The Cooking and Flavoring Oils Used at Greens

We use oils for both cooking and flavoring our dishes. Because they’re the major carrier of flavor, it’s important to have high-quality oils. Here’s what’s in our pantry.

EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Today, finding a fine extra-virgin olive oil is no problem; one simply must decide which fantastic variety to buy. Extra virgin refers to the first pressing of oil extracted from olives by mechanical means, without the use of heat or chemicals. This oil is a seasoning element in its own right. Light is a grade called pure and comes from successive pressings: its color is lighter and the fat content is the same as extra-virgin.

CANOLA OIL: Spicy Asian curries, Mexican soups and stews are cooked with this inexpensive, all-purpose oil, an excellent vehicle for dishes with big, bold flavors.

PEANUT OIL: Because of its tolerance for high temperatures, peanut oil is perfect for frying. Also, it complements the flavors of Asian dishes.

TOASTED SESAME OIL: The dark, assertive flavor of this oil is a natural seasoning for noodle dishes, stir-fries, and Asian-inspired vegetable fillings. Highly perishable, it must be used sparingly.

NUT OILS: Expensive and fragile, walnut and hazelnut oils make fine vinaigrettes and are delicious accents for pastas tossed with toasted walnuts and hazelnuts.

INFUSED OILS: Intensely flavored, expensive, and delicious, these oils enhance salads, pasta, and risotto.

LEMON OIL: This light, clean, and fragrant extra-virgin olive oil is pressed with Eureka lemons which infuses the oil.

PORCINI AND WHITE TRUFFLE OILS: These are distinctive oils with an incredible wild essence. They intensify subtle flavors and make special simple dishes.

Greens Pizza Dough Receipe

Makes one 12-inch pizza


1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fine corn meal
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water; set aside in a warm place for five minutes until foamy. Stif in the olive oil, cornmeal, flour and salt, making a soft, workable dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed for about 5 minutes, sprinkling in as little flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to the surface.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it once so the surface is coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch the dough down and form into a ball; let rise again for about 30 minutes.


This dough keeps well in the refrigerator overnight and freezes well. Just be sure to punch it down and cover tightly with plastic wrap before you refrigerate or freeze it. Allow the dough to return to room temperature before rolling it.


If you like the taste of rye lour and the complexity it adds to the dough, add 1 tablespoon of rye flour and decrease the fine cornmeal to 1 tablespoon.

Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Chili
From The Greens Cookbook, page 109

Black Bean Chili has been served every day since Greens opened in 1979. It has a woodsy campfire quality and a complexity of tastes from the various smoked and roasted chilies. In addition to serving these beans as chili, we also use them as an ingredient in the Black Bean Endhiladas and the Black Bean Chilaquilas. It is worth making double the amount and freezing half to have it available to use in other recipes.


  • 2 cups black turtle beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 chili negro or ancho chili, for chili powder, or 2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon corn or peanut oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, diced into ¼-inch squares
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pound ripe or canned tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chili
  • About 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


  • ½ to ¾ cup jack or cheddar cheese, grated
  • Green chilies: 2 poblano or Anaheim, roasted, peeled, and diced, or 2 ounces canned green chilies, rinsed well and diced
  • ½ cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 6 sprigs cilantro

Sort through the beans and remove any small stones. Rinse them well, cover them generously with water, and let them soak overnight. Next day, drain the beans, cover them with fresh water by a couple of inches, and bring them to a boil with the bay leaf. Lower the heat and let the beans simmer whie you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and when they begin to color, add the oregano leaves, shaking the pan frequently so the herbs don’t scorch. As soon as the fragrance is strong and robust, remove the pan from the heat and add the paprika and the cayenne. Give everything a quick stir; then remove from the pan – the paprika and the cayenne only need a few seconds to toast. Grind in a mortar or a spice mill to make a coarse powder.

Preheat the oven to 375F. To make the chili powder, put the dried chili in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes to dry it out. Cool it briefly; then remove the stem, seeds, and veins. Tear the pod into small pieces and grind it into a powder in a blender or spice mill.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and saute the onions over medium heat until they soften. Add the garlic, salt, and ground herbs and chili powder, and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice, and about 1 teaspoon of the chipotle chili. Simmer everything together for 15 minutes; then add this mixture to the beans, and, if necessary, enough water tso the beans are covered by at least 1 inch. Continue cooking the beans slowly until they are soft, an hour or longer, or pressure cook them for 30 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Keep an eye on the water level and add more, if needed, to keep the beans amply covered.

When the beans are cooked, taste them, and add more chipotle chili if desired. Season to
taste with the vinegar, additional salt if needed, and the chopped cilantro. Prepare the garnishes. If you are using fresh green chilies, roast them over a flame until they are evenly charred. Let them steam 10 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish; then scrape off the skins, discard the seeds, and dice.

Serve the chili ladled over a large spoonful of grated cheese, and garnish it with the crème fraiche or sour cream, the green chilies, and a sprig of fresh cilantro.

Though served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon, this chili is a great deal thicker than most soups – thick enough in fact to be served on a plate right alongside fritters or cornbread. It also, however, can be thinned considerably with stock, water, or tomato juice, to make a much thinner but still very flavorful black bean soup. When thinned to make a soup, it can be served as part of a meal rather than a meal in itself.

Makes 8 cups

On the Menu: Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

Back on the menu this month is one of our most anticipated seasonal items: The Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie with caramelized onions, Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel, mashed potatoes and mushroom sherry sauce; served with roasted carrots, parsnips and brussels sprouts. The recipe was featured in a Vegetarian Times article a few years back so you can create it at home, but come in and try it here first.

Greens Hummus Recipe

Hummus is a Greens favorite. Chick-peas take forever to cook but they’re worth every minute. They’re exceptionally smooth and creamy, particularly if pureed while still warm. If you can find rasted or toasted tahini, buy it and use it here it is much tastier than the usual raw variety.

Makes 3 Cups


  • 1 cup chick-peas, about 6 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Cayenne pepper

Drain and rinse the chick-peas. Place them in a large saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until completely tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain the chick-peas and reserver 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid Combine the chick-peas, tahini, oil, garlic, cumin, salt, 2 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until completely smooth, adding the cooking liquid as needed to thin. Adjust the seasoning with salt, lemon juice and cayenne to taste.