Monday, April 16, 2012

Spicy Lemon Creme Sauce

Salmon patties fall into the category of "comfort food" for me. I remember my grandmother making them frequently when I was little, and I always gorged myself on them.

My husband, however, did not grow up eating fried salmon, and its been more of an acquired taste for him. The last time I made salmon patties, he mentioned that they'd be more palatable with some sort of sauce. This spicy lemon creme sauce worked great for the salmon patties, but you could use it on any time of fish or shellfish – especially if you're like me and can't tolerate the mayonnaisey gunk that most people seem to think passes for tartar sauce.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour until well-mixed and clumpy. Gradually whisk in the milk until the sauce base becomes smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens to the consistency you want (usually 1-3 minutes). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Serve hot. 

Potato Bacon Soup

Last night I made like a Catholic saint and performed a miracle. Behold: potato bacon soup.

It isn't often that I taste something new and have a "moment." You know, the moment where you close your eyes, savor whatever it is you've just tasted and shiver all over with deliciousness. But those little moments are a crucial part of what life is all about, yes? I totally had a moment with this soup. It was so good that when I let my husband have a taste, he came back for more and I had to smack him away from the pot until dinnertime.

This soup was so good that I had to call my mother and tell her about it. She probably thinks I've gone completely off my rocker, calling to excitedly tell her about food. But I didn't care. I had to tell somebody. Make this soup. You won't be disappointed. 


  • 5 baking potatoes
  • 1 pack bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup sour cream


Bake the potatoes. This is rudimentary, so I'm not going to tell you how to do it. When the potatoes are just a few minutes from being done, chop up the onion and saute it in the olive oil until it is tender and translucent. Cook the bacon. Cover a plate with a paper towel and sit the cooked bacon on the paper towel to absorb the excess grease. 

Melt the butter in a stock pot (I used a Dutch oven. It keeps things from burning a lot better than a stock pot imho) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir the mixture for about two minutes. It will clump together into a ball. That's normal. Add the milk gradually, cup by cup, whisking between each cup of milk until the mixture is smooth. 

Add the cream and whisk for another minute or two until the mixture thickens slightly. Most things thicken gradually. This doesn't. When it starts to thicken it happens at the speed of light. Remove the pot from the heat and stop whisking as soon as the soup base reaches the perfect thickness. You'll know it when you see it. 

Peel and chop up the potatoes. If they're too hot to handle, just stick them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool. Add the potatoes and onion to the soup base. Bring the soup base to a low boil for a couple of minutes then turn the heat down to medium low. 

Add the sour cream, cheese, bacon and pepper. Stir the potato bacon soup until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately. 

Note: There is a very good reason this recipe doesn't call for salt. While most potato soups desperately need some salting, the bacon in this recipe provides more than enough salt. Trust me.