Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Tale of Three Sauces

I have been playing with sauces this week, much to the consternation of my family. I must admit to a certain fascination with the alchemy that is sauce-making. Add heat to the equation and things get even more interesting.

I found a recipe for Rosemary and Chocolate Sauce in Ellie Krieger's new cookbook, The Food You Crave. Here we have the ingredients for this sauce: carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, dry red wine, vegetable stock, cocoa powder, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste. Since this is from a cookbook, I will not give you the recipe for the sauce. That only seems fair to Ms Krieger.

As directed, I diced all of the vegetables before cooking.

All of the ingredients except for the cocoa powder and the rosemary cook down for about 40 minutes. Then the reduction is strained before adding the remaining ingredients.

I found another recipe for a Jamaican sauce in another cookbook, The Low-Carb Cookbook, published by Publications International, Ltd. Again, as this is a proprietary recipe, I will not give exact measurements. The recipe calls for orange juice, lime juice, grated lime peel, brown sugar, garlic, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, grated ginger, ground black pepper and salt. The directions do not specify heating the sauce, but I chose to briefly heat the sauce in order to allow the brown sugar to fully incorporate into the sauce.

Here are the finished sauces. The verdict? While I liked the Jamaican sauce, my daughter thought it smelled too much like my world-famous potpourri. The Rosemary and Chocolate Sauce was rather strong, though it was passable when eaten with beef. In the end, I poured the remaining sauce down the drain, while I saved the remaining Jamaican Sauce.

Today I tried a new spin on barbecue sauce. This recipe for Applesauce Barbecue Sauce called for garlic powder, but I substituted grated garlic.

I combined 1 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup catsup, 2 cups unpacked brown sugar, 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 lemons) lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon each salt, ground black pepper, paprika, cinnamon and garlic powder (or 1/2 of a grated garlic clove).

Heat the mixture over medium heat until boiling. Remove from the heat and bottle in a heat-proof container. Allow to cool completely if storing in a plastic container.

Finding the original name somewhat cumbersome, I renamed it Apple Farms BBQ Sauce.

And now a personal post-script: even though 1/3 of these sauces were what could be considered a failure, I do not look at this as such. For every recipe that we attempt, we learn a bit more about our likes and dislikes and we gain just a bit more understanding about how ingredients interact with each other. And while I can certainly understand that these 'experiments' are not cheap, I think that it is very important that we 'foodies' continue to stretch ourselves and to keep on learning what we like and what we don't like.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

I love your cutting board.

I've never had a proper mole.
Chocolate in a sauce just seems wrong to me. I need to try a proper mole.

Marilyn said...

I was underwhelmed, or rather overwhelmed, by the chocolate sauce.

I found that board at TJ Maxx for $7.50 last week and had to have it. It is end grain bamboo. I love it!