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, Wyoming
Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Oct 28, 2010

Family Secret: Seizure Salad Dressing

Last night I was whipping up some Seizure salad dressing, and I thought, "you know, this stuff so freakin good that I need to post the recipe on Sauce du Jour and share it with my readers both of them." 
     But then my daughter, who will be referred to as "The Blackmailer" in this piece, said, "Mom, you can't share that recipe...that'd be like giving up the goods. Can't we have just one family secret?"
     In case you haven't figured it out yet, I’m really talking about Caesar salad dressing. While I decide if I'll spill my guts (or not), I'll give you the back story: several years ago The Blackmailer thought the actual name for Caesar Salad was Seizure Salad, and she said it... out front of all of us, and at our house if you say something dumb like that, believe me, it will stick for a really long time, like maybe forever.   
  So before I give up the goods, (or not), I will tell you this: the original recipe was from Bon Appetit, circa 1990 something. Since then it has either been long lost or died a splattery death, I’m not sure which, but I’ve adapted it to the version I'll share here, (or not). I'll swear on its grave that every time I make this salad dressing, people come out of the woodwork to beg me for the recipe. 
     Unless there is blackmail involved, I'm not normally a recipe hoader, in fact I'm quite generous with sharing great recipes, but just as I was making the executive decision to put it out here, The Blackmailer brought up the other family secret. Perhaps she has a point. Maybe I shouldn't give out this recipe after all. At our house saying something dumb may stick, but blackmail always trumps secret recipes. So it is with regrets that I'm not going to be able post the reicpe for what just may be thee best Seizure Salad Dressing ev-ver! *  
*Sssshhhh...If you want the reicpe leave me a comment or e-mail me and I'll give it to you. (Note: The Blackmailer doesn't have to know, she is probably busy digging up some more family secrets anyway.) Here's something that you should know about this recipe: make up a triple batch and give a little jar to your kids and/or friends. They’ll love you for it and worship you like you are some kind of a Salad Dressing Goddess! 

You can make your Caesar salad however you dang well please, but this is how I like mine:  romaine, shaved parmesan cheese, thin slices of red onion, and fat, homemade coutons*. Spunk up the romaine with some fresh squeezed lemon juice just before you dress it up all pretty with the Seizure salad dressing.  

(*Croutons: Melt equal parts butter and olive oil in large bowl. Add herbs de provence, minced garlic and coarse sea salt.  Add cubed bread pieces and toss to coat. Either bake in 400 degree oven or saute in pan, until toasted) 

Oct 21, 2010

The Jet-Setting Squash

I confess — I have a little criminal bone in my body. About 15 years ago ,while dining at an Italian restaurant in Orange, CA, I did a bad, bad thing — I jacked a squash. This particular squash was a little orange and green Styrofoam thing that was part of a centerpiece on our table.
     My BFF, RK was an unknowing accomplice. She carted it right out of the restaurant—clueless that I was using her as my mule in the heist. The next day she found it in her purse and wondered how it had gotten there. We had a good laugh over it and I never gave it another thought, until a few days later, when I got home and was unpacking my suitcase. Yep, there it was, tucked in a corner amongst the dirty clothes. So began the story and the life of the squash.
     On our next rendezvous together, which was in Phoenix, I sweet talked the desk guy at our hotel into giving me a key to her room, where I tucked it nighty-night in her bed. Another time, when we met up in Las Vegas, I found it in the glove box of our rental car.
    RK really one upped me in Puerto Rico, when our room steward handed the squash to me just as we were debarking on a Caribbean Cruise. For the life of me I could not figure out how she had gotten it onto the ship. My brilliant daughter finally solved the mystery by declaring, “oh my gosh, she must be on the cruise too!” 
     Then about five years later it went on a Mexican Rivera cruise, where it was presented to me on my dessert plate, dipped in chocolate and looking good enough to eat. In fact the squash turns up in our food quite often. RK found it in her gnocchi, while dining at Oliver’s, in Sheridan, and then several years later it made it’s way back to Oliver’s and turned up in my pizza. This jet-setting squash has been to the Stone Crab festival in Florida and to wine tastings in Napa.
     My personal best passing of the squash was in Sorrento Italy, where it took all of my powers of persuasion to convince the chef of the 5 star Hotel that we were staying at, to serve it for lunch. It wasn’t exactly something that he wanted to send out of his kitchen, especially since we were there for a week of cooking classes. When the white gloved waiter removed the silver dome off of her plate and revealed nothing but the squash, RK about fell off her chair. The chef may have turned his nose up at my shenanigans, but I could tell that the waiter wanted to secretly high-five me, as he stood at our table wearing a tuxedo and his best poker face. 
     When our little squash isn’t turning up in our food, it’s quite often swimming in our drinks. The bartender in Negril, Jamaica looked guilty of nothing as he served it up in RK’s Grey Goose dirty martini—and on more than one occasion it has been seen lounging in one of our wine glasses.
     When it’s not in our suitcases, it’s hanging out in our houses. The squash has been left in her freezer, her bra (not while she was wearing it.), her desk drawer and her shower. I’ve found it in my shoes, my shopping bag, my coat pocket and my car. Our kids, husbands, friends and complete strangers have been recruited to occasionally help in the covert operation of hiding or transporting the squash. They have done reconnaissance work—allowing the squash to turn up in the least expected places.
     After all these years it is starting to look a little worse for wear. RK’s dog cut his puppy teeth on it, and it’s been frozen, cooked and wet. As of this very moment, the squash is perfectly happy hanging out in my produce bowl on my cutting board.
     But get this;  I really intend to one-up her in the end! (RK if you are reading, STOP here) The squash has been bequeathed to her in my will, in the event that it is in my possession at the...ummm, you know…the time. Now that would be the ultimate passing of the squash torch! 

This recipe is for Acorn Squash with Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta. I got it from my sister, who happens to be one of the four real life vegetarians that I know.  It makes a great side dish or a vegetarian entree. Go to the "Soups-Salads-Sides" tab at the top of this page to view it. 

Oct 12, 2010

Have You Met Our Other Daughter?

Our Family-circa 1992
Yes, that's Honest Abe & me
rockin the mall bangs!
 The year was 1992, Daughters #1 and #2 (who shall be referred to as Sulky and Spoiled Rotten in this piece) were 9 and 5 years old, and I wanted a #3. I was thinking adoption and The Big Guy was thinking when pigs fly out my…well, never mind, he was thinking no way in hell.     Then I saw an ad in the paper. “Host families needed for Exchange Students,” it said. Big thought this was the perfect solution; we could have another daughter, but we wouldn’t have to keep her. In other words, she wouldn’t be a package deal like the first two were, who came with college tuition contracts and wedding payment plans. He figured when the year was over and it was time to send her home, well…the whole wanting another child thing would be out of my system. Yeah right...who did he think he was kidding? I already knew what a pushover for daughters he was, but I played along anyway.
Julia, Sulky & Spoiled Rotten
in Yellowstone Park
     So, we poured over the bios and looked at pictures and finally we chose Julia—a 16 year old German girl—horsey, with two younger sisters. Hmmm, a perfect fit for our Montana redneck family we reckoned. 
     But wait a sec, if you are thinking this arrangement was straight out of a fairytale, think again. The new baby smell wore off shortly after Julia’s arrival, and Sulky, who wrote the book, How to Aggravate a Teenager, pulled out all the stops, and the two of them had some very sisterly moments. Spoiled Rotten did her best to maintain her role of The Annoying Baby Sister, purely by existing. The only fairytale I was channeling was Hansel & Gretel, because I could totally see how adorable children could end up in an oven. 
The Blue Girl Group
Before long, everything settled down and the kids all found their roles in the family without being forced to breathe any oven fumes. Sulky did suffer from middle child syndrome for the better part of Julia’s stay, but snapped right out of it without any therapy whatsoever. Spoiled Rotten remained spoiled and rotten and annoying, but all in all the three of them found that sister kind of love. 
     Julia spent 10 months with us and we showed her Yellowstone Park, the Black Hills, the Arizona desert, a Mexican border town and the glitz of Las Vegas. She turned us on to German Gummy Bears and marzipan, earned a high school diploma, got her driver’s license, and won a car. She got to experience things that other foreign exchange students likely never did, like riding a Harley, carrying the American flag on horseback in a rodeo, and spending a couple of weeks roughing it at a cow camp with Grandma Di and Grandpa Coyote. She gave us a Christmas tradition, stole our hearts and went home.
     Over the next two decades we kept in touch, remembering birthdays and holidays and we got together in 2005, for Christmas in Mexico.     
     Fast forward to 2010; Sulky is no longer sulky. Spoiled Rotten is no longer…well never mind that, let’s just say all three girls grew up to be smart, lovely, productive adults. Julia is now a Doctor—successful and beautiful and a dead ringer for Heidi Klum.         
     She came back to the U.S. this past August for Sulky's wedding, and just like a real sister and best friend, Julia signed the marriage certificate as the witness. It was a gesture that was meaningful for both of them.
     We spent two fun weeks together time that was bittersweet. We were happy that Julia had been here to be a part of such an important day for our family, and we are proud of the amazing person that she has become. Not knowing how much time will pass until we see her again makes us sad and causes us to miss her even more.
     For me, seeing the three girls bridge a gap and be devoted to each other like real sisters, makes me swell with motherly pride. She and The Big (soppy) Guy are still as tight as if he had birthed her himself, and we love her like she’s one of our own. As it turns out she wasn’t just an exchange student because there is no one that we want to exchange her for. No, she’s our girl, as much as if our name was on her birth certificate, and yep, she is stuck with us. Julia is family.  
I'm including Julia's recipe for Marzipan Mousse, which is so addicting that it should be illegal. I don't have a picture of it because someone forgot to take one when she made it for us. Go to the "Desserts" tab at the top of this page to view it. (Warning: Baker beware, this stuff jumps out of the bowl and immediately attaches itself to your thighs!)

Oct 3, 2010

Beef + Bacon = 1 Happy Husband

Rib Steak
When it comes to beef, The Big Guy prefers a manly-man rib steak. He likes that rich marbling that guarantees its juiciness. But then you know how it is, you get to be a certain age and the old doctor says to lay off the fat, cut down on red meat, and eat leaner cuts, blah, blah, blah. Being the loving wife that I am, I start pulling the tenderloins instead of the rib steaks, out of the freezer. Six little ounces of nothing but lean, red meat with barely even a hint of marbling. “Girl steak,” Big says, and I can tell he’s not too crazy about it. “Doctors orders,” I say.
Tenderloin Steaks
     Then I decide I’ll spunk it up a little for him. Hmmm, bacon wrapped + tenderloin = boring, but yet bacon + beef = a match made in heaven. Come to think of it bacon + anything = bliss. Then it hits me, I’ll make a Bacon-Shallot Butter to top off that little hunka hunka burnin meat.
     What? You say I’m defeating the purpose if I take a lean cut of meat and add the fat right back in? Bacon + Butter = Heart attack to the tenth power, you say? I did the math and it works out like this: we ditched 6 oz. of highly marbled juicy rib steak, or approximately 400-500 calories, and a good 20-30 grams of fat, in exchange for 1 little ole tablespoon of butter and about the equivalent of a half a piece of bacon, a measly half a piece of bacon people, or about 125 calories and 10 grams of fat…total for butter + bacon. Here’s how it calculates out…Bacon + Butter – Rib Steak = negative 18.0276 squared calories. So I figured I was way ahead of the game, saving hubby at least 1.5 heart attacks about every 4.8 years, or if you are using the metric system, that's about $298,420 dollars per fiscal year.   
The steak, just before I popped it under the broiler
     But whoa just a sec…When The Big Guy added that second piece of Bacon-Shallot Butter to the girl steak, I had to recalculate…Tenderloin + Bacon Butter to the second power = Happy Husband. If you are still using that old fashioned metric system it works out like this:  he could have had the rib streak.

The steak, 45 seconds later
I served some steamed potatoes on the side, which The Big Guy topped guessed it, a piece of the Bacon-Shallot Butter, proving that yes indeed, bacon and butter go on everything. (Note-since this was a highly technical mathematic experiment, I made the Bacon-Shallot Butter two ways; one with bread crumbs added to the butter mixture and one without. I preferred it with the crumbs, while Big preferred it without. Add 20 calories +/- and increase the heart attack/year ratio by a .314 +/-divided by 7.286, if you add the bread crumbs, or just add about $.022 per serving.) Go to the "Beef-Pork-Chicken" tab at the top of this page to view it.