Friday, August 2, 2013

A Trio of LBS ( little basic sauces)

Herb Goddess ~Spicy Tomato Jam ~ Lemon Compote 

It's pretty easy to jazz up ho- hum dinners with these tasty sauces. The Herb Goddess, The Spicy Tomato Jam  and Lemon Compote compliments summer grilled fish, poultry, steaks and vegetables. I can safely say, any dish you serve smothered with these condiments will add layers of deliciousness. 

To test my theory, I decided to make mixed grill, last night for a group of friends. On the menu, Rack of Lamb, Quail, Grilled Ribeye Steak, Whole Branzino, Stacked Vegetables and Grilled Artichokes.

 The idea was to present  three sauces in cool-looking canning jars ( the jars in the photograph are from William Sonoma) with the hope that everyone would try dollops of each condiment. Each condiment has ingredients that compliment each other. Lemons and olive oil , garlicky tomatoes and mixed herbs, you know the old adage, what grows together goes together.

These little basic sauces make basic ordinary foods come alive using a whisk, a fry pan and the food processor. Most important, they are easy to make, can be made ahead of time and each stores well in the refrigerator.

 Remember "The Peterman Catalog"? Mr. Peterman created a basic dress you could wear for a day on safari, by adding a scarf, cute heels and a fabulous piece of jewelry, same dress, now fancy takes you from safari to night club.

You get the idea. I created  sauces that go well with everything. If you are a non-cook, sauces 

 like these will easily dress- up your Al Fresco summer grilling menus. If you love to cook, adding sauces to everyday cooking is a shortcut. Who knows you might do less cooking and accessorize more.   

Herb Goddess Dressing

Makes 2 ¾ cups 

1 1/2 cups  Light mayonnaise
1 cup         Light sour cream
1/4 cup       Parsley,minced
3 tablespoons  Green onion, minced
1 tablespoon    Tarragon Wine Vinegar
2tablespoons anchovies,mashed well
1 small           Garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon   Fresh tarragon leaves, minced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, whisk well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate.  Remove from the refrigerator 1½ hours before using.  
Reserve the remaining dressing for the rest of the week.  

  Spicy Tomato Jam

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup   onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
½ teaspoon chili flakes
½ cup homemade sundried tomatoes or use jarred  rinse off any excess oil
1/3 cup white or rose  wine to deglaze  
½ cup coconut milk, canned
½ cup  or less vegetable stock, homemade recipe attached
2 tablespoons honey
salt and  white pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium sautépan over a low flame. Add onion, garlic, shallots, ginger and the chili flakes and cook until well browned and caramelized, for 15 minutes. Then add sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine. When wine has evaporated, add the stock, coconut milk, honey and lower the heat to simmer the ingredients for about 15 minutes; let cool. Pour the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

 Fresh Lemon Compote

2 Organic Lemons- seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 Cup Olive oil to sauté
2 Whole garlic cloves
½ teaspoon whole white peppercorns

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan- heat over a medium low flame and cook lemons in oil until they brown. Keeps in refrigerator for 3 weeks.

Stacked Vegetable Napoleons ~Sweet Potato Mash
Eggplants Peppers Zucchini from my Garden

 Stacked Vegetable Napoleons with a Pistachio  Vinaigrette
Makes 12

Sweet Potato Filling
2 large  Sweet Potatoes
4 oz. Goat Cheese

To make Vegetable Napoleons
Olive Oil for grilling 
1 large  Purple Eggplant, cut in 12 slices, 1 inch in diameter
4 medium  Zucchinis, cut lengthwise into 5 slices each
3 large  Portobello Mushrooms, gills removed, cut into 4 slices                
2     Red Peppers, stemmed seeded, cut into 6 
2 large  Red Onions, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place potatoes on a baking pan and bake until very soft, about 45minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Peel and place potato in a small bowl; add goat cheese and whip to combine with an electric mixer.  Set aside.

Preheat stovetop grill on a medium-high flame.  Spray the grill with olive oil and Sear eggplant on both sides.   Do the same with the rest of the vegetables.  Searing each separately until nicely browned and softened.  As they cook set aside the browned vegetables on a large baking pan. Vegetables should have grill marks on both sides.

Assemble the vegetable napoleons on a lightly oiled baking pan start with rounds of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, pepper, red onion,and sweet potato.  Place baking sheet with napoleons in a preheated oven to warm through.

Place the vegetable napoleons on warm plates and spoon thewarmed Pistachio on top and around. Serve immediately.

Pistachio  Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon                Olive Oil
1/4 cup                         Red Onion, finely diced
1/4 cup                         Pistachio Oil
2 tablespoons              Cassis Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup                         Water, plus 2 Tbl.
To taste                        Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a small sautépan over a low flame.  Add olive oil.  When hot, add onion and sauté until softened and caramelized.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for one minute to combine.  Remove from heat.

Place sauce in a blender and pulse on and off—just to blend the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.