I’ve been cooking for others for a long time now. Having that feeling of someone else loving something you made is ultimately satisfying. When it comes to cooking for me, I sometimes have to ask myself what really satisfies?
Loving food is hard. It makes it difficult to pinpoint one favorite, one meal that surpasses all the rest. Some might say it’s sad, but my pick would have to be salad. Salads aren’t just bowls of overly healthy green stuff — you have to look past the lettuce.
I’ve been working with vegetables as a main ingredient for years now and I’ve found creative ways to make multiple salads using the same ingredients. Vegetables don’t have to be boring. They come in an array of shapes, colors and flavors giving you the freedom to play with your palate. There are also things you can add to a salad to kick it up a notch — proteins like chicken, shrimp or hard boiled eggs. Cheese is another component that can take a salad to a whole new world: feta, mozzarella or tangy blue cheese, to name a few. (Personally it’s not a salad unless there is cheese.)
Then the dressing: it can truly make or break a salad. Choosing the perfect dressing or vinaigrette is key to bringing all of the flavors in your salad bowl together. If I’ve got a lot of flavors going on in the bowl — spicy radish, tangy cheese, citrus marinated shrimp and sweet and tart dried fruit — I might just stick to a basic vinaigrette. Olive oil and red wine vinegar make a great simple dressing. But if my salad has sturdy components with subtle flavors — grilled chicken, mild cheese, crunchy carrots or cucumbers, toasted almond slices — I like to use a creamy flavorful dressing to enhance the subtle flavors of the salad.
One of my favorite dressings is Green Goddess Dressing. I prefer to combine avocado with herbs making it creamy, rich, and flavorful, you can truly feel like a goddess while eating a salad.
Green Goddess Dressing
Yield: two cups
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor combine the avocado, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the remaking ingredients and blend until well combined. Taste for seasoning. Serve over your favorite salad or even as a dip for veggies. Keep refrigerated.