Tag Archives: sauce

the quick & not-so-dirty: my go-to greek yogurt honey herb sauce

greek yogurt honey herb sauce copy

There is an ace I keep tucked not very high up my sleeve for nights when planting myself in the kitchen and whipping up something delicious (or at least not-objectionable) feels akin to being told at mile 26.2 that, ‘Surprise! Just kidding! You’re not done, you’ve still got 10 more miles!’

greek yogurt honey herb sauce - garlic and basil

In the confines of a horribly flourescent-lit office or the hallways of a home cluttered with a neverending mountain of dirty laundry – it doesn’t matter where you spend your days; sometimes just showing up and making supper for 1, 2, 3, or more is a daunting task that’s enough to make you want to crawl into a hole and stay there. Forever.

(Or at least till RHOBH comes on. I’d come out for that. [Did I just admit that?!])

greek yogurt honey herb sauce - greek yogurt

But I digress. Back to that ace in the hole I was talking about. Or was it up my sleeve? I can’t remember.  Moving on. You simply follow this formula to come up with a main dish that is so easy, so delicious, and so dadgum simple that even after the longest of long days suppertime is quick, painless, and anything but dirty. Get yourself some Greek yogurt (I like 2% Fage and don’t recommend messing around with that fat free nonsense), some honey, some rice wine vinegar (or champagne/white wine vinegar), and a big old handful of herbs (basil, mint, or cilantro – or a combination of the three – work best), and chuck it in the bowl of a food processor. Rustle up a garlic clove and toss that in there too.  Add in some salt and pepper, and blend the mixture till its creamy and smooth – thicker than a salad dressing but thinner than a mayonnaise.

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fleeting, but bracing: garlic scape and walnut pesto

One of the things that has arrived in particular abundance at the markets these days are the tangled and tossled piles of bright green garlic scapes.

Scapes are leafless little flower stalks produced by the hard-neck garlic plant, which curl and twist their way up above the earth in gorgeous, smooth, green stalks that are about as thick as a pencil, and are snipped off before they have a chance to bloom.

Though it seems like cruel and unusual punishment to swoop in and snip these pretty curly things before they have a chance to blossom, that is actually exactly what most farmers do – to encourage the energy of the plant to be focused into producing a fat and hardy garlic bulb, versus funneling its energy into making useless flowers on scapes that often go straight to the compost bin.

These tendril like growths smell ever so faintly of garlic, but if you bite into one you are struck by a strong garlic flavor that sneaks up fast and packs all of the punch of the regular kind, but with a pleasant fresh, grassy undertone. Though they look innocent, they are actually quite potent, and I like them best whizzed and whirred up into a pesto that can be used in all manner of preparations.

In this pesto, scapes take the place of regular garlic and basil, as they lend both a garlicky bite and fresh herbal notes at the same time. Instead of pine nuts, walnuts are spun in with the spicy stalks, giving the sauce a lovely body and creaminess that is only slightly less delicate than you’d have with the finer bodied (and waaaay more expensive) pine nuts. Rather than adding any Parmesan, I just like a healthy smattering of lemon zest; not only will the pesto keep longer in the fridge, but this way it allows for all of the freshness of the scapes to shine through on their own.

(And makes it suitable for those who don’t eat dairy – something a majority of pestos can’t say.)

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accented properly: salsa verde

One of the things that has always bugged me about Giada DeLaurentiis is her affinity for saying very Italian words in the middle of a very English sentence in very exaggerated Italian.

“And today, I am going to make a special “REE-GAA-tone-ay!” pasta with a chunky “bol-ohn-YAY-SAY!” and some homemade “ree-GOAT-AH!” cheese….and for dessert, a delicious spread of homemade “BEES-GOHT-ay!” cookies and a very special “ah-mah-REY-TEY!” coffee surprise!”

I mean, I get it. I do. You were born in Italy. You speak fluent Italian.  You were probably brought up eating amazing and authentic Italian food, and you can undoubtably homemade “ree-GOAT-AH” me under the table any day.  But forcing words in that grating and over-enunciated-know-it-all way makes you sound like you should be slanging pies at Grimaldi’s, not explaining how to properly layer a veggie lasagna to a mostly American crowd.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Grimaldi’s, I love Italian accents, and I am all about not dumbing things down for any uncultured American ears.  But the sudden and jerky interspersal of tricked out Italian words in the middle of a calm and non-accented sentence just doesn’t jive with me.

Then last week, I made salsa verde.  And I can never make fun of Giada again.

“We are having ‘SAL-sahhh VERRR-day!’ tonight!” is all that came out of my gab, over and over…and over again.  It’s just so fun to say! Why deadpan the boring “why yes dear, we are having some green herb salsa over scallops this evening” when you can have “SAL-sahhh VERRR-DAY!” time?!

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