Thursday, July 26, 2012

Garlicky Goodness

Austinites, have you ever been to Phoenicia Bakery and had the garlic sauce they serve with the roast chicken and cheese breads? A couple friends and I have been addicted to that stuff, but haven't known what it was called or how to make it. A chef friend of mine couldn't even figure it out. We were all stumped. One day, I stumbled across something online, and the mystery was solved! It's called toum, and it's a Lebanese garlic sauce, similar to a French aioli. The original post I read is from a blog, and you can read more about toum here; I have adapted their recipe.

Garlicky Goodness – aka Toum (aka Crack)

1/2 cup fresh garlic cloves* 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (it may more though!)
2 cups grapeseed oil (or other light, neutral tasting oil)
3 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice

* About the garlic: fresh, whole heads of garlic are preferred, but I have used the pre-peeled, refrigerated cloves too. Either way, once peeled, I remove the stem end, cut the cloves in half lengthwise, and remove the shoots in the middle -- the shoot is where all the bitter garlic aftertaste flavor is contained. This is a little time consuming, and your fingers get sticky, but I think worth it.
Have everything at room temperature before processing.

Put the garlic and salt in the food processor (I use my mini Cuisinart), and pulse until finely chopped. Begin streaming in the oil through the top of the processor with the motor running; alternate with the lemon juice. You may not need all of the oil (I usually use around 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups), but keep blending until it reaches a mayonnaise-like consistency; it will take several minutes. Check for salt.

Yield: about 2 cups. Keeps well in air-tight container in the fridge

I have come up with multiple uses for this garlicky goodness....what else can you think of?
-- garlic bread
-- toss with pasta
-- smear over chicken or a pork loin, add fresh herbs, and bake
-- make a bean dip with cannellini or black beans
-- vegetable dip  
-- burger/sandwich spread
-- on French/sweet potato fries
-- baked potato 
-- on pizza, instead of tomato sauce
-- with roasted/steamed veggies

Bits and Bites

-- Dunn Bros Coffee is celebrating their grand opening this weekend at the Gables 5th Street Commons at 1611 West 5th Street. Free coffee, samples, and raffle prizes.  (Hmmm, they're a chain, founded in Minnesota, 25 years ago, so I think this is a locally owned franchise.)

-- Toast for the Cure presents Sunday Funday, this Sunday, July 29, 2 - 6pm at Icenhauer's on Rainey Street, with live music, and proceeds benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Charlie Gore plays music, suggested donation $10.

-- Austin Cake Ball Kitchen & Bar at the Domain has a new chef, new menu, and new specials/events, including Sunday Speakeasy on Sundays (beginning August 5) with cakeballs and cocktails, and Ladies Night on Tuesdays (beginning August 7) from 5 - 10 pm. 

-- Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis will be held at the AT&T Conference Center, August 21, 6 - 10 pm. Daniel was the assistant food and beverage director at The Carillon restaurant (located at the AT&T) when he was left quadriplegic after a diving accident. A fundraiser for him last year raised $65,000 to help with medical expenses, and now, he wants to pay it forward to help others. This year, a number of the area's top chefs will prepare dishes to be paired with cocktails from local beverage crafters. Tickets begin at $100, and can be purchased through the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.