Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Prelude to a Blog

At first when I thought, "I am going to start a blog!" I figured I would have a space in which to write the sort of stream-of-conscious thoughts that continually come into my head. I enjoy this sort of meandering prose and thought process. But upon further "blog" observations and research, it seems that most blogs, at least those that seem very successful, are about a particular subject or area of interest. Besides, how many people really want to read that kind of stream of consciousness? Gertrude Stein was famous for her meandering, run-on sentences yet amid much controversial criticism. Likewise many people have more than one blog. Each covering a different topic of interest. I too have my Miss 'N Nick Designs blog (coming soon) which talks only about my stationery line and designs or news related to that.

So where else do my interests lie? Well in food and wine and art of course. I suppose these should or could be two separate blogs. But really food and art go hand in hand. Cooking, presenting and even eating food is an art form in itself and most artists gravitate toward food and the kind of social gathering that centers around food and conversation. Well for that matter who doesn't like food? At least to some degree!

Okay, so the name? What to name my blog... This was difficult. A lot of really great names and words were already being used by others in this forum. But then it came to me. Art and Aioli! I just love alliteration and the sound seemed to roll easily on my tongue like a smooth Pinot Noir. So art is self explanatory but aioli? Oh aioli... that fabulous garlicky mayonnaise-like sauce that enhances everything from fish to vegetables to les frites (fries)! Some talk of the spice of life... but what about the sauce of life? That extra something on top of all the staples that makes everything more special (and taste worthy).

Typically aioli is made from scratch with olive oil and garlic and sometimes egg for the ease of mixing. But emulsifying can be a bit tricky and I know I need practice to get just the right consistency. So in lieu of working completely from scratch, I use this recipe I have created.

3/4 cup of regular mayonnaise
1 head of garlic
1 tbls. olive oil
2-3 tbls. fresh tarragon (optional)

Cut off the top of the head of garlic and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with the olive oil and broil until tender and not too dark. Allow garlic to cool enough to handle. Pop or roasted garlic cloves from the skins.

In a blender or food processor puree the mayonnaise and roasted garlic to desired consistency. Add the tarragon and blend some more if desired. Tarragon is not in typical or traditional aioli but I just love the flavor and it gives it a certain je ne sais quoi! Other tasty additions include lemon, capers, chili pepper, basil or any of your favorite herbs.

This is SO easy and wonderful on anything. I often use it on grilled chicken sandwiches. I also use this when creating "Le Grand Aïoli" in a fabulous Provençal spread. The whole meal looks quite impressive to guests and actually quite easy.

This particular feast was created after my son's baptism. Beautiful to behold and tasty to eat! In this instance I had chicken and vegetables to go with the aioli and a gorgonzola sauce to go with the beef I threw on the BBQ.

I can picture this group here partaking in such a feast as "Le Grand Aïoli"!

Luncheon of the Boating Party1881

by Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Anonymous said...

Love the Alliteration, YOUR Aioli and of course that is one of my husbands favorite works of art!

Keep on blogging!

Nicole said...

Thank you, thank you! So glad to get your feedback. I do appreciate you taking time to look over my page. You know... I forget about Renoir... or did for a while but his paintings just TAKE you to the moment and place. I really love it.

Let's plan that lunch or get together soon.

Anonymous said...

Who said Graphic Designers don't write? Nice work Nicole...now if you would just include that cute French accent of yours you'll really be on to something! Oui Oui! :)

Blog on, sista!


Lulu said...

That is a beautiful picture. If you've ever seen the movie Amelie, I love the character who does a painting of this work every year.

Nicole said...

I do love Renoir. I should get a print and hang it somewhere. I loved the movie Amelie. It has been a while, I should see it again or put it in our movie library.

this designer cooks said...

Great blog! I looked at your stationary designs also. Very nice! I am always looking for kindred spirits! www.thisdesignercooks.blogspot.com