Recipes for dressings and stuffings including gravies, mayonnaise and spicy herb vinegar. Dressing recipes for green salads may be vinegar-based, called viniagrettes, which are thin and runny, or they may be thicker, creamy, slow-pouring dressings. Thicker dressings usually have a base of mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt.
Fruit salads may have a sweet creamy sauce, or the fruit may be served in its own juice.
Mayonnaise dressing with herbs is used to dress a pasta salad and coleslaw. Flaked meat salad, such as tuna salad and ham salad, is usually dressed with mayonnaise, pickle relish or finely chopped tuna salad and celery and/or onions, or other crunchy additions, such as diced water chestnuts, spring onion, shallots or leeks.
You can buy gravy in a can or jar, but why, when it’s so easy to make your own gravy recipes? When you cook meat, bits get stuck to the bottom of the pan and get all crispy and burnt. This stuff is the secret to good gravy. Most gravy recipes begin by deglazing the pan - this sounds like you are removing a glaze, but what you’re really doing is dissolving and reincorporating the crispy burnt bits. If cooking the meat has left a lot of grease in the pan, pour it off (saving it for later), and then add liquid to the pan. Whatever liquid you use will provide flavour for your gravy recipes, so try meat stock, milk for a creamy result, or even wine. With a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape at the bits on the bottom of the pan, releasing them and breaking them up into the liquid. This not only provides flavour, but colour as well.
Following a stuffing recipe and using it to fill a holiday bird with herbed bread crumbs is a tradition for many families. The exact constituents of the stuffing is something that’s passed on through the generations.
Stuffing is usually made with dried bread that has been crumbled up, but rice or potatoes can form the basis for interesting stuffing recipes as well. The bread is wet with stock or water, seasoned according to the family tradition, and then either lightly packed in the roasting bird’s body cavity or cooked beside the bird in a shallow baking pan.
Stuffing absorbs the juices that run off from a roasting fowl - this can be duplicated in dressing by simply spooning the juices over the dressing during the roasting process.
When stuffing a bird with bread mix, it should be done immediately before the bird is ready to be put into the oven. If stuffed earlier and then refrigerated, the stuffing can become contaminated with micro-organisms. The stuffing probably will not become hot enough in the roasting process to sterilize the microbes.
Birds aren’t the only entrée that can be stuffed, of course. Many cuts of meat are offered thickly-sliced with a pouch cut into them for stuffing - thick-cut pork chops with your favourite stuffing recipe are particularly nice.