• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Stacie Kim
  • Jay Angler

Concept Cooking: Sauce thoughts

 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Concept cooking is not cooking with recipes, it's cooking by knowing the functions of your ingredients, and arranging them to do what you want.
Sauces of all types are basically a base and flavorings. Some common bases are cream or other dairy or nondairy products, eggs and oil, acids and oil, tomatoes, broth with thickeners, etc. Put a base with flavorings and thickeners and you get things like cream cheese frosting, mayonnaise, gravy, salad dressing or marinara sauce.

An interesting thread was posted here that made me think about sauces. Fake guacamole SO GOOD the taco places in Mexico City and LA got busted for using it! Looking at that recipe, they used Mexican Grey Squash (a soft summer squash) for the base, added stuff, and made fake guacamole sauce. That made me think about using squash as a sauce base. The recipe posted used boiled squash, I don't boil vegetables very often, I steamed a yellow squash and some parsley that needed to be used up.  Added onions, and lemon, a bit of tomato juice, olive oil, some chia seeds (for thickening), mixed it all in a food processor, then tossed it into the fridge for a few hours. Re-stirred it as my dinner cooked, and I have an excellent sauce on a big pile of steamed cauliflower, kind of sour cream and onion with a parsley accent. Very tasty!

So if we can use tomatoes as a sauce base, and tomatillos (salsa verde!) and summer squash, and I like winter squash (I make a decent fake cheddar sauce out of butternut) and herbs are traditional for pesto, what other veggies would make a good sauce base?

The summer squash is mild enough to take sweetening and spicing to make a fruit topping pretty easily. Cauliflower probably would too, it's very mild, it's a bit wet when mashed, would need to drain it out a touch or thicken it well before flavoring it.

What else can we make sauces out of?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1128
Location: Southern Oregon
304
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I make a pasta sauce out of smashed cauliflower and my zucchini spread, add in some steamed carrots and bell peppers, butter, olive oil, parmesan, lots of garlic. My family loves it.

 
gardener
Posts: 3072
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
767
2
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the concept cooking i have had good succes. I can up chicken ala king every year after chickens are harvested. A light bulb went off and i put shrimp in instead of chicken. Not for canning, just for a meal. Omg. If i was at the Olive Garden they would have gotten a big tip from me.

The other thing i am doing (not sauces) is using every veggie in my cupboard for tortillas/flat bread. It has been interesting. Some change the taste, some don't.  So far i have used sweet potato, zuchini, and yellow squash. Next up is carrots then canned corn. Its simply mixing flour with the softened veggie till its not sticky, then roll ot out and heat both sides. Thread is here:

https://permies.com/t/119431/kitchen/Sweet-potato-tortillas-flat-bread
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wayne: I made an awesome batch of bread using winter squash, whole grains, and doing a 3 day ferment on it. That was some excellent sourdough! I'll have to make your veggie tortilla things, I do a bean flat bread that way, run beans and spices through the blender, add flour till it's bread dough. Haven't tried random veggies! You adding any spices? I like my flat breads spiced.
 
gardener
Posts: 3583
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
479
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife has been stretching avocados with zucchini for a long time now.


We just bought  5 lbs of red lentils to play with, due to their reputation for disintegrating when cooked.


I'm planning on harvesting the bitter leaves from our bolted lettuce, blanch them and make a pesto of sorts.
I have surplus of grape leaves, but I dislike them pickled/ stuffed.
They have a nice lemony taste when fresh,  but even the smallest ones are too tough,  so again, pesto might work.
I use sunflower seeds or almonds instead of pine nuts in pesto  'cause I'm cheap.

I have some wheat gluten and I just bought some barley that I'm going to grind up.
We shall see if either can make a decent roux, and also if they work in dumplings.

 
wayne fajkus
gardener
Posts: 3072
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
767
2
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:Wayne: I made an awesome batch of bread using winter squash, whole grains, and doing a 3 day ferment on it. That was some excellent sourdough! I'll have to make your veggie tortilla things, I do a bean flat bread that way, run beans and spices through the blender, add flour till it's bread dough. Haven't tried random veggies! You adding any spices? I like my flat breads spiced.



No. Just keeping them as tortillas. Sometimes a little salt. I do see trying some spices though. Right now just tortillas for fish tacos, eggs, or just on their own. I do have black eyed peas i canned last New Years from leftovers. I just recently thought about trying that.

Its nothing life changing. Its a way to use up canned veggies to rotate stock, or get someone to "Eat their squash" without knowing it.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

wayne fajkus wrote:
No. Just keeping them as tortillas. Sometimes a little salt. I do see trying some spices though. Right now just tortillas for fish tacos, eggs, or just on their own. I do have black eyed peas i canned last New Years from leftovers. I just recently thought about trying that.

Its nothing life changing. Its a way to use up canned veggies to rotate stock, or get someone to "Eat their squash" without knowing it.



I disagree, it can be life changing. Wheat flour used to have a lot more protein in it, when combine harvesters came in, the higher protein grains gummed up the machinery (partly because they were not letting the harvest dry out naturally between cutting and threshing) so production shifted to the lower protein varieties. What is sold for bread at this point was not legal to sell for human consumption 120 years ago, it was classed as low nutrient animal feed. So the cultures who based a lot the nutrition in their cuisine on breads, or flat breads are not getting the nutrition they used to. A lot of people currently avoid nutrition dense foods like squash because things like potato chips are more familiar to them, and humans tend to eat familiar foods. Any nutrients we can add to foods that people will eat because they are familiar is a major positive life change.
You ARE changing the world, you just hadn't noticed!!
:D

And I was thinking last night of using some of my leftover sauce from last night to make myself a tortilla or two for breakfast, bet I'd get good flavor off them. Thank you for this whole idea, I have only ever used beans and spices in my flat breads.
 
pollinator
Posts: 787
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
204
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Back when I had an oven...and a kitchen :/ I used to thicken tomato sauces with roasted veg rather than tomato paste.

Roast whatever veg you were planning on putting in the sauce - onion, garlic, celery, zucchini, carrot, etc. - plus mushrooms. A good amount of mushrooms. Roast until good and caramelized, then blend into a thick paste, adding a tiny bit of water if your blender needs it as you go. Then stir that into your fresh or jarred tomatoes and season.

You get a nice thick, reeeeally flavourful sauce.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 787
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
204
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not a vegetable, but I sub in chickpeas as a base for stuff quite a bit.

One thing I make in the summer that I really like is a hummus/pesto kinda thing. I call it pusto to gross out my husband :)  I was thinking of ways to make condiments into food, an idea I really liked from one of Carol Deppe's books. I try to get my fats from whole food sources rather than refined oils, so I don't eat traditional pesto.

I put lots and lots of basil, some chickpeas, lemon juice, walnuts, and miso in the food processor until it's thick and smooth. Make sure it's salty and tangy and funky and basily and you're good to go. Really nice mixed into grilled zucchini and adds some calories to make it a meal.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan White wrote:

One thing I make in the summer that I really like is a hummus/pesto kinda thing.

I put lots and lots of basil, some chickpeas, lemon juice, walnuts, and miso in the food processor until it's thick and smooth. Make sure it's salty and tangy and funky and basily and you're good to go. Really nice mixed into grilled zucchini and adds some calories to make it a meal.



I do all kinds of terrible things and just call it all hummus if it has a bean base and is a dip type thing. Any vegetable is fair game! My favorite is beans (not just chickpeas, I always do mixes too add more nutrients and flavor) with sweet potato. I don't like sweet flavors too much, so it dilutes down the extra sugar taste for me. Add some hot sweet spices, and oooh, that's tasty.
I love your tomato sauce idea, I'm snagging that one! Sounds like you and I would have fun in a kitchen together :D
 
gardener
Posts: 3073
1260
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My general thinking on this is that if it can be pureed, it can be a sauce. Some things will need thinning; others, thickening. The trick is primarily finding the consistency you like, and the flavor combinations that appeal. Hubs makes a butternut squash ravioli filling that, thinned with a bit of chicken stock, would also make an incredible sauce for poultry or pork.

He also makes board sauces, which are simply sauces made from the fluids left on the cutting board, after the (usually roasted) meat is removed: herbs and seasonings are sprinkled generously on the cutting board, the roasted meat is then placed on top, to 'rest'. After resting, the roast is sliced and removed, and everything left on the board is stirred or blended together,  and served with the meat. The flavors are robust, and divine.
 
Stacy Witscher
pollinator
Posts: 1128
Location: Southern Oregon
304
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I remember making a chickpea/ tomato pasta sauce based on a Moosewood cookbook recipe that was tasty. Nowadays, that's too much starchy carbs for me, but my vegan kid might like it, minus the cheese.

I also agree with Carla, seasoned purees work beautifully as sauces. I've made a carrot-red pepper puree that we ate with pork roast. You can also fold said purees into some kind of dairy, like whole milk ricotta, cream cheese, creme fraiche. I'm always looking for ways to use more dairy.
 
pollinator
Posts: 264
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
85
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great topic Pearl!! I like how you think about cooking!

You all have made a great start so it's not easy to add things, but here goes...

Flirting with veganism a few times, once or twice with a raw food twist, sharpened my cooking skills. That's actually what kept me entertained long enough to keep at it for a while. I appreciated how the restrictions made me more creative and I really enjoyed finding out how people pushed the boundaries in order to keep enjoying delicious foods.

The basis for a lot of vegan cheeses and such is often raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight. (Raw foodies often soak almost all their nuts in order to remove a substance that makes them hard to digest -- I bet it's the same thing that keeps them from sprouting too early.) Soaked raw cashews puree up into a really nice "creamy" thick sauce that you can use like cream sauces. Having a really, really, really good and powerful blender helps a lot. Actually it helps making a really fine puree out of anything. But cashews win the "creamy" contest. If cashews aren't in the budget, then you can try pureeing whatever peeled nuts you have on hand to try, remember to soak overnight first.

No one has mentioned so far the humble potato. Here people spend all winter long having cream-less cream soups based on potatoes, and they've usually got a bunch of leeks thrown in too, white part only. (I know a soup is not a sauce, but hey, the point is potatoes have thickening power and can form a sauce base, even if you thin it to cream soup consistency. Anyway, back to the soup...) Add whatever garden veggie you like for your featured flavor to your potato and leek base, puree it, and you've got dinner. (A little fried garlic and olive oil drizzled on the top is heavenly. And fry a couple of 1/4-slices of bread in the leftover oil you fried the garlic in and put those on top too... Ooops I'm getting carried away. Anyway, Basque cooking is famous for focusing on the flavors of the main ingredients, and they don't use herbs at all (OK, maybe some parsley) and almost no spices. You'd be surprised (I was) how much you can taste the quality of the potatoes, leeks and carrots (let's say if your carrots are what you used for flavoring) if you don't add in too many other ingredients or herbs and spices. One of my first Basque homey dinners featured one of these soups, delicious by the way, accompanied by a very long, animated 5- or 6-way conversation about which of the neighboring valleys the potatoes must have been grown in and how new or old they were, judging by the taste of the soup... I was like, "umm, they're potatoes." But eventually I began to notice the subtleties, and now I too argue about these things. Oh and one more note, chop up your leftover leek greens real fine and feed them to your chickens, and the yolks of their eggs will take on a beautiful orange color, and they will taste like heaven.

Two more notes from my vegan days. Pearl, I think you mentioned chia seeds as a thickener which is great. Lots of omega 3s! Another great one if you're blending but not heating (I've never heated things with them so I don't know) is psyllium husks. Great source of fiber. Raw vegan tortillas are great and you can make them out of any veggie. Again, the high-powered blender helps. Whiz up whatever veggie(s) you want, raw or cooked, with X amount of water (experiment) and maybe 2 tablespoons of psyllium husks, and salt if you're like me. Spread the thick mixture out on a silicon sheet and dehydrate. Peel it off, flip it over, dehydrate some more, and you've got a tortilla you can fill with anything. But stop short of making the tortilla, and you can just make a sauce. So psyllium husks can help make your sauce base if you've got a good blender, no cooking required.

Last note is for flavor, if you happen to have a juicer. A raw food cooking course I did once really turned me on to this possibility. I think it's great to do this just to train your taste buds, and it's a real treat for the senses too, because the colors and smells are fabulous. Do monthematic juices. Beet juice. Cucumber juice. Carrot juice. Parsley juice. Ginger juice. Cabbage juice. Some are super powerful and you need to watch out for them. All are heavenly if added to the right thing in the right context. Or just drink them. A great way to take advantage of your permie garden and a real health boost too. Leave them raw and you will feel very vital after consuming them. Or just experiment with adding them to your cooked dishes -- sauces, or mashed potatoes for instance -- and see what you get. It opens up a whole new avenue for fun and experimentation.
Cashew-Sauce-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Cashew-Sauce-3.jpg]
Cashew sauce
crema-berenjena.JPG
[Thumbnail for crema-berenjena.JPG]
Eggplant soup (potato and leek base) with fried bread
beet-juice.jpg
[Thumbnail for beet-juice.jpg]
Beet juice
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dave: Oooh, good thoughts! Now you have me wanting potato soup. I doubt I have exotic vintage potatoes, I have cheap ones from a store that sells scratch and dent items. Non-gourmet :D

I have done cashew sauce before, but find cashews too pricey, I use peanuts more often, the same way.

You can heat psyllium husks, those are better tasting if you grind them really fine, I have a coffee grinder that is used only for my cooking, no coffee allowed in it. Chia heats well too. Flax seed heats, it's also better ground at least a bit, the seeds are hard little bites if they full sized.

I have my grandma's juicer :) It's a well used appliance around here! Saw one just as old, in perfect condition at a second hand store for 5.00, so now we have two! I don't want to have the old juicer die and have to buy one I don't like.

Hmm, you have made me think! And it's almost time to make dinner... :D


 
gardener
Posts: 1774
Location: Los Angeles, CA
513
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My go-to topping for fish is to go out to the herb spiral and collect a big handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, savory, cilantro, whatever) and then chop it all finely.  I'll mix it with equal parts sour cream and mayo, and a big handful of finely grated parmesan cheese.  A crack of fresh black pepper.  Sometimes I'll put a bit of lemon zest in it.  Mix it all up.

It makes a thick paste.

Smear the paste on top of the fish about a half-inch thick, and then bake it or grill it with a cover so the cheese herb spread bubbles and melts.  It's amazing.

So then I thought, if that tastes so lovely with fish (salty, herby, a bit tangy), why not try it on chicken.  Yum.  Then pork.  Yum.

It's something of a cheater's pesto, but more of a paste than a sauce.  But as it melts and bubbles and browns, it adds a bit of moisture to the meat and a TON of flavor.  It's a great way to integrate fresh herbs.
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 264
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
85
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marco. Dude. I had no idea you could bake mayonnaise or sour cream, I figured they would curdle. Glad to hear I'm wrong. What temperature do you bake your fish at? Because I usually bake fish at maybe 220c in a convection oven maybe 7 mins followed by broiling at the same temp or higher for another 6-7. It's blazing in there. So I'm really surprised that sauce holds up.

This recipe reminds me of an Italian fresh herb covered chicken I tried in a home near Lake Como that knocked my socks off. Don't know how they did it. The herbs didn't burn with all the time it takes to bake a chicken.

But oops, I'm hijacking Pearl's thread ... back to concept cooking, sauces... bases and flavorings. The fresh herbs picked in the garden seconds before and schmeared over the chicken were a real good flavoring. I suspect the base was just olive oil.
 
Marco Banks
gardener
Posts: 1774
Location: Los Angeles, CA
513
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It doesn't curdle at all.  Again, it's more of a paste than a cream or sauce.  It softens and browns.  Temp?  About 375 f. Not too hot.



My most basic sauce for fresh fish is a simple french lemon butter sauce.  Fry a lightly breaded fish fillet in a saute pan with a little bit of oil.  Once you turn the fish over and are almost done cooking the second side, add a pat of butter into the side of the dish.  Let it melt and start to brown for about 20 seconds.  Then add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon -- maybe a tablespoon -- and let it mix with the butter.  Done.

Plate the fish and drizzle the sauce over the top.

Sometimes I'll add a couple of sprigs of thyme into the pan just before I drop in the pat of butter.  The fat/lemon sauce will pick up the herb flavor -- not too strong.

That little bit of butter adds a nice richness and picks up some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Since fish is so lean, it doesn't overwhelm it or make it taste heavy -- its just the right amount of richness.  The acid from the lemon cuts through the fat and smooths it out a little bit.

As far as sauces go, it's as simple as it gets.  It's a classic french technique.



 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dave: you have my total permission to hijack this thread! This is exactly the kind of conversations I wanted to poke with this!!
I get tired of cooking discussions that are just throwing recipes back and forth and not thinking about how or why they work, they are just magic, they are a RECIPE, and engraved in stone. To me the interesting parts of sharing cooking ideas is "this unexpectedly went well with that"  and  "this is why that technique worked, so we can do that same concept with this too." To me the "unexpectedly" part is the creative side to cooking and the "why it worked" is the science side, and I am a big fan of both creativity and science. I use both of those extensively in both my cooking and my artwork, and I classify my cooking as part of my artwork, but rarely because of how it looks. The pics you see of things like a piece of cheesecake with a sauce artistically dribbled over it are nice, but I'd usually rather get creative with what is in that cheesecake, to make it taste incredibly different from any other. And think about other things I can do to the idea of cheesecake, savory cheesecakes are one of my standards, always surprises and pleases people.  

Mayonnaise does sort of melt in an oven, not a lot, it's made of eggs and oil, neither of which is damaged by heat. Mixing it with the sour cream gives it more body. Sour cream slumps, and dries out a bit (that's why people put mayonnaise with it, the extra oil keeps it from drying out, the eggs keeps the oil from just turning it to too oily and melting all over) the mix holds spices in place really well, and retains moisture in the food underneath. Curdling is an acid reaction with dairy, not a heat reaction. Some dairy kind of breaks apart a bit when cooked, but it doesn't affect the flavor, just the texture. Curdling affects the flavor as well as the texture. I like some things curdled. Some not...

That herb covered chicken: if I were trying to replicate that, I think the trick would be to let the chicken dry enough that it tastes baked and not steamed, but keep the herbs moist enough that they don't crisp into a hard, maybe burned, crust. I'd cover it, a lid might be too much moisture kept in, and foil might be too, I think I'd try a parchment paper tent, or a lid with steam holes, or a lid that isn't on tight.

 
Carla Burke
gardener
Posts: 3073
1260
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh! Yes! (Thanks for the reminder, Marco!!) One of our favorite things, is to make a chipotle aioli (you can substitute mayo), and coat steaks or pork chops with it. Let them rest in it, for 15 to 20minutes, then onto the grill they go! So very good! If you like, a squeeze of lime juice over them, at the table, is incredible.
 
Marco Banks
gardener
Posts: 1774
Location: Los Angeles, CA
513
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Following Pearl's lead on this, the science side of this is that fat and acid need one another.  Just adding fat gives a sauce a luscious richness, but it coats the tongue and becomes heavy after a few bites.  It loses it's loveliness.  You find yourself wanting to eat something dry or "clean" to get some of that fat off your tongue and out of your mouth.  But adding a bit of acid cuts that fat.  It still tastes wonderful and rich, but not overwhelming.

Thus, Carla's squeeze of fresh lime over the top of a lovely steak --- it cuts through the fat and gives it a brightness.  My favorite preparation for a ribeye is using a hot cast iron skillet, cooking the steak with a high smoke-point oil (like canola or grapesead), and then after you flip the steak, you throw about 3 pats of butter and a bunch of thyme, a sprig of rosemary as well as one smashed clove of garlic.  You tilt the skillet and using a spoon, continually baste the top of the steak with the melted browned butter.  It picks up rendered fat from the steak, and the flavor of the herbs and garlic as you baste it.  Then right before you pull it out of the skillet, you hit it with a squeeze of lime and let that lime juice also deglaze the pan briefly (like 2 seconds).  Pull the steak out and let it rest, and pour a little bit of that butter/herb/lime sauce on the side of the steak.  Cover it for 10 minutes let it rest.  Then it's good to go.  Fat, acid, herbs, delicious.

A salad dressing is the most basic of sauces: oil and vinegar (fat and acid).  

A fish taco with "crema" and a squeeze of lime.  The English always serve fish and chips with malt vinegar to cut through the oily batter on the fish and clean up the taste a little.  Nobody wants to be left with the taste of cold oil on their tongue.

A luscious fatty brisket that's been smoked for 14 hours, with a bit of tangy BBQ sauce (there is usually some white vinegar as well as the acid from the tomato sauce and ketchup in the sauce).

French fries are paired with ketchup.  The acid in the ketchup works so well with the fried potato.  You don't really think of ketchup as a sauce, but it is, and it makes the oil on the potato taste so much better.

If the dish or the sauce doesn't work with acid (like a white sauce for pasta that is basically heavy cream), then you serve something acidic on the side, like a salad that's dressed with a vinegarette or broccoli with a nice squeeze of lemon on top of it.  

Even ice cream does better with some berries that bring a bit of brightness and a touch of acid to the party.


Fat and acid, BFF's.
 
pollinator
Posts: 254
Location: Hamburg, Germany
65
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Y'all are much better cooks than I, but one cheat I learned from my mom was for grilling or baking salmon, which borrows from the discussion above:  

Put filet skin side down on sheet of aluminum foil, slather on mayo, sprinkle with rosemary (or lay springs on), wrap up and put in-coals/on-grill/in-oven for 10-ish minutes.  You can be lax with the timing in either direction.  Pull out, sprinkle with lemon juice, always fabulous.  Of course, it's salmon, so it's always going to be fabulous, but I imagine this would work for other fish as well.  Other meats would take more precise timing, of course.
 
Posts: 78
Location: Portugal
10
monies tiny house composting toilet
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love love love this thread.  It is how I cook.  Watched a friend finish off the dinner she was preparing for us.  I was almost traumatised watching her follow the recipe line by line and measure out the quantities. Not talking about a cake either it was a savoury dish.  Her skills lie elsewhere in needlework and crafts. So hats off to her giving it a go.

In the meantime I have been chucking in raw courgettes into our
plum, blueberry and red lettuce smoothy.  In my mind the courgette takes the place of the banana/avo for creaminess.

Also using courgettes to make a chunky kind of relish sauce.  Cold these are great to top the salads with and make a light meal.  Warmed they are great for stuffed potatoes.

Main flavour families I default to are either tomatoe based or curry based.

Tomatoe based I go acid with apple cider vinegar, parsley etc or savoury with onions, basil mixed herbs.

Curry goes either hot or creamy korma and raisons.

My husband has got saucy and decided every weekend calls for my chocolate courgette cake with peanut butter icing ;)



 
Jenny Ives
Posts: 78
Location: Portugal
10
monies tiny house composting toilet
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On a health podcast I learnt about pouring high grade olive oil over ice cream.  Delicious.  Although a fat olives have a sharpness about them. I would never of gussed to do that on my own.
 
Posts: 8
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Will I be in trouble if I asked for your (gulp) recipe for the cake? I have been trying different uses of squash in cakes and breads and I can’t seem to replicate the one I remember eating years ago that was absolutely fantastic.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1816
Location: RRV of da Nort
357
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just adding to the previous comment about nut-based cream sauces.   I don't have a stock recipe to share, but various blends of cashew/almond and other nuts/seeds can be amazing as a pureed item, but even better cooked depending on the application.  First time I cooked a rather thin cashew/almond milk made from scratch and saw it thicken, that became the starting point for alfredo-type sauce for pasta and gravy for other dishes.  Still also using the same concept for a cream cheese that starts with the freshly made milk (unfiltered) and is mixed with a probiotic (Lactobacillus) tablet and left covered at room temp for a few days.  Some prefer to eat the final product straight at this point, but currently I prefer bringing it to a simmer which causes more thickening,....followed by refrigeration which thickens it even more to a soft cream cheese texture.  Flavoring/seasoning is to taste.  Cheating a little bit, I also keep a small bottle of vegan-sourced lactic acid around to add sharpness to the flavor where desired.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Weiland wrote:Cheating a little bit, I also keep a small bottle of vegan-sourced lactic acid around to add sharpness to the flavor where desired.



I make similar sauces out of asst mixes of nuts, beans, tofu and veggies. I keep lemon juice, lime juice, citric acid powder and ascorbic acid powder, all have different flavors of sour, I use them as needed for a given recipe.  I'll have to get some lactic acid powder to add to my repertoire!  
:D

My problem with straight nuts is the price. I read a recipe that called for 2 cups of cashews, for 4 servings! I can't afford that! Cooked dried beans run through the blender do some neat things, and are a LOT cheaper.

I make a fake cheese thing out of seriously drained tofu run through the blender with asst flavorings and probiotic, let it sit a few days before refrigerating. Is it cheese? No, but since my health doesn't let me have cheese, it's at least a decent spreadable tasty thing.  That same recipe with more liquid added makes a great sauce !
 
John Weiland
pollinator
Posts: 1816
Location: RRV of da Nort
357
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:....I make a fake cheese thing out of seriously drained tofu run through the blender with asst flavorings and probiotic, let it sit a few days before refrigerating. Is it cheese? No, but since my health doesn't let me have cheese, it's at least a decent spreadable tasty thing.  That same recipe with more liquid added makes a great sauce !



Yeah, I've kinda come back to tofu for a lot of these kinds of things.  Sounds like homemade tofu can be made relatively easily as well??..... Although I do like the fact that one can choose between the firmer, spongy kind versus the more soft and creamy kind from the store,  Have not tried the probiotic + tofu.....that sounds intriguing and it's now on my list.

Where possible, we try sunflower seed (hulled) in place of almonds/cashews etc. because it can be locally-sourced and not so expensive, although I'm not sure if it can be considered more sustainable to produce.  Flavor and shelf-life can be an issue, but one ends up balancing several issues in these decisions for sure. Great ideas here!.....
 
Dave de Basque
pollinator
Posts: 264
Location: Basque Country, Spain-43N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
85
purity personal care books cooking food preservation writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I make a fake cheese thing out of seriously drained tofu run through the blender with asst flavorings and probiotic, let it sit a few days before refrigerating. Is it cheese? No, but since my health doesn't let me have cheese, it's at least a decent spreadable tasty thing.  That same recipe with more liquid added makes a great sauce !



Mmm... I wonder if adding some liquid aminos or some other kind of probiotic soy sauce-ish like thing would jazz it up a bit?

Also, the pureed beans thing is a great idea too. I like doing that for a plain old dish of garbanzos/chickpeas. I just take maybe half a cup from the batch and whiz them up in the blender and throw them back in... Makes the sauce thicker and heartier. Mmmm.
 
Jenny Ives
Posts: 78
Location: Portugal
10
monies tiny house composting toilet
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lexie, you are funny (gulp).  

I made the cake to have during my Portuguese language classes and my teacher asked for the recipe too.  So here it is attached.

It is a beat & bake cake.

Mix the dry ingredients together.  You mix the wet ingredients together. Then you combine the wet & dry but don't beat it to death.  Cook for as long as it takes but you are looking at a good 35 to 40 minutes.

The castor sugar (asuar castor) - when we are having the cake to ourself I reduce the sugar but for guests I keep it sweet.  Lots of people's taste buds are perverted for sugar.

The courgette pips I use when it is just for us.  The grated courgette should be done first thing.  Then when you go to add to wet ingredients you can squeeze away excess moisture.

Dry ingredients
*350 grams self raising flour
*350 grams castor sugar  ( can be ordinary granulated sugar)
*50 grams coco powder ( proper unsweetened stuff)
* 5 ml baking powder
* 5ml salt

Wet
* 3 eggs
*175 ml olive oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
* 500 ml grated courgette

Combine wet ingredients and fold into combined dry ingredients.

Bake for 40 minutes on medium heat. 180bcelcius orc375 farenheight. Test with skewer and should come out clean.

Enjoy 😝🇵🇹
20210730_221355.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210730_221355.jpg]
20210730_221210.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210730_221210.jpg]
20210730_221023.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210730_221023.jpg]
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 8181
Location: SW Missouri
4023
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave de Basque wrote:[

Mmm... I wonder if adding some liquid aminos or some other kind of probiotic soy sauce-ish like thing would jazz it up a bit?



Oh definitely. The "etc flavorings' I mention usually has miso in it, amongst all kinds of odd things...  That in itself makes it so you can do in without probiotics.
 
Posts: 40
Location: Nikko-shi, Japan
3
cat foraging writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What a find!  I love this thread and insist that it be a recipe category. Let's call it recipe-ish. I kinda posted a recipe-ish for my Gram's Easter Soup and can repeat it here, but later on.  For now, I want to talk about what all y'all are doing.

  • I love the idea of using nuts for butter or lard (or whatever) but I don't have a blender. I do have a masticating juicer. Do you think I could use that to get the fine grind you need on nuts?
  • Can I use roasted and salted nuts (I have cashews and walnuts)?
  • Love the idea of mayo as a kind of seasoning for pan-fried fish. I first saw it done years ago at a campsite and of course, never thought to apply it to my own kitchen. (Sigh) What a concept!
  • I never thought about smashing or blending veg to make a sauce, but I'm making them now.
  • Veggie tortillas -- thanks Wayne Fajkus!
  • Lettuce as a boiled vegetable -- who knew? Not me. Thanks, Willaim Bronson. I just made a lamb shank with boiled greens and they listed Romaine as something to boil. I was gobsmacked! I never thought that you could cook salad greens and of course, I used a more hearty green veg.
  • Grape leaves: blanch young, spring leaves in some saltwater and wrap them around beef chicken pork and fish cuts. You can freeze them like that but discard them before you cook the meat. They give a nice acidic twist to the meats, almost like sauerbraten but without the work and much milder.
  • Pearl Sutton, how did you make that 3-day ferment? I have not mastered sourdough at all.
  • I LOVE the idea of thickening sauce with roasted veg. Thanks Jan White!
  • I live in Japan so whatever you have tofu and/or miso-wise I'd love it if you would share.

  • Mark Bittman's Chickpea Soup
    So delicious, I make sure I have dried chickpeas in the house all the time.  [/list]

    Bonus recipe (cross-posted from cooking/quarts vs quarts vs cups?):
    Easter Soup as my grannie wrote it:  Boil a link or two of smoked pork sausage until the skins burst. Remove the sausage, save the water. Peel and boil a few potatoes and add a few eggs to the leftover water.  Remove the potatoes and eggs when they are done.  Add prepared horseradish, sour cream and vinegar to the water, to taste. Slice some of the sausage, peel and slice the eggs, slice the cooled potatoes and put a few slices of each in a bowl, pour the broth over them and serve.

    Doesn't that sound easy (and delicious!)? I've worked on this recipe for all my adult life attempting to get back to the flavor profile that my Gram knew intuitively. I'm close, but it's no cigar. I can tell you that the broth is totally opaque, which I have to assume means there is more sour cream than prepared horseradish or vinegar. The only vinegar she used was white, and I have to substitute commercial smoked sausage (Johnsonville smoked sausage) for the smoked Polish sausage she got from the butcher (who made his own).  There is no added salt or pepper. We called it Easter Soup because it was so rich and delicious (i.e. expensive) it was only served annually in celebration of the Lord's resurrection. It was probably the sausage that threw it over the edge.  Oh, and she used white vinegar to make sour cream from the dregs in the milk cartons so it was probably heaps sourer than today's sour cream.

    Thanks, Everyone!
     
    gardener
    Posts: 2217
    Location: South of Capricorn
    920
    dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Barbara Manning wrote: I do have a masticating juicer. Do you think I could use that to get the fine grind you need on nuts?


    So, I have one of those (Omega), I have used it to make almond and peanut butter a few times and while it always requires some serious additions of oil, you can get a nice grind if you pass it through at least twice.

    PS- if you liked the boiled lettuce project, try cutting romaine in half and cooking it on the grill, in a grill pan, or whatever bbq-type device you have. Divine.
     
    Morfydd St. Clair
    pollinator
    Posts: 254
    Location: Hamburg, Germany
    65
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Barbara Manning wrote:
    Easter Soup as my grannie wrote it:  Boil a link or two of smoked pork sausage until the skins burst. Remove the sausage, save the water. Peel and boil a few potatoes and add a few eggs to the leftover water.  Remove the potatoes and eggs when they are done.  Add prepared horseradish, sour cream and vinegar to the water, to taste. Slice some of the sausage, peel and slice the eggs, slice the cooled potatoes and put a few slices of each in a bowl, pour the broth over them and serve.

    Doesn't that sound easy (and delicious!)? I've worked on this recipe for all my adult life attempting to get back to the flavor profile that my Gram knew intuitively. I'm close, but it's no cigar. I can tell you that the broth is totally opaque, which I have to assume means there is more sour cream than prepared horseradish or vinegar. The only vinegar she used was white, and I have to substitute commercial smoked sausage (Johnsonville smoked sausage) for the smoked Polish sausage she got from the butcher (who made his own).  There is no added salt or pepper. We called it Easter Soup because it was so rich and delicious (i.e. expensive) it was only served annually in celebration of the Lord's resurrection. It was probably the sausage that threw it over the edge.  Oh, and she used white vinegar to make sour cream from the dregs in the milk cartons so it was probably heaps sourer than today's sour cream.

    Thanks, Everyone!



    You know what your grannie's soup sounds like?  Zurek!  I went hunting for recipes after gorging on to-die-for soups in Poland a few years ago, and this is one I have not yet gotten to work, mostly because I can't get the secret ingredient - fermented rye flour - to ferment and not rot.  (I am told little old Polish ladies supplement their incomes by selling the ferment to their less-handy neighbors.)

    The link I kept for my notes has deleted the zurek recipe from their site, but I found this:  https://www.polonist.com/polish-zurek-soup/ with a handy link to making the sour rye starter: https://www.polonist.com/rye-starter-zakwas/ so I may give it another shot.  
     
    Pearl Sutton
    steward & bricolagier
    Posts: 8181
    Location: SW Missouri
    4023
    goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Morfydd St. Clair wrote:
    You know what your grannie's soup sounds like?  Zurek!  I went hunting for recipes after gorging on to-die-for soups in Poland a few years ago, and this is one I have not yet gotten to work, mostly because I can't get the secret ingredient - fermented rye flour - to ferment and not rot.  (I am told little old Polish ladies supplement their incomes by selling the ferment to their less-handy neighbors.)

    The link I kept for my notes has deleted the zurek recipe from their site, but I found this:  https://www.polonist.com/polish-zurek-soup/ with a handy link to making the sour rye starter: https://www.polonist.com/rye-starter-zakwas/ so I may give it another shot.  


    OOOH! I'm using that idea! I haven't had a fermented soup or cereal in years! I had a sour cereal I used to make a lot... Hmm. Need to find that recipe and remember it. Excellent winter food.
    Thank you!
    :D
     
    gardener
    Posts: 697
    Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
    410
    dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    On the topic of sauces, particularly vegan cream sauces, my secret ingredient is potatoes and an immersion blender.

    Plain white potatoes cooked to a mush plus some fat, flavouring, and a tiny touch of acid make a really easy cream sauce or base for a creamed soup. I am no longer eating dairy free, but I still throw in a few potatoes any time I make a creamed soup to improve the flavour and texture. Celeriac added to the potatoes makes a really stunningly tasty sauce. I fed that to a few dairy eating friends and try hadn't a clue it was dairy free.

    For people who can't handle tomatos ( I couldn't for a while) - squash plus acid and the right seasonings (particularly a splash of wine or balsamic vinegar) makes a really satisfying tomato sauce substitute.

    I also often add pureed beans to soups and stews to thicken then and make them more filling without being accused of putting 'more beans in this AGAIN'. Lentils hide well in squash soup.  

    Another secret-sauce is what a lot of Indian restaurants do as a base for curries. Stew and lightly caramelize an immense quantity of onions in plenty of fat, then immersion blend into a smooth sauce. Great gravy replacement or replacement for thickening a sauce, especially with soya sauce for some added umani. A few mushrooms would likely give it more depth.
     
    Morfydd St. Clair
    pollinator
    Posts: 254
    Location: Hamburg, Germany
    65
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Pearl Sutton wrote:

    Morfydd St. Clair wrote:
    You know what your grannie's soup sounds like?  Zurek!  I went hunting for recipes after gorging on to-die-for soups in Poland a few years ago, and this is one I have not yet gotten to work, mostly because I can't get the secret ingredient - fermented rye flour - to ferment and not rot.  (I am told little old Polish ladies supplement their incomes by selling the ferment to their less-handy neighbors.)

    The link I kept for my notes has deleted the zurek recipe from their site, but I found this:  https://www.polonist.com/polish-zurek-soup/ with a handy link to making the sour rye starter: https://www.polonist.com/rye-starter-zakwas/ so I may give it another shot.  


    OOOH! I'm using that idea! I haven't had a fermented soup or cereal in years! I had a sour cereal I used to make a lot... Hmm. Need to find that recipe and remember it. Excellent winter food.
    Thank you!
    :D



    Interesting - searching for sour cereal gives me a grain-based soup served in ashrams, but comments say it's not actually sour.  Is that what you mean?  I'm interested in the recipe!
     
    Pearl Sutton
    steward & bricolagier
    Posts: 8181
    Location: SW Missouri
    4023
    goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Morfydd St. Clair wrote:

    Interesting - searching for sour cereal gives me a grain-based soup served in ashrams, but comments say it's not actually sour.  Is that what you mean?  I'm interested in the recipe!



    Yes, the recipe below is one from an ashram in the late 1980s. In the ashrams they didn't sour it, but the lady from India I learned it from said to make it, and let it sour for several days before serving it, that's how she learned it, and she said the non-soured stuff was made more for the Americans at the ashrams as the soured taste wasn't popular with most of them. The brewer's yeast flakes it was was optionally served with soured the flavor for those of us who liked it that way. I prefer it sour, either from yeast or countertop ferment.

    The recipe I have:
    3/4 cup any mix of cereal grains like millet, bulgar wheat, quinoa, steel-cut oats.
    1 tsp whole cumin seeds
    2-3 tbs of fresh grated or dry shredded coconut (not sweetened)
    2 tbs finely chopped onion
    1 tbs grated ginger
    1 tsp salt or to taste
    6-8 cups water


    Brewer's Yeast
    2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    Combine all ingredients (except cilantro and Brewer's Yeast) in the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer until grains are cooked to preferred consistency. Stir in cilantro and serve with Brewer's Yeast added to individual taste.

    Pearl’s comments: Needs ground nuts or seeds to taste right, sesame seeds is best. About 1/4 cup for these proportions.


    That's the variant I have soured, and it really needs the ground seeds or nuts to flavor up right, in my opinion. It lacks something (depth? smoothness?) without it.

    :D


    gift
     
    Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
    will be released to subscribers in: soon!
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic