La Bou is a local bakery cafe chain. They opened their first store in 1981 and it was a huge success with people lined up outside to buy their delicious handmade croissants. Since then, they’ve expanded to open several stores in the greater Sacramento area serving wonderful salads, sandwiches, soups, pastries and espresso drinks. But what they’ve really become famous for is something that’s not even listed as a choice on their menu. I’m talking about their baguette bread that they serve with a creamy dill dipping sauce. I know it sounds weird to dip slices of bread in what is essentially a salad dressing, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It is so addictive that every time you go there, you’ll find yourself ordering a full or half baguette with dill sauce to take home.
Anyway, it’s with extreme sadness that I report that our local La Bou in town has just closed its doors. Everyone at work was so dismayed to hear the news. They were right down the street from the office and were a favorite lunch time spot. I can’t understand why they closed. To mark this sad occasion, I’m making a copycat version of their dill dressing for the family to eat with some baguette bread this evening. I don’t know how La Bou makes their actual dressing, but this tastes just like it and will hit the spot whenever you need a La Bou fix.
COPYCAT LA BOU CREAMY DILL DRESSING
1½ cups mayonnaise
1 pkg. Hidden Valley buttermilk ranch dressing mix
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
1¼ cups water
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
(If you don’t want to mince the dill by hand, you could place all the ingredients into a food processor and process until dill is finely minced.)
Refrigerate until ready to use.
NOTE: If you make this in a food processor, the dip will seem frothy and bubbly immediately after mixing, but don’t worry. The bubbles will settle down and disappear after the dip has sat for a while. It will also seem very watery at first, but will thicken a bit in the refrigerator. La Bou’s dipping sauce is really pretty thin but if you want yours to be thicker, feel free to cut down on the amount of water you add.
Have you ever tried Tzatziki sauce? Tzatziki is a yogurt based sauce that is very popular in Greece. Rich and creamy, Tzatziki sauce is typically served cold with grilled meat. It is also often served as a dipping sauce.
Tzatziki is best made with Greek yogurt, but if you can’t get Greek yogurt, you can use regular yogurt. It will have a runnier consistency but as long as you don’t mind that, it’s fine. Alternatively, you could make your own “greek” yogurt by taking a piece of cheesecloth, folding it in half, and then in half again so you have 4 layers. Lay the cheesecloth in a bowl, pour the yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth, then pick up the 4 corners and tie them together. Hang the cheesecloth bag over the bowl for about 2 hours or so. This will drain the water out and thicken the yogurt giving it a more “greek yogurt” consistency.
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
½ English cucumber, about 5-7 inches
3-5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the greek yogurt into a medium bowl.
Finely chop the cucumber. You could also grate it, if you prefer.
Add the cucumber to the yogurt.
Smash, then finely mince the garlic and add to the yogurt. Start with 3 cloves first, then add more if you want it more garlicky.
Add the lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper, and stir all together well.
Cover with sarap wrap and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
NOTE: This recipe is very versatile. I’ve given you a base to start from but you could really make it to suit your own tastes. If you like lots of cucumber, you could add more; if not, add less. If you want it more lemony, add more lemon juice; or less. Same with the garlic and dill. Just play around with the amounts till the sauce is to your liking. Otherwise, the base recipe is great as is.
Tzatziki will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but as it sits, water from the yogurt and the cucumbers will separate. Just stir it well before serving. Or for a thicker consistency, you could pour out the water and then stir the sauce.
This is an old recipe of my Mom’s. She made it all the time for get-togethers or when we were expecting company. It’s very addictive and you’ll find yourself heading back to the appetizer table again and again for just a little bit more.
It always reminds me of my mother-in-law whom I miss terribly. She absolutely loved this mousse! When the party was over, you just knew any leftover shrimp mousse was hers. She would spread it on toast and eat shrimp mousse sandwiches for breakfast, lunch or a snack the next day. I have to say, I picked up that habit from her and on the rare occasion that we actually have leftover shrimp mousse, I find myself having a shrimp mousse sandwich for lunch the day after.
1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp. cold water
1 box (8 ozs.) cream cheese
1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lb. cooked small shrimp, finely chopped
1 large stalk green onion, green and white part, finely minced
1 stalk celery, finely minced (optional)
In a small bowl, dissolve the Knox gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream cheese and celery soup over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.
Remove saucepan from heat, add in the gelatin, and stir until well-blended.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into an oiled mold and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.
Unmold and serve with crackers.
NOTE: You can easily turn this into “Crab Mousse” by substituting 1 pound crabmeat for the shrimp. I’ve also made it into “Seafood Mousse” by making it with ½ lb. shrimp and ½ lb. crab.