Sunday, July 22, 2012

Green Goddess

A summer salad and an announcement: first, the announcement. After nearly six years in the same wonderful apartment building in Berkeley, I'm moving to a lovely little bungalow in a, new to me, neighborhood in Oakland.

The Boyfriend is coming with. After a year of living together, we've settled quite nicely, and have been feeling the need to expand. That need is coupled with what is foremost on our mind: getting a dog.

Last weekend we visited several rental properties, and on our last appointment, we found it. An adorable craftsman with a gigantic backyard, a fireplace, newly updated kitchen, dishwasher, washer and dryer, a grill, a deck, and (get this) a dog house in the backyard. We feel like we've hit the jackpot.

And even though I said there was NO WAY we could move in August, as it's a busy month for us, we are indeed moving in in August. Because when you find the perfect place, you take it.

And so, we're off! Movers are hired, purging and cleaning has been tackled, and a pull-out couch/guest bed situation has been decided upon. A good thing, considering we'll have a visitor the weekend after we move in. I expect this will be happening a lot more, now that the air mattress is being put in storage. Did I mention our new place is a two bedroom?!

In between planning for a domestic upgrade, I found some time to hop over to the farmer's market for the first time in awhile. I had a Green Goddess salad dressing recipe from Melissa Clark in mind. Perfect for a hot summer day. In addition to firm zucchinis, plump avocados, and bright green herbs, I got my hands on some peaches and nectarines, fresh squash blossoms, and about 2 pounds of Padron Peppers, which Whit and I can't seem to get enough of lately. I'll grill them up and we'll pop them into our mouths one by one as we tune into the newest episode of Breaking Bad. Accompanied by fried squash blossoms, and this bright and tangy salad. Summer's best!

I've mentioned before how much I adore Melissa Clark's cookbook, "Cook This Now!" It's the best cookbook I've ever owned. I want to make absolutely ever recipe in it. I've gotten through probably 20 of them so far, and they've all been keepers. Her roast chicken makes an appearance in our house at least once every two weeks. This salad is a keeper as well.

Shaved Zucchini and Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
adapted slightly from Melissa Clark's "Cook This Now"

For the dressing:
1/2 cup packed plus 2 tbsp basil leaves
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup packed parsley leaves
1/4 cup packed cilantro
3 tbsp olive oil
2 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced
1 anchovy fillet
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp kosher salt, additional to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

1 medium zucchini
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the zucchini into rounds. You could also try using a vegetable peeler lengthwise for long, paper thin strips. Combine zucchini with avocado, tomatoes and pine nuts in a bowl. Pour dressing in and lightly coat the salad. You'll have some dressing left over. Serve immediately.