The Green Goddess

Green goddess dressing.

I’ve known about green goddess dressing for a while now, but I have to admit that up until recently, its ingredients were somewhat of a mystery to me. Herbs, of course, and something creamy, for sure. But was that greek yogurt, or was it buttermilk? Avocado, or just green herbs? A hint of anchovy, or am I just making things up?

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “green goddess” notions of healthy grain bowls, sunny weather and glowing skin come to mind. New Californian cooking. As far as I’m concerned, it sounds like quintessential health food branding. Right?

While many recipes proved my theory correct, featuring fresh, healthful ingredients like herbs, avocado, greek yogurt and lemon, I was surprised to learn that a wholesome green goddess recipe is something of a reformed party girl.

The green goddess got its start in 1920s New York, when a broadway show of the same name premiered and gained popularity. Following its rise, a chef at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco invented a green dressing in its honor.

A green goddess with cilantro, greek yogurt, avocado and lime.

And the original recipe had absolutely nothing to do with health. Think mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovies, tarragon and chives. Delicious? Definitely. Wholesome? Not so much.

That said, this recipe – now nearly a century old – is far from obsolete. Many contemporary green goddesses have decadent, old-school vibes, requesting a heavy hand with rich dairy and classic French herbs.

Personally, I prefer a green goddess with greek yogurt and lots of citrus. To me, these versions are cleaner and brighter.

But that’s what’s great about the green goddess. She’s a chameleon. You can really make this dressing your own. Craving something avocado-forward? Go for it. Need to finish that buttermilk before it goes bad? Use it. Want to make anchovies your star? Sounds great. Forgot them at the grocery store? It will still be delicious!

I suggest preparing a batch of green goddess on Sunday evening to get you through the start of your work week. It’s versatile, so making it doesn’t require committing to one specific dinner idea. You can dress your salads with it, marinate your proteins in it, use it to amp up your grain bowls, or even let it guest star on taco night.

Below, you’ll find a few renditions I know and like. If you’re going to marinate a protein, I suggest following this recipe by Melissa Clark. Otherwise, simply use the ideas below to spark your creativity. After all, that’s what the green goddess is all about.

Green Goddess I

Combine parsley, basil, greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Green Goddess II

Combine parsley, mint, basil, cilantro, sour cream, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Adapted ever so slightly from Mina Stone’s recipe in Cooking For Artists (p 33).

Green Goddess III

Combine tarragon, chives, greek yogurt, anchovies*, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

*I suggest using 1-2 anchovies. If using, be sure to season less aggressively; anchovies add a lot of salt!

Green Goddess IV

Combine cilantro, avocado, greek yogurt, garlic, lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Easiest Vinaigrette Ever!

It’s a mystery to me why people still buy salad dressing. There are certain conveniences that make sense (dried pasta, canned beans, etc.) because they are inexpensive and good. Bottled salad dressings aren’t one of them. They are pricey and artificial tasting.  Sure it’s a time saver, but what if I said you could make a really simple one with stuff you probably already have in 60 seconds or less?! Honor your carefully washed greens and meticulously sliced veggies with a freshly made dressing. Our clients ask us all the time for our vinaigrette recipes and to tell you the truth they’re usually something we whip up without even thinking… or measuring. The real secret is in the jar.

You can make nearly any vinaigrette your heart desires with a jar (reused jam-jars are a great stand-in). The only thing you have to remember is the 2:1 ratio. Two-parts oil to one-part acid.  Measure the acid first. In this case we used a lemon but you can use any kind of vinegar (i.e. red-wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar.. etc.) or citrus you like. Then just double that amount with oil (we like extra-virgin olive oil). Suddenly we’ve transported you back to your 3rd-grade science lab when you learned about emulsification because you’ll see the separation between acid and oil clearly. This is all the measuring you need. Some may prefer a vinaigrette that’s a little less acidic; if so just add a little more than twice the amount of oil.

We ‘jazzed’ up our lemon-dijon a bit with grainy dijon because YUM and voila: the ultimate vinaigrette stand-by. It’s so sooo easy and it’s something we think everyone should have in their repertoire. See for yourself!

Other favorite combos (play with measurements of all ingredients to taste):

  • Lemon juice, dijon, minced shallot, olive oil, salt, pepper (equally good with cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, etc.)
  • Lemon juice, smashed garlic clove with or without smashed anchovy, olive oil, salt, pepper (equally good with red wine vinegar)
  • Orange juice, balsamic, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper
  • Lime juice, agave, olive oil or grapeseed oil, salt, pepper (chopped cilantro and a tiny bit of cayenne is good in here too) – great for salads with Mexican ingredients
  • Lime juice or rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil (just a little bit), soy sauce, chili paste or sriracha, grapeseed oil or water to thin and mellow flavors – great for salad with Asian ingredients

Winter Wild Rice Salad with Charred Broccoli and Pickled Raisins

Winter Wild Rice and Broccoli salad with pickled raisins and herbs

The holidays are officially over. With the grind of the new year in full swing and the harshness of New York cold weather setting in, everyone is buckling down for the next few months. I’m trying my absolute hardest not to let the winter blues get me down, and I am finding that more often than not, I turn to food to bring me comfort.

While winter conditions definitely make it difficult to find fresh produce, the season still provides for many delicious and hearty meals. In fact, my very favorite vegetable is easily accessible this time of year. That’s right. Give me all the broccoli.

Charred roasted broccoli or broccolini

Broccoli is so versatile and can be addictive prepared in any way! Steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or even eaten raw, the possibilities are endless. One can even thinly shave the stems and use them in a salad or sautéed for a meal, but that is a conversation for another day. Today I want to talk about my favorite preparation for broccoli: roasting. Super simple and with a huge punch of flavor, I like to toss the prepped broccoli with seasonings and oil and then blast it in the oven set to a really high temperature. This ensures that the broccoli gets a healthy char while still retaining some crunch. Nobody wants to eat something that can be described as “limp”. Toss with some lemon zest and voila, you have brought life to something in this artic tundra.

Broccoli on a sheet tray to roast

Over the years I have learned that my own personal preference in flavor combination is to combine sweet with savory. Therefore, I have found great value in the use of fresh or dried fruit in many of my dishes. There’s nothing like the subtle pop of flavor in every few bites when you encounter something sweet. As of late, one of my absolute favorite additions to a salad is the ever persevered, simple and basic (drumroll please….) raisin. This traditional ingredient dates as far back in my memory as “ants on a log” in childhood snacks, but has now been reinvented by the chefs at What We Eat. Though a raisin in itself is a tasty little burst of sweetness, we sometimes opt to re-hydrate the chewy little grape into something else. This can be done using warm water, or if you like, you can opt to add an acid to the mix for a pickling effect.

Pickling spices and apple cider vinegar boiling on the stovetop

Through experimentation, we have perfected a winning combination of spices to create an amazing pickling recipe for grapes and raisins. The result is an unbelievably sweet, tangy and slightly spicy treat. Think warm winter spices with a kick of heat from red chili flakes. Having this recipe in your arsenal is a sure-fire way to add surprise and curiosity to a salad or grain dish.

With love, Kristina

Winter Wild Rice and Broccoli salad with pickled raisins

For the Wild Rice:

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

Cook rice according to package directions.

 

For the Broccoli:

1 head broccoli, cut into large florets

½ tablespoon olive oil

1 pinch red pepper flakes

½ tsp granulated

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On the stove top, bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Blanch broccoli for 30 seconds and refresh in ice cold water. Dry completely.

On a large sheet tray, toss the broccoli with a good glug of olive oil, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Roast, undisturbed for 15 minutes. Take broccoli out of oven and flip (it should have a nice char on one side). Return to oven for another 15 minutes until crisp and caramelized. Remove and allow to come to room temperature.
Pickled raisins mise en place

For the Pickled Raisins:

2 cups golden raisins

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 star anise

1 tablespoon fennel seed

½ tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

 

Method:

In a saucepot, bring the water, vinegar, spices, sugar and salt to a slow simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, strain the hot liquid over the raisins and allow to sit until cool.

When you are ready to build the salad, drain raisins and mix with the charred broccoli and wild rice. Add in a large handful of mint/cilantro/scallions and dress with a few tablespoons of the pickling liquid and some olive oil. Enjoy!

Other Uses for Pickled Raisins:

Chicken salad

Grain bowls

Breakfast parfaits with granola and greek yogurt

Salty-Sweet Olive Oil Granola

Granola with dried fruit and nuts and coconut

At What We Eat, we tend to focus mainly on the final meal of the day. We spend most of our day shopping, organizing and preparing dinners for our clients to enjoy. So, by the time the evening rolls around, our stomachs are growling and our imaginations are going wild with all the possibilities we’ve been dreaming up for our own dinner throughout the day. Yes, from the time I wake up, my mind is focused on the end of the day, at which point I know I’ll be enjoying a delicious meal and relaxing for a few hours before it all begins again.

Granola with pumpkin seeds, almonds and dried fruit

But what about the morning? Have I forgotten the saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Why must I rush through the day to what I consider is arguably the best part, only to disregard the sweet beginnings of a fresh start, each new day full of possibilities!

While most clients do not request it, breakfast is one of our favorite meals to prep. In fact, I jump at the chance to do a catered brunch party. (Which has happened approximately once. Cue six am wakeup call to shop and walk to the Lower East Side.) Let us not even begin to wax poetic about all-things-egg-based, but instead think about sweeter options. Chia puddings, baked oatmeals and granolas provide endless variations to jumpstart the day. In particular, one of my favorites is our salty sweet olive oil granola. We made it this summer as a product to sell at Copper Beech in Bellport, Long Island, and then again as a surprise thank-you gift to our clients this holiday season.

Driving to Copper Beech Long Island
Laura and I en route to Copper Beech

What makes this granola so addictive is the perfect balance between salty and sweet. Add in the depth of flavor achieved by the slowly toasted nuts and the fact that the dried fruit of choice is chopped dates. (It is just a fact that there literally is no better dried fruit. Remember that.) While you can always simply ask us to whip you up a batch, because it will undoubtedly be prepared with love, you could also give it a go yourself! Try out this shelf-stable treat this weekend. It’ll last a while, but my bet is that the granola will be devoured before it spoils.

With love, Kristina

 

Salty-Sweet Olive Oil Granola

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼-1/3 cup light brown sugar (do smaller amount if you prefer less sweet)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 + tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup chopped dates, coarsely chopped (added after cooking)
  • Maldon salt to taste (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place oats, pumpkins seeds, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Taste it raw. You should enjoy the salter sweet flavor even now. If you feel one element is overpowering the other, add a little more sugar or salt to correct seasoning. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread raw granola mixture in an even layer and transfer to oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. When the granola is fully toasted and dry to the touch, remove tray from oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in chopped dates and enjoy! (Salt lovers feel free to add a dash of Maldon salt over the cooling granolaJ)