GATHERINGS: Rediscovering Old FavoritesThere comes a time when everything old is new again, and I have recently found myself returning to many of my old favorite recipes and ingredients. For example, having sworn off Green Goddess dressing for years because of the fat content,
I worked hard to create a new version that is lower in fat, but is still rich and creamy.
I couldn’t stomach the thought of truffle oil or anything with pesto because I had eaten so many dishes that had been completely overpowered by too much of a good thing. Yet, like the Green Goddess dressing, I figured out recipes for truffle oil and pesto that enhance their flavors. To help you rediscover their charms, here are couple of recipes and a few tips I hope will make these old things new for you as well.


Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably canola or safflower oil based)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I love Fage brand 2%, available at Whole Foods, because it adds a creamier texture to the dressing.)
1/4 cup chives or green onions, chopped fine
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 tblsp. white wine vinegar
1 tblsp. lemon juice
1 tblsp. anchovy paste or three minced anchovy fillets
Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor. This recipe makes about 2 cups and will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.
(I could eat this dressing right out of the bottle and it’s good on almost any salad, but it’s especially great with a salad that includes shellfish.)

A Fresh Take On Pesto
The key to good pesto is to chop everything by hand.
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped fine (I like to use walnuts, instead, for an interesting twist.)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (This is strictly to taste.)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tblsp. lemon juice (Never found in a traditional recipe, but I love the lightness it adds.)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together with a fork. Makes about a cup and is delicious on pasta, but also good on grilled chicken and even steak.

Truffle Oil Dressing

1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. truffle-flavored olive oil
2/3 cup olive oil
Combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in truffle oil and then slowly whisk in the olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Makes about a cup and will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

(The key to truffle oil is that a little goes a long way.  You can always add more, but I almost always mix it with plain olive oil to diffuse the flavor. It’s good on green beans, scrambled eggs and adds a little spunk to plain pasta with Parmesan cheese. But, in my opinion, if you use too much or pair it with other heavy foods it simply becomes too rich.)