Tag: herbs

Spring herb solution: Virginia Green Sauce

Market season is here!

I’m back at Potomac Vegetable Farms for a second season, and last weekend we opened at the markets for the first time in 2017!  It feels great to get my hands dirty and enjoy the bustle of customers moving among vendors, arms loaded with beautiful flowers and baked goods and greens.  I love hearing how customers use our produce, and last week a woman described in detail a dish called “Frankfurter Gruene Sosse” – Frankfurt Green Sauce.  She spoke with such a wistful reverence about the German dish with seven herbs, sour cream, and soft new potatoes topped with eggs that I think everyone in our tent wished they had some right then.  The dietitian in me was thinking this sounded like a great way to offer a beautiful and nutrient-dense side: herbs have a similar nutrient profile to dark leafy greens – lots of vitamin A, C, and K, and the yogurt, eggs, and ricotta add a good amount of protein for a balanced side dish.

So about those herbs…

It turns out that several of the seven herbs are not ones I have access to, or have even heard of for that matter!  Chervil, borage, pimpernell? Nope, nope, and nein.  Being that we aren’t in Germany, I figured the important part was that there were 7 spring herbs represented, so I took some liberties with which ones those were.  Renaming it “Virginia Green Sauce” should take care of anyone’s indignation that I went a bit off the books!   We have a potluck every Friday at the farm for anyone working, and an actual German person said it was delicious and very close to what she’s had, however, so I will count that as a win.

In honor of Earth Day

This month’s Recipe Redux roundup includes recipes that cut down on food waste, and I wanted to share that since I’ve gotten an Instant Pot (a slow cooker and pressure cooker in one!) I’ve been saving my veggie scraps to make broth every month or so.  The leftovers from this recipe – lemon rinds and herb stems – made a beautiful fragrant broth that will be a delicious lemony boost to a future soup or cooked grain! I fill the pot with scraps, add water to the max fill line, and pressure cook it for 30 minutes, then strain. The eggshells, peels, and the remnants of a broth infusion get dumped in the compost pile at PVF, but if you don’t have access to a farm (ask around at your local market!), I highly recommend Compost Cab if you’re in DC.  Yes, you do have to pay for the service, but not having stinky, decomposing food in your trash can means you’ll fill it less often and maintain a much nicer kitchen environment!  Until more cities follow the example of places like Raleigh and Sacramento to make composting easier, vote with your dollars.

Virginia Green Sauce

Ingredients

  • Handful of each of the following herbs: parsley, basil, mint, chives, oregano, sorrel, & tarragon
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz plain greek yogurt
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp dijon
  • 8 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1.5 pounds of small or fingerling potatoes, boiled until soft to a fork

Directions:

Finely mince or pulse herbs in a food processor until well chopped; reserve a few Tbsp for garnishing at the end.  Place in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, salt, ricotta, yogurt, sour cream, and dijon, stirring to combine.  Peel and chop hard boiled eggs. Serve the sauce over potatoes in a shallow bowl, top with eggs and reserved herbs.  (Tip: if not serving immediately, keep sauce in a separate bowl as some water will separate out – just stir to recombine!)


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A trip to the Botanic Gardens (+ lavender tea)

Happy Earth Day!  I’m a day late, I know, but “life happened” and hey, isn’t every day Earth Day, anyway?

A great way to celebrate all things green and lovely plants is to visit the United States Botanic Gardens, which I did on Friday with fellow RD and food/plant/earth enthusiast, Anne.P1010973

P1010983To be honest, our main purpose was initially to catch up and have a little dietitian-shop talk, but we were surprised by how awesome the exhibits there are.

They had lots of edible plants – herbs of course, but also some crazy things like cocoa, pineapple, and papaya, and great signs:IMAG1815 Papaya

IMAG1814 Little pineapple!  It was only about as big as two fists – and yes, they grow on the ground, not down from a tree!

IMAG1809 Did you know that cilantro the herb grows from coriander, the seed?  Amazingly different flavors!

IMAG1808 Chocolate grows on trees!  Or at least its main ingredient, cacao does.

IMAG1811It never occurred to me that ginger has a plant, because the spice is a root…but of course, duh!  

There was also an awesome exhibit that had spices contained in a metal flower for you to sniff!  Fun for us, and also low enough that kids could smell too:

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Another exhibit featured info about the medical/topical uses of herbs, and gave examples in a glass bell above.  Lots of people are cashing in on mother nature!

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I got inspired by this, because lavender is one of the herbs I have growing in the front yard!  It’s also edible, and has been historically used to sooth, relax, and induce sleep.  It could even change your mood! It’s edible, too, but don’t use the concentrated essential oil that’s bottled (it might cause gastro discomfort!) – just pluck some and add to your tea.  I tried this with a white/green tea blend, and even without sugar it was delicious…I think I feel a bit more chilled out.  Power of suggestion, or effects of the herb?

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Beyond that, we just had a good time exploring and checking out beautiful flowers.  I will “leaf” you with those, and an inscribed quote:

P1010982IMAG1807 IMAG1812 IMAG1813 IMAG1816 IMAG1821 IMAG1818 IMAG1819 Awesome texture!  Not sure if touching is really encouraged, though…

IMAG1823See the ants?  They’re actually helping this plant to bloom by breaking down the tough outer shell!