Summer is the time to enjoy the great outdoors. To do this of course, means that you do not want to spend all your time in the kitchen although you do want to enjoy the best food of the season. One of the easiest ways to accomplish time for outdoor freedom and good food is to have a selection of summer sauces which can be used a variety of ways. These sauces are quick to prepare, add pizzazz to meals and are versatile- a simple dish acquires a whole new face. Here are a few of my favourite sauces with suggestions for use.
Aioli is a garlic mayonnaise typical of the south of France. There it is used as a sauce for vegetables. This version uses commercial mayonnaise as the base with added citrus flavours and olive oil to add interest. It can be used for a dipping sauce for baby steamed potatoes, tender crisp asparagus (or any green vegetable for that matter). It is also delicious tossed in a pasta salad with seafood or chicken or in a sandwich with rare roast beef or as a sauce for fish and shellfish. A jar will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days but you will find it quickly used as you discover countless other ways to serve this tasty foundation sauce.
1 cup (250 mL) commercial light mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup (65 mL) fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon rind
1 tsp (5 mL) grated orange rind
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
In a mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon rind, orange rind and pepper until well blended. Spoon sauce into jar; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Keep a jar of this chutney in the refrigerator as an emergency appetizer sauce. It is yummy served with goat’s cheese or cream cheese and crackers or French stick. However, it is a wonderful topping for chicken burgers, lamb kebabs, as a condiment for poultry or pork, Indian food or served with pate. (I have also been known to eat it by the spoonful at the counter, it is so good!) Try to keep an extra jar tucked away as a hostess gift too.
5 cups ( 1.25 L) coarsely chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
1 cup (250 mL) cider vinegar
1/3 cup (175 mL) each, granulated and brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) raisins, washed
1/4 cup (65 mL) fresh grated ginger root
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) curry powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine rhubarb, onions, vinegar, granulated and brown sugar, raisins, ginger root, salt, cinnamon, curry powder and ground cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent ‘catching’ or burning on the bottom until thickened.
Remove from heat and pack into hot sterilized preserving jars and cook in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Cool on rack. Check lids for seal.
Alternatively, spoon chutney into clean containers; cover and refrigerate up to one month. For longer storage, date and label container and freeze for up to six months.
Makes about 5 cups ( 1.25 L)
The perfect summer sauce, lemon curd or lemon cheese as it is often called is a ‘must have’ for berries and summer fruits such as peaches, plums and apricots.
When lemon curd is folded into whipped cream and frozen it becomes the most divine lemon ice cream (or if served slightly frozen, semi-freddo) imaginable. This same mixture can be served as a filling for meringues, cakes or tartlets or piled into pretty glasses, garnished with berries and enjoyed by the spoonful. It is divine!
Lemon curd freezes well for up to three months or keeps well covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh grated lemon rind 2 eggs
In a stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, rind and eggs until well combined. Cook until bubbles just start to appear and mixture becomes thickened. Remove from heat and spoon sauce into container; cover. Cool and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for longer storage. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).
Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer email@example.com