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Savory palate cleanser?

Can anyone recommend a palate cleanser course that has no sugar or sweetener of any kind? I was thinking maybe a cucumber mint granita, but I have a hard time imagining it without sugar. I also thought maybe a shot of cucumber gazpacho would work, but I already have a soup course, so that would be kind of annoying (from my perspective).

Sigh. Help?

And note to self: find out people's diet restrictions BEFORE inviting them over for a dinner party. No sugar, no carbs, no meat, no dairy, no alcohol. It's killing me.

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  1. Pink grapefuit granita- they have enough naural sweetener to not be too tart but still palate cleansing. Very good and easy.

    And can I add I am impressied that you can come up with a full menu that does not include all those restrictions!

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodieX2

      Sorry, I should clarify -- no sugar means no fruit as well.

    2. "No sugar, no carbs, no meat, no dairy, no alcohol"

      WTF? I would just ask them what they eat then and put one of those on their plate and make something else for the others.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kengk

        Heh, I know. To be fair, two people are "no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol" and another is "no gluten, no dairy, no meat". It's the combination that is killing me!

        I can manage it all and am actually happy (or maybe just curious) to rise to the challenge. But the savoury palate cleanser has me stumped. The smartest thing would be to just do away with it completely. :)

        1. re: kengk

          I cannot give this post an emphatic enough "AMEN!".

        2. San Pelligrino, with a twist of lemon for those who aren't anti-sugar.

          1. Maybe just a shot of cucumber water?

            Or a cucumber tartare?

            A ginger cucumber salad might also work, but most tasty-dairy-free cucumber salads need a little sugar, imo.

            Parsley will also freshen up the palate, even if it might not cleanse the palate. Would a garlic-free lemony parsley salad work? Something like fattoush or tabbouleh, but omitting the wheat/pita.

            1 Reply
            1. re: prima

              Hmm...curious about a cucumber tartare. Any particular recipe or flavors you had in mind, prima?

            2. It's unconventional, but I wonder if some kind of hot tea would work? People who want sugar/honey, dairy, or lemon could add it to their own cups.

              1. Besides the question of the palate cleanser ... *

                What in the heck are you making for the mains?????

                * My suggestion being a cold jellied consommé of some sort. Tomato? A blast from the '50s but still pretty cool if done right.

                2 Replies
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  oh, I like this idea of a jellied savory dish. Tomato basil, cucumber mint, green pea and mint. I wonder if you could make some of these into a granita instead of jelly?

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    TorontoJo has a pescatarian coming for dinner as well, so jellied savoury dishes might be out, unless it's possible to substiute fish gelatin, agar agar, pectin or some other pescatarian-friendly gelling agent for gelatin.

                2. Well a bit of happy news -- turns out the guests who requested "no sugar and no carbs" will eat fruit. So this will let me do a pure fruit sorbet or granita. Yay!

                  As for the rest of the menu...still working on it. ;o)

                  1. So you're effectively cooking for paleo-vegans or a group of people who prefer to say they eat this way because they have diet issues.

                    No sugar/fruit takes away the typical citrus hit that a lot of palate cleansers do, and making a granité without sugar or alcohol makes it more challenging to get the texture right.

                    Cube of raw winter melon with a little salt and olive oil perhaps? I had been thinking bittermelon and mint shooters but you mentioned you didn't want to do two liquids.

                    1. How about a fennel slaw? With mint and parsley, it would be so refreshing.

                      1. tomato water "martinis". recipes abound on the web. basically drain crushed plum tomatoes through cheesecloth and a chinois. it drains clear, but very flavorful. chill the liquid. pour into serving glasses and garnish with basil or cilantro oil.

                        1. I love all these ideas, thank you! I'm going to keep some of them in my back pocket for future dinners. I especially like the chilled tomato water shooter with basil oil.

                          But I've since discovered that fruit is actually ok for my guests, as long as there is no added refined sugar. So I'm going to do a grapefruit/lychee sorbet for the "no alcohol" couple and a grapefruit/champagne sorbet for the rest of us winos.