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Category Archives: Sauce

Spiced Blueberry sauce

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It was Easter and I wanted a nice breakfast for both my husband and I. For us, that meant pancakes. But I didn’t want the usual. I bought fresh blueberries the previous day thinking I would make blueberry pancakes. Well I did, but that wasn’t it!

I pulled out a sauce pan and put in blueberries, maple syrup, nutmeg and cloves. I heated it up until it was bubbling, using a masher to mush it up. I could have stop cooking it after a few minutes but I wanted the sauce thick. I turned the heat to low and kept stirring it while flipping pancakes (I’ve never been good at that).

Breakfast was served! Instead of regular maple syrup, I poured the blueberry sauce over it. I was very sweet! I can definitely see this as a delicious topping for ice cream. Ooh!

    Spiced Blueberry Sauce

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used grade A)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove

1.) Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat to medium.
2.) When it starts bubbling, carefully mash the berries (don’t let the juice hit you!).
3.) Lower heat to simmer and keep on stirring until you reach desired consistency. I cooked for 10 minutes.
4.) Serve hot and enjoy!

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I admit I didn’t think to take a picture of the finished product. I was too busy eating!!! Just a recommendation- make this for regular pancakes otherwise it will be a flavor overload. I have a favorite recipe for almond pancakes from Elana’s Pantry- her cookbook is Gluten-Free Almond Cookbook. Yum!

Do you add anything special to your pancakes?

Got leftovers but not enough? Recreate a new meal!

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Last night my husband made spaghetti with a DELICIOUS sauce. It was red, but it has absolutely no trace of tomatoes! It was a red pepper sauce. The recipe can be found on: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Pepper-Sauce-4658

Instead of hot sauce (which we ran out of and I didn’t realize it when planning meals for the week, OOPS!), my husband used a bit of water with chili powder. He threw an onion, two red peppers, ginger, water and the spice in a sauce pan to cook it a bit. Then he poured it all into a blender and mixed it up.

A tomato-less red sauce made with red peppers and ginger!

A tomato-less red sauce made with red peppers and ginger!

It was scrumptious! Packed with flavor- the ginger added a kick to it. Immediately I wondered how it would taste if I roasted the red peppers first and used paprika or chipotle powder instead of chili for a smoky taste.

We ate all of the pasta. It was so good, satisfying my cravings for carbs yet it was entirely different than your standard tomato sauce. I mean I love comfort food but I wanted something a bit different last night.

So… we have no pasta left but some of the sauce left. Looking at my kitchen, it hit me. I told him, “Don’t worry about it. When we have our leftovers, I’ll just mix it up with red kidney beans and avocado for dinner.” Now this sauce is a multipurpose sauce!

I love it when I can recreate an entirely different meal using leftovers. It adds variety to our meals with half the work!

What’s your favorite leftover to reuse and how do you do it?

Dining with foodies

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Okay, its obvious that I’m in love with food. And more than that, I LOVE the company of fellow foodies (people who loves food)! Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have dinner at a lovely couple’s home. Fabulous kitchen by the way, which is the room I notice first whenever I visit somebody’s house. After opening a bottle of wine, chatting, the appetizer was served. Shrimp spring rolls.

Y. U. M. I also got the last one! Scoooreeee!

Then the dinner was served. Pasta with the mushroom sauce that I posted (https://cookingwithdru.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/an-invigorating-start-to-july/) with a few additions: roasted eggplant, zucchini and portabella mushroom. The modifications that they made was just DELICIOUS and I applaud them for it.

That’s a great thing about food. It’s never permanent. It’s constantly changing, with the seasons, with the chefs, with the locations and what’s available in your kitchen. That’s half the fun when it comes to food! Not knowing what to expect. Sometimes it can blow your mind. Sometimes you just choke it back and sullenly dump it down the garbage disposal.

Cut up vegetables for the spring rolls

Today, I decided to try my hands on spring rolls, having learned a tip from them. Soak the rice paper for only 15-20 seconds. No wonder why I messed up before! I either did it too long, or too short. It’s all about feel. Feeling excited, I cut up a variety of vegetables. I included portabella mushroom, Habanero pepper, zucchini, avocado, green onions and fresh mint (not pictured).

Then it began. The dipping of the rice papers, assembling and wrapping! Oh it was so much fun playing with food. Growing up, most of us were taught not to play with our food, right? Hah, I play with it EVERY single time I cook. And I love it. My hands get messy. Juice dribble down my chin. Colorful bits decorate the counter. More often than not, I’m constantly chewing.

And viola!

Dru's summery rolls

I made the dipping sauce with a few ingredients and it was the PERFECT compliment to the rolls. It was so easy too!

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped

a few drops of almond oil

Mix it well, and serve in a bowl aside the rolls.

How was it? Mmm… it put a HUGE smile on my face. I think I even let out a giggle. I finally made spring rolls! I’m just calling it summery rolls cause, well, it’s August! I wouldn’t have been able to make this if it wasn’t for the fun couple who treated us to a fabulous evening of food and company!

Go and dine with others. Food isn’t meant to be enjoyed alone. Share your dish, and sample others! With their permission, of course.

An invigorating start to July

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July is the month where you truly believe it is summertime, isn’t it? An abundance of fruit and vegetables screaming to be harvested! It’s as if the stores, the farmer markets and gardeners can’t give away enough of their produce fast enough. Fine by me!

But it can become boring, eating the same thing over and over, doesn’t it?  What if you decided to stir things up, and see how else you can consume it? That’s what I did with portabella mushrooms. I love it grilled, roasted, cut up, mixed into pasta, and side dishes. The other night, I was in the mood for pasta, but not for red sauce or white. What’s left? Olive oil and fresh herbs? Been there, done that. I also spied a beautiful portabella cap sitting in the fridge, waiting to be used. Then it hit me: if I could make a sauce with cashews, why not mushrooms? It turned out to be a delightful surprise, that had my Mom raving!

The best part? I used what I already had lying around the kitchen. Now I realize, the ingredients I used probably aren’t what you can find in every kitchen. I just love using what I already have, instead of letting it go to waste.

Portabella Mushroom Sauce with Thyme

Portabella Mushroom Sauce with fresh thyme

1 portabella, chopped

3 shallots,  chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

olive oil

1/2 cup golden sherry

1 1/2 cup vegetable broth, separated

1/8 cup quinoa flour

5-10 sprigs of fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1.) Sautee onion and garlic in a saucepan with olive oil. When golden, add mushrooms until cooked. Approximately 5 minutes.

2.) Put the mushroom mixture in a blender, add sherry and 1 cup of broth. Puree. After you’re done, return to the pan.

3.) In a separate bowl, mix flour into 1/2 cup of the remaining broth.

4.) Add the creamy broth to the saucepan, and blend. Cook until it’s about to boil. Add fresh thyme (the leaves only). Season to taste.

5.) Serve over pasta, or anything you would normally eat mushrooms with: rice, meat, or even vegetables. Maybe even replace the ketchup in your hamburger?

Want a twist? Dice up another mushroom, and cook it as well, add it to the sauce after it’s been made. Chunks are preferred by some!

Quinoa Salad

Cucumber and fresh dill salad

Fresh strawberries, kiwi, honeydew and blueberries

In the last few days, I was fortunate enough to have access to the internet and it’s chock full of recipes to try! Quinoa salad with roasted root vegetables, cucumber and dill salad, and even lemon basil sorbet! The latter blew my mind away.

Let the summer inspire you with its’ surplus!

A nutty surprise!

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I was looking for inspiration the other night, and I wasn’t getting any ideas. Also I wanted to use what I already had in my kitchen. So I looked around the pantry and refrigerator. I noticed I had a bag of roasted and salted cashews from Trader Joe’s. I also had jalapeno in the vegetable drawer. I still wasn’t get struck by anything, so I decided to look around online. I found a recipe that called for cashews but I didn’t quite like the recipe itself. So I wrote down a few ingredients and added the rest.

The result? An amazing sauce that complimented the fresh sugar snap peas and broccoli over a bed of brown rice, highlighted by a side of cut up avocado. A definite keeper, both my boyfriend and I agreed. It’s well worth the effort, I tell you! It might seem like much, but the truth? It was quick and easy to make. A little buck for a huge bang? Oh yes. That’s my kind of cooking!

Cashew Sauce

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 TBSP olive oil

1 heaping cup of roasted, salted cashews (I used Trader Joe’s, they use rice bran oil which gives it a unique sweetness!)

1 jalapeno, chopped (PLEASE use fresh, since otherwise you will miss out on the flavor)

32 oz vegetable broth (I used Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth, Low Sodium)

1/4 cup coconut flour

1.) Sautee onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in the oil in a sauce pan (you’ll need a good-sized one since the sauce will end up in this), until the onions are golden.

2.) Puree the mixture in a blender with cashews, jalapeno, and 2 cups of vegetable broth.

3.) Return to saucepan, and the rest of broth, stir in coconut flour with a whisk to ensure that it is evenly distributed. You want it to be creamy, without any clumps of flour in your mouth!

4.) Pour sauce over whatever you feel that this will be a great addition to. My recommendations? Fresh green vegetables such as broccoli and sugar snap peas over brown rice! It’s great over burritos as well. Be creative! Garnish with whole cashews for an elegant presentation.

Cashew sauce served over brown rice and fresh green vegetables

This was a great surprise, having it taste as delicious as it did. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect, but I do know one thing; I definitely will make it again!

Know what else is great about this? It’s a vegan sauce that is also gluten-free, corn-free and soy-free! And it’s great as leftovers, so you can keep on adding it to whatever dish you want to enhance, until you run out.

Let me know how you like it!