Food in Focus: What Is Aioli?

Food in Focus: What Is Aioli?

You may find yourself reading through the lists of strange-sounding words on a restaurant’s menu. One word that might pop up? Aioli. You might’ve heard that it’s similar to mayonnaise. But what is it, really? Aioli can be made many ways, all equally delicious.

Aioli Isn’t Just Mayonnaise

People tend to describe aioli as mayonnaise, but that’s not entirely true. Both sauces do contain similar ingredients: eggs, oil, and lemon juice. The difference lies in the way each sauce is made. First, mayonnaise is usually emulsified within a blender or food processor. Aioli, however, is traditionally made with pestle and mortar. When making aioli, chefs pound garlic into a paste. Then, they whisk the garlic paste along with egg yolks, lemon juice, and oil. The kind of oil makes a difference, too. While mayonnaise is made with canola oil, aioli is made with olive oil. The consistency of aioli can range from thick and paste-like to a creamy texture.

The History of Aioli

Aioli comes from the Mediterranean. Originally, aioli consisted of garlic salt ground into oil. In other regions, like France, cooks also added egg yolk and lemon juice. Current French aioli is closer to garlic mayonnaise than traditional aioli. The Spanish Catalan, however, don’t consider that true aioli. Instead, they only consider the eggless recipe to be aioli.

 

European Dishes That Include Aioli

Europeans traditionally serve aioli with fish or vegetables. The Spanish serve aioli with codfish and boiled vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and peppers. During the summer, they hold feasts where people bring their own fish and vegetables to dip into the host’s aioli. People in the Provence region of France celebrate a similar tradition. It’s called aioli monstre, or “grand aioli,” and it is, indeed, a grand celebration for foodies. Diners pile meats, fishes, and vegetables on their plate and then dip them in the aioli. Aioli is also a popular side dish during a French Christmas Eve dinner called the Gros Souper, or The Great Supper.

American Dishes That Include Aioli

In the United States, aioli is used as a catch-all term for flavored mayonnaise. This is especially true of garlic mayonnaise. In many fine dining restaurants, chefs use aioli on scallops and other seafood. Aioli can also be used as a spread on sandwiches in the US. Spanish food purists, however, would probably not consider this aioli. Still, the same basic ingredients ring true: cloves of garlic and canola oil.

You Can Make Your Own Version of Aioli

The main ingredient for today’s aioli? Creativity! Garlic and olive oil are the only constants in the recipe. You can add vegetables, like artichokes or beets. Or you can even add in meats, like fish or chicken. The best part is that aioli can be prepared well in advance of a meal. Wash and chop the ingredients, then put them in a food processor. And voila! You have a unique – and delicious! — dipping sauce for parties and other festivities. Serve up your aioli with steamed vegetables, meat, fish, or shellfish. A home-made aioli is a quick and easy way to add variety to left-overs, or create new and exciting flavor combinations along with prepared foods. For instance, this lemon-garlic aioli is delightful and delicious with Market Table’s pork tenderloin. Make orange peel aioli as a mouth-watering addition to Market Table’s smoked chicken. Finally, this savory jalapeño aioli adds just the right kind of spice to burgers and beef dishes, like our seared flank steak.

 

Text by Jonathon Page

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

What’s meal prepping? The idea is simple: you plan and prepare ingredients for the coming week’s meals. This could be as small as cutting veggies or as much as making a whole meal beforehand. It’s a simple and easy way to make meals effortless — and it’s easy to get started. 

Plan ahead

If you want to start meal prepping, planning is key. Put together recipes for the meals you want to eat this week. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Go grocery shopping in advance, perhaps on a Saturday so there’s no pressure. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your ingredients. For instance, if you get a can of beans that’s more than one serving, try finding a good way to use the rest. This article offers ten options for leftover beans.

 

Cover the basicsChopped veggies in white bowls.

Once you have recipes and ingredients, do as much in advance as you can. Cut vegetables, season meat and put whatever you can into food storage containers. A good rule of thumb: prepare the ingredients enough so that the actual meal only takes ten minutes to make. That way, you’re not taking up too much time or effort and you’re eating well. Ideally, you can just microwave one bowl and eat it. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but as long as your meals are easier to make, then you’re benefiting from meal prepping.

 

Woman wearing athletic shoes eats lunch.Prep for your health

Prepping is a great way to make cooking easier, but also to make meals healthier. Try making a larger meal for lunch. Make your dinner simple and healthy. This is a great way to stay fit. Your body is better at digesting and burning off what you eat for lunch since you do more after eating. Use a template to keep yourself motivated and prevent burn-out while scheduling recipes. Also, plan for nights you want to eat out or to use leftovers from another meal. Try to have a few back-up recipes that you can make with no hassle in case your meal prep gets ruined. It happens to everybody!

 

Make the most out of itBusy woman eats healthy lunch at desk.

The great thing about meal prepping is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Here at Market Table, we do the prep for you with our Light Lunchboxes. Not only are they delicious, but they can fit any diet. Our Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowl is packed with flavor and it’s gluten-free. The Cilantro Lime Chicken with Cauliflower Rice makes for a tasty paleo or Atkins-friendly meal. You can pre-order our Light Lunchboxes by Wednesday at 6 p.m. and pick them up on Sunday. And if you need a fast, last-minute meal fix, we’ll always have some options in-store.

 

Text by Cameron Sullivan

5 Best Healthy Eating Blogs

5 Best Healthy Eating Blogs

Changing your eating habits may sound like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up you favorite foods. Instead, just throw in some healthy alternatives. They’ll still hit the spot — and food blogs do all of the hard work for you. The writers have already tested the recipes, and they’re here to help you kickstart your journey to healthy eating. Here are five of our favorite healthy food blogs.

Happy Yolks

Kelsey Boyte, the writer of Happy Yolks, offers insight into her life with each blog post. There are lots of tidbits about her husband, who does all of the blog’s photography. As an added bonus, Boyte writes about her dog, who sits happily at her feet during the whole cooking process. This blog is filled with detailed, beautiful pictures and a lot of feel-good recipes. There’s even an option where you can click on your favorite ingredient and a list of recipes will pop up.

 

A Couple Cooks

Another husband and wife duo created A Couple Cooks. Soja Overhiser writes the posts and her husband, Alex, does the photography. The couple is very honest about their own experiences, including Soja’s cancer and miscarriage. Healthy recipes, cookbooks and podcasts are all available on their website. Each recipe also includes a list of healthy facts about the dish. They even have an entire section of recipes dedicated to desserts! Healthy food doesn’t have to exclude chocolate, especially when you can use vegan substitutes.  

 

Mason jars filled with healthy chocolate yogurt topped with blueberries, almond slivers, and mint leavesOh She Glows

Angela Liddon started making healthy foods to help recover from an eating disorder, which also inspired her new plant-based diet. She writes that she had always struggled with either binging or starving herself, but, when she started to experiment with new recipes, her relationship with food changed. Angela used her husband as her inspiration when making healthy foods. Since he’s an avid fast-food lover, she knew that if she made a healthy dish that her husband loved, everyone would love it.

 

Eating Bird Food

Besides the perfectly sarcastic blog title, Eating Bird Food offers more than healthy recipes. You’ll find healthy exercise routines on the blog, too. Brittany Mullins started the blog after finding a healthy way to lose weight. She shares her story about the benefits of clean eating as well as strength training. A pescatarian for 6 years, Mullins writes that she now sees the value in including lean meats in her diet. Now she strives to find a healthy balance rather than cutting out an entire food group.

 

The Domestic ManTwo grilled chicken breasts on a black plate with charred cherry tomatoes and a charred banana pepper

The writer of The Domestic Man, Russ Crandall, found out that he had an autoimmune disease when he had a stroke at age 24. After years of different medications and one potentially fatal surgery, Crandall found that a paleo diet helped to reverse some autoimmune symptoms. Crandall said that he finally felt like he was in control again. Crandall’s blog looks a little different than others because he doesn’t limit himself to just lean meats or plant-based foods. His recipes are a great way to start dipping your toes into the diverse choices of healthy food diets.

 

Text by Katherine Polcari

 

How to Cook a Steak

How to Cook a Steak

For a beginning chef, cooking a steak is a difficult challenge to get over. Questions like Should I season my steak or How long is too long to grill a steak often pop up before preparation. From prep to table, cooking a steak can be as simple and delicious as you want it to be!

Cuts of steak on a cutting boardTo Prepare
Before tossing a steak on the grill or stove, there are a couple of important steps. First, take note of the thickness of the piece of meat. That will determine how long it will take to cook — and how to cook it well. Also, be sure to season the meat lightly. If you want the flavor of the steak itself to stand out, a little salt and pepper would be your best bet. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, an herb rub will spice up your life. If you’re cooking on stovetop, oil isn’t needed. Oiling a steak inhibits the browning necessary for that scrumptious outer layer.

Time to Toss Your Steak on the Grill Or Stove
Above all, steak needs to be cooked hot and fast. If on a stove top, the steak should be turned about once every minute. This creates that brown, caramelized crust. And the crust is what makes that flavorful, prime steak you’re looking for. During this turning process, add herbs like thyme and rosemary. These herbs enhance the flavor of the steak as well. Check out this list of culinary herbs that taste great with red meat — and are easy to grow in your garden or even your kitchen.

When Is Done Done Right?

Now that the steak is sizzling, how do you know when to take it off the heat? Well, that depends on how you want your steak to be cooked. Since it’s easy to overcook a steak, determining its doneness is important. Doneness relates to temperature. A probe thermometer is your best bet for determining the internal temperature of the steak.

Now, you’ve all heard terms related to doneness: rare, medium rare, and so forth. But what exactly do these terms mean? And how do you know when a steak has reached the desired doneness? Here’s a quick and easy thumbnail guide:

Rare – Cooked from 120-125 Fahrenheit. This is a steak that is brown on the edges and bright red inside. If you’re nervous about food safety, you might want to move up to the next level.

Medium Rare – Cooked from 130-140 Fahrenheit. This steak has a thick brown coat on the outside. Also, it should redden towards the center and house a band of pink. This is the chef’s recommended level of doneness. That’s because it is cooked thoroughly but not overcooked. In other words, it’s cooked just enough to preserve the steak’s flavor.

Medium – Cooked from 140-150 Fahrenheit. This steak is firmly brown on the outer layer with a small band of pink on the inside. It is firm to the touch as well. This steak is cooked through enough to please most eaters.

Well Done – Cooked from 160 Fahrenheit and up. This is a popular steak request. However, many chefs think that cooking a steak to this temperature leads to a loss of flavor. Still, many people prefer their steaks well done.

Let your steak rest then cut across the grainTo Rest Or Not to Rest?
This is a big debate among steak fans. Some prefer to let the steak rest before slicing into it. Some prefer to cut it into strips straight out of the pan. Either way, cutting the steak across the grain is paramount. This makes the steak easier to chew.

 

Market Table serves savory flank steak tacos

 

Is your mouth watering now? If you’re ready to try your hand at making the perfect steak, head to Market Table for our premium cuts of meat. Our Seared Flank Steak meal kits do the prep work for you. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, our Steak and Blue Cheese Salad will do the trick.

 

Text by Jonathon Page

Crock-Pots After This Is Us

Crock-Pots After This Is Us

Crock-Pot like the one in This Is Us on table next to dish of braised beefIf you watch This Is Us, you’ve most likely bawled your eyes out as the beloved Pearson family house burned down in a fire caused by a Crock-Pot, which ultimately killed everybody’s favorite dad, Jack Pearson. After wiping away their last tears, viewers who remembered that they had a slow cooker in their house froze. Some of you even immediately threw it out in fear of a similar tragedy happening in your house. But, was that really necessary?

Almost immediately after the episode aired, the Crock-Pot brand opened a Twitter account for their slow-cookers. The first tweet mourned the events in the episode before clarifying that there was no need to worry about having a slow cooker in the house. They even added that they hadn’t received consumer complaints similar to the events in the episode in nearly fifty years.

Does this mean Crock-Pots aren’t dangerous at all? Not exactly, but it’s not likely that the danger will present itself from a random fuse. In a report on slow-cooker accidents between 1997-2010, most of the incidents occurred from a mishandling of the equipment — i.e., people kept dropping hot food on themselves. So, what happened in the Pearson home is a highly unlikely situation, even if it brought us to buy even more boxes of tissues to wipe away tears during our weekly sobfest.

And, honestly, do you really want to give up that Crock-Pot? You can make some seriously yummy things in a slow cooker. Chicken and vegetables, garlic shrimp, mac and cheese and pinto beans for the vegetarians–there are a variety of meals you can cook up for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast, honestly). But what about dessert, you ask? Well, there’s even a recipe for making the Latin American dessert Happy woman uses a Crock-Pot to cook chicken and vegetablesdulce de leche. If you haven’t tried it, you’re seriously missing out and should pretty much drop whatever you’re doing and make some in your Crock-Pot — provided that you haven’t chucked it out the window yet.

Still, delicious food aside, it’s easy to be scared after experiencing the Pearsons’ tragedy (through the screen, I mean). Luckily, the USDA has safety precautions to make you feel better about the Crock-Pot in your house. Since I know what part you’re all worried about, I’ll only mention one: the USDA actually deems it safe to leave a Crock-Pot on a low setting when you leave the house. So, the chances of your Crock-Pot that’s turned off to suddenly blow up…well, I think it’s safe to say that This Is Not Likely.

 

Text by Anna Khan

5 Secrets for Perfect Wine Pairing

5 Secrets for Perfect Wine Pairing

Pouring wine into glassesWhat Is Wine Pairing?

As old as civilization itself, wine has been a staple to the diets of many cultures. In some parts of the world, it was even considered safer to drink than the water. In modern times, we tend to focus on the actual experience of dining itself. This experience can be amplified by finding a delicious wine that pairs well with the flavor profile of the foods served.

At its core, wine functions best as a palate cleanser. This means that pairing wines with certain foods will make eating the food itself a more worthwhile experience. But how do you know what wine pairs well with what food? And how can someone pair wines with food when they can’t even tell the difference in wine varieties? These five tips will have you pairing food and wines like a sommelier in no time!

Food Flavors

You may not be entirely familiar with the flavor profiles for different wines. Never to fear: the flavor profiles for food are already familiar to most food enthusiasts. Though there may be as many as twenty different kinds of tastes on the tongue, they can be boiled down to a list of six. These are the flavors fatty, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy. When it comes to pairing, your first step is to decide which flavor is most prominent in the dish you’re serving. For example, bacon would chiefly have a salty taste, whereas bread pudding would be sweet.

White wine and roasted game hens

Similarities Shine, Opposites Attract 

Where wine pairings shine is in the balance of flavors between the wine and food. A congruence pairing brings together a wine and food with similar flavors, creating balance. On the contrary, a complementary pairing brings together a food and wine with flavors that contradict each other. Once you’ve determined the primary flavor of the food and what kind of pairing you’re looking for, it’s time to find wine with the right flavor profile.

Wine Varieties

The flavor profiles for different varieties of wine are simple to understand. This is because wine only has three types: bitter, acidic and sweet. Most red wines have a bitter flavor profile. Next, sparkling, white, and rosé wines all have a pronounced acidic flavor profile. Finally, sweet wines obviously have large notes of sweetness in their flavor profile.  

Red wine and Italian foodPairing Basics

For the pairing beginner, there are a couple of staple rules that can help your wine pairing. First, one should always make sure the wine is more acidic than the food. When you don’t know what goes well with a flavor of food, you can also base it on regional pairing. For example, Italian food can go well with an Italian wine like Bianco or Rosso. Also, red wines pair best with bold meats like steak. In contrast, white wines pair well with light meats like chicken or fish.

Pairing Focus

Red, white and rose wines in glassesNow that you understand the basics of wine and food flavors, how does you choose the right wine with the right food? It all goes back to congruent or complementary pairings. For example, if trying a complementary pairing, chicken pairs well with many different kinds of wine. Although it pairs well with wines like rosé, the best one to choose is a light white wine. The high acidity of the wine creates a complementary pairing with the chicken by cleansing the palate. On the other hand, a congruent pairing would be like pairing a chardonnay with a salad with vinaigrette dressing. Both of these flavors have high acidity, which similarly complement each other.

 

Ready to create your own pairings? Market Table stocks a wide variety of wines perfect for any meal you put on your table. If you’re thirsty for wine on a Thursday, swing by Market Table for our weekly sale: buy one bottle, get the next 20% off. Ladies, if you’re free on Thursday, January 25th, Market Table would love to have you as our guest at Girl’s Night Out. Taste four of our fine new wines and enjoy two full glasses of the wine of your choosing, along with an array of delicious appetizers. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased here — and if you’re busy in January, be sure to clear your calendar for our next Girl’s Night Out on Thursday, February 22ndAny time you need a little help with wine pairing, we’re always here with palates that can help you find the perfect wine to pair with your guests’ heaping plates.

 

Text by Jonathon Page