The first rule for a trip to Los Angeles is to eat at Sqirl, one of the city’s most talked and written about cafes. Sqirl is famous for fabulous breakfasts, brunch, lunch and good for you food that tastes great and makes you feel good. Totally, my kind of food.
Full disclosure, I broke this rule. And I shudder at the culinary gaffe I made last fall, but continue to seek recipes for a taste of what I missed from chef and owner Jessica Koslow. (I could have sipped this, noshed on this for breakfast, savored this for lunch and swooned over this for dessert. Torture yourself and check out the menu.)
Yes, we ate at one of our favorite New York transplants, The Butcher’s Daughter. And had an unforgettable evening of food, spectacular ambiance and stellar service at Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant. Gracias Madre totally blew my mind as well as my two male dining companions (one being David) and the next day we had a few minutes to pop into its sister restaurant and epicenter of LA’s healthy eats scene in Venice, Cafe Gratitude, for a look-see.
Not making it to Sqirl still makes me wish I were back in LA for two days (though I’d happily accept one meal in the City of Angels so I could experience Sqirl for myself). But until I return to the west coast, I savored three weeks (thanks to the San Antonio Public Library) with the cookbook by Sqirl’s creative reservoir, Jessica Koslow.
Filled with gorgeous, Instagram worthy images and lots of drool-worthy recipes, the truth is a lot of the recipes are quite complicated–definitely more than I want. There was, however, one simple recipe that stuck with me. Jessica titled it “Magic Green Sauce” and it reminded me of a cross-between guacamole and salsa verde, two of our favorite foods. It also seemed to be a cousin of pesto, and that’s a delicious thing.
Like a salsa verde and pesto, Jessica’s recipe had copious amounts of herbs, along with an avocado and a jalapeno to give it some kick. Though I failed to copy the recipe before returning the cookbook to the library, I “googled” it and landed on a recipe that is reminiscent of what may be Jessica’s Magic Green Sauce. In fact, this one is called 5-Minute Magic Green Sauce, so I was feeling good about the possibilities. (I have requested the cookbook again from the library and will keep you posted on what I find out.)
Part guacamole, part pesto, part salsa verde, this sauce never became discolored as leftover guacamole does and was as good on the third day as it was on the first, which makes it even more magical.
Use it as a dip if you need. Sturdy like guacamole, serve it with corn chips or tortilla chips, or thin it out with a little water, a bit more vinegar and olive oil and it morphs into an incredibly herbacious and creamy salad dressing.
A dollop on your morning eggs, a schmear on your next sandwich or as a dip for raw veggies, this flavor-packed, versatile, five-minute sauce is whatever you want it to be, whenever you want it.
Magic Green Sauce
Imagine if guacamole were blended with salsa verde and pesto. That is what this magic green sauce reminds me of. It can be scooped with corn chips or tortilla chips, used as a sauce with grilled fish, as a spread for a sandwich, a topping for tacos and more or thinned out a bit to make a salad dressing. It's sheer utilitarianism is astounding. For three days, we used this sauce with every meal. David even added some to his omelette one morning. It never turned brown and tasted good until the last spoonful. And that makes it even more magical.
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup packed combo of cilantro and flat leaf parsley leaves 1/2 cup of each
- 1 jalapeno ribs and seeds removed
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and stem removed
- 1 lime juiced (or two, depending on how juicy the lime is or isn't)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey (this can be omitted for vegans)
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil not extra virgin, just olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup pistachios or other nut such as walnut or pecan
Place all ingredients--except the pistachios or other nut of choice--in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended.
Add pistachios and pulse until mostly smooth.
Serve as a dip, spread, salad dressing base or sauce. To turn it into a salad dressing or marinade, add a little water or oil to thin it out. Refrigerate any leftovers and use within 3-4 days.