Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Dirty Little Secret of Salad Dressings

Make your own salad dressing. It will be hard to ever buy dressing again. Why not spend the money you saved on chocolate instead? Dressings are great to have on hand, prepared and ready to go for the salads and veggies you make with your weekly CSA. We make a big batch and refill our old bottles. Dressings can also be used to marinate vegetables for grilling, broiling, or baking. The possibilities are endless, and for more dirty little secrets keep reading.

They are simple, but here are a few tips.
  • Blend your oils if you plan on refrigerating your dressing- olive oil is great for flavor but will congeal, vegetable oil is less expensive and will not.
  • Experiment with types of vinegars- apple cider, balsamic, rice, and red wine. Apple Cider vinegar is sweeter and works well with beets, rice vinegar goes well with cucumbers and asian dishes. Balsamic is great on the barbecue. Use white balsamic if you don't want to discolor your food.
  • Use a blender or a Cuisinart. I start with a little red onion and then add the wet ingredients, herbs, etc...
  • Experiment with different herbs- follow your nose. Smell them and ask yourself "Does this go with asparagus, carrots, fennel, etc...?" Hint: same herbs and vegetables you would find together in a soup go well as a marinade for broiling, sautéing, baking, grilling, and enjoying raw.
  • Try adding a tablespoon of dijon mustard- it adds body
  • Citrus (since we live in citrus paradise let's use it)- a few squeezes of lemon, orange, or grapefruit is perfect. Zest will change your life.
  • Enough salt and cracked pepper finishes your dressing
  • The secret ingredient- nobody wants to talk about this dirty little secret- you need to add a little sweetener to balance the vinegar. Try honey, cane sugar, or agave. Sweeten to taste.


French Lemon Vinaigrette
Lemons, Dijon mustard, oil, honey, salt & pepper to taste, (dill optional)

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic, oil, onion, 1 clove of raw garlic, herbs of Provence, sugar, salt, pepper to taste

Your own green goddess
Apple cider vinegar, oil, fresh greens- cilantro, parsley, or arugula, lemon, sugar, salt & pepper to taste (avocado optional)

Feta or Blue Cheese Dressing-

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese (about 3 ounces) plus additional to taste if desired

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