Now that we’re unpacked, we’re starting to poke around our neighborhood a bit, trying to find some new favorite spots before we get down to the actual business of residency. A few days ago, we found a place serving heaping plates of Dominican food within a 20 minute walk from home. Yesterday, we found an herb vendor at a nearby farmers’ market and re-established our little herb garden with thai basil, genovese basil, and rosemary. Today, we finally found the entrance to Rock Creek park and took the trail all the way from our place to Georgetown, finding deer, wild mulberries, and wood ear mushrooms along the way (for the record, we did not eat them; we were tempted, but no one really wants to be the person with crazy diarrhea the first week of work). We’ve been a bit bummed about the prospect of living in such an urban jungle for the next six years (turns out our 4-year tenure in Louisiana kind of killed the ‘city-person’ part of me), so the herb garden and park walk went a long way toward reminding us that our experience in DC can be and green and leafy as we want to make it.
Along with all of this other newness, we’ve also been trying to shift our eating habits a bit, becoming more meatless. This is largely a personal challenge, not particularly motivated by ethical concerns, slightly influenced by environmental issues and our budget. Though we aren’t exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel, meat is expensive, and we’re both curious to see how much we would actually save if we ate less of it, filling the space left behind with more alternate proteins and vegetables. The weather is definitely helping us out these days – after a long, sweaty day exploring outside, all either of us really want to eat for dinner is salad. Well, and popsicles, but, for the sake of this post, salad.
For whatever reason, I haven’t really put much effort into my salad dressing game in the past. I usually stick with simple vinaigrettes at home and occasionally supplement with a creamy store-bought dressing that I always finish embarassingly quickly. However, a few days ago I was catching up on a ‘recipe-a-day’ calendar my mom gave me for Christmas and found a recipe for Green Goddess dressing that looked too good not to attempt. The dressing is yogurt-based and laced with tons of green herbs and other veg. We tweaked the recipe only a little – upping the jalepeno and dialing down the sweetener a bit (not that the original called for much, we just have really aggressively flavored honey). We ate the dressing over a simple salad of grilled romaine and tomatoes and loved it. If we had it on hand, I think the whole thing would benefit from a sprinkle of cotija cheese on top, but we cleaned our plates as is. I also may or may not have licked the blender clean. This dressing is that good.
Grilled Romaine Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (dressing recipe slightly modified from ‘A Couple Cooks’)
For the salad: 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, split
For the dressing…
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 1 t honey
Place all dressing ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Grill the romaine until you have developed some nice char. Top with tomatoes, drizzle with dressing, and top with some freshly cracked black pepper.
*Notes: we originally used 1/2 of a seeded jalapeno pepper but discovered that the dressing did not have nearly enough zip for our taste. We added the other half of the pepper, seeds and all, and thought it was perfect. Feel free to add the jalapeno bit by bit until it tastes perfect to you. Also, as I mentioned above, we have some particularly strong honey, so I scaled the amount down from the original recipe. I didn’t really feel that the dressing needed the honey at all and will likely try it without the next time, or perhaps use a small pinch of white sugar instead.