Herb Your Appetite

 

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“Let it be said that, on balance, I would like the world to look, someday, much like Alice probably wants it to look. A city on a hill—or many cities on hills—surrounded by unbroken vistas of beautiful countryside; small, thriving, family-run farms growing organic, seasonal, and sustainable fruits and vegetables specific to the region.”

In Anthony Bourdain’s book, “Medium Raw,” he spends most of his chapter entitled, “Go Ask Alice,” grilling Alice Waters for her fantastical, and unrealistic, outlook on life and the people that make it up. However, toward the end of the chapter, Bourdain seems to hit some sort of a different chord with Waters, as he explains his underlying respect for her dream. One of those moments is when he illustrates what the perfect world of Alice Waters’ mind would look like. In this world, everything is organic, home-grown, and local; people do not know what an unbalanced meal is and they are eager to dash home from work each day to “cook wild-nettle risotto for their kids.” While in some areas of the world, this lifestyle may exist in glimmers, Bourdain suggests that even places like Italy (or Italy as foreigners think of it) are not exactly their picture on a wine bottle. However, Bourdain explains that Waters continues on, doing what she can to impact people to drop their obsession of fast food on a dime and pick up a healthy habit of eating and shopping local. Unfortunately for Waters, life just doesn’t work that way.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama, with two very in-love parents and three siblings. Our large family required a hefty amount of food, and I’m grateful to say we always had it. This food, however, was not straight out of the garden. Organic is not a word that occurred in our household. My family has never been one to worry about counting calories or carbs or making sure we knew exactly which region our food was from. I apologize if that makes you cringe, but for a lot of people in the South, that’s a common way of life. On the contrary, we were always sure to eat our vegetables and fruit—we even love them—whether we’d gotten them from our small garden, from the Wal-Mart produce section, or out of a can. We ate a little bit of everything and were happy as larks doing so. Our frivolous, yet filling, way of life has thus far caused no issues, though with each day that passes, we are grasping the importance of healthy eating.

About a year ago, my mother, sisters, and I became infatuated with the Cooking Channel and the Food Network. We’d gotten to the point where we’d spend most evenings eating our soul food on Styrofoam plates while watching the latest episode of Chopped, or rooting for the most mouthwatering presentation on Cupcake Wars. Along with these entertaining shows come many others that teach the viewers new recipes that use healthy, organic ingredients. Our love for food and family time in the kitchen urged us to try many of these recipes, most of which made their way into the family cookbook.

In the same fashion, after learning about Alice Waters, I wanted to dive into one of her recipes and broaden my palette just a little more. I admire Waters for sticking to her guns, cooking and proclaiming what she believes is important. Her passion for healthy, local eating is commendable, and getting a first-hand look at her work through recreating one of her recipes helped me to grasp that a little bit better.

I only had to search for a couple of minutes on Pinterest to find Waters’ recipe for her “Green Goddess Dressing.” My mouth immediately began to water at the thought of tasting this herb-rich salad sauce. Upon looking at the fresh ingredients, I knew this was the perfect pilot recipe for me to try. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the fresh- Publix produce to choose herbs that I would have normally just shaken out of a spice jar. Slicing up cilantro, pulverizing the parsley, and cutting up the avocado really allowed me to gain a new understanding of why Waters’ passion for organic food bursts so freely from her. Anthony Bourdain may not be her biggest fan, but I believe that respect he has for her dream is one thing we now share in common.

 

Tags: Anthony Bourdain, Alice Waters, organic, healthy, dressing

 

 

Alice Water’s Green Goddess Dressing

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Ingredients:

Serves 2 cups

1 shallot
1 clove garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/2 lime
1 or 2 salt-packed anchovies
1/2 avocado
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cream
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
4 tablespoons chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Salt and Pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Peel and finely chop one clove of garlic and one shallot, and macerate in 2 to 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
  2. Slice one lemon and on lime in half, then squeeze one half of each into garlic mixture.
  3. Rinse, bone, and finely chop 2 anchovies. Dice one half of an avocado. Add these to the dressing, using a fork to mash everything together.
  4. In a separate bowl, pour in ¾ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of cream. Using a whisk, gradually pour this mixture into the dressing the bowl; be sure to mix all ingredients well.
  5. Finely chop 4 tablespoons of Italian parsley, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, 1 tablespoon of basil, and 4 tablespoons of tarragon. Add to dressing. Stir well with whisk.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour over fresh salad and enjoy!

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