Monday, March 9, 2009

Back to the basics - Garlic Aioli

From Jenny Also Cooks

Nathaniel and I are slowly working our way through The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. We are only into the sauce chapter, but apart from the meat recipes (since we don't eat meat), we're going to try to learn the other basics. I've always admired Alice Waters with her commitment to locally grown food, and cooking simply with good ingredients. Couldn't we all live a little more simply?

One of the sauces is a garlic aioli. Aioli is basically mayonnaise with garlic added. It is more of a process than a recipe - an egg yolk is mixed with a splash of water and a dash of salt, plus 1-2 minced garlic cloves. Then a cup of olive oil is slowly whisked in.

From Jenny Also Cooks

The end result is not necessarily pretty, and I apologize that this picture is terrible! But it should be glossy, smooth, and thick. I think I actually could have added a bit less oil this particular time, but in general the formula is 1 egg yolk = 1 cup oil. I did it all by hand, but I've heard that it is easy to do in the blender or food processor. Why dirty one more dish? Seriously. I'd rather whisk by hand than clean more.

From Jenny Also Cooks

The best part of making basic recipes like sauces is that they need something to be used on. One of our favorite quick dinners is a vegetarian BLT. Actually most days we'll make MBLATs, because we always add mayo and avocado to ours if we can find any ripe enough. This time around the avocados were too firm, and I used garlic aioli in place of the mayonnaise. You know how there are certain flavors that you identify with restaurant food but can't always put your finger on? I swear garlic aioli is one of those things. So simple, so easy, but very delicious. I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of it, since it won't last that long and is very pungent in my fridge.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Moroccan-Spiced Fava Bean Stew

From Jenny Also Cooks

Surely I have waxed eloquently, or at least waxed, about the amazing Vegan Planet cookbook. It is my Bible of Vegan Cooking. I think I love it because it does not give you recipes that are the result of people being vegan too long (and forgetting what non-vegan food tastes like), nor does it exchange flavor for health. Every recipe I've tried has been flawless, featuring the ingredients it contains, and is just good food that I'd be proud to serve anyone. Buy it.

The Moroccan-Spiced Fava Bean Stew was a new recipe to me, but I knew that I loved fava beans. Where I live, there is only one place to buy canned fava beans, and I will make the trek just to be able to make things out of them. Okay, plus a trip to Pita House (where they have a grocery too) is never a bad thing. This time around we brought home the larger fava beans, which was a good experiment. They are rather large, but the flavor is the same. I would probably use them just as often as the regular sized ones.

I wasn't sure what dried fruit would be like in this stew! I used dried apricots and cherries, since that is what I had that needed using up, but I can imagine any kind of dried fruit being nice in this stew. We had flatbread with it but I was really wishing I had made couscous because the broth just seemed to want to be soaked up with something.