Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sauces Made from Bechamel

Bechamel is a standard white sauce and one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. That means it's the starting point for making other sauces, called "small sauces." Here's a list of small sauces that are based on bechamel.

1. Bechamel Sauce Recipe

Bechamel Sauce Variations - Sauces Made from Bechamel - Bechamel Sauce RecipesPhoto c Michael Newman

A traditional bechamel is made by whisking hot milk into a simple flour-butter roux. The sauce is then simmered with onion, cloves and nutmeg until it is creamy and velvety smooth.

2. Cream Sauce Recipe

The Cream Sauce (or Creme Sauce) is a the original classic cream sauce and one of the simplest variations on the Bechamel sauce. It's made by whisking heavy cream into the finished bechamel.

3. Mornay Sauce Recipe

The Mornay Sauce is made by enriching a standard Bechamel sauce with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. The Mornay Sauce is an ideal accompaniment for vegetables, pasta or fish.

4. Soubise Sauce Recipe

For the Soubise Sauce, a classic cream sauce for vegetables, we saute onions and then puree them before adding them to the Bechamel. For a simple variation on the classic Soubise sauce, you can add some tomato puree to the finished sauce just before serving.

5. Nantua Sauce Recipe

This version of the Nantua Sauce, a classic seafood sauce, is made by incorporating shrimp butter and cream into a basic Bechamel sauce. Traditionally, however, it is made with crayfish. The Nantua sauce is delicious with fish and seafood, especially shellfish.

6. Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe

The Cheddar Cheese Sauce is made by adding cheddar cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to a standard Bechamel sauce. Like the Mornay sauce, the Cheddar Cheese sauce is great with vegetables, pasta and fish.

7. Mustard Sauce Recipe

Here's another bechamel variation that's easy to make. The Mustard Sauce is made by adding prepared mustard to a basic Bechamel sauce. This tangy sauce can be served with vegetables, eggs or chicken.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spanish Sauce Recipe

Spanish Sauce Recipe

The Spanish sauce is a spicy tomato sauce made with sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms and garlic.

NOTE: This recipe calls for 1 quart of the classic tomato sauce, which is one of the five so-called mother sauces of the culinary arts. You could instead use 1 quart of basic tomato pasta sauce, which is easier to make.

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 20?minutes

Total Time: 25?minutes


  • 1 quart tomato sauce
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • ? cup diced green pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce (or another hot pepper sauce), to taste


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the onions, green pepper and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Season with the salt, pepper and Tabasco and serve right away.
Makes about 1 quart of Spanish Sauce.

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Definition: In the culinary arts, the word Florentine, or the term a la Florentine, refers to a recipe that is prepared in the style of the Italian region of Florence.

Florentine recipes will typically feature some main ingredient, such as meat, poultry or fish, served on a bed of spinach, and then topped with a Mornay sauce. A Florentine recipe may also be topped with cheese which is browned or au gratin.

One common Florentine recipe is Eggs Florentine, which is a variation on Eggs Benedict. Eggs Florentine features a poached egg over a bed of spinach on a grilled English muffin, and topped with Mornay sauce (although it's common to serve it with Hollandaise sauce instead).

Note that the word florentine also has another definition not related to recipes made with spinach and Mornay sauce. There's a thin, crunchy wafer or cookie that also goes by the name florentine. This florentine cookie is made with honey and nuts and is sometimes coated with chocolate.

Pronunciation: FLOR-en-teen

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Mint Sauce for Lamb

If you're making a roast leg of lamb for Easter, here's a simple mint sauce that you can serve with it: Mint Sauce for Lamb

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How to Roast a Leg of Lamb

Roast leg of lamb is a classic Easter dish, and you can get a 6-8 pound semi-boneless one that will feed anywhere from 8 to 12 people.
How to Roast a Leg of Lamb
How to Roast a Leg of Lamb.
Photo c Ben Fink / Getty Images

Semi-boneless means that it's had the hip and tail bone (which is also sometimes called the H-bone) removed, as well as the hinged end of the shank bone. These bones are great for making stock, so your best bet is to have the butcher do this for you from a whole leg of lamb so that you can take the bones home with you.

Here's an article that describes How to Roast a Leg of Lamb. Also check out this Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe. Finally, here are a few related resources:

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Moist-Heat Cooking

Moist Heat Cooking Methods

Moist heat cooking refers to various methods for cooking food with, or in, any type of liquid — whether it's steam, water, stock, wine or something else.

Relative to dry-heat cooking methods, moist-heat cooking uses lower temperatures, anywhere from 140°F on the low end to a maximum of 212°F — which is as hot as water can get.

Braising & Stewing

With braising, the item to be cooked is first seared or sauteed, then partially covered with liquid and simmered slowly at a relatively low temperature. Braising can be done on the stovetop, but it's best done in the oven so that the heat will fully surround the pot, causing the food to cook more evenly than if it were only heated from below.

Braising is a good technique for cooking tougher cuts of meat, such as those from older animals, or ones that naturally contain more connective tissues.

These tissues are what can make these cuts of meat tough and chewy when improperly cooked. But the long, slow application of moist heat dissolves these tissues, with the result being a tender piece of meat.

What's more, as the connective tissues break down, they dissolve and form gelatin, which thickens the cooking liquid and gives it body and shine.

Meanwhile, braising causes the muscle fibers to absorb moisture from the cooking liquid and steam. That gives you a juicy piece of meat. Braising also melds flavors from the stock, vegetables and any herbs and seasonings. Here's a list of 10 great braised recipes.

Poaching, Simmering & Boiling

Poaching, simmering and boiling are really three different stages of the same cooking method. Each of these methods describes cooking food by submerging it in hot water (or another waterlike liquid like stock).

What defines each one is an approximate range of temperatures, which can be identified by observing how the water (or other cooking liquid) behaves. Each one — boiling, simmering and poaching — has certain telltale characteristics:

Poaching refers to cooking food in liquid that has a temperature ranging from 140°F to 180°F. Poaching is typically reserved for cooking very delicate items like eggs and fish. At poaching temperatures, the liquid won't be bubbling at all, though small bubbles may form at the bottom of the pot.

Simmering is distinguished by cooking temperatures that are a bit hotter than with poaching — from 180°F to 205°F. Here we will see bubbles forming and gently rising to the surface of the water, but the water is not yet at a full rolling boil.

Because it surrounds the food in water that stays at a fairly constant temperature, food that is simmered cooks very evenly. It's the standard method for preparing stocks and soups, starchy items such as potatoes or pastas, and many others. One of the downsides to simmering is that vitamins and other nutrients can be leached out of the food and into the cooking liquid.

Boiling is the hottest of these three stages, where the water reaches its highest possible temperature of 212°F. It's actually the method that is least likely to be used in cooking. That's because the violent agitation caused by churning bubbles characteristic of a rolling boil will often damage the food.

Boiling would be a bad choice for cooking an egg outside its shell, as when preparing poached eggs, because the agitation would basically destroy the egg. The same holds true for pastas and delicate fish.


Once water is heated past the 212°F mark, it stops being water and turns into steam. As far as physical agitation goes, steaming is very gentle, making it ideal for cooking seafood and other delicate items. It also has the advantage of cooking quickly while avoiding the loss of nutrients through leaching.

Interestingly, steam's maximum temperature is also 212°F, just like water. But unlike water, steam can be forced to exceed this natural temperature limit by pressurizing it. The higher the pressure, the hotter the steam becomes. Cooking with pressurized steam requires specialized equipment, though, so it's not something that a home cook would typically use.

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