I love anything green. Kale, spinach, Granny Smith apples, spirulina and wheatgrass. Celery, avocado, butter lettuce, cucumbers, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini…affection for the verdant-hued foods abound in my heart and on my plate. Some green friends that I have often overlooked, however, are herbs.
I had an herb garden last summer, one that I kept on the patio of our little apartment and water semi-diligently throughout the scorching heat of July and August. I always joked that Andrew was the better herb-parent, as he would routinely come to the rescue of my shriveled cilantro and wilted basil with a jug of cold water, but survive they did despite my inattention. Although I wasn’t the best at remembering to water my herbs I did remember to cook with them — with gusto! Having a bunch of fresh dill just a few steps away from my kitchen was a blessing that I too often took for granted. One that now, in winter, I wish I could return to.
Before we moved I clipped all of the remaining leaves from my plants and hung them to dry in our laundry room, saving every last bud from the mint and the basil. Cooking with dried herbs that I grew myself is almost as satisfying as stepping out on the porch to pick the fresh variety, but when that just won’t satisfy I pick up a bunch or two of Italian parsley or coriander at the grocery store, for old time’s sake.This salad dressing was born out of a desire for something green, pungent and savory to make a simple romaine salad something special. A quick whizz in the food processor yielded this incredible emerald dressing — one worthy of a divine title and a fancy salad. I tossed this with chopped romaine, cucumber, kalamata olives, red and green bell peppers and some feta cheese from a local goat farm just outside the city limits. Topped with a sprinkling of dried oregano, the salad glowed of health — hello, GREEN! — but managed to fool a houseful of single soldiers into gobbling it up. Seriously, if you can pass off a salad to a bunch of beer pong-playing boys, you know you’ve found a winner.
Greek Goddess Dressing
1 large bunch Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
5 cloves roasted garlic
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
water to thin
Wash the parsley and pick the leaves from the stems. Pulse in a food processor with other ingredients, adding water to thin as necessary, until the dressing reaches the desired consistency. Mine ended up a little thicker than a normal, store-bought dressing would be — it had more of a “spoonable” consistency.
Serve with a fresh green salad, stir into chopped roasted veggies or a savory soup, or use in place of pesto if you’re feeling indulgent.