Friday, April 29, 2011
The Arrival of Green
I've been having trouble getting out of the routine of heavy winter-protection food, partly due to the weather in Chicago being a little unstable but also because well, it's comforting to eat heavy, slow cooked, delicious food. But then I went to one of Rick Bayless's wine paired four course private dinners, with a chef demonstration (and margaritas!) before, and POW! Spring has arrived. He demo'd a Mexican-inspired chimichurri, which is not only delicious but also solves the issue of lingering bunches of cilantro, parsley, or other green herbs. Green also just so happens to be the color and the taste of Spring, it's here to wake you up from your long hibernation and cleanse you to prepare you for the warm hot sun of the summer.
In Chinese Medicine, eating medicinally is directly linked to eating seasonally (and locally). While the season in the Midwest of the U.S. is not going to be the same as down in Australia where they're heading into winter at this moment, Spring is Spring when it's happening where you are and you want to think of green colored foods (just like the crocuses popping their heads out of the ground as well as the little buds on the trees) and the sour taste (lemon, vinegar, etc). You want to activate your liver and digestion in order to detoxify the winter sludge. This helps you to wake up with more energy to get out for those much anticipated sunny days and store up some vitamin D for the winter!
Chimichurri is an excellent way to make a sauce that works on a variety of dishes from fish, meat, pastas, salads, to appetizer toppings. It's also a genius use of all that extra cilantro and/or parlsey sitting in your fridge before it wilts. Chimichurri has travelled wide and far and can be made in a million different ways so do not worry, you can't make a mistake. It can be your chimichurri. A general guideline would be to use half oil (olive, grapeseed, or your oil of choice) and half vinegar (white or red), minced (or thrown into the food processor) herbs - cilantro, parsley, oregano, or a combo thereof, garlic, chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Or you can skip the pepper and concentrate on the chile flakes, OR add cayene or paprika. Use what you have, don't stress. It's easy. And it keeps in the refrigerator (pending no double dipping) for a few months! Extra herbs? Problem solved.
This Week's Chimichurri
Ingredients: parsley, white vinegar, olive oil, chile flakes, sea salt, garlic
1. Throw it all into a blender and puree, taste, and adjust. Eat and refrigerate. Enoy!