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February 2, 2014

Mom's Amaretto Sauce

Author Rick Bragg tells a story about making his mom's mashed potatoes:  he tried the recipe from his mom over and over, but couldn't get it just the way she made it.  He went back to her, repeatedly asking why the two dishes hadn't matched, and the only response she gave over and over was, "You have to feel it out.  You have to practice."  Finally one time he watched her prepare the potatoes, start to finish.  He witnessed the ingredient she had left out from the recipe when she'd given it to him.  His mom stirred in a large dollop of mayonnaise! 

For this month's Valentine themed meeting of Food Bloggers Los Angeles, I decided to make one of my mom's tried and true standards:  Amaretto Sauce.  She normally serves liberal amounts of this sauce over sliced strawberries.  I lightened her dessert by using the sauce as a dressing over a spinach-berry salad.  This gives the flavor, but without as much volume of sugar, as you're not using as much of the sauce, and makes a vegetable palatable while letting the berries shine through.  

I think my version does justice to the dessert I remember growing up.   It's a treat to be enjoyed in moderation, or on special holidays, like Valentines. 

Mom's Amaretto Sauce

1 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Amaretto
1 1/2 c. Sour Cream

Blend all ingredients, and serve over fresh strawberries.

Spinach-Berry Salad

1 bag fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
1/2 bag frozen Strawberries
1/2 bag frozen Blackberries
Pine Nuts as desired

Thaw the berries overnight in the refrigerator.  Toss all ingredients and serve.  Dress with Amaretto Sauce above.

What family recipes have you tried to duplicate, and to what success?  How have you been able to keep the tradition but make them healthier?

FBLA Chocolate Party 2014 Recipe and Resource Links


Savory Dishes

Champagne/Sparkling Wine Recommendations

  • Jaume Serra Cristaliino Brut Cava by Eating RulesJaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava ($7 “but tastes like $20+”) -- Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules
  • NV Presto Prosecco Brut ($10-$12), a “price performer” -- Alison Ashton of Nourish Network
  • Brut Roederer Estate Mixed Vintage ($20) -- Jennifer Daskevich of A Little Gourmet Everyday
  • Colbert Eco Brut (sugar-free organic sparkling wine; $25) -- Caren Magill of The Fit Habit
  • Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée ($10.99). “When serving mimosas there is no need to buy expensive bubbly, but naturally you don't want to serve your guests headache-inducing sparkling wines or champagne either. The Brut Cuvée is Barefoot's most traditional bubbly and tastes of green apple and jasmine with hints of kiwi and peach flavors which bubble up for a crisp finish and, in my opinion, make a delightful Mimosa,” said Priscilla Willis of She’s Cookin’.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


  1. This is a great recipe and story. I've tried on many occasions to recreate my mom's meatballs. Close but they never are quite like hers.

  2. Recipes passed down are the best. Loved your salad. :-)

  3. A beautiful salad and great presentation! I usually keep the same ingredients that my mother has used as I believe in quality over quantity-I'll use the 5 sticks of butter, but only eat a tiny portion! :)


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