Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kitchen 101 - Roux

Roux- typically an even mixture of fat (butter or oil) and flour used to thicken a sauce or gravy. The fat basically lubricates and smooths the flour to prevent the forming of lumps when it is combined with a liquid such as milk for a gravy.

There are three types (classifications) of roux. White, blond, and brown. Each different roux is based upion the length of time it takes to cook. A white roux is cooked just until the flour and butter are evenly incorporated and should be removed from the heat before i begins to turn color (3-5 minutes). A blond roux is cooked a little longer, until it gives off a slight nutty aroma and turns an ivory color (5-7 minutes). The blond roux is comomnlly used in more creamy sauces or soups. Brown roux, largely used for Cajun or Creole cooking. Brown roux is cooked the longest (15-20 minutes and sometimes more)until it's dark brown and has a strong nutty fragrance. The longer you cook a roux, the less it will thicken a sauce or other mixture. Heat will eventually break down the starch in the flour.

Whether you're making a white, blond, or brown roux, let it cool momentarily before adding slowly whisking in your milk, stock, or other liquid. Once a roux and a liquid are combined, you need to whisk constantly until the sauce has thickened and come to a simmer. Use a low temperature to reduce the sauce to your desired consistency. Any trace of the "floury taste" should disappear after several minutes of slow simmering. If any lumps appear, strain your sauce in a fine mesh strainer/sieve before proceeding with your recipe.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pink Dip

Pink Dip

2 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
Onion, diced - I use about a palm full
1/3 C to 1/2 C Ketchup, depending on your taste
* Optional 1-2 Dashes Worcheshire Sauce
* Optional 1 Tbsp Mayonnaise

Combine listed ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, blend ingredients together. You can use a fork to mix but that will require a little more "elbow grease". Mix until all ingredients have been combined well and dip has a Pink appearance. Taste. If you desire a darker pink and a little more zing, add more ketchup and continue to mix. Taste. Once you have established the flavor you like, cover and refrigerate until your ready for guest to dig in. NOTE: If you add mayonnaise, this will ensure that once you remove it from the cold fridge it will be creamy. If you have not added the mayo, you might want to remove it from the fridge a few minutes before you serve to allow it to soften. 
We serve with "Ruffles" Original Flavor potato chips.

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