Almond tarragon sauce
Yesterday we had a rare day off, all together, and it was the only sunny day in recent memory. So we went for a hike in the woods. It felt good to clear the cobwebs and feel the sun on our heads. At one point, a big golden leaf fell behind me – I could sense it as a sort of glowing shadow. It seemed so slow and quick all at once. It almost made me wish I was someone else. Somebody who could wander around in the woods thinking about things and noticing things – like Basho or Thoreau, instead of just some idiot who forgot to pay the credit card bill (god I hate that!). Of course I was
somebody wandering around in the woods, thinking things, and watching my little ones glowing with high finally-out-of-the-house spirits, as well as being the non-bill-paying idiot. And on the way home I had the strangest sensation of time travel. The sun was very bright and warm on my face, so I closed my eyes. I had that peculiar feeling you get in your head when you’re about to get a cold, when it seems like all of your senses are heightened and dulled at the same time. I had such a distinct memory of having this exact experience before – the sun, the onset of a cold, the movement of the car. I could have been any age. I had a flood of memories of myself at different times. With my family growing up. With David when we were younger. With my dog when she was a puppy. I may have fallen asleep for a few moments, because I felt my thoughts taking off, into the air. And then Malcolm said, “Mommy…” and showed me a picture he’d drawn, or told me how much baby bears weigh at birth. Human voices woke me, and I drowned…in the present. Where I forget to pay bills, and can’t keep the house clean, and yell too much at my boys, but I feel so grateful to have them all around me – to have this messy glowing life, which I wouldn’t trade for anything.
This almond tarragon sauce is another version of a tarator sauce. I made it to go with some very pretty dragon’s tongue beans, which I lightly steamed. But I ate it for days afterwards – with every kind of vegetable, with empanadas, on salads. It’s a nice creamy, cream free dressing. Very good with roasted beets!
Here’s Sunshine and Clouds and Everything Proud from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Pecan tarator sauce
I was thinking about tarator sauce the other day. The word means different things to different people, and contains different ingredients in various locations around the globe. For me, a tarator sauce is a combination of nuts, bread-soaked-in-water and seasonings. It is a thing of wonder! These unlikely elements combine to form something subtly flavored, smooth, creamy, and completely dairy-free! At first, I generally used pine nuts and white bread, garlic and lemon. Definitely delicious. Then I used almonds, because they’re also lovely and much cheaper. I made this savory vanilla sauce
, for instance. And a tarator sauce can make the base of a creamy soup. My version of Jane Austen’s white soup
combines an almond tarator sauce with white beans and cauliflower.
I’ve always thought of tarator as a pale ivory concoction, and I’ve generally used pale nuts and white bread. Well, the other day, faced with a very tasty but rapidly aging loaf of whole grain bread, I thought, why not make a tarator sauce with that? And I used pecans, because they have a wonderful distinctive flavor. And I used balsamic instead of lemon juice, for a little depth. And then I added roasted garlic, thyme, and rosemary, because it seemed to need all those things. Turned out delicious! We ate it as a sort of dip for butternut squash-pecan dumplings. But tarator sauce is very versatile. It’s good with french fries, or on roasted vegetables, or as a dip for anything you can think of dipping in it.
Here’s Soul Sauce from Cal Tjader