Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Creamy Cucumber Sauce (AKA Dilly Sauce)

For many years, there was never a piece of salmon served in the Stein household without this sauce to accompany it. We put other things on our fish now, but when we made this recipe, I remembered why it was so right with a succulent, fresh filet. On the other hand, why bother with fish to put it on when you can just eat it all up with a spoon?

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Creamy Cucumber Sauce (AKA Dilly Sauce)
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 cup finely diced cucumber
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon dill weed

Use plain salt if you aren’t a seasoned salt person. Also use a high quality sour cream since it’s the base of the sauce, and a good mayo does wonders too.

It’s really good if you make it a little while ahead. Thirty minutes is a nice amount of time for the flavors to meld. Left over for the next day, however, the juice in the cucumber can separate out and make the whole thing a bit watery. You won’t often have much left over. If it does separate, just stir it well and serve immediately.

As I mentioned, you can just gobble this stuff up with a spoon.

Extra cucumber never hurt anything in this sauce.

Sometimes there was fresh dill available and that is mighty tasty in it too.

We broke the rules recreating it here, because we served it with some grilled shrimp and a fish other than salmon. Also heavenly.

Side Dishes, Vegetables

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

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Here’s the cookbook that still resides on Mom’s counter. It’s missing the title pages and the tape that reattached the last page of the index, but the duck tape repairs on the spine still hold.

It’s been a part of the Stein kitchen as long as the boys can remember, and it’s filled with treasures and memory.

Mom didn’t ever share a recipe for this, but it started with a classic white sauce and a high quality cheddar, so this is the one from the Good Housekeeping Cook Book.

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I always marvel at how simple this really is.

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Stirring and stirring is the  key to smooth white sauce – while adding the milk slowly.

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Medium White Sauce (cream sauce)

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons flour (some people prefer to reduce flour to 1-1/2 T)

Speck pepper

1/2 tesaspoon salt

Dash paprika

1 cup milk, or part milk and part light cream

1. In double boiler (or in saucepan over low heat), melt butter; add flour, pepper, salt, paprika; stir until blended, smooth.

2. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

3. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Makes one cup.

To make cheese sauce, add 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese and dash cayenne pepper. *

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Our cauliflower was cooked in chunks. Not nearly as lovely as that whole globe.

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This original recipe calls for mustard powder here but I never remember that being used in the Stein kitchen. In my memory, maybe my own Mother’s addition of cayenne makes its way in here, but I’m fairly certain it was a part of LaVerne’s sauce, too.

A double boiler was never used, just a good heavy saucepan.

Always use a high quality cheddar. In the Stein’s house, it was invariably Tillamook.

My husband and I couldn’t agree on how the cauliflower was cooked, though it was always whole. Was it boiled or steamed? It was always lovely in the serving dish, that warm pale yellow cheese sauce flowing down the sides of the head of cauliflower.

He doesn’t remember this, but as I recall, his Mom made cheese sauce for broccoli sometimes, too. When our daughter disdained all vegetables except raw ones, she would eat cooked broccoli this way with pleasure. All the various Steins can correct me if I’m wrong…

Do you remember a sauce that made everything better?