I won’t lie to you: my creativity in the kitchen has declined since becoming pregnant. My mind is like mud, I don’t have any energy, I am always sleepy, and even the easiest cooking tasks (peeling an onion, anyone?) are difficult for me to accomplish. I’ve been dragging along for a good couple of weeks, hoping to be back to my usual energetic self soon. In the meantime, I know I need inspiration and all the creative resources I can get my hands on to counteract the fatigue. I need novelty in the kitchen – fresh ideas to inspire me and to keep me alert and motivated.
This is why I was very excited when Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me to ask me to test out their aioli recipes. I never made aioli, and as such I was very excited to go back into the kitchen and to prepare something new and creative. Red Gold are currently on a mission to introduce more home cooks to aioli, a versatile spread which can be used in sandwiches, as a dip or as a topping. The aioli possibilities are endless, and for me this test could not have come at a better time.
A few days after I accepted their challenge Red Gold sent me a pack containing several cans of tomatoes, an apron, a tomato spreader and a recipe sheet. All recipes included nutritional information, which I thought was great.
The basic aioli recipes were printed on the other side of the recipe sheet and were very easy to follow:
I picked three aioli recipes. The first was tomato aioli, which consisted of one can of drained Red Gold petite diced tomatoes and 1/2 cup light mayonnaise. I mixed these ingredients together and then refrigerated the aioli to allow time for the flavors to blend.
Garlic aioli was the second aioli I made – this one involved mixing together one can of garlic & olive oil tomatoes (drained) and 1/2 cup light mayonnaise. The difference between this aioli and the roasted garlic aioli (the third aioli I made) was that the roasted garlic aioli had not two, but three ingredients: garlic & olive oil tomatoes, mayo and 10 garlic cloves, roasted and mashed.
I have to say I was very impressed with the taste and smell of the garlic & olive oil tomatoes, and I started thinking of other ways to use this product in the future. My mind went straight to a dish I make often: chicken drumsticks with fresh bell peppers and Italian-style diced tomatoes. I made a mental note to replace the Italian-style tomatoes with garlic & olive oil tomatoes next time I made this chicken dish. I’ll keep you posted 🙂
So, how were the aioli? I used the tomato aioli to make Red Gold’s Best Year Round BLT recipe. I placed the lettuce on the the slice of bread, added the bacon (which had previously been cooked in the oven until crispy) and the tomato aioli, then seasoned with pepper and placed the other slice of bread on top. The instructions were easy to follow and the result was delicious. The aioli added a tasty layer of creaminess, yet the sandwich was still light thanks to the fresh lettuce and the assertive flavor of the tomatoes in the aioli.
The garlic aioli was next on my list, and I used it to make Flatbread Veggie Pizza. This vegetarian recipe was very quick and easy, and the pizza was piping hot and ready to eat in 15 minutes. I did not think I would like this dish as much as I did – as a matter of fact, I did not like it: I loved it! With very few ingredients, the pizza came to life in a miraculous way – creamy, decadent, sophisticated – and the garlic aioli clearly made this dish a success. My husband said that I should make this flatbread pizza again, so I’m planning to make more to have for dinner on Friday.
Lastly, I was very curious to try Red Gold’s Italian Roast Beef Panini recipe with roasted garlic aioli. I made two panini – one with roast beef, the other without (I cannot eat deli meats during my pregnancy) and I took lots of pictures during preparation. The panino went above and beyond my expectations: from the delicious melty goodness of the mozzarella to the crispy assurance of the red onion, from the garlicky and velvety aioli to the unique smoky flavor and vibrant color of the roasted peppers – everything fell into place beautifully.
This was a welcome recipe test: it brought variety and novelty back into the kitchen, made me excited and happy, and reignited my passion for cooking. I was pleased with the recipes I tried and I intend to use aioli more in the future. I needed this challenge, and I’m glad to be back 🙂
*Disclaimer: Red Gold Tomatoes sent me a package with products to try as part of this recipe review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.