31 October 2015

Green Stuff

A jar of my favorite condiment is on the table. "What's that green stuff?" someone asks.

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"What, this? I ask. "Oh, it's green stuff."

Someone rolls their eyes. Someone else asks, "What's in it?"

I stare off into the distance, trying to remember what I pulled out of the garden, fridge, pantry, and spice drawer this time. I start a list: "Parsley, white pepper, rice wine vinegar..."


Green stuff originated from my mom's practice of processing excess cilantro with vinegar to save the herbs from the compost heap. I took the idea and whirled with it, swapping out cilantro with anything green, throwing in a blob of miso here and a dash of pickled ginger juice there. Then I started putting it on everything: pasta, beans and rice, open-faced peanut butter and tomato sandwiches, grilled cheese, fajitas, just everything.

And now you can, too!


Green Stuff Guidelines

  • Good base herbs include cilantro, parsley, and dill. 
  • Good accent herbs include everything else, like mint, oregano, and thyme. 
  • If you want to cut the intensity, try adding spinach, lettuce, or kale. 
  • If you want be adventurous, try carrot tops, radish greens, or beet greens.
Alliums. Chives, garlic, or red onions. Start small.

Sour. You'll want about half a cup of sour liquid. Apple cider vinegar and rice wine vinegar are my favorites. Other options:
  • Literally any other kind of vinegar
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Pickle juice
Salty. If you're using pickle juice, skip this. Otherwise, try a couple shakes of salt (duh), a dollop of miso, a teaspoon fish sauce, or a tablespoon of soy sauce.

Spicy (optional). Hot sauce of any kind, chili flakes, peppers (start small).

Oily (optional). This can be, well, oil of any kind. Or nuts.

Anything Else. Dry spices or herbs, something sweet, a tomato, a beet, ginger.

  1. If you are using garlic or nuts, drop those whole into a food processor whole it's running. 
  2. Chop your Greens coarsely or snip them right into the food processor. Add other Alliums. Process a bit.
  3. Add the Sour and a dash of Salty. Process a bit.
  4. Stop processing and taste to get a baseline. 
  5. Start processing again and add Spicy and Anything Else. Start with modest amounts and stop to scrape and taste often. 
  6. If you're using oil, drizzle in near the end while the processor is running to emulsify properly. 
You can make this any consistency you want by adding water or more vinegar or more nuts or what have you. This is your green stuff. Own it. Name it.

A photo posted by @jastrd on

This will keep in the fridge for... a long time, I'll bet. It never lasts very long in my fridge, though. You can also freeze it.

A photo posted by @jastrd on

What combos have you tried that you loved? Or hated?

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