Smokey Blueberry Ketchup

Smokey Blueberry Ketchup

Smokey Blueberry Ketchup

Pete and I had blueberry ketchup for the first time a few months ago when we were checking out a new restaurant. The place had been getting mostly lousy reviews on Yelp, but I figured they just needed some time to work out the kinks. And they had 72 beers on tap. Seventy-two!!

The deep fried-cheese curds with blueberry ketchup were the one menu item that was consistently mentioned as good, if not great, on Yelp. Both Pete and I usually stay away from anything breaded and deep-fried, but we arrived at a busy time, had to wait at the bar for a table, and, unfortunately, were starving. Okay, let’s get an appetizer.

For a vegetarian, the sucky thing about appetizers at this type of restaurant is pretty much all of the options either contain meat or they’re deep-fried. Being as hungry as I was, in a weak moment, I suggested we order the deep-fried cheese curds with blueberry ketchup to go with our drinks. Maybe Pete, with his strong commitment to healthy eating, would say no, it’s deep fried—don’t want that. But he didn’t. And we ordered them. And they were good. Really, really good. Especially the blueberry ketchup!

We couldn’t finish the cheese curds, and when the bartender took away our by then cold basket with a puddle of grease on the bottom, I secretly wanted to grab the little cup that still had some delicious, once-foreign-to-me blueberry ketchup in it to take home. But I didn’t. And we haven’t been back because once we were seated and got our food, it was lackluster at best. The Yelp reviews are still lousy and we’ve pretty much forgotten about the place.

The blueberry ketchup wasn’t forgotten though. Now that local blueberries are available at the farmers market, I decided to look for a recipe. I settled on this one from Serious Eats, which sounded pretty close to that amazing flavor I remembered, but it needed some smokiness, so I added a little chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Bingo!

Now that I have this wonderful new condiment, how am I going to use it? We certainly aren’t going to make deep-fried cheese curds. But a couple days before I made the ketchup, it came to me in my sleep (seriously, does that happen to anyone else??), Smokey Blueberry Ketchup Pizza with Fresh Cheese Curds! I couldn’t get it out of my mind and stopped at the store that day after work to pick up a bag of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery cheese curds, made in the city of Ellsworth, the Wisconsin Cheese Curd Capital. And we all know the state of Wisconsin is the Cheese Capitol of the United States, so I knew they would be the best of the best.

Plated Pizza

Plated Pizza

Wisconsin Cheese Curds!

Wisconsin Cheese Curds!

Smokey Blueberry Ketchup and Cheese Curd Pizza

Smokey Blueberry Ketchup and Cheese Curd Pizza

Of course there are endless other uses for my now favorite condiment. On grilled vegetables or burgers, with fries, grilled cheese dipping, even on ice-cream for a sweet-savory treat–the list goes on. But the pizza was one I’ll definitely make again and can’t wait to share with others. Use a homemade or store-bought whole-wheat dough, the blueberry ketchup as pizza sauce, some sautéed spinach, chopped onion, veggie sausage (totally optional, and regular Italian sausage would be tasty for non-vegetarians), and the best fresh cheese curds you can find. On to the ketchup recipe—enjoy!

Smokey Blueberry Ketchup

Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from this recipe on Serious Eats

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

1 medium garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, and include both sauce and peppers

1 pound fresh blueberries

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sauce. Add in shallot and cook until softened, but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add in ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and stir to combine.

Add in blueberries, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30-45 minutes. At this point, if you like it chunky, you’re done, but if you want a smooth, more ketchup-like texture, blend with an immersion blender or in a food processor, until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, pour into a jar and store in refrigerator. Keeps for 2-3 weeks.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy Coleslaw

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy ColeslawTwo new-to-me recipes came together last night in a flavor combination that was a total winner. All they needed was a little spicy barbeque sauce and we had a dinner to rave about. By the way, I’m currently obsessed with Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce—smoky and seriously spicy, and extraordinarily delicious! I may just have to work on a homemade version.

I’ve wanted to share the coleslaw recipe since Father’s Day when I made it for the first time. It’s adapted from Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley, which is getting a lot of use in my kitchen now that the farmers markets around here are in full swing (and soon so will our garden!).

I love this cookbook and if you garden or frequent farmers markets you will too. It’s divided into sections for fruit, vegetables, cheeses, grains and meat & fish, along with recipes for some essentials like mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, pastry crust and a spiked whipped cream. There are wonderful recipes for all the amazing goods found at the markets in the upper Midwest and if you enjoy seasonal cooking, you need this book! It’s a resource and guide that will give you new ideas for beautiful, healthy dishes with the freshest foods possible.

The coleslaw is great by itself, as the crowning touch on the Barbequed Pulled “Pork” I shared recently, or on these hearty and filling Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties—it’s pretty and extra tangy with the addition of Greek yogurt.
ColeslawDoing some mindless food Googling the other day, I came across the Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties. Included with the original recipe was a simple guacamole of chopped avocado, red onion, lime juice and salt, and I topped the patties with that the first time I made them. DeeeeLish! But after my Sunday farmers market trip, I had red & green cabbage and carrots on hand. Sadly, we don’t have avocados at the Minnesota farmers markets and we have to rely on the supermarket variety, which can’t possibly be as good as fresh off the tree.

Bonus—any patty & coleslaw leftovers make a great lunch for work tomorrow—as I can attest. Pack little barbeque sauce too. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties with Tangy Coleslaw

Coleslaw:
Adapted from Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley

4 cups shredded (or thinly sliced) green cabbage

4 cups shredded (or thinly sliced) red cabbage

1 ½ cups shredded carrot

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons organic sugar

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup mayonnaise (I used Vegan Earth Balance Mindful Mayo—soooo good!)

¼ cup 2% Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon celery seed, or more if you’d like

Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, toss cabbages and carrot until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, sugar, vinegar, mayo, yogurt and celery seed. Pour over cabbage/carrot mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold; best made a day or two ahead of serving. Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Patties:
Adapted from this Cooking Light recipe

2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ cup chopped yellow or sweet onion

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, minced, seeds removed if you don’t want the heat

1 ¾ cup grated, uncooked sweet potato (about 8 ounces)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup panko bread crumbs (or rolled oats for a gluten-free version)

1 ½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large egg

Bottled or homemade barbeque sauce, for serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño and sauté for several minutes. Stir in the sweet potato, salt and pepper and cook for several more minutes.

Place the sweet potato mixture, panko, lime juice, smoked paprika, chickpeas and egg in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely ground.

Form the mixture into 4 patties. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties (you may have to do this in two batches to avoid over-crowding) to the pan and cook 3 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes more.

Transfer cooked patties to prepared baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Serve with barbeque sauce and top with coleslaw. Makes four patties.

Summer Fruit Crisp with No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream

Fruit Crisp with Ice-Cream
Up until a few days ago, I had never made ice-cream. Never wanted to buy an ice-cream maker and every recipe I’d ever come across required one. That is, until last week.

While looking for ideas to make M & M sandwich cookies for an office birthday party, I stumbled upon something even better, M & M cookie ice-cream sandwiches!!! Included was a very simple ice-cream recipe only requiring three ingredients, and wonder of all wonders, NO ice-cream maker necessary.

Very intrigued, I went to the store for heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk, dumped them in the bowl of my stand mixer, added a teaspoon of vanilla, turned the mixer on high and the timer for five minutes. Plopped the resulting thick, creamy deliciousness into a container and froze it overnight. Skeptical it could be this easy, I kept checking it to see if this was really turning into ice-cream.

Amazingly, by the next morning, it truly was ice-cream. Lovely, rich, creamy and decadent ice-cream! The entire batch was gone before I even made the M & M cookies, so another batch was necessary and it ended up being not quite enough for the number of sandwiches I needed. One more batch coming up.
M & M Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwich

Earlier that day some friends at work were joking that I always put booze in my baked goods (it really isn’t always), so it gave me the idea of incorporating booze into this ice-cream. What would go with M & M cookies? Hey, doesn’t coffee go great with cookies? And I just happened to have some of my mom’s homemade Kahlua (coffee liqueur) on hand.

Worried that the alcohol would interfere with the ice-cream freezing, I only put in ¼ cup, but it was enough to give it a coffee/boozy hint, and while I didn’t think it was possible, this version was even better than the first two batches.

After filling the remaining cookies, there was ice-cream left over that needed a partner and I immediately thought of a mouthwatering recipe seen recently on 101 Cookbooks for a summer berry crisp that, aptly, also contained alcohol, this time in the form of red wine.  And with a healthy boost from the fruit, oats and whole grain flour, it would cancel out the not-so-healthy ice-cream, right??

There were fresh raspberries at the farmers market last night and some cherries and plums at home. The only ingredient missing from the original recipe was port, and as Heidi Swanson mentioned in her notes, red wine would also work, and she’s right. This is the best fruit crisp I have ever had and Pete agreed. A big scoop of the coffee liqueur ice-cream on the still-warm-from-the-oven crisp took this dessert over the top! Enjoy!
Pan of Fruit Crisp

Summer Fruit Crisp with No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

4 tablespoons poppy seeds  or a combination poppy and black sesame seeds

1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats), uncooked

1 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or all-natural cornstarch

1/3 cup / 1.5 oz. organic turbinado sugar

4 1/2 cups berries/fruit – mix of ripe, pitted cherries, raspberries, peeled plums, etc.

1/4 cup port wine or merlot

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish, or equivalent.

To make the crumble, mix together the flour, poppy seeds, oats, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Use a fork to stir in the melted butter. Divide the mixture into three portions and use your hands to form three patties. Place the patties in the bowl and freeze for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake.

Make the filling by whisking together the arrowroot and sugar in a large bowl. Add the fruit and toss until evenly coated. Wait 3 minutes, add the wine, and toss again. Transfer the filling to the prepared baking dish.

Remove the topping from the freezer and crumble it over the filling, making sure you have both big and small pieces.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are vigorously bubbling. Let cool a little before serving, 20 to 30 minutes. Makes about 9 servings.

No-Churn Coffee Liqueur Ice-Cream
Adapted from this Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe

2 cups heavy cream

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup coffee liqueur

Place bowl and whisk of your stand or hand mixer in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and add all ingredients to the bowl. Whisk at high speed for about 5 minutes until mixture is good and thick. Transfer to a 2-quart container with a tight fitting lid and freeze overnight (keeps in freezer for two weeks. Makes about 2 quarts.

Grilled Mushroom Satay wtih Garlic Scape Skewers

Satay on Platter
Checking out the new additions at the farmer’s market on Saturday, I was excited to see garlic scapes. A first for me last year, I immediately fell in love with their mild garlic flavor and versatility—soups, pesto, eggs, salads—scapes in everything—that is, for the short amount of time they are available.

The flower buds of the garlic plant, scapes are cut from the plants in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. They are long and curl into a loop when cut and are sold in bunches of the most beautiful shade of green. Odd looking, but oh so pretty at the same time.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Wanting to use the scapes in a different way, I turned to Google for some ideas and stumbled across a Food52 recipe for this beef satay recipe that uses scapes as skewers. Genius! Something I never would have thought of, but now makes so much sense—why NOT an edible skewer?

My go-to veggie substitute for steak is the meaty portabella mushroom, so that was swapped for the round steak. I tweaked the marinade recipe a bit and used a different satay sauce, and the result was fantastic! In fact, I may use this as my regular marinade for portabella burgers from now on—the flavors just sing!
Satay on Grill PanYou can make the satay sauce a day or two ahead of time, or make it while the mushrooms are marinating. I poked each mushroom quarter with a metal skewer to create a hole and then threaded the end of the scape through that I had cut into a point. A couple mushrooms broke, so I just grilled them separately next to the skewers.

Arranged on a platter, the finished product is as eye-catching as it is delicious! And don’t skimp on the phenomenal satay sauce. Enjoy!
Satay with Sauce

Grilled Mushroom Satay with Garlic Scape Skewers

Inspired by this recipe from Food 52

6 garlic scapes

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Juice of one lime

Small handful of cilantro leaves

About 10 mint leaves

About 10 Thai basil leaves

1/4 cup tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 large portabella mushroom caps, stems removed and gills scraped out, and cut into quarters

Make scape skewers by cutting 8-9 inches off the non-flower bud end of six garlic scapes. Trim one end of each scape into a point. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the marinade, cut 3-4 of the remaining portion of the scapes into small pieces (discard the wide part, which is the flower bud). Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the ginger, lime juice, cilantro, mint, Thai basil leaves and the tamari. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the sesame and grapeseed oils and blend until combined.

Pour the marinade into a large zip-lock bag and add the portabella mushroom quarters. Seal the bag and gently toss everything around to coat the mushrooms. Refrigerate for several hours, turning several times (alternately, marinate at room-temperature for about an hour, tossing occasionally).

While mushrooms are marinating, make the Spicy Satay Sauce (recipe below).

Heat gas grill to medium high (or charcoal grill to the equivalent). Poke the mushroom quarters with a metal skewer and then thread through the hole formed by the metal skewer with the scape skewers, using three mushroom quarters per garlic scape skewer.

Place the skewers on a pan designed for cooking items that might fall through the grates on a grill. Grill until the mushrooms are cooked through, turning about every 2 minutes in order to cook evenly, for a total of about 10 minutes, basting occasionally with remaining marinade.

Serve drizzled with Spicy Satay Sauce. Makes 4 skewers.

Spicy Satay Sauce
1/3 cup tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

¼ cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon Asian chili paste (like Sambal Oelek)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a bowl until combined. Serve at room temperature. Leftovers will keep a couple weeks in the fridge.

Barbequed Pulled “Pork”

Sandwich
On Saturday we attended the 2015 Diner en Blanc (White Dinner) Twin Cities. As always, it was a beautiful, magical, welcoming, classy, and immensely fun event. Throngs of people outfitted in summer whites seated in rows of lovely white tablescapes noshed on meals and sipped drinks that ranged from simple to extravagant. Much mingling and merriment followed, along with the traditional sparklers being waved as darkness fell.
Tablescape

This year’s location was Raspberry Island, a pretty spot in the middle of the Mississippi River with stunning St. Paul skyline views providing an amazing backdrop for an enchanting experience and a perfect evening. I can’t wait for next year!
View

While planning for this year’s dinner, I reviewed countless recipes suitable for a picnic before coming up with our menu. One recipe, while not really appropriate because it’s best served hot, intrigued me so much that I made it for a meal at home.

BBQ Pulled “Pork.” Yes, you read that correctly. And the best part of all it’s not some wheat meat or soy based meat substitute. Made from young, unripe jackfruit (an Asian tree fruit, sort of similar to hearts of palm), this has the texture and flavor of the real thing without all the fat, calories, and cholesterol. You’ll want to use the unripe or young jackfruit because it lacks the sweetness of the ripe fruit. Look for it packed in brine or water, rather than syrup. I ordered it first through a secondary supplier on Amazon, but the cans arrived seriously dented. They did send another order, this time packed better, with only one of six cans dented. But more recently, I found it at Dragon Star Oriental Foods in St. Paul and I’m sure it’s available at other Asian markets, as well, and it’s very inexpensive.

Drain and rinse the jackfruit and cut off the core (the triangular tip) from the flesh and discard it. It seems like a lot of waste, but it is necessary. If you compost, that should lessen any guilt you might feel.
JackfruitCan of JackfruitI made this again on Father’s Day for a family gathering and it was a hit. You can use bottled barbeque sauce or your own favorite recipe. I don’t like a really sweet sauce and found Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ Sauce absolutely wonderful—good and spicy, but not overly sweet (you might want to skip the cayenne if you use this sauce).

Serve pulled “pork” on good quality toasted whole wheat buns with toppings of your choice—my favorite being a tangy coleslaw, but pickled onions, pineapple, and kimchi are other options. I’ve never had “real” pulled pork, but I can’t imagine how it could be any better tasting than this. Enjoy!
Sandwich 2

Barbequed Pulled Pork

Adapted from this recipe on the blog Blissful Basil

2 cans young green jackfruit in water or brine

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoke salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup barbeque sauce (bottled or homemade—your choice)

1/2 cup water

Whole-wheat buns

Toppings of your choice—coleslaw, pickled onions, pineapple, kimchi, etc.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender (5-7 minutes).

Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a strainer. Cut the core of the jackfruit (the triangular tip) from the flesh and discard the core.

Mix chili powder, cumin, smoke salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Add in the jackfruit flesh and toss to coat.

Add seasoned jackfruit to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Whisk the barbeque sauce and water together. Pour into the skillet with the jackfruit. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the lid from the skillet and shred the jackfruit with a fork. Continue to simmer with the lid off for 5-10 minutes or until the barbeque sauce is reduced.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for 20 about minutes; this makes the texture more “pork” like.

Serve mounded on toasted buns with garnishes of choice. Makes 6-8 servings.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

The farmers’ markets near our house don’t open for another week, but I’ve had a yen for local produce shopping since early May, so on Memorial Day weekend, Pete and I headed to the lovely downtown St. Paul Farmers’ Market. It’s the most charming larger market I’ve ever been to and it’s always bustling.

I knew there would be lots of flowers and bedding plants, however, there ended up being more fresh produce than I expected. Pretty radishes, vibrant lettuces and spinach, spring onions, asparagus, green garlic, straight-from-the-farm eggs and even some potatoes (that must have been greenhouse grown)—we filled our totes to over-flowing.

Once home, I wanted to get at least some of our cache into breakfast. An omelet or frittata seemed too predictable, so I looked to the “Morning” section of my new cookbook, sure inspiration would be found. Sunday Suppers: Recipes & Gatherings by Karen Mordechai is delightful and teeming with fresh recipes and ideas for creative twists on basic dishes. It’s broken down into sections—morning, noon, afternoon and evening, offering full menus for various themes, many of which adapt well to picnics and meals on the road.

Like so many of my cookbooks in recent years, this was purchased at the Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais. They have an ever-changing selection of unique cookbooks tucked away in a corner of the rustic second floor. I read it from cover-to-cover on our drive home from the cabin last month, and remembered there were a couple breakfast recipes that intrigued me.

Shakshuka—it’s a Middle Eastern breakfast dish that’s much more fun to say than “poached eggs in tomato sauce.” I had never heard of it, but if a recipe makes my mouth water just reading it, I must make it! I had most of the ingredients on hand and suitable substitutes for those I didn’t. Plus it was fun to see the look on Pete’s face when I said we’re having shakshuka. After a brief stunned silence, he said “Gesundheit!”

This was so good I made it two weekends in a row. Make sure to have some good quality bread (sour dough rye is wonderful!) or fresh pitas to dip in those runny egg yolks and saucy stew. I guarantee, if you make this once, you will make it again! Next time, I’m making it for company. Enjoy!
Pan of Shakshuka

Shakshuka

Adapted from Sunday Suppers: Recipes & Gatherings by Karen Mordechai

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 green bell pepper or other bell pepper, chopped into 1” pieces

1 bay leaf

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ to 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (include the seeds for extra heat)

A couple handfuls fresh spinach, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

10 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 10 oz. full sized ripe tomatoes, diced)

One 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 eggs

Additional salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fennel fronds, green onion, parsley or cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Bread or fresh pitas, for dipping

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper, bay leaf, onion, garlic, and jalapeño and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened. Stir in the chopped spinach and cook a couple minutes more until spinach is wilted. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, fennel, cumin, and coriander. Cook for a minutes, stirring constantly, to release the fragrance (breath in, it will smell amazing!)

Add the fresh and canned tomatoes and the tomato paste, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove bay leaf.

With the back of a spoon, make four indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each indentation. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the eggs are done to your liking, 10-15 minutes. Scoop eggs and sauce into bowls and garnish with fennel fronds, etc., if desired. Serve with good quality bread (toasted or not) or fresh pitas.

Green Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Green Sauce

Today there was a meeting at work where lunch was served. It was from a place called Brasa, and while the bulk of the meal wasn’t vegetarian, even I could tell this was quality food. It looked like spiced roasted pork and pulled chicken, along with a killer slaw and several varieties of pickled veggies, all for people to pile on fresh buns with a couple sauces, one barbeque and the other just called “green sauce.”

That green sauce looked mighty intriguing and I thought it might be a good match for the pasty (or pastie) I had brought for lunch (I’ll save the pasty story/recipe for another blog post, but it’s my healthier and vegetarian version of the tradition Cornish savory hand pie filled with meat & vegetables). Whoa, was I right! Green sauce made a delicious lunch mega-delicious!

Could I buy it? Could I make it? I must have more! I Googled “Brasa Signature Green Sauce” (the official name of this elixir). I found references to the restaurant only, no recipe, but I did find out that green sauce is really a thing, and there were a number of recipes out there. Based on an attempt to copy the taste, and a desire to make my version a little less caloric, I settled on the following recipe. It’s pretty darn close and every bit as good. It will take anything you sauce or dip or dress with it to mega-delicious status. And don’t be put off by the quantity of cilantro—I’m normally not a big cilantro lover, but it MAKES this sauce. Enjoy!

Pasty and Green Sauce

Pasty with Green Sauce

By the way, in my Googling, I found out Brasa Premium Rotisserie (the full name of the restaurant/caterer) gets outstanding reviews and actually has a separate vegetarian menu. I see a date night with Pete at Brasa very soon!

Green Sauce

Adapted from the green sauce in this recipe from Once Upon a Chef

1 medium jalapeño pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup mayonnaise (I used the amazing vegan Mindful Mayo made by Earth Balance)

¼ cup Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

A scant ½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. With machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until it is fully incorporated. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. It tastes best if given some time for the flavors to mingle.

Serve on everything and anything!