The theme of yesterday was apparently “Going Green,” and I don’t mean in terms of suddenly becoming a card-carrying global crusader (although I still very much want to combine my powers with y’alls so we can conjure Captain Planet), but instead making lots of greenspired food.
It is probably not surprising that I was in a green mood, as it is my signature color. This is pretty much entirely based on someone telling me as a small child that redheads look good in green. [I also believe I've told you before that when I was teaching I wore something green every day, and if the kids caught me I had to give them a treat. No, I have no idea what that treat would have been, as I never missed a day! (The kids always seem to think I would conveniently forget, despite the fact that I had made up the little 'game' myself, and, therefore, was hyper-aware of putting on something green-toned every day. We did have some rather heated debates about where teal and turquoise fell in the color wheel....but, I was the teacher, so I always won those arguments.)]
My Friday overnight oats to-go were incredibly delicious, but the most interesting part of eating them was getting bites sans fruit or nuts and realizing that, much like I truly enjoy plain oatmeal with no added ingredients, plain overnight oats are also equally delicious. [Granted, there was the tarty tang of the plain yogurt and the slightly sweet addition of vanilla soy milk, plus a little cinnamon-y spice...but these bites were as "plain" as my overnight oats were likely ever going to be.]
So as I prepped overnight oats for Saturday morning, I decided to make a batch using only my Overnight Oats Standard Base (in a green-rimmed bowl of course!): 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 Tbsp. oat bran, cinnamon & nutmeg, and 1/2 banana.
Using a green spoon* I mixed up my medley of breakfast joy!
*This spoon, interestingly enough, was found by one of my students over the winter in a snowbank at recess, and then subsequently gave it to me because 1) it was so random to find a spoon in a snowbank, and 2) I am obsessed with green things. I fell in love with the spoon due to the color, and, after a quick sanitizing run through the dishwasher, it is now one of my favorite utensils.
In the morning, I added some veryripe and superbright green kiwi and a little bit o’ diced green apple (which, perhaps ironically, I don’t actually like all that much compared to other apples, but I had purchased for a recipe you will see later in this post).
I drank a delicious mug + 1/2 of Safeway Select Kona Blend Coffee in this lovely green polka-dot mug, which had been a gift from my frequently-mentioned-on-the-blog best friend from high school, Liz.* I had been using it to hold lollipops (Sarah, you are so odd) in Virginia, which is why the lovely black ribbon was still on it. After a quick rinse, we were in business for caffeinated comfort!
*Liz used to tell me that I really needed to expand the colors of my wardrobe, especially after I was successfully able to go for two weeks in high school wearing a different green sweater every day. She has come to accept that, although I have now branched out quite a bit, green will always remain the closest color to my heart.
And now, welcome to my “Going Green” lunch! We often refer to leafy, full o’ veggies salads as “green salads,” but this actually was a green salad.
Spinach, Romaine, and fresh basil, topped with cucumbers, green bell peppers, celery, and artichoke hearts. (OK, so the artichoke hearts are a bit more white than true green, but artichokes themselves are green, right? Besides, I kept it in a nice mono-green-matic tone…)
Sticking with the artichok-i-ness, I added a scoop of this green-lidded hummus…
…as well as some cottage cheese (fine, that’s white, but it’s SO crucial), and some more of that incredibly fantastic Wickles Relish, of which I’m pretty sure I have already eaten half of the jar.
I added some extra fresh basil to cover up the fact that the hummus is actually more of a light tan color…
On the side, I had a free slice of Great Harvest Smoky Mountain Bread, which I had obtained when investigating the bakery and hunting for Dakota. This was the closest they could give me. And it was delicious. And eating the free sample of the otherwise-would-be-thrown-away bread is pretty green, no?
The afternoon was spent playing in the kitchen, working on two green recipe experiments that I had been mulling over in my head for awhile. Since I would be attending my friend Kathleen’s housewarming/summer solstice shindig in the evening, and, never being satisfied with arriving at a party with only one dish, I knew yesterday was the perfect time to put them to the test!
Clearly, I have rapidly become a Texan, as I went from making BBQ Hummus to now incorporating green chiles into garbanzo goodness as well. Partially inspired by my Torchy’s Green Chile Pork Taco obsession, this hummus was a fabulously successful, and excellently easy experiment in recipe creation.
Start with a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas…
…which you should rinse and dump into your food processor.
Dice up 1/4 cup white or yellow (or red if you want) onion…
…grab a handful (about 1/2 cup loosely packed) of fresh cilantro, stems and all….
…and open up a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles (of which I only used half, but you can use all of them if you want).
Add all of those to the garbanzos in the food processor…
…plus a good drizzling of honey (about 1 Tbsp.)
Process until it smooths out into the desired consistency…
I don’t add any water or oil, but I did put a wee bit of the green chile ‘juice’ in there. If you like a more liquidous hummus, add a little agua 1 Tbsp. at a time until it is how you like it.
The salsa was actually inspired by a dish sold at My Fit Foods, where I will be starting work in a few weeks (!). During my interview, I had noticed a “salmon with pear pico salsa” on the menu, which looked basically like a pear-and-tomato salsa. I thought it sounded delish as it was, but y’all know I always want to make everything better. Thus, the idea of a pear salsa verde was born…and then grew into an unexpected but entirely successful Green Apple & Pear Tomatillo Salsa.(I mean, if you are going to use one green fruit, why not go ahead and use two? Well, technically three, because I believe tomatillos are considered a fruit, too. Either way, it was double-or-triple the fruity fun.)
You will need lots of green ingredients: a medium-sized pear (or two small ones), a green apple, a lime, fresh cilantro, tomatillos (one large or two small), a jalapeno, and white onion (OK, not green).
Finely dice 1 cup of pear, 1/2 cup green apple, 1/4 cup white onion, and 1/2 cup tomatillo…
…along with 1/2 jalapeno, seeded.
(Feel free to use a whole jalapeno, and/or leave in the seeds. However, I find that when you are bringing a dish to a party, you don’t want to make anything so hot ‘n spicy that guests are more concerned about their breath being fresh or their mouths not being on fire rather than enjoying your dish and the celebration.)
Add about 1/4-1/3 cup chopped cilantro, and stir to combine!
Both dishes were big hits at the party…I brought home completely empty bowls! [We also decided that the salsa would be great on fish, chicken, or pork...or in a taco.]
Cheers to a great GREEN success!
So that you might have similar greenspired greatness, I present you with the recipes:
1 [15 oz.] can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/2 small can [4 oz.] of diced green chiles
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro (just grab a handful)
1 Tbsp. honey
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
2. Process until the mixture has reached your desired consistency, adding water if necessary.
3. Serve with tortilla chips or raw veggies!
1 cup finely diced pear (about 1 medium or 2 small)
1/2 cup finely diced green apple
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1/2 cup finely diced tomatillo (about 1 large)
Juice of 1 lime (about 4 Tbsp.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine first four ingredients (through tomatillo) in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture.
3. Stir in cilantro.
4. Serve with tortilla chips, or use as a topping for fish, chicken, or pork.