Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Salad Dressing

Not to be TOO sassy, but did you know you can make your own salad dressing?

And that you can save oodles of money, as well as benefit your health and wellness?

Yep. 

This one's for Brenda!

We here at the Sassy Family tend to eat mostly all natural and organic foods.  We're far from perfect and consistent, but generally we eat healthy stuff.  What that means at our house might look different than what it means at yours.  We eat butter, salt, cream, whole milk, meat, veggies, sugar, fruit, grains, etc.  I have a particular affinity for cheese.  And peanut M&Ms.

Now, let's talk salad dressing.  There's funk in that stuff at the grocery store - even in the all natural stuff, the funk is lurking.  Soybean oil, MSG and all his relatives, colors, preservatives, additives, gums, thickening agents.  And if you do find a brand that has good ingredients, you might pay four or five bucks per eight ounce bottle.  Eek!  You can make your own for much less money, which means you can splurge on some really good greens and maybe some goat cheese or shaved fennel or dried cherries.

So get out your bowl and whisk, or a simple pint jar with a lid, and let's get mixing and shaking!

Vinaigrette
This is the most basic of all dressings, and one which you can build upon to make oodles more.  Keep in mind the standard ratio of one part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to three parts oil.  If you lean toward less tart-piquant, then increase your oil.  If your mouth says tangy, do the opposite!  Once you get the basic recipe to your taste, you can add cheese, different herbs, cayenne pepper, chopped nuts, etc.

1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon (this is very French) - you can use basil or dill if you prefer
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or 1/2 cup evoo and 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other oil

Whisk together everything except the oil, or place in a jar, tighten the lid and shake well.  After the salt and sugar are dissolved, gradually whisk in the oil to make a nice thick dressing, or add it all to the jar and shake vigorously.  That's it!  But please taste it, from a spoon, and adjust the seasonings to your liking :)

Greek Vinaigrette
The above recipe, using oregano for your herb, increase the sugar to 1 1/2 teaspoons, and add some crumbled feta cheese if that turns your crank.

Citrus Vinaigrette
Use a combintion of orange, lemon or lime juice in place of some or all of the vinegar, and increase the sugar to 1 1/2 teaspoons.  Omit the herbs, but zest your orange or lemon or lime peel and add a teaspoon to the dressing - yum!

"French" Dressing
A point to note - true French dressing is the first recipe listed here - a basic vinaigrette.  The reddish-orange gooey stuff Americans eat is something different altogether, but if that's your favorite, here's a good recipe.

2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard (or dijon mustard)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
4 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup plain olive oil, or grapeseed or other oil

Whisk all ingredients except the oil, for one minute.  Gradually whisk in oil until smooth and creamy.

Poppyseed Dressing
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons poppyseeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely minced onion (or 1/2 teaspoon onion powder)
2/3 cup plain olive oil, or grapseed oil

Whisk all but oil together for one minute.  Gradually whisk in oil until smooth and creamy.

Maple Salad Dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup plain olive oil, or grapeseed oil

Whisk all but oil together one minute.  Gradually whisk in oil until smooth and creamy.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon juice.  Stir in blue cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.

Ranch Dressing
1 tablespoon finely minced onion or shallot
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of one lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
3 tablespoons minced chives (or 2 teaspoons dried)

Whisk all ingredients together.  You can make this a cucumber ranch dressing by adding one cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated.

No-Egg Caesar
I personally don't have a problem using raw eggs if I know the farmer and they are fresh, but this one will appeal to everyone.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 anchovy filets
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed (optional)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 2-3 lemons)
1/3 cup lemon juice (from the above lemons)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a bowl, mash together the garlic, salt, anchovies and capers (a fork works well for that).  Add lemon zest and juice, mustard and pepper, mix well.  Gradually add olive oil, whisking until smooth and creamy.  Stir in parmesan cheese.

2 comments:

  1. Doo-Dah was moaning about the lack of salad dressing in the house (an intentional oversight on my part) and I directed him to this informative page. We now have one jar of salad dressing in the fridge & he is planning on making others as well.

    Love it when sassy is sensible, too!

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  2. And my Yooper Girl whipped up your Ranch for falafel the other day--it was fabulous!

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