Saturday, August 8, 2009

Attack the Bland!

If you are accustomed to rich, creamy sauces and dips to flavor your food, the transition into Paleo-world can be a fairly bland shocker to the taste buds. You must learn to rely on other foods and spices to season your meats and veggies.

I'd like to introduce you to the joys of aioli sauces, tapenades, and dairy-free pesto concoctions to help you through the change.

Aioli is a comprised of olive oil and garlic, with an egg yolk and it makes a fancy garlic mayonnaise. Here's a traditional aioli recipe:

* 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, or more if you wish
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* pinch of pepper
* 1 cup olive oil (or vary the oil for different flavors)

Sub the table salt for celery salt, and I doubt you will taste a difference...unless you are serious salt aficionado, in which case you may be SOL my friend. Learn to love it sans salt.

You should have all of the ingredients at room temperature before you start. Make this in a bowl that is heavy enough that it won't move across the counter as you're mixing, or make it in your food processor.

Mix the garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a heavy mixing bowl with a hand mixer until the yolk lightens and thickens slightly (about 1 minute).

Start adding the olive oil, drop by drop, mixing all the while with your hand mixer. You can add it a bit faster as you go along, but as with mayonnaise, the key to success is going very slowly. When you are done adding the oil you can adjust the seasoning as suits your taste.

This makes 1 cup. Wow! You just made mayo! Congrats! Consider this a "base" of sorts. Add in sun dried tomatoes, saffron, mustard, or my personal favorite, more garlic.

Tapenades are made from marinated olives, capers, peppers, artichokes, and lots of other veggies, that are crushed and when combined with olive oil, become a delicious spread.

Traditional Recipe:

* 20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
* 1 Tbsp rinsed, drained, and chopped capers
* 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 2 tsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
* Fresh cracked black pepper

Put it all in a food processor, or large mortar and pestle and grind it up until smooth. Keeps for two weeks and tastes amazing as a stuffing for pork and poultry.

For the Pesto portion of this post, I'm deferring to an AMAZING collection of recipes posted by our very own wonderwoman Melicious. Please take a moment and read all about it right here.

Google is your best friend while searching for ways to add some spark to those meals. Use it religiously if you feel in an eating rut. Also, never underestimate the power of lemon juice to perk up your food.

Do you have a sauce recipe that helped you through the dark times? Post it in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout-out and the tapenade recipe. YUM!

    I'd like to share two more of my favorites that have been keeping me going these last few weeks:

    Tahini dressing - VERY creamy tasting but no dairy. Made from sesame seed paste, lemon juice, and garlic. Tastes like Mediterranean sunshine. Recipe here:

    Sunshine Sauce (a.k.a., peanut sauce without the peanuts). Made from Sunbutter (sunflower seeds), coconut milk, and love. Recipe here:

    I just can't help feeling... saucy! (heh)