I don’t think I have ever seen a shade of green that I didn’t like. And, in that vein, there is no wonder that the name Green Goddess stuck as a popular salad dressing after being invented in the 1920s. Right about now, as I am completely vulnerable to anything that resembles actual growth of green plants out and about, it is no wonder I went off in this direction this morning. I am prepared now to be fixated on how the weeks ahead will give me little snippets of inspiration in order to keep me going – and to get more excited about what is to come. If we are lucky, the really cold weather will now be behind us and we will be able to feel the warming sun on our faces, like it is today, as we stroll about outside.
This time of year leaves me yearning for many things. Most of all I am yearning for flowers and the sight of new plants, colors in the landscape and that reassurance that Winter will soon be taking its leave. Yes we are barely 5 weeks into actual Winter but, believe me I am looking forward and not backward. I spent a few moments watching the Australian Open last night and I admit I was envious of their bright sunshine and warm temps – the announcer was commenting about how it had dropped down to 81 degrees but the humidity was up into the 50s, making it more uncomfortable for the players. I spent a moment contemplating which seat I preferred………..
Admittedly, right about now it doesn’t take a whole lot for me to get excited about the season coming next on the horizon. I’d gladly rip off the pages of Jan, Feb and March from the calendar right about now. In fact, if the delirious (won’t use any other words) Congress proposed eliminating them from the year on a permanent basis right about now, I’d offer a word of approval if not outright celebration…..but, I digress. I am well aware of the need for this deep cold time and the role it plays in rejuvenating Mother Nature’s reign but honestly, if it were up to me I’d use some magic machine or the newest technology to collapse the next 9 weeks into, say 1?
I got a huge charge yesterday, for example when I was moving around the chairs of my kitchen table after breakfast so I could remain in the direct rays of the sun. One of the best things about our house and how it is situated is that in Winter there is bright sun streaming into the windows on three sides and thus for a lot of the day. As I sat down on one chair as the sun began to wrap to the southeast, I happened to spy one of my two Lemon Verbena plants that have been preciously moved inside for the Winter. I had to cut back one of them about a month ago since it was looking more than a bit sickly. As I am known to do, I resisted throwing it in the garbage heap, gave it a good haircut and placed it aside my small Agapanthus in an east window of my kitchen. Having basically forgotten about it, I was heartened to see the new vigorous little growth nodules popping out yesterday. In my “ye of little faith” syndrome that tends to color my attitude in these particular weeks, I was instantly shaken out into a moment of extreme validation and optimism.
So, yesterday I was in the city for a bit. I have to admit that even though it was sunny and warmer than it has been in a long while, New York wore that bit of a gloomy, gritty unappealing robe that it can wear when there aren’t a lot of colors around to soften its edges. My mind popped off to Paris and how its long gloomy Winter can dishearten even the most enthusiastic of that city’s lovers, and yet I could imagine a long list of snapshots in my mind of how that city is more beautiful than mine. Well, I digress here a bit.
As I transversed around downtown for awhile, I was heartened to see a few shops displaying some Spring flowers. I snapped some tulips on my way to Mah ze dar Bakery and caught a bouquet of pale pink Ranunculus in Citarella. I admit I am thrilled to see how florists are prone to pushing the season. Let it be!
So anyway, that was a long drawn-out way of getting around to the purpose of this post. Honestly, I have had this recipe on my mind since Carolyne Roehm posted the photo above of a luncheon someone made for her recently.
What I am really trying to get at here is that this vinaigrette that I concocted almost exactly at this time last year, is one to behold – I consider it to be one of my best endeavors and I’d like to feature it here, to be used in a number of ways. I’m not one to repeat recipes here but I think this one is worth expanding upon. I originally created this recipe on January 25 ’17 as featured in this post: /https://www.kitchen-inspirational.com/2017/01/25/just-everythings-getting-old-spinach-salad-chicken-avocado-pear-toasted-pecans-pear-ginger-parsley-lime-vinaigrette/
Basically, I need to engage in a number of obsessive ventures in the kitchen as a means to invigorate myself in anticipation of the long weeks to come before there are little green things popping out of the ground and the roses begin pushing some new nodules. (am I repeating myself?)
This morning, I was game to have a healthy breakfast – this is in complete disregard of a conversation I had with my husband yesterday about needing to pay a visit to the Clinton Street Baking Company to indulge in a huge stack of their pancakes. Yes, this is what I crave right now and I did not have a good week here in the eating department. Deep cold makes me crave comfort foods – like Pappardelle Bolognese, big loaves of crusty bread, chocolate cakes, and those pancakes……. You get the picture.
And so, I got up this morning with avocados on my mind and I was hell bent on making something yummy and satisfying with them in mind.
Seriously, is parsley not one under-appreciated herb? Here, I find it is perfection – but you have to fresh-pick it from your garden or get an especially fresh-looking bunch at your purveyor which I was lucky to do this morning.
Here is the basic recipe for this yummy vinaigrette – one that you can use with a wide array of dishes as i’ll discuss in a minute:
My Pear, Ginger, Parsley and Lime Vinaigrette
1/8 cup champagne vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 slices of the bosc pear, very ripe*, cut into small pieces
3 small slices of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (nickel size circumference)
scant 1/8 cup fresh parsley sprigs, rough chop
scant 1/2 tsp fresh lime zest
2 pinches fine sea salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
*if your pear is not “very” and I do mean very ripe, add a scant 1/2 tsp of acacia honey to the dressing
** sprinkling of red pepper flakes is an option
Make the dressing:
In a blender, add all the ingredients and purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings**.
Today, I whipped this up with, unfortunately, a far from “perfect” pear – I usually have a good collection in my fruit bowl, in various stages of “the ripening rotation” (known mostly for peaches in Summer – warning NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO TOUCH LET ALONE PICK ONE OUT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE ROTATION) but they hadn’t been replenished since Christmas week. So, I had to make due with one rummaged from the selection at the grocery store early this morning. I thought it was at least semi-ripe, and it was in fact juicy but, it wasn’t to the point coined so aptly by Mimi Thorisson that “A pear is never better than just before it goes bad.” Words to live by.
Anyway, this luscious sauce, if you will, was drizzled lightly upon 2 poached eggs, a strip of crisp bacon, half an avocado sliced and some chopped hazelnuts. Bright and cheery, light but luscious. You could have easily served this on a bed of greens of course. Yum. Where a rich and perfect hollandaise would easily be my choice, this fits perfectly and is without all of that butter! (that’s a plus or minus depending on your mood.)
But, I do want to consider here what else you can do with this recipe. Here is my off the top of my head list:
Salmon filet with lentils – also with any fish, halibut in particular, or chicken
Crab Cakes such as those from Le Gigot in the West Village (wonderful, and no filler)
Any green salad of your choice
basically anything with avocado
many of the “bowl” type meals being featured these days with grains, veggies, fruits and nuts
Fennel and apple based salads or slaws
Drizzled on a fruit salad – especially raspberries, cantaloupe and, of course peaches; even a dollop with prosciutto and melon and on caprese as a sub for pesto 🙂
Hazelnuts are my favorite accompaniment – I like to have a nice crunch factor
So, as the “season” progresses, I will continue to add ideas to this list. Meanwhile, feel free to dream up your own. This color green make me smile!
Have a nice day and join me in the countdown to Spring!