I recently invited a friend over for dinner, and inadvertently served her a completely green meal – from the White Bean and Parsley Hummus to start, to the Broccoli Soup, Green Goddess Chicken Salad over crisp, green lettuce leaves, and green apples nestled in the Apple Cake served alongside a rich Caramel Sauce. Despite my unintentional theme, this light and flavorful meal was a wonderful, graceful, fun end to the day.
WHITE BEAN AND PARSLEY HUMMUS
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a food processor, add beans, lemon juice and zest, tahini, salt, cumin, and cayenne and pulse until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add avocado, parsley and olive oil, and puree until smooth. Check for seasoning, adding more lemon juice, salt or cayenne to taste.
Recipe adapted from Oprah Magazine, May 2015
BROCCOLI SOUP WITH RAISIN SAUCE AND PINE NUTS
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 cups chicken stock
one 1-pound head of broccoli, florets and stem coarsely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden brown.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the garlic, leek, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderate heat until the leek begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and broccoli and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the broccoli is tender and the soup is slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the cider and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the raisins and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the raisins and their liquid into a blender. Add the cream cheese and blend to a smooth sauce. Pour into a small bowl.
In a blender, puree the soup with the parmesan and olive oil. Season with pepper. Ladle the soup into shallow serving bowls, drizzle with some of the raisin sauce and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, January 2015
GREEN GODDESS CHICKEN SALAD
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons snipped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, cooked and cut into cubes
5 piquillo peppers, drained and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
In a food processor, pulse the anchovies, garlic, parsley, basil, dill and oregano until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and process until smooth. Fold in the chives, season with salt and pepper.
Toss the chicken, piquillo peppers, celery and olives together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, September 2009
APPLE CAKE WITH CARAMEL SAUCE
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon apple brandy
pinch of salt
TO MAKE THE CAKE In a large bowl, beat together, sugar, eggs and shortening. Add water and mix well. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Add to sugar and egg mixture, mix well. Stir in apples and nuts.
Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan and bake at 350F for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely. Cut into slices and serve with warm caramel sauce.
TO MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE While cake is baking, cook cider over medium heat until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and is reduced to 1/4 cup, set aside.
In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling pan gently until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear, do not let mixture boil. Increase heat to high, cover and boil syrup, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Uncover saucepan and continue boiling syrup until it begins to darken around edges. Gently swirl pan until syrup turns a deep amber color and just begins to smoke. Remove from heat and with a wooden spoon, carefully beat in butter until well blended. Stir in cream until smooth. If sauce becomes lumpy, return pan to stove and cook over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in reduced apple cider, apple brandy and salt.
Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, September 2001