This aging thing is nuts. Why, just this past weekend, I had to take a six-hour train ride to southern Germany, sleep at a Holiday Inn Express (the sheets! so silky! the room! so quiet!) and then come back the next day, and all I could think about this adventure was: 12 WAKING HOURS ALL BY MYSELF I CAN READ EVERY BOOK UNDER THE SUN ALL BY MYSELF AND THEN I GET TO SLEEP ALONE AND BE WOKEN BY MY OWN SELF AND THEN READ SOME MORE IN BED BECAUSE NO ONE IS DEMANDING BREAKFAST OR A PLASTIC ELEPHANT OR THAT MAMA GET TO HIS SIDE RIGHT THIS MINUTE OH MY GAH WHAT BLISS IS THIS.
I can guarantee you that ten years ago (or even five? three? anytime before June 2012?), I would not have been this easily pleased. (My reading list, in case you're wondering, was the latest two New Yorker issues in full, the latest Vogue, The Book of Negroes and 35% of The Fault in Our Stars. No, I don't think I looked outside the window once?)
Also, with age, I have learned that the things I used to detest no longer repulse me! Let's make another list, shall we?
Things I used to hate:
creamy salad dressings
Things I now love:
creamy salad dressings
Well, not all creamy salad dressings, to be totally honest. In fact, let's just say only this creamy salad dressing. After arriving in southern Germany on Sunday and before going to sleep in the soft and silky Holiday Inn Express bed, I had an encounter with a creamy salad dressing that I would only describe as unfortunate. (In case you're wondering what I was doing in Baden-Baden, click here and look for the show from May 12th.)
ANYWAY. This creamy salad dressing, to get to the point already, is from Gwyneth Paltrow's second cookbook, It's All Good. And while opinions differ on the book, the chapter on salads and salad dressings is pretty great. This dressing, in fact, called Mexican Green Goddess Dressing, is worth the price of the book and not to sound like a broken record or anything, but my philosophy is that if you get just one great recipe out of a cookbook, that cookbook's a keeper.
Gwyneth's Mexican green goddess is made up of sheep's milk yogurt, olive oil, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, salt, a touch of honey and a jalapeño (it's tough to find jalapeños in Berlin, though, so I used a drizzle of this terrifyingly spicy hot sauce instead - thank you, Liana!). You blend everything up in a blender or with an immersion blender that has a turbo setting and then you use it on a salad consisting of chopped romaine, avocado, tomatoes, canned black beans, corn (fresh if you've got it, and canned if you don't), more scallions and more cilantro. And you know what, it truly does taste of Mexico - all of those wild, bright flavors blended up and threaded together. It's fantastic.
You are by no means constrained to only use this dressing on this particular salad, though. I used it on cold boiled broccoli the next day to fantastic effect, for example, and on a bowl of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes a few days after that and could imagine it on a bowl of simple arugula, too, or steamed fennel or any vegetable really, that needs a bit of a creamy, spicy, zingy zhuzh.
I still haven't come around to dill, though. Maybe check in with me when I'm 40.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Mexican Green Goddess Dressing
Adapted from It's All Good
Makes 1 1/2 cups
2/3 cup sheep's milk yogurt
¼ cup cilantro
2 scallions, roughly chopped
¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
½ jalapeno, roughly chopped, or a drizzle of hot sauce
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. The dressing can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.