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Pumpkin Seed-Herb Sauce

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1 PINT

This sauce was born from having an excess of wilting cilantro in my fridge. I was going to make zhoug, a spicy cilantro sauce that’s made with fresh jalapenos and garlic, but I wanted to beef it up to serve alongside salmon. I was looking through my assortment of seeds and nuts for pesto inspiration, and thought the toasted flavor and color of pumpkin seeds would be perfect. With further research, I discovered a traditional sauce from the Yucatan region called Sikil P’ak, taken from the Mayan words for pumpkin seed and tomatoes.

This adaptation swaps tomatoes for rehydrated, smoky chipotle peppers. I added half an avocado for extra creaminess as well. Now it’s a staple in my fridge—I eat it alongside fish, roast chicken, or slathered on veggies. It’s delicious stirred into crème fraîche for a rich accompaniment to soups or stews.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1 cup parsley, stems and leaves
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tbls. sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls. capers, drained
1/4 tsp. each ground coriander, cardamom, and cumin
1/2 avocado (opt.)
2 dried chipotle peppers, or 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded (opt.)
1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the chipotle peppers and let sit for about 10 minutes to re-hydrate. Remove from the water, (but reserve water for thinning the sauce), cut in half and discard the stems and seeds. Roughly chop.

  2. While the peppers are re-hydrating, spread the pumpkin seeds evenly in a pan over medium-low heat. Toast until they start to sizzle and pop, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat.

  3. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Thin with the chipotle water if necessary.

  4. Spoon into a jar and drizzle olive oil on top. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

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Turmeric Mayonnaise or Aioli

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1+ CUP

Homemade mayonnaise & Aioli are other pantry staples that require hardly any time and have far superior flavor, especially if you source high-quality ingredients. A bit of turmeric creates a beautiful golden hue which is stunning alongside roasted vegetables or grilled meats. Turmeric also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties, found in the compound curcumin, so I try to incorporate a dash or two wherever I can. Black pepper boosts the absorption of curcumin, so make sure to add a few grinds as well.

Many folks choose to emulsify the oils and eggs by hand with a whisk. Even though I appreciate the art of emulsification, I choose to use an immersion blender. You can also use a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment, a food processor or standing blender.

INGREDIENTS

1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup neutral oil (I use 1/4 cup avocado or high-oleic sunflower oil + 1/4 cup MCT oil)
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 - 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar of choice
2 - 3 garlic cloves, pressed or mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt (opt.)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (opt.)
1 - 2 tbls. cold water
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. If using an immersion blender, add the egg yolk, lemon & Dijon mustard to a pint jar.

  2. Mix oils together in a measuring cup, or other vessel that will be easy to pour without spilling.

  3. Blend the egg, lemon & Dijon while consistently and slowly drizzling in the oil. Once the sauce begins to thicken, you can drizzle a little more quickly. Adding too much oil at once will cause the emulsion to “break” and will result in a curdled mess.

  4. Once very thick, add the garlic, turmeric, salt & pepper to taste. If still too thick, add the cold water, 1 tbls. at a time.

  5. If not already in a glass jar, transfer to one and let sit for about 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Use immediately, or keep in the fridge for up to a week. *The addition of garlic will lose its fresh flavor after a week’s time.

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