I just got back from the 2012 Educational Conference of the HSA (Herb Society of America.) This year it was in Austin, Texas, and I was excited to go, because Austin is a very vegan-friendly city.
I was also excited to be amongst like-minded people who love herbs. An added bonus was that the food we ate featured herbs, so I got some great ideas for new recipes.
We had a delicious buffet spread at Festival Hill, the performance and learning center about halfway between Austin and Houston. We viewed the herb gardens, which included a pharmacy garden started by the late Madelene Hill, who has been instrumental in the field of herb gardening, particularly in the south. Her daughter, Gwen Barclay, is still the chef there.
One of the dressings was a creamy dill dressing, which we had over salad greens and bright orange and yellow nasturtium flowers. Here’s my attempt at a similar dressing. This tastes better if you make it ahead and let the flavors meld.
Vegan Recipe: Creamy Dill Salad Dressing
3/4 cup yogurt (I used homemade soy yogurt)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (pick about double that; it “shrinks” when you chop it)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1-1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend about 40-60 seconds. Chill until ready to serve. The flavor improves after several hours.
The yellow in the photo are petals from shungiku flowers. They are also known as edible chrysanthemums, and you can add the textured leaves to salads as well.
Madalene Hill and her daughter, Gwen Barclay, are authors of the much-acclaimed book, Southern Herb Growing, which is out of print. I picked up the last copy at the HSA conference, but there are still some copies out there, if you’re interested. I’ll post a review at a later time, but I already know some of the recipes are good, because we ate them at this delicious lunch!
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