07 August 2012

Summer Good-on-Everything Aioli

The summer is just flying past, and since I'm working out-of-state for weeks at a time, I haven't been able to keep up with crafting and cooking. But on the few days I get to spend at home, I've been trying to get in some sewing and some quick but delicious meals. Sunday was one of those, and it really was delicious - Roasted Shiitake Mushroom Sandwiches with Garlic-Basil Aioli. You can get the full sandwich recipe over at the Red Owl Blog, but here on Grow, Knead, Pickle & Sew I wanted to share this easy and versatile recipe for the aioli I used.

First, let me say that making a traditional aioli would include emulsifying olive oil and farm-fresh egg yolks a la homemade mayo, but since we're going for quick here, you'll notice that the recipe calls for store-bought mayo. If you're going the healthy, homemade way (which of course I recommend - do as I say, not as I do) then you should by all means make up a batch of mayo first, especially if you use the incredible Julia Childs whey-fermented recipe.

This aioli can be used as a sandwich spread, as a dip for roasted potatoes, fresh veggies or as a topping for a summer quiche. Also, I want to plug Alm Hill/Growing Washington, as they are selling some incredible basil right now at the Wallingford Farmers Market (Seattle on Wednesdays). 

Garlic-Basil Good-on-Everything Aioli - 2-3 servings

  • 1/3 cup mayo 
  • Heaping handful fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 medium clove garlic 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed. There is no need to chop anything if you're using a food processor, however, if you don't have a food processor you can mince the garlic and basil as finely as possible, then mix all ingredients very well by hand or hand-mixer. 

Eat immediately or cover and refrigerate. 

10 July 2012

An abundance of shiitakes has graced our little urban farm over the past few weeks, and we've been having fun experimenting with recipes both old and new. I just can never get tired of the rich and tangy taste of shiitakes. I'm so glad we're growing them this year!
We have to thank our friend Anna for introducing us to the joy of cold soba noodles in the summer. Chilly weather doesn't stop us from making these delicious buckwheat noodles, but it's oh so much more satisfying when the sun is shining. We had them for dinner on Sunday, holding our bowls in our laps on the porch swing, and marveling at the 8pm sun still going strong. This was the first time we've used sliced shiitakes in this "soup", and it definitely won't be the last!  This recipe is infinitely versatile, and it's one of those more-or-less to taste recipes that you can tweak to your liking. Plus, it's a really simple way to introduce yourself to Japanese cooking! It may look daunting, but it's actually quite simple and takes less than 30 minutes of prep. Here's how we make ours:
Cold Soba with Shiitake Dipping Sauce 
Serves 2-3
  • 3 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 1/4 tsp bonito flakes OR fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbs mirin or rice wine (optional)
  • 1 package soba noodles
  • 2 - 4 shiitakes
  • Toasted sesame oil or other oil for sautéing
Optional Add-Ins
  • Tamagoyaki (egg pancake - get easy recipes here and here)
  • Nori (seaweed) cut into strips 2" x 1/4"
  • Chives
  • Matchstick-sliced cucumber
  • Grated ginger
  • Wasabi
  • Sesame seeds
  • The sky's the limit!
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and follow the package directions to cook the soba noodles. Let them boil until they are al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water and put in fridge to chill.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, bonito flakes or fish sauce, mirin (if using) and water in a medium-sized bowl. The ratio of these ingredients can be adjusted to taste keeping in mind that this is a dipping sauce as opposed to a soup. A little too salty to slurp is just fine.
  3. If you're using grated ginger or wasabi, now's the time to mix them in.
  4. Allow the sauce to chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Slice shiitakes about 1/4" thick. Sauté in oil on medium heat until cooked through, then chill.
  6. When all ingredients are chilled, distribute noodles into bowls. Arrange other ingredients on top: shiitakes, nori, tamagoyaki, chives, cucumbers, etc...
  7. Here's where we break the rules. Traditionally, the sauce is served in a separate bowl, and chopsticks are used to grasp the noodles and other ingredients and dip them into the sauce. We tend to splash sauce all over ourselves (plus we like to eat on the porch swing) so we find it easier to just pour the sauce over the noodles.
  8. Eat and enjoy!
Note: All of these ingredients can be found in your local Asian market, and most of them can be found in the international section of your local grocery store. Let me know in the comments if you create your own version. I'd love to hear from you!