Green Goddess Dip

I don’t know about you, but it’s starting to feel like Summer is on the way out around here. The kids are headed back to school. Apples are starting to call my name. Acorns are starting to appear. They are big and fat this year. I think it’s going to be a nice Fall.

But before I start to break out my flannel shirts, it’s time to buckle down and focus on the final flush of summer. I don’t know how it happened really, but I finally became a tomato gardener this summer. I gave away a couple quarts of them yesterday. They are taking over my pantry and I love it.

Eating has become an exercise in tomato consumption. We were doing a lot of tomato sandwiches last week. Today we took it to the next level and made Egg, Pesto, and Tomato sandwiches for lunch inspired by one of the many great recipes in the new Weelicious Lunches cookbook. Tomorrow’s dinner will involve a Tomato Tart, which is a highlight of our summer. Make one.

Another joy is heading out to our herb garden and picking some parsley, tarragon and chives for this Green Goddess Dip. It is my dip of choice during the summer whenever I feel like enticing my family to eat crudites. It’s also quick and easy to make. I like to let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours after its made to let the flavors meld and it thickens up a bit too. But I’ve eaten it plenty of times straight out of the food processor and there have been no complaints.

Green Goddess Dip Recipe

This recipe is adapted ever-so-slightly from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This book has a fabulous-looking appetizer section that I’ve only just begun to tap into. I usually mix up the herbs according to whichever tender leafy greens are most needing to be picked. Tarragon is an important player even though its quantity is small.

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Whiz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and no large bits of herb remain. Scrape down the side of the bowl if necessary. Store in an airtight container for at least one hour, if possible. Serve with veggies like carrots, cucumbers, peppers and kolarabi.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

 

Frosty Rainbow Bits

I don’t know about you, but in the Northeast things have been getting pretty toasty lately. We’ve been lessening the blow by eating as many local strawberries as possible and lounging excessively.

The picture of the precious little frozen fruit bits above was taken last year. In a couple weeks it will be reappearing in our freezer. It was a delightful little healthy snack for the kids last year. Nothing beats a frozen treat on a hot summer day. And this one has no added sugar or anything other than fruity goodness. It looks like I used green apples, blueberries, raspberries, nectarine, and sweet plum.

The only problem with this snack is that it requires a little planning in advance as the fruit needs at least four hours, preferably over night, to harden. Spread them out on a tray in a single layer and place the tray in your freezer. After the fruit  freezes completely, store it in an airtight container.

Also, I wouldn’t feed this to a kid under three years old. The young ones should probably stick with larger frozen items like chocolate-covered banana pops, orangsicles, or frozen fruit on a stick.

Black Raspberry Rockets

I used to think that raspberry rockets was the best snack I’d ever thought of. But now there’s a new kid in town… and she’s knocking my socks off.

My new life goal is to find some super high-quality white chocolate to use for this snack. The waxy aftertaste I’m getting from the cheapo Nestle chips we’re using is getting in the way of an otherwise perfect culinary moment.

In other news, we still don’t have anything resembling an Internet connection. We’re getting closer, but still not there yet.

Chunky Guacamole

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It’s a tragic day at the Rowland household. Our eldest decided to taste the guacamole. She was hungry and desperate and tired of waiting for her mother to finish taking photos. She went for it.

“Yum!” she said, “I like guacamole!”

My heart sank. My husband and I have enjoyed exclusive access to the the guacamole bowl for several years now. Apparently, those days are over.

She’s lucky I love her so much. Sigh.[/donotprint]

Chunky Guacamole Recipe

I insist, the avocado must be Haas, preferably ripe but not too ripe. And the lime juice must be from a real lime. I’m a big fan of convience, but quality fresh ingredients make a big difference in this recipe. 

2 ripe Haas avocados
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 – 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from one half of a lime

Slice the avocados in half. Discard the pits and remove the flesh from the skins. Place the flesh in a small mixing bowl. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, cilantro,and lime juice. Mash it all up with a fork. Serve with tortilla chips.

Store any leftovers (!?) in an airtight container in the refrigerator placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole in order to prevent browning.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes

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Curry Dip

Meet my new favorite healthy and tasty snack: Curry Dip with veggies.

I love this dip because it’s different from our usual ranch dip, it’s healthy, and it has a bit of kick. The kids tolerate it. In fact, my eldest actually enjoys it. And I get to pretend I’m actually eating something spicy- with my kids!! It’s a miracle.

Curry Dip Recipe

Inspired by Easy Peasy Curry Dip from La Fuji Mama. She uses Penzey’s Sweet Curry powder. If you happen to have some, bump up the curry powder to 2 teaspoons and enjoy! If you’re using hot curry powder start with 1 teaspoon and gradually add more to taste. The turmeric is added solely for color. But, definitely include it if you have it on hand. The resulting color is lovely.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, curry, lemon juice, and salt together in a small bowl until well combined. Serve or, better yet, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Yield: 1 cup
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Cucumber Snack Salad

I love this zippy little summer salad when I have a little extra time in the afternoon. It gives us a break from the usual carrot sticks. If you don’t have champagne vinegar, you can try lemon juice. Champagne vinegar is also lovely with strawberries or on salads containing fruit. (A cucumber technically is a fruit, right?)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

1 medium fresh-picked cucumber, peeled
A generous pinch of fine salt
Pinch ground white pepper
1 – 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill (optional)

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Slice the cucumber thinly and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and dill. Mix with your hand or serve as is.

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

I don’t know about you, but our summer is off to a good start…

Gone are the orange and brown days of winter. The berries are finally here! 

 

1 pint (3 cups) fresh strawberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips OR chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

Wash strawberries. Spread them out on a towel to dry completely.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwaveable cup, mug, or small bowl. Gently microwave the chocolate and coconut oil for 2 minutes at very low power (10 or 20 percent). Check the chocolate and stir if possible. Microwave for another minute on low power and keep checking until the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir vigorously until the remaining chocolate is melted and well combined with the oil.

If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium low heat.

Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate. Place on a sheet of wax paper. The chocolate will set in a about five minutes. Serve.

Yield: approximately 24 strawberries
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Parsley Dip

If you’re anything like me, you’re a little stumped by what to do with the giant bunch of leftover parsley sitting at the bottom of your crisper drawer. Occasionally, a dinner recipe calls for 1/4 cup of fresh parsley and I know it’ll make a difference in the end product, so I go ahead and spring for it at the grocery store. But then the rest of it  just rots in a bag in the refrigerator. So sad.

Well, those days are over! I have made a modified Green Goddess Dip that makes a special effort to use lots and lots of parsley and pantry staples that you are likely to already have on hand. And you’re getting some bonus greens into your family’s diet!

2 cups chopped fresh parsley, washed
1 cup plain greek-style yogurt or sour cream
1 small or medium clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch salt

Place the parsley, yogurt, garlic, vinegar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cover and pulse for 20 seconds or so. Serve with fresh veggies or crackers. Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: I’ve gone a little easy on the garlic in an attempt to go easy on kids’ palette. But, when I made it I used 2 cloves and my first grader loved it.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Guacamole

Whenever I eat guacamole, I feel like it might be okay to become a vegan someday.  The creamy goodness an avocado imparts is right up there with cheese and butter in my book. 

For more “authentic” guacamole, omit the beans, chop the cilantro, and mash all the ingredients up with a fork.

 

1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1/3 cup canned cannelli beans, rinsed (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe hass avocados, pits and skins removed

Place the garlic, beans, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt, and avocados in the bowl of a food processor. Cover and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Serve with tortilla or pita chips. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dip to keep browning to a minimum.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Stuffed Dates

The super sweetness of dates demands a counter-balance of, you guessed it, FAT. Cheesy, nutty sweetness, here I come. Seriously, take it easy with these. I read somewhere once that a dried date has more fiber than a prune.

If you’d like to learn more about dates, click on over to my Dried Dates page. (Yes, I have a page devoted to dates. Stop teasing.)

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1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 teaspoon almond butter
1/4 teaspoon orange juice
Pinch salt, if the almond butter is unsalted
3 large or 4 medium dried organic dates, pitted

In a small bowl mix together the cream cheese, almond butter, cinnamon, and salt (if required) until smooth and uniform in color. Divide the cream cheese mixture between the dates. Serve.

Yield: 3-4 dates
Prep time: 5 minutes

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