In retrospect, today’s post would have been ideal for Earth Day. Almost like I planned it: transformation of leftovers, salvation of produce before it wound up in the compost, nothing packaged, minimal dish/energy use, vegan even.
So today I’m blasting around the house trying to get ready to leave for Tofino tomorrow morning (and I’m bringing you with me! Yes, I remember my promise of a daily post this month), which included going through the fridge to use up whatever I know Mike will just let die. (It’s just W and I going, Mike’s going to be Home Alone.) In the crisper, two big bunches of parsley. The curly stuff, which I’m not as fond of as the Italian stuff. They likely cost around 70 cents each, but dammit I’m not going to let them go into the compost untouched. So as I’ve been known to do, I choreographed lunch and dinner around a bunch of wilting herbs, rather than something more substantial.
But it’s at these times I tend to try things I might not otherwise. I cooked a handful each of barley and lentils (they cook at the same time – 40 minutes – so you can just boil them together in a pot, drain them and voila), dressed them with olive oil and balsamic and a pinch of sugar and tore in one of the bunches. Then I went to epicurious.com and typed in “PARSLEY” in an attempt to jolt my imagination.
Of course lots came up, one being brilliant green mashed potatoes made with parsley oil. Now this, oh best beloved, is something I would never seek to make under normal circumstances. But I thought I could easily blitz the parsley with some oil and it would at least keep until I got home and figured out what to use it for. Vinaigrette, hummus, roast chicken-anything, really.
So you whirl about equal parts herbs and oil (the recipe called for chives too, which are just poking through the ground) in a food processor, then pour it through a sieve, pressing on the solids and then discarding them. It did make a lovely shamrock-coloured oil (which W poured milk into as I photographed the sludge), but I couldn’t bring myself to toss the bulk of the oily parsley mulch. And so I turned it into hummus.
WOW. With a particularly juicy lemon, it’s an incredibly fresh tasting hummus, and a great way to get your greens. You could of course process the parsley first with a whack of oil and then strain it off to draw out some of the green stuff and get yourself some herby oil; otherwise just blend it right in.
Tomorrow I’ll be getting on the plane with a carry-on full of dip, which as everyone knows, is not liquid nor gel. (Romesco and this stuff. I’m sure we’ll be able to locate some pitas in Nanaimo.)
Speaking of parsley, so much for the head-start on my home-grown stuff (for those of you on the bloomin’ west coast who don’t believe it was blizzarding here last night) – there was twice as much piled up this morning.
At dinnertime W requested a picnic. On our bed. So we walked through the kitchen piling things on a cookie sheet to carry upstairs: the lentil-barley-parsley stuff, lemony parsley hummus, a couple whole wheat pitas, a few bananas, a whole wheat bagel, and a bag of pistachios. And we ate our picnic inside, since there was so much snow outside. I may have to change our sheets before I go to bed.
See you in Tofino!
Lemony Parsley Hummus
1 small bunch of parsley (curly or Italian), chopped (leave the stems out)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove (or 1 head roasted garlic)
2-3 tsp. sesame oil
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the parsley and olive oil until you get a rough sludge. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until as smooth as you like it; taste and adjust ingredients to suit your taste. (Even better the next day.) Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
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