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Recipe Redo

Time for Super Bowl. “Economizing” is this year’s theme, everyone’s doing hummus and salsa. Michael Ruhlman’ s getting preachy about “POT popcorn.”

Skip the trends and go with this idea. Green Goddess dip. Pull out your retro recipe, revamp it and wow friends and relatives.

I’d been thinking about Green Goddess dressing lately when Amanda Hesser, food writer for the New York Times wrote about it. In her column, Recipe Redoux. she pairs a classic “true food” with a chef’s spin, providing culinary history along the way.

Hesser pulls out a 1948 update and contrasts it with a trendy sauce slathered on lamb. I prepared the recipes. Both veered from this diva’s panache in ways that are disappointing.

Hesser recounts the origins:

 The Green Goddess salad was made famous at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 as a tribute to George Arliss, the star of the play “The Green Goddess.” Descendant recipes vary, although most, including James Beard’s in “American Cookery,” rely on a foundation of tarragon, anchovies, chives and scallion. Some include garlic, parsley and chives, some sour cream. In a recent version by Ina Garten, found on the Food Network Web site, she replaced the tarragon with basil. The salad remained green, so no harm done. The bottled Seven Seas version of the dressing, so popular in the 1970s, went the way of moon boots as ranch and balsamic dressings elbowed their way onto shelves. Now produced in limited quantities by Kraft, it’s sold at places like the Vermont Country Store — purveyors of “the practical and hard-to-find” — for about $7.50 a bottle.

I went to Lost Recipes by Marian Cunningham, and found the original. (You can find the recipe online at Saveur) and whipped it upBloomfield describing Green Goddess as 

“a bit like a Caesar, don’t you think?” she asked after tasting it. A lot like a Caesar — and probably related, as Caesar salad was also popular in California in the 1920s. “It’s very strong, but it goes really well with the romaine, which is sturdy,”

I made the original and tossed the salad. Other than the anchovies, it didn’t taste anything like a Caesar. I like a sturdy, hardy salad and I’m no whimp when it comes to full-fat flavors, but it was too much. I mixed a tablespoon of the dressing into a vinaigrette and started over. Hmmm. pure joy.

Times change, tastes changes and Green Goddess dressing as a salad dressing is over. But the flavor is wonderful and the color pure and cleansing. So I thought, what about a dip.

I took the orginal, tweaked a few things and came up with Green Goddess dip. If your body is craving cholorophyll and vegetables after all the fatty, sugary indulgences of Christmas, this is it.

The changes I made:

  • I added more parsely and chives. I like Green Goddess green, green, green.
  • I used fresh tarragon. You can use tarragon vinegar if you want to save money and time.
  • Instead of anchovies, I used fish sauce. Fish sauce imparts a more subtle anchovy flavor. Besides, you save money and time.

Green Goddess Dip

  • 6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp-1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Black pepper to taste

Finely chop herbs and place in a food processor or blender along with lemon juice, vinegar, sour cream, mayonnaise and salt. Blend until the mixture is a deep green. Just before serving add the fish sauce (to taste) and black pepper.

Serve with chips, pita bread or fresh vegetables.

Varuation: Substitue cilantro for parsely and lemongrass vinegar for the tarragon vinegar.




Written by Susan Gillie

February 1, 2009 at 4:36 am

Posted in bloggage, food as fun

Where Have You Been?

I admit it. I’ve been lax about this blog. There are a million reasons.

This summer was too wonderful–perfect weather, phenomenal produce. Sunshine lured me away from the keyboard. What more can anyone say about tomatoes? All you have to do is slice them, sprinkle on a little salt, a little sugar and indulge.

Summer turned into fall, which turned into an Indian Summer and I’m still eating tomatoes. Not perfect Indiana August tomatoes, but wonderful, fresh-from-the-garden, sit-on-the-porch-steps and let-the-juice-dribble tomatoes.

I’d like to tell you that I’ve ignored this site because I was caught up with the presidential campaign, but I wasn’t. Early on I cast my vote for Obama and figured he’d have a clear-cut victory, which he did.  I’m happy he won, but my hunch is he’ll hike down the same path as Jimmy Carter. Hope I’m wrong, but the guy has a streak of Puritanism in him. 

Maybe you saw me on Chanel 8, being interviewed about the election.

Walking toward Oceanaire for lunch with my friend Cheryl, the only o’s on my mind were oysters. The reporter blocked my way, asking me if I thought Hilliary’s speech at the Democratic convention would sway her supporters to join the cause. I’d didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth which was I don’t watch TV and had no idea what she said. Instead I said “naah, the speech didn’t really matter. I’m an Obama fan and so is everyone else I know.”

Clearly he profiled me: late-50’s, white, affluent (I scrub up well), educated woman. Hah! The best part of the interview was the shocked look on his face when I turned out to be just a working person and not some crazed, embittered feminist.

Enough of partisan politics, what’s taking up a chunk of my time is the money crisis we’re in.

Economics was never a favorite subject of mine. In college I sat listening to supply-and-demand, when the prof would say something about human behavior. I’d be startled out of my day-dreaming and think, “does he know anything about people? If so, he’d know that what he just said was crap.” One time I asked an econ professor if he really believed what he was saying. First he looked sheepish, then he looked guilty, then he pulled himself together and said, “Maybe.”

This crazy, global, world-class, byzantine mess we’re in, I’m addicted to it. It’s like a tornado running alongside the house, so close, it makes the windows rattle. Planet Money is my go-to-source, replacing food blogs as daily reads.

Even though I now know what the TED spread is, I’m a foodie at heart. Here’s my Ted Spread–4 oz. of cream cheese whipped, with half a container of Country Mouse, City Mouse Nyona Lake Jezebel. In keeping with tight economic times, make your own bread and slather it with spread.

And as Contry Mouse City Mouse owners, Katy and Erin, say,

“Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.” Aesop

Written by Susan Gillie

November 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in food as fun


Written by Susan Gillie

October 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Posted in food as fun


 We’ve all been so busy fussing with vegetables, we forgot about chocolate.


Chocolate: The Exhibition is an entertaining, educational look at the origins and history of chocolate. Developed by the Chicago Field Museum, in cooperation with the National Science Foundaton, the exhibition runs from October 4th to January 4th of next year at the Indiana State Museum.

South Bend Chocolate Company is sponsoring the Indiana tour.

Written by Susan Gillie

September 20, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Ratatouille Ribeye

Ratatouille Ribeye is a culinary tromphe l’oeil, a vegetable replacement for hearty beef. As delicious as it is by itself, it’s even better with a few lamb meatballs.


1. Roast vegetables. Thinly slice 2 medium-sized zucchini, 1/2 large onion and 1 cored, cleaned red pepper. Slice orange-gold tomatoes in thick (1/2 inch) sices.  Place vegetables on a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Slow roast in oven (200 degrees) for 35-40 minutes.

2. Prepare stew. Chop up the remaining 1/2 onion and 4-6 medium sized zucchinis. Saute in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. When vegetables are translucent, add 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock, 1-2 finely minced gloves of garlic. Stew while other vegetables are roasting.

3. Combined stewed and roasted vegetables. Add 1-2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, salt to taste and simmer over low heat.

Eggplant Ribeye and Onion Rings

Cut thick slices of eggplant and onions (9 1/2 inch). Soak for in buttermilk, refrigerated for 1-2 hours. Roll eggplant and onions in Panko breadcrumbs (or seasoned flour if you don’t have Panko) and deep fry or pan fry until golden. Sprinkle thyme or oregano on eggplant. Salt onion rings and eggplant to taste. Place on rack to drain.

Mediterranean Potatoes

Wash and dry small fingerling potatoes (4-6 per person). Cook in 2 quarts of near-boiling chicken broth. plus 1-2 cloves of smashed garlic for 8-10 minutes. Drain potatoes and drizzle with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and salt to taste.

Plating Ratatouille Ribeye

Spoon piperade onto plate and layer 1-2 slices of eggplant. Garnish with onion rings and potatoes.


Written by Susan Gillie

September 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Fishers Puts on a Party

Fishers is putting on a big party and you’re invited. Sponsored by Fishers Chamber of Commerce and Community North Hospital, the town will host Flavor of Fishers on Saturday, August 2. Enjoy the wine and beer garden at The Old Town Ale House. sample more than 30 restaurants, and listen to music and high school bands for a price than won’t break the budget ($5.00 for adults, students 14-18 $3.00, children under 14 free).

Fishers wants you to come and check them out.

I’m a big fan of Fishers. It’s home to Frasier’s Gourmet Foods, Peterson’s, a Target SuperStore and my favorite Indy Aldi’s.

Thanks to Erik Deckers of LaughingStock by Erik Deckers for letting me know about this event.

Written by Susan Gillie

July 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Posted in food as fun

Good Karma

Everyone nagged me to get a mobile phone. I’ve had them before, but I’m not a phone person. They’re an unnecessary hassle, something to lose, a wasted expense.

A week ago Friday, though, I drank the kool-aid. Along with 999,999 kindred souls throughout the world, I signed up for Apple’s new 3G iPhone. News coverage made it sound like a digital tsunami-people waiting in line for 12 hours, activation problems, system crashes, trouble with iTunes, the list goes on and on.

I experienced none of that. Yes, I waited 20 minutes in line, but I was in and out of the store in less than an hour. Activation time, five minutes tops, with no hitches or glitches. And by a stroke of luck, or good karma, I got the last phone in the store.

A new gadget is like a kitten or puppy. You adopt your pet, take it home, play with it for hours, and marvel at every cute, silly thing it does. Then off you go to the pet store to buy a collar, some food, catnip or a rawhide bone. You don’t just buy the basics, you pick up a 5-tier cat perch or pewter St. Assisi ID tag for the pooch.

iPhoners went shopping at the virtual reality equivalent of PetSmart.

Apple’s AppStore is an online big-box warehouse of iPhone applications, minisoftware programs written by third-party developers. A few apps improve or enhance iPhone’s features, but most of the 800+ apps are games and toys.

iPhoners managed to download 10-million apps from AppStore last weekend, in spite of activation problems and system crashes. I was no exception.

What was I looking for? Foodie stuff, of course.

There’s not much (yet). Apple markets iPhone to young, male, technogeeks (best sellng app, Super Monkey Ball) so don’t expect recipes from Epicurious or globe-trotting food adventures from Saveur.

Still, there are some possibilities.

1. Urbanspoon. New York Times food writer Frank Bruni gave the restaurant locator a mixed review.

After I downloaded it, it wouldn’t work for two days and is still unreliable, but it’s fun and uses iPhone’s GPS and accelerometer (motion sensor technology) to locate restaurants in a clever way.

2. Wine apps. I found three, Wine Log, Wine Snob and WinePad. Prices range from $2.99 to $4.99.

3. Cocktails. With over a thousand cocktail and mixed-drink recipes, this app is smart-alecky, show-offy. Chicago Tribune’s The Stew says  “Cocktails – much like its namesake – is pricey: $9.99. But the convenience, and the thoroughness, can make you laugh.”

4. Diet and nutrition. There are several, but I recommend Restaurants and Nutrition (free). It gives nutritional information for national chain restaurants and allows you to track your caloric and nutritional choices. By syncing to, you can customize your database.

Apps like FatWatch, Diet, Calculate Points are food logs, but so is Weight Tracker, which is free.

4. Organizer apps. Pick and Choose Groceries ($4.99) lets you point and click food items to create your grocery list.

5. iBeer ($2.99) No, it’s not a log for beer geeks. It’s a beer!


I vowed I’d only download free apps, but this one’s tempting.

As disappointed as I am that there’s no food-news aggregate or Chez Pim How-to-Find-the-Best-Pad-Thai-In-Bangok app, the iPhone is custom made for food lovers.

In a few weeks, I’ll be sniffing Indiana tomatoes in full season and squeezing eggplants. I’ll close my eyes and imagine making spiced eggplant salad. Then I’ll panic, what all goes into that salad?

I’ll flip on the iPhone, click on Amateur Gourmet and find it.

Written by Susan Gillie

July 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Posted in food as fun