The Sauciér

This week: Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki and Garlic Expressions

The Sauciér

Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

Cooking a variety of cuisines at home has one major drawback: Condiments go bad before you can use them all up. Before you know it, the refrigerator door is bursting with barely used fish sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, curry paste, chili paste, tamarind paste, and desiccated fresh ginger. After a while, you aren't sure they are safe to use, and you can hear your money gurgling down the drain. One tiny part of the solution is Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki. Even if you spent all day chopping fresh garlic and ginger and used the very best soy sauce and sesame oil to be had, you could not make a more well-rounded, perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce than this one. One bottle instead of four, and believe me: You will use it all up before it goes bad.

Soy Vay Enterprises began making and bottling Veri Veri Teriyaki in 1982 in Northern California. Slowly but surely, Soy Vay has caught on nationally, eliciting raves from customers and critics alike. Celebrities as diverse as Cher, Eminem, and Herb Caen have sung its praises, and Trader Joe's no longer carries any other teriyaki sauce because there is "no comparison." From 20 cases a month when they started, Veri Veri Teriyaki now ships thousands of cases a week. Made from organic soy oil, expeller-pressed sesame oil, sesame seeds, fresh garlic, dried onion, sugar, and fresh ginger, the ingredients are slowly boiled to give the sauce a thick, authentic consistency. Besides being the perfect sauce for stir-fry, it is a wonderful marinade for any type of meat and enjoys a happy reputation for being popular with children. (So popular, that it can be used to get them to eat things they normally reject, like fish and spinach). Authentic, quick, easy to use, and boasting an indefinite shelf life, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki ($5.29 at Whole Foods and Central Market) is robust, subtle, and versatile. It has no MSG, no dairy, no peanuts, and no gluten. And it's kosher!

Garlic Expressions Marinade and Dressing

One taste of Garlic Expressions dressing, and I was hooked. Like many a typical Austinite, when I am lucky enough to go to the store when all the tasting stands are up and running, my lizard brain goes, "Oh good, free food!" which I happily sample, before ungratefully proceeding to my usual purchases. But one taste of Garlic Expressions, and I threw two bottles in my cart. I wasn't the only one: Central Market was sold out for three weeks after the free tasting and can still barely keep it on the shelf eight months later.

Garlic Expressions' big secret (if it can really be called a secret) is top-quality ingredients, small batches, and hands-on manufacturing. They start with prime-quality garlic, hand-peeled and scored, which guarantees a full, subtle flavor. (Most other brands of dressing cut down on labor costs by using dehydrated or dried garlic.) Cider vinegar, made entirely from Northern Spy apples, is imported from Ontario, Canada, and blended with fresh-pressed American canola oil. Salt, freshly ground pepper, and spices complete the recipe. In addition to having half the calories of traditional salad dressing, Garlic Expressions is 100% natural and cholesterol-free. It uses no preservatives or additives and is a natural source of vitamin E. I didn't know any of that when I first bought it, though. I bought it because it tastes divine.

Perhaps because of the purity and simplicity of the recipe, Garlic Expressions ($4.99 at Central Market) is a kitchen workhorse. It is great as a dressing for both regular salad and vast bowls of pasta salad. You can use it to marinate raw vegetables and vegetables that you plan to grill. It's a wonderful marinade for grilled chicken and seafood, too. It can be used as a dipping sauce for rustic breads and is perfect for Italian bread salads.

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Garlic Expressions, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

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