Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Being Well Dressed

This time of year, there's lots and lots of lettuce to go around. We're getting it in our boxes, and also getting it from our gardens. So, of course, we have salads every day.  I much prefer my own dressing. It's nice to know what's in the food you're eating. Ever try to read the label for a bottle of salad dressing? I hope you remember your chemistry from college...

Photo via The Daily Meal
Making salad dressing is extremely easy. It's also cheaper. Well, you can buy very fancy ingredients, of course. Trust me, I spend lots of money on that.  But it doesn't have to be.  You need a bowl, and a whisk. That's about it. Here are some common salad dressing recipes that can get you by most of the year.

  • Mustard vinaigrette – This is about as easy as it gets. You need two parts of some kind of vinegar, one part of some kind of mustard, and one part olive oil.  Feel free to get as creative with this as you like. Try different kinds of mustard (I would stay away from the bright yellow kind, but try just about everything else).  Try different kinds of vinegars: cider, red wine, rice, or the flavored ones.  There is a great store for flavored vinegars and oils in Springfield Town Center.  To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar, and slowly stream in the oil as you constantly whisk. You're getting them to emulsify.  And a little salt and pepper, and you can add spices or fresh herbs too.  VoilĂ !
  • Citrus vinaigrette – The same as above, but replace half of the vinegar with some kind of citrus juice. Lemon and lime work well, orange mostly doesn't have enough acid, but you could put a little orange juice and a little lemon juice together.
  • Bleu cheese – Yes, it's wonderful. Yes, it's also completely full of calories and fat. You could make it full fat, and it's way better than what you get in the store, or you can use low-fat or fat-free dairy ingredients.  Mix together 3 tablespoons butter milk and sour cream, 2 tablespoons mayo, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, and 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese.  Season with salt and white pepper.
  • Thousand island – This one is deceptively simple.  It's just equal parts ketchup, mayo, and relish.  Both mayo and ketchup are also way better when you make them yourself.
  • Lemon poppyseed
  • Sorry Alton, but your Caesar dressing is missing 2 anchovy fillets.  Once you add those in, it's perfect.
  • This buttermilk ranch recipe is a little involved, but oh so good!

Photo via Alton Brown

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