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Parmesan Grilling Sauce

grilled veggies by The Culinary ChaseThe cool cold Spring has me pining away for warmer days. Warmer days sees us using the bbq more often and sees me experimenting with new, aromatic sauces that accompany a barbecue. This Parmesan grilling sauce is so versatile and scrumptious, you’ll want to smother it on everything you grill…I kid you not! It’ll work well with chicken, beef, pork, seafood, vegetables and would be perfect on kebabs. Spread it on a baguette slice and place on the grill. A super easy sauce to whip up leaving you more time with family and friends.

Makes a bit over 1 cup
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano

veggies to grill by The Culinary ChaseCombine all ingredients. Coat vegetables, chicken, pork, beef etc. and leave to marinate. Save some of the sauce and brush on when grilling.

Parmesan by The Culinary Chase

Parmesan Grilling Sauce by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: If you want a thicker sauce, add more cheese. Red wine vinegar can dominate the lovely flavors of the cheese and herbs so begin with 2 tablespoons first and adjust accordingly. Enjoy!

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce by The Culinary ChaseWhat an amazing and versatile condiment! Chimichurri sauce hails from Argentina – a country on our travel wish list of must places to visit. Use the sauce as a marinade for beef, chicken, fish, seafood, or perfect drizzled on vegetables.  If you have time, leave the sauce overnight at room temperature as this will intensify the flavors.  This is Argentina’s national barbecue sauce where its prime use is to serve it with grilled beef.  Argentinians love their beef – about 63.5kg (140 lbs.) a year per person!  Their beef is some of the best in the world  and with 50 million cows around there are more cows than people.

handful of fresh parsley, stems removed
handful of fresh cilantro (coriander), stems removed
1 to 2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice (can also use red wine vinegar)
pinch red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blitz the parsley, cilantro, garlic, and chilli flakes in a food processor or chop finely by hand. Initially add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and pulse to combine everything to a saucy consistency. Adjust ingredients according to taste.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  An easy sauce to make that packs a flavorful punch and enhances the natural flavors of the food it’s served on.  Enjoy!

Homemade Pesto

homemade pesto by The Culinary ChaseAlmost every cuisine on our planet has found an important role for garlic and is among the oldest known horticultural crop. Egyptian and Indian cultures referred to garlic 5000 years ago and by the Chinese 2000 years ago. Pesto hails from the northern region of Liguria and is a Ligurian superstar! Pasta isn’t the only place you can find pesto on. Try it on bruschetta, in a vinaigrette, tossed with vegetables, in soups, polenta, quiche filling, mayonnaise.

Garlic’s good for you. It acts as a warming herb for the digestion and respiratory tract and is an important antibiotic and antiviral remedy for colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections. When selecting a head of garlic, look for large, clean, firm bulbs with unbroken, dry skins. Remove any green shoots from cloves because they give a bitter taste that persists when garlic is cooked. Store garlic in a cool, dry place where air can circulate. Refrigerating garlic inhibits flavor and dehydrates the cloves.

pesto recipeThe Culinary Chase’s Note: I prefer to use a pestle and mortar as I like to see the bits of crushed ingredients whereas the food processor tends to make everything smooth. The pestle bruises the basil releasing its perfume into the garlic and pine nuts. Put the basil leaves and garlic in mortar and crush. Add a pinch of sea salt and crush until almost creamy. Add the pine nuts and continue to crush; stir in olive oil.  At this point, you may need to add more salt or any of the other ingredients to your satisfaction.   This makes about 2 cups.  If you have any left over and don’t plan to use right away, place in an ice cube container and freeze for future use.  Enjoy!

My Husband’s Bolognese Sauce

bolognese sauce with penneWhere to begin?  When John and I were dating, the first meal he ever cooked for me was his bolognese sauce tossed with penne.  I remember to this day how wonderful his condo smelled and how neat it was!  My husband was and still is a neat freak…not that I am at all complaining.  For a bachelor, his place was immaculate – even the cupboards were tidy!  He had the dining room table all laid out: candles lit, music playing and red wine decanted.

We’ve been together 17 years and on the eve of our marriage, he made his bolognese sauce for our family.  The kids love this sauce and he always makes enough for seconds.  Whatever is leftover gets placed in the freezer.  He has no recipe, just puts it in a pot, in sequence of course.  I think fundamentally this recipe captures the essence of how to recreate this yummy dish even though John cooks like his mom, a little bit of this or a pinch of that.  You may need to increase or decrease an ingredient to suit your palate.

Serves 6 to 8

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped or sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped or sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Italian herb mix
large can Italian plum tomatoes
olive oil
ketchup
1 lb. penne or other favorite pasta
Parmesan, grated

jb prep workIn a large pot over medium heat add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add Italian herbs and cook until fragrant then add garlic slices.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add ground beef, stir and cook until done (about 10 minutes or until no pink is showing). Spoon canned tomatoes into the meat sauce and add some of the juice. Stir until combined and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  When the sauce begins to bubble, add a couple squirts of ketchup.  Stir occasionally to break up the tomatoes.  Once the tomatoes have broken up, add bell peppers.  Simmer 20 minutes or until peppers are al dente.  John usually lets this sit for an hour or so.

When ready to serve, cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain and add to bolognese sauce.  When thoroughly mixed, serve in bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan.
JB relaxing
The Culinary Chase’s Note:
  Many years ago John was told by an Italian friend to add ketchup to the sauce.   If you let the sauce sit, reheat before adding pasta.  Bolognese sauce in Italian is known as ragù alla bolognese (a meat-based sauce from Bologna, Italy).

Buon Appetito!

Grilled Broccolini with Garlic Anchoy Sauce

broccolini with garlic anchovy sauceThe tail end of Spring is drawing to a close and thankfully the warmer weather has arrived.  And because of this, the air in our neighborhood is perfumed with food being cooked on backyard barbeques. If you don’t barbecue you almost feel left out.  When I head out to our back deck to fire up the grill, my stomach grumbles as I get a whiff of someone using their barbeque.  I love this time of year.  Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai lan (Chinese kale).  It’s more delicate in flavor than broccoli and can be eaten raw or lightly sautéed.

Serves 4
adapted by The Gardener & The Grill

Sauce:
1 to 2 anchovy fillets, mashed into as paste
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

2 bunches broccolini, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

broccolini on the barbieFor the sauce, whisk together all ingredients and set aside. Light your barbeque to a medium-hot fire. Place broccolini on a plate and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until broccolini is al dente, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with sauce.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Fresh and simple! Make sure broccolini is similar in size otherwise the larger pieces will take longer to cook and will result in the smaller ones becoming burnt.  Serve this right off the grill or at room temperature.   Summer is just around the corner…Friday, 21st of June.  Enjoy!