Practical Advice For My Son #4 ~ How To Make A Roux

I have told you before, you can put almost anything in a good cream sauce and look like a genius cook to a date. To make a good cream sauce, you need to make a roux. I’ll bet you didn’t know how it was spelled, despite almost four years of French class. And we have been over this a few times, but I really don’t expect you will remember, so I am putting it here. Of course if you would like to call home and ask your mom, you can always do that too.

You need to melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Then add two tablespoons of flour, preferably Wondra, which is extra fine and will help you not have a lot of lumps but any flour will do. Normally you would whisk this up but I don’t really expect you to have a whisk, so take a large fork, use it flat and stir in circles against the bottom of the frying pan. Hopefully this is not a nonstick pan or it won’t survive many tries at this. Let this cook, stirring pretty frequently, until the flour turns golden brown. Once it is nice and golden, add 1 cup of milk and stir (whisk) constantly. You can use half milk and half broth if you like, it will be less creamy/thick and a bit more liquid, like a different kind of sauce. You can double this recipe, just keep the proportions the same. Generally I put a few drops of worcestershire and a few drops of tabasco to give it a bit of flavor. Salt and pepper will do.

You will want to let it bubble gently and it will thicken. If its too thick, add broth or milk. Generally speaking, a few sauteed boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some egg noodles and you are in business. Or some precooked shrimp (you can buy a bag) and some nice rice pilaf (comes in a box) and you are in business. Add a bagged salad and a storebought desert and poof! fabulous dinner for two.

If by some chance you want to make comfort food, one of your favorites, just buy a rotisserie chicken and cut it up and put it in the cream sauce, make buttered toast and voila! creamed chicken on toast. Remember if you add frozen peas, they will melt and add water so make your sauce a little thick.

A good roux can go a long way, there are many things you can do with a cream sauce. You can even put it over pork chops, or whatever. Experiment with flavors; just remember to smell things before you put them in… if it doesn’t smell good, if it doesn’t smell like it would go together, don’t do it.

Just remember 2, 2 and 1. Two tablespoons, two tablespoons and one cup. Roux is just one of those things that is good to know in life. It’s an easy trick that will take you far; like most things it is simple once you know how.

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You Want To See My What?

I just love the MSN homepage. When I open my browser I am confronted by a fabulous array of fluffy stories about celebrity, sports figures, gruesome headline-worthy crimes and what we Americans like to call “lifestyle” features. I do not have a “lifestyle”, I have a life. I think there is a major difference. Maybe it is money, or the lack thereof? Not sure but I will continue to ponder it. Maybe its a lifestyle if everyone is watching and of course, in my case, nobody is. So the other day I opened up my browser, all aflutter with excitement to see what would await me there. What do I see but an article on “Dating At Forty ~ Fabulous”. EEEEW. First of all I am significantly (more than a decade) past forty. But really. I grant you that forty was probably my peak intellectually ~ now that the hormone thing is causing some memory issues. It certainly was not my peak physically; nor was it my peak spiritually (I seem to be working on that now). I have been married for over twenty years (for the third time, so cumulatively about 30 years) so the opportunity to date at forty did not present itself legitimately. Nevertheless I can say with some certainty that the idea of undressing in front of a stranger again after many years of monogamy, even at forty, was not an appealing one. More to my point, though, is that I don’t ever see “lifestyle” articles for women over fifty, or sixty. What are we? Chopped liver? It definitively seems to me that if I had to date again at over fifty it would not be fabulous at all, it would just be hard! Or maybe it would be ridiculously easy since I am no longer all that easily deceived and I no longer care as much what others opinion of me is. Nevertheless, that whole thing about undressing… oh brother. Apparently there is still some work to do on the “self love” thing (meaning self-esteem, NOT solitary sex, although if I were single at this age, that might just be a solution). Okay, so apparently women over fifty don’t have “lifestyles”, we are just marking time until the grave. I was in the store and looking at magazines and Lucky magazine has cute clothes, etc. It has a section that shows 20, 30, 40 (as in good skirts, or good skin care, for each category). When you realize that you are in a category that is higher than they wish to go, you don’t buy the magazine any more. I am not, however, ready for polyester elastic waist pants and thick shoes. I don’t have a lifestyle but I really do have a life.