Life lessons may not be the same for all of us, but the people we learn from, our parents, family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, all help us along the way in similar ways. With their words of encouragement, they lead by example, sharing their experience and their own life lessons so that we might not make their same mistakes. Over time, we learn to enjoy all aspects of our lives, to live in the moment, to love passionately, and savor simple pleasures like good food. For Kim Severson, good food used to mean simple home-cooked comfort foods, that is until Alice Waters came into her life.
Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, has been a long time advocate of eating seasonally, organic and locally, even when it wasn’t popular. She only uses the finest and freshest ingredients in her cooking, and over time, her style of cooking, along with other chefs like her, has greatly influenced Kim’s opinions of fine food. Alice’s cooking style– what used to seem like an overpriced letdown to Kim–has evolved into a true appreciation for the ingredients: where they come from, how and where they are farmed, and all the other hard work it takes for the food to get from farm to table.
Over the years, Kim has taken an unexpected journey in her food journalism career, learning hard lessons along the way that mixed with the good and the bad, led her to the place she always wanted to be. Kim states:
“I hadn’t given up. I had been patient. Just as it had with Alice over so many years, perseverance was starting to pay off.”
This aoili is a good example of how dedication and patience can pay off. The recipe calls the simplest of ingredients, some hard work, a little love, and a little patience.
For more of Kim’s story check out Eating Aioli with Alice Waters.
Alice’s Aioli Recipe
2 or 3 small garlic cloves
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of water
1 cup olive oil
1. Pound the garlic and the salt in a mortar and pestle until it’s smooth.
2. Separate the egg and add the yolk to a mixing bowl. Find something else to do with the egg white.
3. Add about half the garlic and the water and mix well with a whisk.
4. Using a cup with a spout, dribble the olive oil into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. It helps to wrap a damp kitchen towel around the base of the bowl to keep it from moving. Or have a friend pour while you whisk.
5. As the sauce thickens and lightens in color, add the oil a little faster but keep whisking.
6. Taste and add more of the salt and garlic mixture. If it’s too thick, thin it with water.
Notes: In the spirit of the post, I did everything exactly as stated, using a hand whisk, and it turned out great. But I thought it was a little lumpy (actually looking back, it was perfect, just thick), so I let it sit a few moments and then went crazy with the hand whisk again and it separated. To fix it, I got out the hand mixer added an additional egg yolk to a new bowl and treated the failed aioli as olive oil to add to my new yolk. It turned out great, it just needed a little more salt to for the extra egg.