Saturday, August 01, 2009
Have you ever had a picky eater among your family members or friends? I have a friend that I enjoy that doesn't care for any sauces, without exception, and can't have anything with even the tiniest amount of sugar. Oh, and no 'strange' vegetables. I've found through trial and error that this friend thinks eggplant, parsnips and water chestnuts strange. Not to mention disliking celery and cabbage. Then I have an aunt who only likes green beans, potatoes and spaghetti sauce and no other vegetables. But that's beyond any fix I can think of.
So I use a 'sauceless sauce' to make a sautee all the household looks forward to, and my above mentioned friend. The beauty of this saucing method is that it also works well with just about any vegetable you throw at it. And with a once-a-week 1/2 CSA box to creatively use, this is a good repeater sauce that no one seems to tire of, mostly because the vegetable mix is necessarily different each week.
So what goes into the sauceless sauce that sauteed all these beautiful veggies into deliciousness? The mighty three ingredients are garlic, onion, and mushrooms. Adding to the flavor are both olive oil and sesame oil acting as a flavor carrier.
And here is a good place to note that this is my personal entry into Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by myself this week (the round up will be tomorrow), and organized by Haalo at Cook (Almost) Anything (at Least Once).
Garlic has well-known health benefits, and their is a New York Times Blog, "Unlocking the Benefits of Garlic" which has a great update on recent thinking and studies about garlic. One important thing that is noted in the article, is that to enjoy the greatest health benefit from your garlic, after crushing or chopping, let the garlic sit a few minutes before using in your recipe.
Onions, like garlic, are from the allium family and have many of the same health benefits. The World's Healthiest Foods site has a great write up of the health benefits of onion.
Mushrooms can give you a boost of Vitamin D should you be one in a northern latitude, or wear sunblock or avoid the sun. Mushrooms have a relatively high protein content so as a near vegetarian I use them liberally. Organic Facts has a great run down of the health benefits of mushrooms.
So how do I make this sauceless sauce? First I heat up some organic E.V.O.O. in a large pan, and add the chopped garlic and sliced onions. Red onions are also good as an onion ingredient. In fact I vary the two alliums for taste differences, sometimes using leek or shallots in place of the regular onion. You sautee the allium group until the onion is a bit soft, and the garlic hasn't gotten to burn stage. Then add all the chopped mushrooms. I used brown mushrooms. Continue sauteeing until the onions are nearly as soft as you'd like to eat them, and the mushrooms have reduced in size, leaving their flavorful residue in the olive oil.
Then I add the vegetables starting with those with the longest cooking requirements, and incrementally adding the rest, while drizzling toasted sesame oil. The olive oil and the sesame oil while adding flavor, more importantly transport the tasty nectar from the garlic, onion and mushrooms to coat the rest of the vegetables in flavor. The end result is captured in the leading photo. I use the most colorful combination of organic vegetables in my current CSA box, and refrigerator. No matter the combination, I've always received rave compliments about any of the various organic vegetable combinations that I've used the sauceless sauce with.
If you would like to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, its not too late. The rules spell out the conditions and deadlines.