Nadine’s Garlic Aioli

aioli

As a regular customer at the Aptos Farmers Market, Nadine Frush can be spotted there almost every week carrying bags full of fresh produce from her favorite farmers. She also happens to be a wonderful cook — no surprise there!

Garlic aioli is one of her signature condiments that she keeps on hand. When I mentioned that we needed a good recipe for aioli for the Crispy Fried Calamari recipe, Nadine said, “Here’s the recipe I use for my garlic aioli. It’s based on a recipe that appeared in New Recipes for the Cuisinart by James Beard and Carl Jerome — a wonderful little book under 100 pages with great recipes.”

What’s the difference between aioli and mayonnaise? Basically, it’s the same condiment — however, aioli contains garlic.

Garlic aioli is especially delicious served with crispy calamari or shrimp, crab, boiled small potatoes, homemade French fries, or crudites.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups peanut oil*
1 clove of peeled, finely minced garlic
Optional flavor variations:

  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 6 spinach leaves, 6 parsley sprigs, 4 green onions cut up, 4 sprigs of tarragon, 2 sprigs of dill

METHOD:

In the bowl of a food processor using the metal blade, add vinegar, egg, salt and pepper. Give the mixture two quick pulses and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then process until blended. While the food processor is running, slowly start dripping in the oil. As soon as it starts to thicken (when about 1/3 of the oil remains), you can speed up the pouring. Add the garlic (or other add ins). Refrigerate immediately. Aioli is good for about a week.

* Nadine is French, and she says that where her family is from in France, “Our aioli is always made with peanut oil.” However, if you don’t have peanut oil on hand, you can use 3/4 canola oil and 1/4 olive oil. Don’t use all virgin olive oil for aioli — it overwhelms the flavor of the sauce. If you want to use all olive oil, a better choice is a blend or a very light olive oil.

Here’s a video about making aioli without a food processor. It’s a slightly different recipe, but the method is worth learning.

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Candied Spicy Bacon

Here’s a way to jazz up the usual bacon served at breakfast.

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound sliced bacon

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cover a broiler rack with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the foil with vegetable oil.

In a shallow dish, combine the brown sugar and cayenne, stirring to mix well.

Press one side of each bacon slice firmly into sugar mixture to coat well. Arrange the slices of bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared-side up. If there is any sugar remaining in the dish, sprinkle it on top of the bacon slices evenly.

Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a plate or a serving platter to cool. (Can be made several hours ahead.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sorrel Sauce

Sorrel sauce is a French classic and is the perfect complement to salmon or halibut. Its lemony-fresh flavor also lends itself as a sauce for eggs benedict and smoked salmon. When sorrel leaves are shredded and cooked, they wilt and melt into the sauce. Save a few shredded leaves for garnish.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 pound fresh sorrel
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional)

METHOD:

Carefully pick over the sorrel and discard any tough stems or blemished leaves. Rinse the leaves and pat dry. Stack the leaves closely, roll tightly into a bunch, and cut them crosswise into very thin strips. (This is called a chiffonade.) There should be about two cups or slightly more when loosely packed.

In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat one tablespoon of the shallots, wine, and chopped tomatoes. Bring mixture to the boil, reduce heat and let simmer five minutes. Add the cream and cook about five minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pushing the solids with a rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. There should be about 1 1/4 cups.Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the remaining one tablespoon of shallots. Cook briefly and add the sorrel.

Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the remaining one tablespoon of shallots. Cook briefly and add the sorrel. Cook, while stirring, until sorrel has wilted. Add the cream mixture, the cubed tomato flesh, salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the sorrel sauce over cooked salmon, halibut or poached eggs on top of English muffins and a slice of smoked salmon. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: You can also make sorrel sauce without tomatoes, but the tomatoes add a lovely color and subtle flavor.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

This shortcut spice mix is often called for in pumpkin pie recipes, but it is also delicious used in savory baked pumpkin or squash recipes, cookies, sweet potato pie, custard, cheesecake, and more. Made with ingredients most of us have in our pantries, why buy a spice mix when you can easily blend your own?

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

METHOD:
Combine cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg together until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Apple, Rum, and Raisin Ham Glaze

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup rum
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

METHOD:

In small sauce pan, whisk together apple jelly, orange juice, raisins, and rum. Cook over low heat and cook until jelly melts and mixture is smooth.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dry mustard, brown sugar, and corn starch. Add mixture to sauce pan. Stir to combine. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat.

Baste ham with glaze during the last 30 minutes of baking. Base again during the last 15 minutes. Serve extra glaze with ham.

Apricot Brandy Ham Glaze

Baste ham with glaze during the last 30 minutes of baking. Be sure to reserve some glaze to serve with the ham.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup Blenheim apricot preserves (B & R Farms apricot jam, preferred)
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

METHOD:

Place preserves in blender jar and process until smooth.

Place pureed preserves, orange juice, cornstarch, and brown sugar in small saucepan and whisk togtether until combined. Cook over medium low heat until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Whisk in mustard and brandy and continue cooking over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Baste ham with glaze during the last 30 minutes of baking. Reapply during the last 15 minutes, if desired. Serve remaining glaze with ham.

Balsamic Vinegar, Vanilla, Port Wine Finishing Sauce

This piquant finishing sauce is very good on salads, especially greens with ripe figs and goat’s cheese, but it’s also dynamite drizzled over poached or sautéed chicken or roasted lamb.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup ruby port
1 large vanilla bean*
1/2 cup sugar
Additional pure vanilla extract to taste*

METHOD:

In a heavy, non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, port, and vanilla bean that is split open and seeds scraped into mixture. Add the sugar when the mixture has almost come to a boil. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer sauce until thick and syrupy (about 30 minutes for a single batch).

Allow to cool, add vanilla extract to taste, and bottle. You can keep the bean in the mixture or add a fresh bean. This keeps well in the refrigerator.

*Did you know that we have an excellent source for exceptional vanilla products right here in town? Visit www.vanillaqueen.com for pure vanilla extracts, vanilla beans, vanilla paste and other delicious vanilla products.

SOURCE: Patricia Rain, The Vanilla Queen. www.vanillaqueen.com

Dill Compound Butter

This herb butter can be used as a spread for sandwiches and crackers with smoked salmon, or used to top grilled salmon or steamed chicken as an instant sauce. Slip thin slices under the skin of a chicken to be roasted and you get a moist buttery chicken with lots of fresh herb flavor. It is great for making a pan sauce as well; after sautéing scallops or fish, de-glaze the pan with some white wine or lemon juice and whisk in small cubes of this compound butter to form the sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
1/4 cup fresh dill, snipped finely with scissors or chopped finely with a very sharp knife
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
A scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

METHOD:

When butter is soft, spread the butter over a sheet of parchment or foil to a half-inch thickness. Drizzle evenly with the vinegar or lemon juice, then scatter evenly with the shallots, and salt and pepper.

Work these ingredients into the butter with a fork. If the butter is really soft and looks like it will separate put into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

After the ingredients are well incorporated, spread the butter out again and cover with the dill. Incorporate the dill into the butter without turning it into pulp.

Scrape the butter together and roughly form a 4-inch log. Transfer this onto a fresh square of parchment or plastic wrap, and place near the bottom of the sheet. Roll up from the bottom, keeping the cylinder tight. Twist ends in opposite directions to compact the butter roll.

Place in the refrigerator to firm up, then unroll and neaten up the ends. Wrap up and store in the refrigerator for short term storage, or freeze for long term.

Slice off what is needed and re-wrap and freeze. Will keep 2-3 months.

Chef’s Notes:

This can be made in a mixer or food processor. In the mixer, use a paddle to just whip the butter, then evenly scatter all the other ingredients over the butter and scrape down the sides. Use the paddle to mix everything and then proceed as above.

For the food processor, process the butter just enough to spread it out, then add the ingredients and process, scraping the sides down, until everything is mixed. This will yield a green butter that is not as bright tasting but more intensely dill flavored. Great for making a sauce for grilled or broiled salmon or swordfish.

YIELD: 1/2 cup

Cilantro Oil

This oil is used for topping fish and chicken, or cam be used as part of a deconstructed salsa. It is also a nice way to make simple dishes such as grilled or sautéed summer squash into something elegant. Cilantro oil does not keep for more than a few days, so don’t make vast quantities, and keep it in the refrigerator when not in use. You can also freeze the oil.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch cilantro, roots and stems trimmed off half-way up
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup sunflower of grapeseed oil
Salt for boiling water

Special Equipment: Cheesecloth — enough to line a strainer large enough to contain all the herbs and oil after puréeing

METHOD:

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil.

Get an ice-water bath ready. Fill a bowl (or the sink) large enough to hold a strainer with water and ice (at least 30% ice, 50% works better).

Place the herbs in a strainer and dunk it in the boiling water for 10-15 seconds, long enough to thoroughly wilt the stems.

Immediately plunge the strainer with the herbs into the ice-bath to arrest the cooing. Chill the herbs just long enough so they are just cool.

Remove the herbs from the ice-bath and shake off what water you can. Dry the herbs by rolling in a towel or paper towels and squeeze them. Using a very sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the herbs into 1/2 inch bits.

Place half the herbs into a blender jar with just enough oil to cover. Turn on the machine to medium/puree and blend one minute. If the herbs aren’t turning, add a little more oil and try again. Use just enough oil to get things going. Once the herbs start puréeing, turn up to high and blend for one minute.

With the motor running, add the rest of the oil and then half the remaining herbs. Blend 30 seconds before adding the rest of the herbs. Blend 2 minutes more.

Transfer the contents to a jar and refrigerate for 1 day or overnight.

When the time is up, place a strainer lined with cheesecloth (secure the cheesecloth with clips or clothespins so it doesn’t fold over on itself), over a bowl or pan and pour the contents of the jar into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain until it seems like all the oil has dripped through, then gently take up the corners of the cloth and give the bundle a couple of good bounces over the bowl. Do not squeeze the cloth or the resulting drips will cloud the oil you have already extracted.

Transfer oil to the smallest bottle you have that will hold the oil, or better yet, a small squeeze bottle. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze it for a couple months.

Chef’s Notes:

Remember that air is what will oxidize this oil in a hurry, so keep it in the smallest vessel you can find for it. You can get small squeeze bottles at beauty supply shops, art  supply stores, and foodie shops. Use this oil as a seasoning or to top things such as fish and chicken.

YIELD: About 1/3 cup

Cilantro Chili Sauté Juice

This is based on something we used at the original India Joze long ago and has its roots in South East Asian cuisine. It’s quick to make and keeps a few days in the refrigerator. Use a splash as a condiment for vegetables, eggs, or noodles, or use it when sautéing or stir-frying for flavor and to lubricate the pan. It can be frozen.

INGREDIENTS:

Stems from 1 bunch cilantro
1-3 chilies (jalapenos or serranos), stemmed and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and de-germed
2 juicy medium sized limes OR 1/3 cup rice vinegar
Water, if needed
Optional: 1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped OR 1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped

METHOD:

Place all the ingredients except water in a blender jar. Start slowly to get everything moving, slowly increasing the speed to high. If it seems as if nothing is moving, add a couple tablespoons of water. Once mixture starts moving, increase the blender speed to high and liquefy the contents. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Exercise some caution when using. Be careful if you get it on your hands not to rub your face or eyes before washing them.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Use as a marinade for tofu, and chicken.
  • Use as a sauce for stir-fried shrimp.
  • Make a vinaigrette — 1 tablespoon cilantro pepper juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or lime juice, and 6 tablespoons oil for a spicy dressing for cabbage or noodles.
  • Stir fry shrimp and vegetables using some of this and coconut milk for a quick Thai dish.