall, I would be on the next plane to Italy. I am afraid they are absolutely correct! I might call my kids to see if anyone else could have their bags packed and be at the airport before the flight left the ground....or maybe I would just call them from Lake Como. My passport is good until  October, 2012, so I must remember to have it updated....
you just never know when PowerBall might hit! I need to be prepared!

There has been sad news from Italy..."Italians open investigation into flooding of Cinque Terre
An investigation has been opened in Italy into whether floods that devastated a World Heritage-listed coastline were the fault of official negligence and illegal building."Sort of sounds like New Orleans, doesn't it?
The headlines have been..."Villages all but wiped out as storms batter Italy's 'Cinque Terre' "  and
"Five people have been killed and another six are missing after storms and torrential rain caused extensive floods in northern Italy."
 Five fishing villages nestled into the steep coastline of the Ligurian Riviera make up the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best way to discover the Cinque Terre is on foot. As you walk along ancient walking trails clinging to the steep cliffs, you are amazed at the terraced vineyards and enjoy the tranquillity of the pine and chestnut forests of the Cinque Terre National Park.

Known as Italy’s “Flower Riviera” the Ligurian Riviera is a delight for all the senses. Waves crash below coastal footpaths, wild flowers and vineyards surround you, the smell of fresh coffee tempts you into local cafes. The five fishing villages of the Cinque Terre have remained almost untouched by modern developments and are an idyllic walking escape. Until the last few days.....

Vernazza,before the mudslides
The 5 villages are Monterosso, Vernazza, Cornilia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Today, Rick Steve's, noted travel expert, reports "Flash flooding, triggered by unusually heavy rain, ripped through Italy's Liguria region and inflicted serious damage on the Cinque Terre towns of Monterosso and Vernazza. In these towns, flooding was accompanied by landslides, filling streets with rocks, mud and debris up to 12 feet deep.
Along Vernazza's main street, the ground floors of buildings are still completely buried, and the harbor is filled with mud and rocks. Several fatalities have been reported, and a few people are still missing."
I have a feeling the people of Cinque Terre will bring their home back to normal as quickly as possible. They have the upcoming winter months to prepare for next springs tourist season. As tough as that job may seem, the Italians are tougher.  During World War II, many young men from the Cinque Terre fought for the resistance against the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, and the subsequent Nazi German occupation of Italy. Not all Italians had that fighting spirit, unfortunately. But the men of Cinque Terre most certainly did.
I certainly hope the smell of the sea rising up the steep cliffs with vineyards clinging to their sides, the aroma of herbs growing wild and the scent of flowers ornamenting the narrow shelves will return. The vineyards and olive groves were everywhere on the hills, let's hope wine and olive oil will be present on the tables once again.. When it is time to go to the table, the fragrance of the typical Pesto sauce, fried fish and anchovies, vegetable casseroles and fish with aromatic fillings is so enticing, all you want to do is enjoy your food
while sitting perched on the terraces overlooking the beautiful seascape of the famous Gulf of Levanto, La Spezia and Portovenere
Some of the most famous foods of Cinque Terre that you will remember forever are  the dry wine (d.o.c.), simply called Cinque Terre ;Sciacchetrà, rare and vintage strong sweet wine, made from dried grapes ; the pesto sauce of the region; salted anchovies in Monterosso olive oil ;all of the many fish specialities and of course, last but not least, Limoncino, a liqueur made from lemons (lemons are celebrated during the Feast of Lemon on Pentecost)

Limoncino, also known as Limoncello in other regions of Italy.

The lemons are organically produced,picked early in the season, selecting only the best fruit from the venerable lemon grove to ensure a high essential oil content.
BURANCO Limoncino is made the way it always has been in Monterosso. Wafer-thin yellow lemon skins are peeled by hand and combined with alcohol and sugar. Its flavours and aromas speak of fruit slowly matured on the bough in sun-drenched lemon groves.

I think it is only fair that we all go buy a bottle ot two to help the people of Monterosso get back on their feet.  Besides, I love to cook  with it! You can make......
Limoncino Cheesecake Squares

12 to 16 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces purchased biscotti
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar1/2 cup limoncino
2 teaspoons vanilla extract4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
Remember, we are eating this cheesecake for Cinque Terre! Al kidding aside, Cinque Terre is an unbelievable spot on this globe. Let's hope they can come back and thrill the world travelers with there beautiful vistas once again.
Lift a small glass of Limoncino in a toast to Cinque Terre!  Cin Cin!
From my friends in Miami County, Kansas
Nancy Sims-West
of the Tortoise Gallery

5 W. Wea St., Paola, KS 66071 ·

Phone 1 913.294.4455

Less than two months to Christmas! We are here to help with all your gift-giving. We have jewelry, pottery, and blown glass items, in prices and styles for almost any budget and taste, with prices starting at $12. Give one-of-a-kind gifts to everyone on your list.

Next Saturday, November 5, is our Holiday Gift Bazaar featuring specially-designed gift baskets and custom orders, as well as our beautiful jewelry, pottery, glass, photography, and paintings. Many of our artists will be in the gallery throughout the day to tell you about their art and to take your orders for custom-designed items. Come shop and relax with a delicious drink. Drawings for discounts and free items at 9:00, 11:00, 3:00, 5:00, and 7:00.

We hope to see you next Saturday!
The Tortoise crew

A personal recommendation from me....check out the paintings by David Gross and the jewelry by Cindy Allison,  Anna Herrara,  and Nancy Forbis! What wonderful gifts!

While you are in Paola, just across the street to the east of the Tortoise, stands the now famous Molly's Table. The food is excellent....what more can I say? Plenty!  Try one of Donna's soups! The Chicken Tortilla is outstanding! I have actually thought about it in the middle of the night! The sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and quiches are absolutely delicious! And if you are lucky enough to get there early for lunch, you might be able to get a piece of coconut cream pie! It has quickly become a very hot item on the menu!
Don't forget to check out the beautiful paintings hanging on Donna's antique brick walls. They are by painter Jean Cook, a well
known Miami County artist.
117 South Pearl Street,  Paola, KS 66071-1754

(913) 294-2210     Hours: Sun Closed; Mon-Sat 8am–2pm

So, while you are so close to Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, it would be a crime to not visit us! The vineyard is about 4.5 miles due east of Paola. The new Crimson Cabernet is fabulous, and the Avalon is heavenly.  Dennis Reynolds, owner , is an excellent winemaker. I can honestly say, he is a perfectionist when it comes to  making wine!
It is a little early to know what the weather is going to be next weekend, but with these fun places to visit, who cares! They are forecasting the temperature to be around 70! So, head to Miami County while this beautiful time of year is hanging on!  See you there!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Many years ago, I took up the challenge of learning how to  make the perfect bowl of German Goulash Soup. My husband had eaten it in many of the little restaurants along the Rhine River and wanted to have it at home. Today, that would not be a problem....but in 1970 there was no such thing as the internet and a visit to the library was a big disappointment....only one German cookbook and it did not include a recipe for Goulash Soup! It was described to me as "a rich beefy broth that was sort of red in color" and it had cubes of both beef and potatoes, onions, green bell peppers and sliced mushrooms in it.  The word goulash told me the "sort of red" was due to paprika, but was it sweet, hot or smoked?  We ate a lot of Goulash Soup that did not hit the mark before finally, one evening I had that "Eureka!" moment! I had conqured the recipe...... Even after all of these years, it  is still one of my favorite soups. Now that you can google the recipe and find hundreds of them....I find that recipe from 1970 is still the best. This fall weather makes me want a big pot of this soup on my stove top. There is nothing like it. Add a buttery pretzel slathered with more butter and a glass of  Somerset Ridge Ruby Red Wine and you are in for one great meal! Enjoy!

Goulash Soup...or in German,  Gulaschuppe

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bell peppers, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds beef chuck, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons paprika, sweet
6 cups beef stock
1 cup Somerset Ridge Ruby Red Wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups peeled potatoes cut into 1/2"cubes
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, brown the beef cubes, then remove from skillet, set aside. Next, saute the onions until they are tranlucent. Add the minced garlic, diced bell peppers, and the tomato paste. Cook while stirring for 10 minutes.
Add the browned cubed beef and juice that has accumulated , caraway seeds, paprika, beef stock, wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 1/4 hours.
Add the cubed potatoes and the sliced mushrooms and continue simmering until the meat and the potatoes are tender. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. You may also add more paprika and caraway if you wish. If liquid is evaporating too quickly, add additional beef broth and cover while simmering. Typical of most soups, it will be better the next day!
8 servings

Hot Buttered Pretzels

This is a King Arthur Flour recipe, not truly authentic German, but still very good.

2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast               
7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.
Food processor method: Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Bread machine method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag, as instructed above.
Manual/Mixer Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28 to 30 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel, as illustrated. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave. Yield: 8 pretzels.

Grab a bowl of soup, a pretzel and butter, a glass of are in for a treat! Does it seem strange for a woman of Scottish/Italian heritage to be such a big fan of German food?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's your opinion? Does a 70 year old woman still have a chance of growing into a person she would like to be? Is she still going to frustrate her children everyday? Is she ever going to be a size 10? Can she make a living on her own with her paintings, and not have to rely on a really questionable Social Security system?

Bette Davis knew what she was talking about when she declared old age is no place for sissies! Your body begins to fall apart at 40, starting with your vision, At 50, your stomach suddenly cannot abide such foolishness as pizza at midnight. Oh, and yes, at 50, the boobs loose all sense of direction....what used to be up, is suddenly down!

At 60, your children begin to question your every move. I have always imagined the phone connections between my kids as glowing red and vibrating with panic. "She did WHAT!"....How soon will they take the car keys from me?

Now,  at 70,  I can readily admit to making some bad decisions in my life, and trust me, I've paid for them. But when you are searching for the person you want to be, there a millions of choices, and no one...I repeat NO ONE, can make all the right choices.

When it comes to intelligence, I truly believe I am not an idiot. After all, could an idiot raise 3 perfect children? I have a 7 year old grandson who, by the age of 10, will probably know more than I will ever know! Fair? Maybe not, but I'm the one who was put on this earth in 1941 so I could be a teenager in the 50s! As far as I am concerned, I'm the winner. Today's children may have all sorts of electronic things, their world may include flying to far off foreign countries, they may have vocabularies that include words that I have to look up in the dictionary.... but I had safe streets when walking home from a football game on a crisp October evening. There was Rock'n Roll music that we played on the jukebox that everyone could personal head phones needed. We had cool cars like the 57 Chevy, the Plymouth Fury, the Ford convertible. Frivolous? Probably, but on the other hand, we had teachers who cared, not just union members who are there for the paycheck. We had Mom waiting for us when we came home from school. We had youth groups at church where we spent every Sunday evening. We had a great life!

Yes, I am happy with the time and the manner in which I was raised. It is today that has me floundering. It seems like I am constantly making clumsy attempts to regain my balance. Maybe it is because I have the body of an old woman and the mind of a child....that has been insinuated by subtle and artful means!

But for now, Tuesday, October 25, 2011, I am going to paint, I am going to cook. And, I am going to think about Arch. He would have celebrated his 85th birthday today. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A break from Sauces!

Did I tell you I went to Machu Picchu? I wish I could tell you it was the real one in the Andes in southern Peru…but alas, it was the new restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina! While visiting Ann and Bruce (sister and brother-in-law) a review of the restaurant was in the newspaper and within an hour, we were on our way. It is in a strip center; very average looking from the parking lot. As you enter, you notice the giant mural of Machu Picchu. It is such a breath taking wonder, literally. It is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level.[1][2] It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. It was so nice to sit and breathe comfortably in Raleigh and yet experience part of the culture. Not one of the 6 of us had a clue what we were in for….we just knew we were game for something new.

One look at the menu and I was lost! Fortunately, our server was excellent. Each question was answered politely and patiently…and we had many! There were many unfamiliar words and terms on the menu….from beverages, specials, ingredients, desserts! After much humming and hawing, we each chose a different menu item so we could try as many things as possible. The menu consists of a collection of signature Peruvian dishes as well as Nouveau Andean dishes to cater to the Raleigh Community. We all agreed the outstanding dish was Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco a combination of fried Peruvian Canario beans, rice and specialty Aji sauce, served with breaded pork and salsa criolla (thin slices of red onions and spices) and Extra Virgin Oil! The plate of food was HUGE and DELICIOUS! To see the complete menu, go to and click on “our menu”.

Chef Gloria and her Side-Kick
Having been a chef in a major restaurant here in Kansas City, I know how important it is to come out into the dining room and meet your customers. I was amazed at the time Chef Gloria and her Sous Chef spent with us. I didn’t ask, but I am fairly sure they were a husband and wife team, both well versed in their menu and very willing to talk about it.
All together, the menu, the dining room, the service, the server, the chef and her sous chef, and of course, the food, made for a great afternoon. Okay, so it wasn’t the real Machu Picchu, but it was fun! And I didn’t have trouble with the altitude!
Peruvian cuisine is recognized around the world as one of the best in South America - try it and see what everyone is raving about. Here is a recipe for you, straight from Peru.
Anticuchos are a popular party food in South America, especially in Peru. The most traditional Peruvian anticuchos are made with beef heart, but they can also be made with chicken (anticuchos de pollo) or steak.

Anticuchos are seasoned with garlic, vinegar, cumin, and aji panca, a mild red chile pepper with a smoky flavor common in Peruvian cooking. You can often find dried aji panca or jarred aji panca paste in specialty stores or Latin food markets

Grilled Beef Anticuchos - Anticuchos de Carne

12 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup mild chile pepper paste (aji panca, if available)
1/2 cup vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2-3 pounds steak (sirloin, tenderloin)
Wooden skewers

1.Cut beef into 2 inch chunks and place in a nonreactive bowl or dish.
2.Mash the garlic. Add a little water if necessary to make a paste.
3.Make the marinade: in a bowl, mix the crushed garlic, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1/4 cup chile pepper paste, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper.
4.Pour the marinade over the beef and mix well. Marinade beef overnight in the refrigerator. If you are pressed for time, marinade beef for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
5.Prepare the grill. Place the beef onto the skewers (about 4 pieces of beef on each skewer).
6.Make a basting mixture of 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and a pinch of cumin.
7.Grill the skewers for about 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Baste beef several times during cooking.
8.Serve with rice and corn on the cob.
Makes about 12 skewers.

So, after some research on line and a trip to  the library, I have found a recipe for our favorite dish, Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco, with a few changes, I suspect.  There was no fried egg on the Tacu Tacu in Raleigh, but I think it sounds delicious!

Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco
5 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chile powder or chile paste (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (canned are fine)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
20-25 saltine crackers
4 pieces of very thin boneless pork steak
4 tablespoons butter
Vegetable oil for frying
2 bananas or plantains
4 eggs
1/3 cup of thinly sliced onion for garnish

Saute the bacon until crispy.
Remove bacon (save for another use), and use the bacon grease left in the pan to sauté the chopped onion with the chile powder (or chile paste), until soft and golden.
Stir in the beans and mash them with a wooden spoon until they are pretty well broken up. Add the rice and stir.
Cook, stirring, until the rice and beans are heated through. Remove from heat, let cool, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Process the saltine crackers in a food processor to make fine crumbs. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumbs for later use.
Sprinkle a layer of crumbs on a cutting board, and place a piece of pork over the crumbs. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper, and pound the steak with a meat pounder until flat and thin. Flip the steak over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with the rest of the steaks.
Heat butter and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet until hot, then sauté steaks for 2 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. Remove from heat and place steaks on a plate. Cover them with foil and keep them warm in a low temperature oven until ready to serve.
Cook the rice and bean panackes: Shape the cooled rice and bean mixture into 4 flattened, football-shaped patties. Press them into the remaining saltine cracker crumbs, covering both sides.
Using the same skillet that cooked the steaks (uncleaned), heat 2 - 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the patties (1 or 2 at a time if necessary) and cook, 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove patties from heat and cover with foil to keep warm.
Peel the bananas and slice each in half crosswise. Slice each piece in half lengthwise, to make 8 pieces. In a clean skillet or pot, fry the banana (or plantain) slices in an inch of vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Assemble the tacu tacu: On each plate, place one of the rice and beans patties. Top it with a piece of steak. Place a slice of fried banana on each side of the plate.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespooons butter until hot. Crack the eggs into the skillet and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Top each piece of steak with a fried egg.
Garnish with some thinly sliced onions and serve.
Serves 4.

I don't want to go all "Shirley McClain" on you, but I would love to go to the real Machu Picchu. I think I could really use a little spirituality.

Another sauce!

It has been a while since I last posted a blog….much has happened here in my world, and I simply have not had the time or energy. But, things are calming down. This last weekend I volunteered to help with the release of the vineyard's new wine....Somerset Ridge Crimson Cabernet. It has quickly become the favorite of many! I am among them.

There was a family gathering here in Kansas City for the military funeral of my uncle, Colonel G P Vogt. The National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas was absolutely beautiful with the hundreds of huge old trees gracing the hillsides in the 128 acre cemetery. The leaves are turning, but the grass is still very green. It was a wonderful afternoon of loving family and military pride, an overwhelming combination. My Uncle Pete was quite a character. We spent many hours laughing as we remembered and shared stories of him. It was wonderful having all of my cousins gathered once again.

I find it rather difficult to jump back into blogging after being away from it. The month of October has been a very busy time and it is difficult to figure to get my mind under control! I am usually not at a loss for words, but I am having a tough time deciding what to write about! I know I owe you another mother sauce recipe, so I suppose I should start there.
 So far we have covered Béchamel, based on milk, thickened with a white roux. and Espagnole, based on brown stock (usually veal), thickened with a brown roux. I hope you have tried them!

This time I want to tell you about Velouté, a sauce based on a white stock, thickened with a blonde roux. “Veh-loo-TAY” is a fancy French name for a white sauce that is stock based and thickened with a white roux.
The stock used is usually chicken, veal, or fish.

 1 1/2 cups white stock (veal, chicken, or fish) - white stock just means the bones were not roasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (don't let it burn) and add the flour. Raise the heat to medium and stir the butter and flour together for about 2 minutes. You are making the roux. Take a good whiff and it should have a pleasant toasted smell.

Whisk the simmering stock into the roux and keep heating and whisking. When the stock begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens. A thin skin may form, just skim it away with your spoon. Depending on your stovetop, the sauce may take 5 - 10 minutes to get to your desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper

From this basic sauce, you can now make the two most notable sauces that are based on velouté. They are Sauce Allemande and Sauce Supreme. I would like for you to try Sauce Allemande.

The Allemande Sauce (which is also sometimes called "German Sauce") is a finished sauce made by thickening a velouté with a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream called a liaison
The Allemande sauce is sometimes mistakenly called Sauce Parisienne. Sauce Parisienne is similar, but it uses cream cheese instead of the egg-cream liaison, and so it is a different sauce altogether.

1 quart velouté
½ cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the velouté over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about a cup.
In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat together the cream and egg yolks until smooth. This egg-cream mixture is your liaison.
(In the culinary arts, a liaison is a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream that is used to thicken a sauce.)
Slowly add about a cup of the hot velouté into the liaison, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks don't curdle from the heat.
Now gradually whisk the warm liaison back into the velouté.
Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer for just a moment, but don't let it boil.
Season to taste with Kosher salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Strain and serve right away.
Makes about 1 quart of Allemande Sauce.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I am back home after a lovely week in North Carolina visiting my sister and her family. It was fun….and sooooo much food! I must post about our visit to Machu Picchu for lunch! No, not the ancient city in Peru, but the new restaurant in Raleigh. It was so interesting and good!....but that is for another day.....

Today is back to our Sauces….

Like any French mother sauce, Espagnole is not meant to be served as is. Rather, it's a base for any number of other, more complex sauces.

Why do you need to learn this?

As Americans, we don't think of "sauce" so much as we think of "gravy." But French mother sauces — including veloute, hollandaise, bechamel, and tomato — are the sauces from which all other sauces are derived.
Today, I’m going to tell you about Espagnole, or Spanish Sauce. The French have a strange way of looking at things, for instance, it is said they named this sauce Espagnole, not because it is Spanish in flavor, but rather because of its color….go figure!

No matter what it is called, it is an important sauce to have in your book of tricks.

Espagnole is a classic brown sauce, typically made from brown stock, mirepoix, and tomatoes, and thickened with roux. Okay, backing up a bit….what is a mirapoix? Simple.

In French cuisine, a Mirepoix (French pronunciation: [miʁpwa]) is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery (either common pascal celery or celeriac). Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces. The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Similar combinations of vegetables are known as (holy) trinity in Creole cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, sofrito in Spanish and Suppengrün (soup green(s)) in Germany.

Basic Espagnole Sauce with Variations (Brown Sauce)

1/2 bay leaf
2 parsley stems (no leaves)
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 clove garlic
1 piece of cheesecloth, cut into a 6-inch square
1 piece of butcher's twine, cut 12 inches long

1 small onion, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons additional butter
6 cups beef stock or bouillon, room temperature
2 ounces tomato puree
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

1. To make sachet, place the bay leaf, parsley stems, thyme and garlic in the square of cheesecloth. Gather up the corners and twist together. Using just one end of the string, tie the sachet closed. The other end of the string (the long end) will be suspended from the handle of the saucepan.

2. Cut the onion, carrot and celery into medium (1/2-inch) dice. Set aside. Mince garlic.

3. Heat the 1/2 cup butter in small saucepan until hot. Whisk in the flour (to a paste consistency) and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 to 6 minutes until mixture (roux) bubbles, turns light brown in color and has a nutty aroma. This is called a dark roux. Set aside.

4. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy, 4-quart stockpot over medium heat.

5. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté the vegetables, stirring often, for about 5 to 6 minutes or until well browned. Add minced garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Add the cooked roux to the vegetables, stirring to combine.

7. Gradually, pour in the brown stock and then the tomato puree.

8. Tie the pre-made sachet to one handle of the stockpot, letting it dangle in the liquid.

9. Bring to a boil, skimming off any impurities from the surface, as needed.

10. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to about 1 quart.

11. Untie sachet. Then pour sauce (and sachet) into a fine strainer or china cap lined with cheesecloth. Use a ladle or spoon to gently press any remaining vegetables through the strainer. Discard the sachet.

12. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, if desired.

13. Set over a double boiler filled with warm water until ready to serve. Or cool completely, then cover and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to I week. Sauce may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Makes about 1 quart.


Demi-glace: A '"brown stock" is simply a stock made with roasted bones, rather than bones that have only been rinsed and/or blanched prior to use. To make a brown stock, you can use roasted beef or veal bones or roasted chicken bones. In this recipe, we are calling for a brown stock made with roasted beef bones (see Basic Beef Stock). Place 4 cups Brown Stock and 4 cups Brown Sauce/Sauce Espagnole in a heavy, I-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by one-half. Remove from heat. Pour sauce through a fine strainer or china cap lined with cheesecloth. Allow to cool completely. Then cover and store n the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Sauce may also be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes 1 quart

Bordelaise Sauce: Place 1 cup red wine, 2 minced shallots, 1/4 teaspoon crushed black Peppercorns pinch of thyme and 1/2 bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 33 minutes or until reduced by three-fourths. Add 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a line strainer (or cheesecloth). Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and drop them, one at a time, into the sauce while stirring constantly to combine. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.

Madeira Sauce: Place 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes until reduced to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup Madeira Wine, stirring to combine. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.

Mushroom Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy saute pan over moderate heat. Add 1 minced shallot and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms and continue sauteing until brown. Add 1 quart Demi-glace (see above) and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon dry sherry and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.

Here is a good recipe, using the Espagnole Sauce

Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Espagnole Sauce

Yield: Makes 10 servings
2 (2 1/2-lb) pieces trimmed center-cut beef tenderloin roast

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 lb small fresh cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 cup medium-dry Sherry
2 2/3 cups espagnole sauce

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Remove any strings from beef if tied, then pat beef dry and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Heat oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until just smoking, then sear beef 1 piece at a time, turning with tongs, until well browned, about 5 minutes each. (If beef tenderloin pieces are too long to fit into skillet, halve each crosswise, then brown 2 pieces at a time.) Transfer beef to an 18- by 12-inch flameproof roasting pan, reserving skillet.

Roast beef in oven until thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center of each piece registers 120°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer beef to a cutting board, reserving roasting pan, and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 25 minutes. (Beef will continue to cook as it stands, reaching 130°F for medium-rare.)

While beef roasts, heat butter in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then reduce heat to moderate and cook mushrooms, stirring, until liquid they give off is evaporated and mushrooms are pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

While beef stands, straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add Sherry and deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Add Sherry mixture and espagnole sauce to mushrooms and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Cover skillet and remove from heat.

Cut off and discard strings from beef and cut meat crosswise into 10 or 20 slices. Pour any juices on cutting board into sauce and heat over moderate heat, stirring, until hot.

Serve beef with sauce.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker