Memories of basil and bowling with Dad

This dressing is creamy, sweet, tangy, and herbaceous

Starting around age 6, our dad started taking us bowling with him.

He would watch our form carefully and gently correct us between frames — lead with the thumb, control your arm and follow through, let your weight fall on your leading leg to keep your balance when you release.

We loved the time together and watching with pride as our scores increased over the months and years of practice. For Christmas when we were 9, we found our own bowling balls under the tree in our favorite colors, and he took us to have the finger holes drilled just to fit our tiny hands. Mine was 8 pounds and green, and it played hundreds of games with me until my hands and muscles outgrew it.

This past weekend we met up with my sister and we took the kids to the bowling alley so my son could bowl his first game. I handed him a 6-pound ball, also green, and walked beside him as he struggled a little to carry it to the end of the lane. I told him to toss it low and hard, right down the middle. He giggled and chucked it as hard as he could, and together we watched it bounce back and forth between the bumpers until it rolled into the waiting targets and knocked down half. Not bad for such a little guy.

In the fourth grade, my sister and I competed in our elementary school league and would play three games every Thursday. Our dad would drop us off and hand us some money for the games and some treats from the diner — we would always get some slushies and fries or a pretzel.

That same year also happened to be the year my dad was mildly obsessed with the indoor herb garden he had constructed in our house. We had so much basil growing downstairs we could smell it down the street, and we ate pesto dishes at least once a week for years.

Whenever I go bowling, and whenever I smell basil, I think about my dad.

After a night of greasy bowling alley food, I was craving something bright, fresh and fragrant with basil.

This basil avocado dressing can be made in advance and stored in the fridge to be used on salads all through the week — perfect for lunch preppers like me.

This dressing is creamy, sweet, tangy, and herbaceous — great for use on bitter greens like kale and arugula. My salad was kale and red cabbage based with roasted yams, cooked mixed quinoa, shredded chicken, and pumpkin seeds.

Basil Avocado Dressing

1 large ripe avocado

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 cup fresh basil

1 cup fresh parsley

⅓ cup unsalted roasted cashews

¼ cup maple syrup

⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt

The juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Taste and season with extra salt, lemon juice, or maple syrup if you like your dressing on the sweet side (I do).

You may need to add a little water to loosen it up depending on how much juice you get from your lemon. The dressing should be thick and creamy — not quite as thick as hummus, but close.