We’re so excited to welcome Katie Workman as our new regular contributor to our What’s for dinner? series on Problem Solved. Katie is the Editor in Chief and Chief Marketing Officer of Cookstr.com , a website devoted to great, tested recipes from chefs and cookbook authors. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, ages 6 and 8. Katie will be blogging at Problem Solved twice a month, offering up quick cooking techniques, easy recipes, and some tricks to make cooking quicker and tastier. Welcome Katie!
Homemade Vinaigrette (aka salad dressing)
Salad dressing is somewhat of a hot button for many of us. We either have a little fear of it, and keep hitting the bottle (bottled dressing, of course), which is often pretty gross, or if we do make our own we get stuck in that one-dressing rut.
But it’s all good news!
For those of us who are scared of vinaigrettes (just a French word for oil and vinegar), this basic recipe lets you have make you own dressing in 2 minutes. Then for all of us, becoming a salad dressing master is one of the easiest things to conquer in the kitchen.
Ok, here’s the basic recipe. I like it a little vinegary. If you don’t, use less vinegar (yes, it is that simple).
1/2 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
1/2 cup vinegar of your choice (red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, cider vinegar, etc.)
coarse salt to taste (1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
freshly ground pepper to taste (1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Put everything into a container with a lid, cover, and shake. Don’t you feel great? It will last for a week, happily.
you can add (alone, or in combination):
-1 tablespoon minced shallots
-1-3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
-1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2-1 teaspoon dried herbs or 1-2 teaspoon minced fresh herbs - just one, or a mixture
-1-2 teaspoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
-1-2 tablespoons minced black olives
-2-3 tablespoons crumbled or shredded cheese, such as goat cheese, feta, or Parmesan
-blend two kinds of vinegars to equal the 1/4 cup (some good combos: red wine and balsamic vinegars, white wine and rice wine vinegars)
Now, for those of you who need a moment away from the classic vinegar based dressing, this one is a favorite in my house. I have a friend who was sick for a while, and salad with this dressing was one of the few foods she craved. It’s very fresh and clean, and apparently restorative. Nice with bib or butter lettuce, romaine, and spring veggie salads. The rice wine vinegar softens the acidity of the lemon juice.
¼ cup chopped shallots
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, strained (about two juicy lemons)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Put it all into a plastic container with a lid, cover, shake, and it will last a week.
I am always looking for new vinaigrette ideas, so if you’ve got ‘em, please share!
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