Mexican Green Goddess Dressing

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With Cinco de Mayo coming up, here’s a quick little dressing to get you in the spirit. I recently stole borrowed Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good from my mom. I know Ms. Goop is a ‘love’ or ‘meh’ sort of brand, but hear me out. This cookbook is pretty darn legit. For the most part, it is indeed all good. Her co-writer, Julia Turshen, is a respectable food authority and brings realism to Paltrow’s maca root-and-green juice world. There’s an impressive amount of dressing recipes, both for salads and dipping, that make me excited for the summer produce ahead.

This Mexican Green Goddess ditty caught my eye immediately. I’ve been on a green goddess kick these days, a result of one too many vinaigrettes. Sometimes you need a creamy dressing, am I right? Traditionally made with all sorts of herbs, gobs of mayo, anchovies and lemon, this creamy dressing originated in San Francisco in the 1970s. You can almost imagine people drizzling it over iceberg and avocados. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this Mexican version…and had all the ingredients in-house. I blended up a jar and used it all week long to drizzle on tacos, grain bowls, and pictured here, a shredded kale/cabbage/carrot/pineapple number with spicy roasted sweet potatoes. A Gwyneth-approved taco salad of sorts. Now, I wonder what a GP-approved margarita would entail…

Mexican Green Goddess Dressing

Adapted from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sub in 1/3 cup mayo + 1/3 cup yogurt)
1 handful cilantro leaves
2 scallions, roughly chopped
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
½ jalapeno, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon (or more) Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon honey

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Add more or less lime juice and olive oil if you like it thinner or thicker. The dressing can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Millet Fritters with Cojita and Spicy Lime Crema

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While I teach others how to make dinner, I rarely sit down for the meal myself. See, when you are in the business of food, you’re usually working during most usual mealtimes. I grew up sitting down to a square, hot meal at 6pm each night, but nowadays, it’s leftovers from the fridge at 9. This is real life.

Last week I found myself home at dinnertime, hungry and with a bit of time to tinker around in the kitchen. Going back out into the world to food shop was just not going to happen. A pantry meal it was.

I recently taught an Ancient Grains class at SLT and everyone was obsessed with the Quinoa Fritters, a recipe riffed from the wonderful Ancient Grains for Modern Mealsl by Maria Speck. Topped with tangy lime mayo and smoked salmon, they were altogether satisfying, the perfect balance of crispy/gooey/cheesy/salty/creamy. I swapped the quinoa for millet, a couscous-like whole grain popular in parts of Asia. You cook it the same way, with a 1:2 ratio of grain to water. It has a mild flavor and a pleasant softness that’s unusual for whole grains. It’s also gluten-free, a nice bonus in this day and age. I’m kind of obsessed.

A plate of these millet fritters with a bowl of spicy, creamy dip was just the thing for my night-in supper. The new square meal.

Millet Fritters with Cojita and Spicy Lime Crema

Inspired by Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck

Fritters:

1 cup millet*
2 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup crumbled cojita cheese (or feta)
1/2 cup flour*
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
2 green onions, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Olive or grapeseed oil, for cooking

In a medium saucepan, combine the millet and water or stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combined the cooled millet, cheese, flour, chile powder, paprika, green onions and eggs. Fold to combine. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a few swirls of olive or grapeseed oil.  Form the millet mixture into patties (I used an ice cream scoop). If the mixture is not sticking together, chill for a bit longer or press the mixture into a ball with your hands. They will be delicate, but will firm up when cooked.

Fry the fritters in the skillet for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel. Serve with a dollop (or three) of Spicy Lime Crema.

Spicy Lime Crema

1/2 cup Mexican crema, sour cream, plain yogurt or mayo
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Chipotle hot sauce, to taste

Combine all ingredients, adding more of everything to taste.

Notes:

*Where do you buy millet? Check the bulk area or ethnic section. Bob’s Red Mill is another brand worth seeking out.

*I’ve made these with white all-purpose flour and also millet flour (I had some lying around, definitely not necessary to go out and buy it). I suspect almond flour may work, but the mixture may be a little more crumbly. Stick to a somewhat neutral, light flour here – this is not the place for nutty buckwheat or whole wheat flour.

Tahini-Dill Yogurt Dip with Spiced Beet Chips

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Is anyone else sick of their usual snacks? If I see another almond or container of hummus, I might go crazy. I like to bring a snack or two with me to work or on days when I have a million errands to run in Manhattan. It’s a good way to save money (i.e. not spend $5 on a mediocre latte) and keep my energy up until I get a chance to sit down to a real meal. That said, my snacks need to be portable, relatively inexpensive and nutrient-dense.

This tahini-dill yogurt dip is amazing, and I don’t use that word lightly. It’s vaguely reminiscent of hummus, thanks to the lemon and tahini. It’s also similar to that sour cream dill dip usually found in a rye bread bowl. But it’s neither bean nor cream. Thick, tangy Greek yogurt is taken out of the breakfast rotation and into savory territory.

I paired it with these homemade beet chips, which were admittedly a bit labor-intensive for a snack (but delicious nonetheless). Whole grain pita or sweet potato chips or raw or roasted veggies would also make great dippers. Now, back to work!

Tahini-Dill Yogurt Dip

  • 1 6-oz. container plain Greek yogurt (I like 2% Fage)
  • 1 T. tahini
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped dill
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

Whisk all ingredients together, adding more salt and bit more lemon to taste.

Spiced Beet Chips

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 medium beets, washed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Slice beets very thinly with a mandoline (almost paper-thin). Place beets in bowl and toss with olive oil and spices.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange beets in a single layer (you can do in batches or use two sheets). Place another rimmed baking sheet directly on top of the beets (this will allow them to cook evenly and not ‘curl up’ too much).
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove top baking sheet and return to oven, rotating pan. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until beets look light pink (keep checking and remove those that are done). Remove from pan (chips will crisp up as they cool).

Ultimate Sweet Potato Fries with Baby Tomato Ketchup

Sometimes recipe inspiration comes from the most unlikely place. Case in point: this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. While browsing through my mom’s expansive collection of magazines a few weeks ago, I stumbled across the August issue of BHG with none other than Michelle Obama on the cover. Flipping through, I found a slew of White House garden-approved recipes geared towards kids and, apparently, me. These super-crunchy sweet potato “fries” caught my eye. While I usually gravitate towards more pared-down recipes, these make a fun side dish or nostalgic party snack. While you may not be heading back to school this week, you can still help yourself to an after-school snack.

Ultimate Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3 to 4” strips
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with 1 tsp. olive oil. Toss sweet potatoes with 1 tsp. oil and a pinch of salt. lace on prepared baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a tray to cool (about 10 minutes).
  2. While sweet potatoes cool, mix together flour and a pinch of salt in a shallow dish. In a second dish, combine eggs and water. In a third dish, place bread crumbs.
  3. Coat the same baking pan with a little more olive oil. Dip vegetables, a few at a time, in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, coating evening. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet (you may need to do this in 2 batches.)
  4. Roast for 15 minutes at 400F until brown and crispy. Serve with Homemade Ketchup.

Baby Tomato Ketchup

Yield: About 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 T.  olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cooking for about a minute. Add halved cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook tomatoes and garlic, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until tomatoes release their juices. Add balsamic vinegar and increase heat to medium-high until vinegar is reduced (about 30 seconds). Taste and season with additional salt. Remove from heat and cool. Transfer to a food processor and pulse till smooth.
-Recipes adapted from BHG