Category Archives: herbs


Pesto is similar to sofrito in that it is both an ingredient and a stand-alone recipe. It can be eaten as is–as a dip or spread–or added to recipes as a flavor enhancer. The word loosely translates from the Italian as “pounded,” because this was originally made with a mortar and pestle. But with the aid of a blender this is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. It is classically made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and cheese, but ingredients can be interchanged. Tonight, for example, I made it with basil and parsley (which were still growing in the garden), almonds that I had in my pantry, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, and a single hot pepper that was still growing in the garden. I tossed it with pasta for dinner and froze what I didn’t use. Here’s a basic recipe.


Makes about 3/4 cup

1 cup fresh herbs
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup nuts
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Urban Simplicity.

La Menthe Vinaigrette (ou citronette)

This is by far my favorite vinaigrette sauce. And I consciously use the word sauce rather than dressing because it is more than a salad dressing. This can be used as a dip or drizzled over poultry, seafood, or meat..and of course used as a salad dressing (it is in fact the basis to the Lebanese salad Fattoush). It is so simple to make if you have a blender…simply put everything in and give it a quick spin. And if you prefer the flavor of basil that is a good alternative to mint. A loose translation of the French word vinaigrette is “little sour wine,” or “little vinegar.”  Seeing how there is no vinegar in the recipe it is technically a citronette. But whatever you call it, it certainly is delicious and takes about 30 seconds to make.

Garlic-Mint Vinaigrette
Makes about a cup

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cups virgin olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Urban Simplicity.