“There is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of either chocolate or bacon.” Before we discovered Drink Your Carbs, this was our culinary philosophy. Bacon is still a mainstay, but chocolate is now a rare occurrence. One of the sacrifices we have made for DYC is to cut nearly all added sugar from our diets. We have traded the empty calories in the dessert course for the calories delivered in wine, beer and other liquor.
These days we have a new philosophy. “There is nothing that cannot be improved by the addition of either bacon or Green Sauce.” The truth is, if you add Green Sauce bacon is unnecessary. Green Sauce really is that good. We have yet to discover any meat or vegetable that is not improved by the addition.
The original recipe came from our dear friend and Crossfit trainer, Monica Ward. Monica is the reason we are both able to do pull-ups. She is single-handedly responsible for the fact that we both have beautiful overhead squats. More than once, she has drunk us under the table in the evening and then dragged us through a nasty workout first thing in the morning. These are only a few of reasons that Monica received the very first Drink Your Carbs Lifetime Achievement Award.
Monica’s Green Sauce is a fairly traditional Chimichurri. The recipe is as easy as it is tasty. Monica simply threw handfuls of herbs, spices and garlic into a food processor. She added olive oil and hit ‘blend’. The resulting sauce transformed an ordinary grilled flatiron into the best Mexican-style steak we’d ever tasted. We’ve been tweaking her original recipe ever since. The beauty of Green Sauce is its flexibility. Minor variations transform the flavor from Mexican to French to Italian to Middle Eastern.
The best part is that Green Sauce freezes beautifully. You can pour it into an ice cube tray and then store the frozen cubes in a Ziploc for later use. We typically keep three or four versions on hand. We’ll make a huge batch and then thaw it cube by cube over the following months. There are times when our freezer would qualify us to be on an episode of TV show Hoarders.
Easy Green Sauce:
1 cup parsley leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
Cayenne to taste (Adding spice is optional)
About 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. hot water
1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil
Chop the garlic in food processor until small. Don’t be surprised if the garlic clove bounces around like a superball in a phone booth. Pulsing “blend” usually settles it down enough to mince it
If you have not done so already, pick the herb leaves off of the stems, wash them and dry them. This is the time consuming part of the recipe, but trust us that you don’t want a lot of stems in there. This step is the main reason we like to make a lot of Green Sauce at once and freeze it. Once you start picking herbs, it’s easy to keep the momentum going.
Add the picked herbs to the food processor. Pulse the ‘blend’ button until the mixture is finely chopped. It’s important to chop the herbs before adding any liquid to the food processor; otherwise, instead of being chopped, the herbs tend to swim around in a circle like clothes in a washing machine.
Add the lime juice, salt and (optional) cayenne to the food processor. Blend once again until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. You do not need to get the herbs as smooth as tahini. Just make sure the herbs are chopped finely.
Add the hot water. Blend and then let the mixture sit for a couple minutes.
The final step: with the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil. The green paste will transform into a light, oily sauce.
Taste for salt, lime and spice. Adjust as needed. This recipe is deliberately low salt. We prefer to salt the underlying meats and vegetables. But feel free to adjust the salt to your taste.
Serve it over grilled meats, vegetables, sausage, etc. It works best to slather the sauce on food that is still piping hot. The green sauce cooks slightly from the heat and develops an incredible fragrance. We always set a bowl of extra sauce on the table and it tends to disappear quickly.
Green Sauce Variations:
There are a million variations of the recipe. The version above is very Mexican, with lime and cilantro. However, the sauce can be made with nearly any green leafy herb and any citrus, vinegar or other acid. (The only herb exception is that we do not recommend rosemary. Rosemary tends to make the sauce unpleasantly bitter.)
Our favorite combinations are:
• Use sherry vinegar as a replacement for the lime, 2 cups of parsley and no cilantro;
• Add some fresh oregano to the parsley version above for an Italian flare;
• Add capers and olives to the parsley version for a briny, Mediterranean taste;
• Use lemon juice instead of lime juice to create a perfect sauce for grilled chicken breast with grilled lemons;
• The combinations are endless. Let us know if you think of something new and fun.
How To Use Frozen Cubes Of Green Sauce:
As we mentioned, we tend to make big batches and freeze the sauce ice cube trays. For those of you who decide to try freezing, here are some tips for using the cubes:
To unfreeze Green Sauce, it’s best to remove a cube or two and let them slowly thaw to room temperature in a bowl on the kitchen counter. Don’t use a microwave, as you don’t want to cook the sauce. If you’re in a hurry, place the cubes in a porcelain or metal bowl, and place that bowl in another bowl of hot water. The heat will transfer and melt the cubes reasonably quickly.
The thawed Green Sauce is improved by adding a bit of fresh citrus or vinegar. If you’ve labeled your bag of cubes (we write the date and the recipe used on the Ziploc with a permanent ink marker), simply add more of the original acidic component (lime, vinegar, lemon etc.). One teaspoon or less per cube is enough to brighten the flavor.
We also use Green Sauce cubes to add zest to all types of recipes. Anything that calls for parsley/cilantro, etc. can benefit from a cube or two thrown in during the cooking phase. Simply add the cubes and be sure to cook them long enough to melt completely. Once the cubes have melted, allow the mixture to simmer for one to two minutes. Cooking for longer is fine. Our recommendation is the minimum required to integrate the Green Sauce into whatever you’re cooking.
Again, play with this. Let us know what you do. If anyone has the guts to throw a cube or two into a protein shake, we’d love to hear how it goes. That’s the one place that we have been afraid to try.
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