I’d Like That On The Top, Please

When Harry met Sally she always wanted things “on the side” I’ve spent a lot of time sharing recipes for great main dishes and sides. Sometimes I include a garnish or topping, but for the most part I present my recipes”naked” or with the sauce served separately. This does not mean that I do not like toppings on my food. Often it’s because my healthy eating practices make me want rich toppings “on the side.” I do make and enjoy toppings on occasion and its high time that I share some with you.

Toppings can be the dressing on a salad, the crowning touch on a vegetable, or a sauce that enhances an entrée. It can be a garnish that adds that irresistible touch to something. Looking back in Mama D’s Archive of Love, I did find a few recipes.

The Orange Mocha Barbecue Sauce that topped some ribs last summer was wonderful and really made the ribs sing an octave higher. A lightened up vinaigrette has given life to many a salad with a lot less fat but plenty of big flavors. Mama can’t rest on her laurels so I’ve come up with a new idea that will be perfect for summer’s lighter fare. I’ve also put a recipe together for an avocado dressing that would make an old shoe taste good.

First up, that light topping. I was grilling some sweet potatoes a few days ago and wanted to top them with something. I wanted to keep it on the light side as well as use a lime whose time had come. Since the whole meal had a southwestern theme, I thought I’d use some cilantro from the garden. 003006Speaking of the garden…we have lots of little lettuce shoots, a hardy batch of radish leaves and budding tomato and pepper plants. That’s the nature of gardens; they grow just enough to get you excited and slow enough to make you appreciate the time involved.

Back to what was to become a Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce. This was super easy and will be super easy to adapt to other flavors and dishes. A carton of plain non-fat Greek yogurt, a handful of chopped cilantro and the juice and zest of a lime were all I needed to make a refreshing sauce that was great on the sweet potatoes and found its way onto the chicken and zucchini as well.

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I added a little Agave Syrup to tone down the sour and a pinch of Chipotle Powder to crank up the heat. I’ll make this easy and call it a non-recipe recipe. Those are the measurements I used and I’m sticking to them.

The Avocado Buttermilk Dressing was another spur of the moment idea inspired by what was on hand. A ripe avocado, some buttermilk and the desire for something that was like guacamole but really not.

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I wasn’t sure if I was making a dip, a soup, or something entirely different. The avocado flesh and buttermilk went into a bowl. I heated some garlic in a little olive oil to tame the flavor. This is a technique I use often as I’m not a fan of raw garlic (nor is my stomach). A little lemon juice brought out all of the flavors. A few seconds contact with my immersion blender and it was ready. It was absolutely delicious. So good in fact that I couldn’t relegate it to being “on the side.”

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The recipe is a blank canvas that would enjoy the company of any herbs and spices of your choosing.

Buttermilk Avocado Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings
1 Cup
Servings
1 Cup
Buttermilk Avocado Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings
1 Cup
Servings
1 Cup
Ingredients
Servings: Cup
Instructions
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add the olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes or so. The garlic should be fragrant but not brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Scoop the avocado flesh into a deep bowl or the pitcher of a blender. Add the buttermilk and cooled garlic and olive oil mixture.
  4. If using the bowl, blend with an immersion blender until smooth. If using a blender, whirl until smooth.
  5. Add the herbs and spices, if you choose, along with a pinch of salt. Whirl/blend one more time and give it a taste.
  6. Adjust the seasonings to your liking and transfer to a bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors get better acquainted.
  7. Serve as a dressing on salad, a sandwich spread, a dip for veggies or chips, a topping for chicken, or just lick it off of a spoon.
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On the side, on top it’s all relative. Use these ideas as a springboard to your own sauce inspiration. A little something extra may be the perfect addition to lighter summer meals.

 

2 thoughts on “I’d Like That On The Top, Please

  1. Barbara Bartels

    Loved seeing your garden…I didn’t remember that with your new home there was garden space. Can’t wait to try the avocado recipe ♡♡

    Reply
    1. binner216@comcast.net Post author

      Yes, having community garden space was a very welcome surprise. It has been led by a wonderful lady named Lois who obviously loves to garden.Stay tuned for updates throughout the summer.

      Reply

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