Thursday, August 6, 2015


 I feel compelled to use it all.  Every vegetable, fruit, leaf of lettuce, if it's growing in my yard or on my deck.  If I've had a hand in helping it to survive, it must be devoured instead of left to wither on the vine.
The herbs have done very well this year, especially the potted ones.  But my own consumption can barely keep up with their bounty.  Of course, I want to employ their flavors in creative dishes when they are fresh and the flavors vibrant.  However, I have succumbed to the fact that they won't be growing like this for long and have taken measures to "preserve" them.  Hanging from the lamp over the kitchen table where I usually string up holiday decorations, are bundles of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme in an attempt to dry them for later use.  (I'll have to report back on how well this idea actually works out.)  Other types like basil and parsley, I puree with a touch of olive oil then freeze in ice cube trays to be  used in various recipes throughout the year. In spite of my efforts or maybe because of them, these crazy plants keep producing!

My latest cookbook obsession is "Pomegranates & Pine Nuts" by Bethany Kehdy.  It's a collection of recipes based on traditional Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian dishes.  This book partly inspired this tasty dip with the addition of Greek yogurt and the layering of the components instead of stirring it all together. (Although that would be o.k.  Ava always wants to stir it all together, I just like how it looks when plated my way.)  The herb blend derives from another current obsession (of which I have many, it seems.), that began a few years ago with chimichuri sauce, as well as green harissa and gremolata (see blog post: Eat Your Vegetables with Sauce ) In this one, I have omitted the garlic for those of you with sensitive stomachs and a delicate sense of smell when it comes to dining with companions who get stinky garlic breath.

Garden Fresh Herb Sauce
1 large bunch fresh herbs such as parsley, basil or cilantro or a combination
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 pinch red pepper flakes
pinch of salt and black pepper, to taste
Remove all stems from herbs and place leaves in a Cuisinart with blade or small chopper.  Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  Puree mixture.  If leaves are not moving around, add more olive oil to loosen so that the mixture moves around in the chopper.  Once, leaves are pureed into fine pieces, adjust for taste.  Mixture can be saved in an airtight container in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Lately, I have been serving this sauce over a generous dollop of Greek yogurt accompanied by my favorite dipping mechanism: Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Potato Chips.  "Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper" is my favorite flavor.  Love it when they go on sale 2/$5.00!  This yummy dip is great with cocktails (there is not much that isn't) before or instead of dinner.  Enjoy!